Posts Tagged ‘art quilters’

Tools Change Everything: Zigzag Bobbin Work

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

20u singerI believe in tools! 

Years ago I bought this 20U Singer industrial. It was under protest. I had burned the brushes off a very nice 930 Bernina. If you don’t know any of these numbers, take my word. 930 Berninas were war horses in armor.

So they told me that a 20 U was  a tough enough machine. I had mine calabrated to work with embroidery thread, and did a number of zigzag embroidery images on it. 

For a fast machine, it was still a tedious experience. This machine doesn’t really use a foot. So all the fabric needed to be hooped. And unhooped. And re-hooped. Again and again and again.

I simply stopped working with it at one point. I was considering selling it. 

 

179 The problem with princesBut people have always loved the quilts made through this technique. It allows for so much detail and coloration. 40 weight embroidery thread is ephemerally beautiful, and it shines when it’s laid in color layers.815 butterfly garden detail

Yesterday, I tried it with a felt stabilizer sandwich and a Halo hoop

 

halo hoopl

 

The Halo Hoop has been around for a while. I use them for any larger bit of embroidery I’m working on. It’s a weighted metal hoop with a plastic coating that grips the fabric. Instead of clamping it, you simply slide the hoop along.

My favorite stabilizer sandwich is ( from the back tp the front) a drawing in Totally Stable,  a layer of Decor Bond,a layer of polyester felt, and a layer of hand dyed fabric as my top. Anything that doesn’t iron down, I spray glue with 505 spray.

 

 

frog in process

I took this frog drawing and stated to color. I worked from the back for two reasons. My drawing was there, and I could tie off the ends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

frog in process  f2I didn’t get done, but I got far enough to know that between the stabilizer sandwich and the Halo hoop, the whole technique had been revolutionized for me.

Things I learned

  • My father’s old saying: if it’s too hard, too horrible or too long, you have the wrong tool.
  • You can use a hammer for a saw, but it’ s hard on the hammer and what you’re sawing.

Rethinking how to use your tools makes all the difference.  

You can work without a foot, but you need to use your fingers and a hoop. And hopefully your brain!finger positiona

And most of all, good tools change everything!

264 As Good as it Gets

 

Artists and Other Prickly Creatures

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

GRANDVILLE 2I received an interesting piece of hate mail yesterday. It’s taken me sometime to process it and I’m still working through that. But the bottom line is that I had gone to a group of creative people who were not my primary art interest (we’ll say they were weavers, because they were not), and my selfish self had shown itself. A really dear friend of mine  who the letter was from, cataloged how I had offended everyone, and how I had no interest in being in a group of creative people because I was selfish and driven and rude.

I was pretty much raised in a barrel as a kid, so it’s not impossible that I was. Most of the manners I have I’ve learned from the kindesses of quilters. I do try. I have my failures.

I can’t quite dismiss what she said, although I have a problem with anyone who wants to tell me how I’ve harmed everyone else. There’s no way to fix that. Tell me how I’ve harmed you, and I will, if I can to my best to make it better.  There was so much rage in this.There was no way to back up, apologise, rework it. Which makes the friendship a dead duck on the floor. At that point there’s nothing to do but sweep things up. 

Then I remembered, they do for a hobby. I do this is a part of my job. I take it out in front of people, occasionally sell a piece, occasionally teach with it, and use it in a daily way.  I’m really not sure most of them do, except in this small class in this group.  And I am sure it puts me in a place where my needs creatively are quite different.

I’ve known so many amazing artists and quilters who were loathed in their groups or guilds. They were like an eye in a hurricane. All kinds of chaos swirled around them. And that was usually the complaint. “They’re self absorbed. They’ve very driven. They’re competitive.  They believe that they are geniuses.” I suspect that I am guilty as charged. It takes an amazing amount of courage to put all this stuff in public. And a huge amount of drive. And don’t forget arrogance.

I’ve believed always that everyone is an artist. It’s part of the human condition. We breathe, we dance, we tell stories, we make art. And what that is is imposing order and beauty on the random ugliness and cruelty that often is part of living. We re order it, redefine it, rework it until we make it something we can live with. Talk about selfish. Well, yes. To do that professionally takes immense drive and  compulsion and probably puts you lacking in the social skills. Because everyone will challenge what you’ve done, or what is worse, ignore it.

I’ve never much doubted my abilities, because I am so often alone with them, so often compelled by them. To doubt them would be like trying to breathe in a vacuum. You can. For a very short period only, you can.

I’m sad for this letter, this judgement, this failure of comprehension on their part and manners on mine. But I understand how threatening it can be to stand next to the eye of a hurricane. Even an older hurricane who’s weathered by time and experience. I wish everyone in this group the joy of their creation, and understand that the chaos of my own is probably not group appropriate. And that my own will have it’s own joys. That will come too.  I’m an artist. It’s an isolating process. I’m prickly like that.

This porcupine is another Grandville image I’ve played with on photoshop. He’s my alter ego today. He’s blue, sc^&*^ed and tattooed, which is pretty much how I feel. Ah, the glamorous world of art!

See Making Layers in Art if you’d like more information about how it was done.

 

 

Making Dragonflies Fly Part three: Differing Paths

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

wind over water 8

Here’s the final installment of Making Dragonflies Fly! You’ll find it here and on youtube. I hope it sends you skittering into your sewin room wanting to stitch. It features Inn Fuse, Innovative Craft’s new Fusible film.

It’s one of my favorite techniques. But it’s certainly not the only one.

There’s a phrase I use in class that I know drives people nuts. They’ll ask me if this is how I always do something. And I’ll say”Yes, except when I don’t.” Idt sounds flip. It’s never meant that way. It is what I do except when I don’t. The world is a complicated place and my studio is too. And for reasons of effect and energy, I don’t feel tied to one way of doing anything.

What we’ve showed in these three videos is free motion applique. It’s a great way to make a bold statement with fragile fabric. It’s a way to use really beautiful textures in a piece.

Is it the only way? Why in heaven’s name should there be only one only way?

I also feel that way about people’s life decisions, child rearing, dog taming and general weight control. The world is wide. Try different things.

But most especially about art.. Art has two componenets. There’s the making of art, the skills involved. And then there’s what happens while you’re working. If you don’t develope the skills, you limit yourself. That’s ok.. Tomorrow is another day and you have days after that to stretch and grow.

If you don’t go in and just make art, you have no reason for those skills. It’s like having a very powerful engine that’s not connected to anything. Of course the point is balance. You know the edges I’m dancing on here. The person who makes the same quilt forever in the same way over and over. The person who takes class after class and everything looks like the last class. These are points in process. They’ll get there. So will you. So will I.

So I thought I’d walk you around the ways technique changes me. I have a number of dragonflies (they’re myself traveling, so I can’t help but do them) done in different technique.

Free motion applique is fused and then stitched with a free motion zigzag. It gives lots of impact, lots of presence. It’s a great way to use amazing fabric.

Dragonfly in Bloom
Dragonfly in Bloom

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s dragonflies made strictly of thick thread in the bobbin. If they’re stitched directly into the cloth they’re more subtle and more part of their environment.

blue moon896 Moonrise SwampThen there are dragonflies made as separate embroidered appliques of pure stitching. They’re done with thick thread in the bobbin.These are bold and electric images.

Moonstruck
Moonstruckectric thread compositions.
895 Wind over Water 7
wind over Water 7

Could I choose? Would I choose? Like most things, everything has it’s season and time. And I will do them all.

What we bring as quilt teachers to you and your guilds is options. Choices. Information about what is available and how to use it. Can you gather that information on your own? Of course you can. With world enough and time.

But isn’t it nice to learn from people who can help you know?

eddy class brochure_Page_01webThere still are spots in my schedule for 2014. If you’d like to have me come to your guild with a suitcase full of choices and skills, check out my class catalog at Issuu, Or check out my classes page at http://www.ellenanneeddy.com/classes.php

 

Making Dragonflies Fly Tutuorial Part 2 Patternless Applique

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

853 dragonfly in bloom

 

 I have very little patience with patterns, recepis, instructions and general directions. My mother had a phrase for it. She called it a being a pig on ice. What it  meant was that you were being a large and confused creature who needed help and refused it in all forms. Of all people, she should have known. She had her own moments of skidding across slick surfaces.

It’s not that I can’t take direction. It’s that I want to know enough about something that the directions can be veryloose. And I want what I do to be unique.

This is why I teach patternless applique. This is why I do it. I want that freedom. I want you to have that freedom.

So for this video I show you how to form a dragonfly of sheer and brocade fabric just by cutting. 

inn fuse-4.part2 2

 Why? 

Because it’s so simple and fun that even a pig on ice such as myself can’t help but make a great dragonfly every time!

 

 

 

 

infuseAgain, we’re testing out Inn Fuse the new fusible craft film from Innovative Craft. And we tested it here on

  • brocade
  • glitter organza
  • tissue brocade
  • lame

You know, the fabrics you wanted to use but you were scared. Well slide over her, over onto
the ice and join us. It’s a lot of fun.

Thread Magic Garden

Thread Magic Garden

Thread Magic Garden also has more information on patternless applique and

making dragonflies fly! You can find it on my web site,on Amazon or at C&T

Next week we’ll show you the third part of the tutorial, stitching soft and hard edge applique!

10799_SP_Part2 (1)_Page_12

Heat and Shape: Mad Scientist/Artist at Play!

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

cycada song2Somewhere in my family background, there has to be a mad scientist somewhere. Either that or a wild woman who was brewing some very odd teas. 

I’ve been a dyer for over 30 years now. It’s not all of what I do. It’s never really been the focus of what I do. But my work would have been much less rich without it. 

I’m also incapable of measurements. Not in cooking, not in dyeing, not in any way. If you just can’t pour it in and hope for the best it’s probably not going to happen on my watch.  Soups and stews, yes. Much better at bread than cake. It’s all a dyslesics view of the measuring cup. It’s a sugguestion, a guideline. Don’t ask for accuracy.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t love  experiments.So I was delighted when I got a package of Heat and Shape. 

I’ve pasted in the information for you. Of course, it never occurred to me to do trapunto. 

Heat & Shape is a revolutionary heat-activated batting that allows the home crafter to create unique, 
rigid, three-dimensional fabric designs.  There is no need for water or messy chemical additives, Heat & Shape is non-toxic and is activated with only heat and pressure. Heat & Shape can be easily 
cut with scissors or a rotary cutter and, prior to heating, can easily be sewn through using standard
needles and thread.  Due to the nonwoven nature of Heat & Shape it will not fray at the edges like 
Woven stabilizers.  

Ideal as a hidden stiffener to add stability and crispness to handbags, tote bags and
placemats.  Let your imagination run wild with fanciful masks, costumes, millinery, boxes, bowls, flowers 
and ornaments.  Heat & Shape is mold and mildew resistant and is machine washable and dryable.

Quilt Heat & Shape into some of your favorite fabric, lightly steam and you have what we call
“Poor-Man’s Trapunto”; a beautiful stipple  effect as the Heat and Shape crisps and shrinks as you steam!

I found myself thinking, Leaves! So I cut a bunch of leaves and shaped them and veined them with the iron and the heat. As you heat them, they shrink and take on the forms around them. It’s like shrinking felt that can be molded and marked and seamed.

When I got done they were fearfully white. But they were polyester. It’s been a long time since I played with Rit, but Rit is one of the dyes that is formulated for all kinds of fibers. 

crockpot 2It was like my old college days. We used what we had.At that time Rit was it. Rit responds to vinger, salt and heat and I used a lot of both of those. I put it in the Crockpot and left it for two days. It remains to be seen whether the mix of purple and green made that brown or whether I singed them. But theydiyed leaves are very, very fall like.

dyed leaves 2

dyed leaves 3

 

 

They’re currently pinned to the Cidada quilt that is in process on top. I’m excited to see what they’ll look like with veining and stitching all over them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll find Heat and Shape at InnovativeCrafts.Com. Even though it’s polyester, we’ve proved it will dye with heat, salt vineger and Rit. Although, there’s a rumor that it could be made in rayon.  Which would dye with cold water procions. The mad scientist in me is completely overjoyed. cycada song detail

 

A Summer School Gift for You

Sunday, August 18th, 2013
color outside the wheel.indd_Page_01

Color Outside the Wheel An Ebook for you!

We’ve had a great week. I hope you’ve learned some great new ways to approach color, past picking the colors off the wheel. I need to thank Caryl Bryer Fallert, Kathy Weaver, and Susan Shie for letting me explore colors in their magificent work.

french toast

French Toast, Susan Shie

Robo Sapien Agent 4

Robo Sapien Agent 4 Kathy Weaver

Feather Study 1 by Caryl Bryer Fallert

Feather Study 1 by Caryl Bryer Faller

 I need to thank Monique, Kleinhans, Rebecca Dorian Brown, Lauren Strach, Joan Davis, and Roberta Hoover Ranney for letting me put them in places of honor on the refrigerator gallery.

 

I have the answers to your tests here. Not that that matters. The real test is, does this change how you think? What you choose? And that’s as much a test for me as for you. But here’s your answers.

Color cast is
C. whether colors lean towards the sun or the shade.

2. The color wheel is
C. a map of color relationships.

3. Differences in value
A. help us sort things visually 

4. We all recognize the same color names
B. False

5. Color temperature is about
 C. Both

6. Color theory works the same for mixing colors as picking colors.
B. False
1
7. All blues are the same.
 B. False

8. Everyone sees color the same way
 B. False

9. Differences in hues are
 B. differences in light and dark

10. Contrast
C. Pops out the figure from the ground

11. You should never use a color your hate.
 B. False

12. Color theory is
 B. A theory that works up to a point. C. 

color outside the wheel.indd_Page_01As a gift to my students. I’ve packaged up this class in an ebook you can enjoy and work with at home. Thanks for being such good students. And go color off the wheel. You can download it at issuu.com or click the picture for a link.

Next week I’m exploring the new box of Inn Fuse that Innovative Craft sent me so I can do a demo for them. And, of course, for you

Thread Magic Summer School: Color Outside the Wheel Pop Quiz

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

893 for the bees pleaselFor the last week I’ve talked about color, not just in terms of color wheel but what we do with our color choice past the wheel. My hope for you is that you’ve come away with new thoughts about how you might choose color, play with color and color way outside the lines and outside the wheel. I hope it makes you try colors you love, colors you hate and colors you just don’t know yet. I hope it makes you braver and bolder. And I hope you show us all.

Here is your test. You don’t need to pass it on to me. I’ll put the key in to tomorow’s post, with my Summer School gift to you. I’ve put together a free ebook from what we’ve studied here. I hope to have it posted up tomorrow.

Name: Class: Saturday, August 17, Total Possible Marks: 12 Test  

1. Color cast is
A. Made of plaster
B. Dark or light
C. whether colors lean towards the sun or the shade.

2. The color wheel is
A. a pretty chart.
B. everything we know about color.
C. a map of color relationships.
3. Differences in value
A. help us sort things visually
B. are scary
C. make things look muddy

4. We all recognize the same color names
A. True
B. False

5. Color temperature is about
A. Warm and cool colors
B. Color cast
C. Both

6. Color theory works the same for mixing colors as picking colors.
A. True
B. False

7. All blues are the same.
A. True
B. False

8. Everyone sees color the same way
A. True
B. False

1
9. Differences in hues are
A. differences in intensity
B. differences in light and dark
C. differences in colors

10. Contrast
A. Should be kept to a minimum
B. Is only for hues
C. Pops out the figure from the ground

11. You should never use a color your hate.
A. True
B. False

12. Color theory is
A. A scientific fact.
B. A theory that works up to a point.
C. A Victorian concei

Your real test isn’t here. The real test is when you pick your next colors. Choose something marvelous.

Thread MagicSummer School: Color Mixing vs. Color Picking

Friday, August 16th, 2013


672 Willow lEven though we’ve been looking at dyers and painters, we’ve been exploring color combinations. We’ve learned that the most exciting combinations offer us contrasts either in hue, tone, temperature or cast. Those contrasts help define our figure and separate it from the background. That separation gives the mind and the eye a way into a composition, a way to make immediate visual sense of what is going on.

All that falls to the ground when we start mixing colors.

 dye cupswI’ve always let the dye houses mix my colors for me. They do a much better job, and I’m constitutionally the right person to do it. It would assume I could measure something. That hasn’t happened since 1969.

But once you put one dye color on top of another color, you’ve mixed them, planned or not. And that same excitement that happens with contrasts in color combinations is instantly blended into a brown of some sort.

I know a lot of unhappy dyers. Unless you really like brown, this is a downer.

 

color picking

Picking primaries

 

Mixing from Primaries

Mixing from Primaries

 

 

 

Willow is an example of a great deal of purposeful mud. I love the browns in her, and dyed them largely from complements.

 

 

759 Blossoms in Moonlight detailThread Color is about picking rather than mixing. So the color choice rules apply. Brown is enriched in this bunny with greens,burgundies, teals, oranges, purples and olive greens, all complements but separate because each is a separate thread. The eye blends them in your mind, but their separation holds the colors true and bright.

Ellen Anne Eddy's Dye Day Workbook cover front for web tnIf you want more information about color mixing you’ll find it in my book

 

 

 

Dye Day Workbook, available in print on Amazon.com or on my web site.

It’s available as an PDF on my Etsy store Raid My Fabric Stash

 

 joans refrigerator

On our Refrigerator today, we have Joan Davis, an amazing Hawaiian quilter who’s work reflects the beauty of the island. You’ll find more of her amazing work on her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/joan.davis

 

 

 

 

 

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This is our last day of Thread Magic Summer School. Tomorrow there will be a test. It is only a test.

I do think it’s fun at least to measure what you’ve gotten out of it all.

Sunday I hope to have a little gift for you for coming to summer school and making it fun.

 

 

Thread Magic Summer School: Contrasts in Temperature

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

860 fall koiChanges in color temperature make very dramatic contrasts.  We talk about warm colors and cool colors on the color wheel. Traditionally the color wheel is divided into cool colors

Cool Colors

Cool Colors

warm colors

warm colors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those colors used in an unbroken arc are analogous colors. They’re smooth, lovely and very pretty. The warm colors speak of sun and fire, and sunsets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cool colors speak of water and greenery and soft filtered light.

There’s not a lot of tension in analogous color. It’s gentle soft color.

But if we take cool colors against warm colors, we find ourself in a visual thermal shock. Cool color against warm pops images off the background every time.

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Use intense temperature differences to separate out figure/ground images. Bright or dark, they define the difference.

On the Refrigerator

We have the awesome work of Monique Kleinhans, from Kailispell, Montana. You’ll find her wide prairie visions at her web site Ladybug’s Cabin at Paint, Metal And Mud Gallery, and teaching at Glacier Quilts, in Kalispell, MT.

monique refrigerator 2r

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thread Magic Summer School: Contrasts in Tone

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

 

Cyborg Female 3- Amusing Disorder

Cyborg Female 3- Amusing Disorder

Our color master today is Kathy Weaver.

Tone is the dark side of colors. In dye and paint a color can be darkened either by browns, blacks or by the complement of the color. Tint is the lightening of colors either with white or water. 

We somehow fear the dark. We sometimes forget the  colors that dark or muddy. But diamonds show up best against a black cloth. Darks are our shadows, our depths, the underside, the forest glade and our art is sorely limited without them. 

Pastels offer us a pale world, a shadow delicate mist.  I find it hard to go there. I want all my colors bright. But bright colors gleem against a pastel background. In both cases it  is a contrast in tone that focuses us exactly onto the art and lights our excitement.

Kathy Weaver has created a quilted world of robots that have always astonished me. She’s color master, part for her choices but largely for her painted imagery that jumpstarts her work. And she knows how to work contrast to make her images shine.

I’m also going to introduce you to one of my favorite online tools. Big Huge Labs is a site that has all kinds of free and fabulous photo tools. This is their swatch generator. It’s an easier way to look at the colors in a piece.

Here is one of Kathy’s works and a swatch list of the colors she used.

Robo Sapiens, Agent 5 has a glowing yellow robot against a deeply toned set of bars.

In Robo Sapiens Agent Four, we have the contrast of this wild pink robot against a beige netral.

Robo Sapien Agent 2 glows against the darkly toned background.

When we look at the swatches we can see the contrast in tone, the light and the dark. In all cases, she chooses the difference in tone to accentuate the figure from the  ground.

The figure is our focus. But if it do the same as our background, our ground, the eye has to somehow figure out where it is. Making a visual obvious distinction between the figure and the ground pops it all into view. And making it with differences in  contrast is a clean and clear way to that.

Cyborg Female 1- Complacent Nature

Cyborg Female 1- Complacent Nature

It doesn’t matter whether we choose a lighter or darker backg round. The difference itself, either way sets the figure fore and center in our perception. Cyyborg Femail has yellow arms that echo her background. But the difference in the tone pops her out against it. She glows against the background because there’s a contrast.

Fire Slinger glows against the dark because of the differences as well, although this time she’s gone to the darker contrasts.

Fire Slinger

Fire Slinger

And Invader has both soft background and foreground, but she lets the edges darken enough to pop the contrast.

Invader

Invader

Explore more of Kathy Weaver’s fabulous world on her web site at http://www.kweaverarts.com.

Or you can learn from her at her classes coming up at Arrowmont, September 29th through october 5th. Here is the website info.  http://www.arrowmont.org/ workshops/venueevents/196-kathy-weaver

 

Make your images pop by choosing differences in tone when you pick backrounds. Go light. Go dark. Go different!

Laurens refrigerator

On our refrigerator today we have Lauren Strach from St. Joseph, MI. Lauren’s nature quilts have attracted attention (and prizes) both locally and nationally. Her work sings with color and contrast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You’ll find more of Lauren’s fabulous work on her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lauren.strach

Thread Magic Summer School: The Magic of Contrasts

Monday, August 12th, 2013

bradford fantasy 1Our color masterist today is Caryl Bryer Fallert.

What all art creates is a series of contrasts, in some form or another. Color theory is one way of describing those colors. We joke about plain white canvases being art because we know  that even as an art joke there’s no drama there. The ability of art to change how we think, how we feel, how we live is the point of it all. Good art changes the world. But to do that it has to demand our attention. It does that by emphasising contrasts.

We can build contrasts in a number of ways. Color is only one. We also have contrast in value, in saturation, in size, in color cast and temperature. All of those scales give us a way to separate the elements of our work. The most important separation is between field and ground.

color wheel  pattern 3When we look at the color wheel we have the map of how colors (Hues) relate to each other. The closer they are to each other the less tension there is between them. The further they are, the more tension and the more potential excitement a combination has.The colors farthest away from each other are called complements. They’re the electric voltage to most art, and they’re what we’ll look at today.

Perhaps the finest quilt color master of our time, Caryl Bryer Fallert is a master dyer and quilter. She has a gift for astonishing color, that usually encompasses the whole color wheel. All those complements at once are electric. The tones and the saturation on these colors are relatively even. All of the drama is in the change of the hues, the colors themselves. And she’s always dyed her own fabric.

These pieces romp through the whole color wheel. Doing that they place all the complements against each other. This is a winning combination, visually and at shows because it always grabs  attention.

Once we start picking and choosing colors off the wheel, the complements still s are the king combinations of these. If we are a little more aware, we can catch a bit of the feeling we get off them. We like them because they offer on.us strong visual stimulation.

Here’s some of Caryl’s work that encompasses complementary combinations

We can also take an arc of the color wheel and focus on that. Those are analogous colors. Here are some amazing pieces of Caryl’s focused in the blue/green arc.

Caryl’s astonishing work can be seen on her web site at http://www.bryerpatch.com, at her studio in Paducah, KY and in art collections and museums across the country. Make sure you see the amazing body of work she’s continued to graced us with.

We’re used to thinking about color strictly as hue. But tomorrow will look at differences in saturation and how they make it easier to separate field and ground, background and forground.

rebecca refrigerator 4On the refrigerator today we have Rebecca Dorian Brown, the creator of Dreaming Girl Highway. Rebecca is also a master colorist and she let me put up these lovely images. Dreaming girl is a series of 78 images out of her life and time set in a deck of Inner Vision Cards. Her media is computer driven and she is a master at generating depth and drama out of pixels and vectors.

Rebecca’s amazing cards are available on her web site at http://www.dreaminggirlhighway.com. Make them your visual snack on your way past the refrigerator.

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Would you like to be on the refrigerator too? Send me several quilts and your contact/web  information at ellenanneeddy@gmail.com

Raid My Fabric Stash: A New Etsy Store

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

 

The resurrected vacuum Cleaner

The resurrected vacuum Cleaner

 

New Etsy Store

New Etsy Store

 

 

 

 

I have just risen triumphant over my vacuum cleaner again.Those who know me know there is a ritual vacuum cleaning in my house once every seven years, if needed. It’s not quite that bad but close. I have to have a task I really don’t want to do do get around to vacuuming first. Say like cleaning out the basement cat pottie. Digging out the 85 rogue dock plants on the side yard.  Finding what really is in the refrigerator.

I got all the dogs into the yard to avoid attack mode on either side. And turned it on.

The noise was astonishing. The response, not so much. The little tornado inside simply didn’t step up. So I turned it on its head and went about a game called “What’s your mechanical perversion?” Usually that’s a one to five minute round  exercise.

Not this time. It didn’t take long to discover the cloth bedroom slipper stuck in the rotor. Pulled that  out. Fired it up. More non-action.

So we attacked with a screw driver to find the busted belt and there is was.  A trip off to the store and back, belt in my pocket. Got the belt on and still no action.

So as a final act, I took the broom handle out for a walk and jammed it up  the hose. All the way.

Out popped an odd and awful thing that I think once was a chunk of wood. It’s now sucking in a much more acceptable way.

ellen webThe point to all of this is that it ought to easier. Sometimes it simply isn’t. It isn’t like there’s a simple fix. There’s the round after round of hits and answers to those hits that in themselves should be small, but as a group, they’re devastating. And one fix alone won’t do it. 

I’ve just had this happen in a medical way as well. Two months ago I ended up briefly in the hospital for what looked like a heart attack. It turns out I have massive high blood pressure which can easily be medically controlled.  But, because of the medical systems in place, my only option to discover this was an emergency room visit and an overnight hospitalization. 

I’m healing and my meds are regularized. But the financial consequences are overwhelming.  I’m in the process of negotiating that, but in that economy it may still be career ending.  As a working person with a small amount of money, there is no chance of medical monetary aid. As a single self employed person there is no way to purchase meaningful insurance. I am uninsured and pretty sure that the hospital will demand what I have, even if it impoverishes me and takes my studio.

eddy class brochure_Page_01webSo, like the vacuum cleaner, I have a few simple tools. I am still able to teach and am delighted to continue that. It’s been my life. I hope it continues to be my life. If your guild, group or store would like me to teach, that would be wonderful. You’ll a find a complete list of classes on my site  and a full class catalog on  on scribd.com

 

 

 

I have a mountain of fabric that I’ve collected over the years. I’m going to begin to destash, and I invite you to Raid My Fabric Stash, a new Etsy store started by my truly desperate self. And remind you that I have the mother of all stash of sheers, hand dyes, and other wonders. I invite you to raid my stash. We’ll have new offerings up every week. We’re starting with some fabric/fiber inspiration kits. More will be coming soon.

If you’ve ever wanted a quilt of mine, this is the time. Check the web site,  see if there’s a piece you would like and contact me directly. I can offer a 30-50% discount depending on the piece. Call me and we’ll make that happen. I’ll also list some pieces on the Etsy site just to see what happens. 

It really should be easier. But it’s not. I don’t like to ask for help. But I’m trying every way I can, to figure my answers out.

Bless you!

Ellen

 

Spinning the Color Wheel: A Photoshop Journey

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m obsessed with color studies. Of course, my favorite present, even as a child was a color chart. I still feel that way. But what I’ve found over the years is that it’s the relationships between the colors that set my heart pitter pattering.

Once you get past the physicality of how you do your art or craft, you find yourself needing to expand somehow. Usually that takes a question. What if? How? Why do we always? Most great or even mildy interesting art asks a question and works through the answers. You can see artists of all kinds ask questions. What if it were really bigger? Upside down? My dream view? My nightmare? Blue instead of yellow? All of that changes our perspective on what we’re doing. And I think, personally, that the change of perspective may be the basic reason for it all. If we see our world as different, then it is. If we can get someone else to see the world differently, then we’ve really changed them at least.

The hard and exhausting thing about this is that often it takes years of work to ask and answer those questions within your work. Sometimes that’s worth it. Sometimes it’s a way to avoid doing anything important while you play in a corner.

 

Enter the computer age. Instant spelling, communication and in some ways, instant art. One of the coolest tools on the computer is  the computer program Photoshop. Even in it’s lighter versions, it’s the go to program for digital Phototography. It’s a golden oldy. I don’t know anyone who knows Photoshop. But I’ve been learning what I call tricks with Photoshop. Within it is an endless set of tools to manipulate color and shape. Sound like anything we know? As I’ve worked on books for myself and others I’ve needed to know more than just how to size my pictures.

So I’ve been taking classes on Lynda.com, which is a tutorial service on the internet that offers a mind boggling range of videos on anything you might want to learn. This is what happened when they showed me the slider bar on the hue menu. I’m not going to show you how to do this, because it’s simply sliding the  bar around. I want you to see what happens to colors when we change the hue, but the relationships stay the same. And it does an instant abstract just by being colors you don’t expect.

Remember that peoni?

 

I could have spent the last 6 months making this peonie in these colors. It might have been worth it to me. I still may. But I got to see the changes without that time spent. I picked the  colors directly from the photographs rather than matching them to the wheel. The orange and lime ones are the ones that send me moonward. But then again, I’m always ready for orange and lime. But it’s the relationships that stay pretty constant. What would happen if I did that to the same bug? 

I’m not sure if I learn as much this way, but it seems that I do. I don’t think we know exactly how it works to learn something intellectually and visually, but not through the manipulation of materials.  But it’s six months of experimenting in 20 minutes. That was worth it.

Botanica

Howard Schatz wrote an amazing book called Botanica, which I believe are a number of photoshop like images slid through different color waves. It’s mind blowing and very good for getting you out of the notion that roses are red and violets are blue.

Lynda.com is also mind blowing. I invite you to check it out and see what neat thing you can learn today.

And I hope to see you on the journey.

Ellen

Ellen Anne Eddy

 

 

Dyslexia and the Modern World- How You Do What You Can

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Fall Confetti Detail

Fall Confetti Detail

One of the horrors of growing up a teacher’s child is that everyone expects you to be good at things. And to be good. Good luck!

I made a best effort try over the years being a goody two shoes mixed with just a bit of a smart Alec. But I never could write or spell. At all. My spelling was practically Shakespearean ( meaning any way it could be phonetically guessed at.)

 I was in grad school studying dyslexia when I realized I was one. Is it a gift? Absolutely. It’s a born way to see the world differently. If you can actually show someone else a different world, they are richer by far. If you can show the world that, you can change it. I’ve taken far more joy from my dyslexia than sorrow. You just have to make it make sense to everyone else.

This does not mean it’s not a complete humiliation when you spell the world catalog incorrectly on the cover of your new catalog.

Enter the modern world.

Spell check! Online ( and therefore instantly correctable) publishing! And hopefully a forgiving world of people who know they hired you as a teacher and artist and not a English  teacher.

My mother is surely rolling in her grave. But I hope the rest of you can celebrate this moment of creative dyslexia, corrected by some much appreciated modern science.

 

Once More with Feeling: Abstract by Accident

Friday, February 15th, 2013
815 butterly garden

Butterfly Garden

The best thing about working in series is that it’s fertile ground for all kinds of wonderful accidents. When you’re working on one idea, other ideas pop up. And best of all, there are left overs.
Now left overs for dinner are only as good as dinner itself. If they’re good their gold. If they’re not, it’s likely you’ll find them three weeks later in your fridge covered with light green growth. But when they’re great they lead to great discoveries. And when they’re fabric, they wait patiently for their time, without going moldy.

I’ve struggled for years to abstract my work. It’s not a natural thing for me. But while I was writing Thread Magic Garden, I quilted Butterfly Garden while I was exploring what made a lollipop flower (every child’s first flower) a recognizable flower. It’s either a saucer shape, a group of shapes circling a center or a bowl shape. 

 

817 Grotto gem detail lI had a left over. It reminded me of those great spring drop flowers like trout lilies and checkered fritillaria
817 Grotto GemSo I put it into a green wet background with spring mist. I like this quilt but it’s not abstract. It’s fantasy. 
824 jazzed c stalk tnWhat brought me into abstract, was breaking down into just petals. When I broke things down into their shapes, I was past just the flower. I made a pathway and put the petals on the path. Instead of making a specific flower, I’d made a shape that was past that.
831-daylily-dance So when I went to do Daylilies, I made C shapes that reminded me of dragon claws.
dd2I put them into bunches that made my flowers and nailed the centers with an elegant spiral. Then I placed them along a pathway,

SAQA Journal just printed my story about Daylily Dance. It could never have happened if I weren’t working in a series, and following blindly where it went.

Thread Magic Garden

Thread Magic Garden

You’ll find all kinds of ideas for creating abstract and real fabric flowers in my book Thread Magic Garden. It’s not just my journey. It’s the beginning of yours.

You’ll find more about working in series on my blog at http://www.ellenanneeddy.com/weblog/
Watch for a special offer and a special gift this weekend!

Aging Fabric: A Time Honored Art

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

So many of us have astonishing stashes. My favorite stash story is about a woman who’s husband just built her a sewing room . He said” I bet you have as much as $100 worth of fabric.” God bless the ignorant. And long live her stash.

So we keep fabric we haven’t used. Sometimes for quite some while. I have a 20 year old piece of black wool myself. I just felted it.   I just got a felting machine this year. And I’m delighted I still have it.

So it was with equal delight I saw that Tina Rathbone had blogged on a piece of fabric she dug out that we shopped for over 10 years ago. Tina is a California lunatic who quilts brilliantly, water colors beautifully, and bird watches obsessionally.  

Her discussion of how she makes a pattern work for her in her blog Pattern Abuse is brilliant. And what she came up with for her garment is gorgeous.

It couldn’t have happened if she hadn’t aged her fabric. 

I think the things we love change much more slowly than the technology and abilities that come and go through the sewing world. If you love big bugs and fish, it’s unlikely (and I know this from experience) to completely go away unless you’ve had a truly unfortunate vacation experience. 

The other truth is that fabric is ephemeral. You often really only see it once. Some companies reproduce the same designs over and over. But it’s not the normal practice. Often you have just one chance to buy that silly thing. I still am grieving the robots over Manhattan fabric I gave to someone. I’ve never seen it since and it was fabulous!  

Of course we all cull fabric.There’s never room enough and time. And it’s a great thing to give someone a stack of new possibilities. Although I had one dear friend who would announce the fabric she was bringing over to me with the word, “Incoming!” And it was sort of like that. Fabric Explosion!

Hand dye is especially that way. It only happens once. I tell people if they’re in love they’d best just consummate the relationship because it won’t happen twice.

So age your fabric well. If you love it, you’ll still love it. Toss what you don’t. Keep what you adore. And wait for the moment where it’s right.

You’ll find Tina’s delightful process on pattern making on her blog at Artelicious.blogspot.com

You’ll find amazing fabric everywhere. But most especially, in your stash! It’s material wealth!

Roberta Hoovery Ranney: Wild Things Come in Hand Dyed Packages

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

 One of the things about teaching quilting that is always true is that students don’t stay students. You turn around and they’re wildly accomplished quilters doing work that makes your heart flutter. Sometimes that happens right in class. Sometimes they’re already there when they arrive. Quilting isn’t exactly hierarchical. We quickly learn just how much other people know.

I met Roberta in a class in Missouri, years ago. She was a student there, but well onto the mastery of her own work.She also produces some of the loveliest images of  the Missouri Ozarks in thread.

 

“Coon” is one of her pieces I chose for my Beautiful Beast lecture. We fight wars with raccoons where I live, and I’ve had to evict them from the studio several times. But her thread work makes this little thief appealing enough to want him in my garden.

“Return to Eden ” features lovely caladiums and hostas.

She’s also a hand dyed fabric addict.Here’s what she has to to say about “Bright Eyes” her stunning owl piece.

“After searching for a good background, I came upon my last piece of fabric that I bought from Ellen Anne Eddy six years ago.  And it was perfect.  Then I looked back through my gallery of quilts and realized my favorite work had been done with her fabrics as background.  So I am now watching daily for a new box containing many yards of her fabric.  I feel like a kid waiting for her first bicycle!”

  I just sent Roberta a huge box of handdyed fabric for her collection. Who knows what she’ll make next. If we’re lucky she’ll show us. She’s a quiet lunatic on the fringe for sure.

Roberta lives in Springfield, MO. On her blog she says this about herself.

“I live in southwest Missouri, work and play with fabric and thread, read lots of books, laugh a lot, cry a little,  and raise my blood pressure by reading the opinion section of the newspaper.”

Her work is available for sale at the Waverly House Gallery

in Springfield. Her blog is at http://robertaranney.blogspot.com/

 My mother always knew I’d come to no good. Here  I am feeding people’s addictions.  Who knew we’d grow up to be fabric junkies? 

Do you want a stash of hand-dyed Ellen Anne Eddy fabric? Ask Ellen to send you a box of fabric to pick through.

Taping for Quilting Arts: Epic Fun and Artful Collapse

Monday, September 3rd, 2012


Last week I  taped 3 sessions with Pokey Bolton for Quilting Arts. I’ve done this before. Pokey is delightful. The makeup artist is a miracle worker. But the green room….. The greenroom is full of people who are your favorite quilters. And sometimes you even know them. If they’re not your friends before, they will be when you’ve left.

So seeing Penny McMorris, the Electric Quilt Guru, and Jeannine Delpin, the who handles the Bernina teacher’s programs among her million tasks, were both a delight. Then I got a special gift.

Luana Ruben was there. I met Luanna maybe 20 years ago in class. She was a delight then. By now she has the smartest and best online quilting store ever, Equilter. If you’ve never shopped there, it is the easiest way to put together fabric online. And the most wonderful selection I know of. I don’t often quilt with quilting fabric unless it’s a love quilt. But when I do, I get online with the person it’s for, use her brilliant swatch board so we can see how things look together, and know I’m making something someone will love.

So even better still, her daughter Sophie was there. I love quilting kids. Sophie is 10 and has been neck deep into quilting since she came home with Luana. They were both taping for quilting arts. 

It is the best thing in the world to see people become who they’re meant to be. Luana has developed a store community that feeds us all as quilters. But it might be better still to see someone like Sophie with all that passion for fabric in a kid size body. She and I stitched free motion horses for fun after wards. Boy, was she good!

My one sorrow? My camera died. Everyone said they’d send me pictures.Perhaps, like me, they came home and laid down for a week.

Luana wrote about the trip in her generous blog. Visit Equilter and be amazed!

I’ll share more about this in some other posts. My segments were on corded binding, the right darning foot, and couching feet for all kinds of yarns and trims.

 I’m currently on  this years Quilting Arts TV series in episode 1002 and 1004. You can find more information about that on on Quilting Arts TV.

 

Care and Feeding of Guilds: The Right Classes

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

It’s that time of year when guilds start to pick next year’s line up. As a teacher I spend a lot of time figuring out how to really give students what they need in a class. This is some of what I think about when I’m building my class line up.

It helps that I came out to teach. I have a degree in Primary education. The economy of the time had other notions. And when it came down to it, I’m good at imparting information and lousy at crowd control. When I ended up teaching 8th grade, that was fatal.  I’ve come to love teaching quilters, where everyone wants to be there, and every one wants to have fun.

 I’ve learned two things about guilds. First is that guilds are all different. Their members, skill levels, interests and passions run the gamut.Secondly that you don’t teach classes, you teach people. You take them right where they are and they learn from there. Thirdly is that class is just people, so toss the class plan if it isn’t working,and give them what they really need.   I’ve learned to offer several different kinds of classes so students really get the teaching day they want. And I’ve learned to change class on a dime when I can see they need other and want other skills not on the plan.

Lectures are visual snacks. They need to hit the spot: Does your group want to learn about color? Thread work? Design? Pattern Free Applique? Or talk about development? I have a lecture for each of those, focused for differing skills and interests.

Thread Magic Garden

Of course I have classes based on my new book,Thread Magic Garden.You can check the rave reviews from Amazon.com

Thread Magic Garden, includes a pattern-less method of flower design, special skill builders on couching, machine beading, corded buttonhole binding, and Angelina fiber, 6 different stitches for free motion applique, 25 flower designs (which can be used to mix and match), 50 new quilts and 2 fabulous projects to get you started in your own thread magic garden. 

I’ve got all kinds of new classes focused on patternless floral applique.

The Thread Magic Garden lecture is brand new.It shows fabulous gardens in life and fabric with wonderful ways to make fabric flowers out of simple shapes. Recommended for groups interested in flowers and in beginning abstract design.

Classes based on Thread Magic Garden

  • Thread Magic Irises

  • Thread Magic Roses

  • Thread Magic Bleeding Hearts

  • Thread Magic Abstract Florals 

Then I like to offer classes focused on how you like to learn

 Do you want to design your own projects? Master Classes are the place for that. I offer master classes in

  • Abstract Floral Design

  • Thread Magic Mastery: Every Kind of Thread

  • Thread Magic Jacket/Vest

  • Free Motion Applique Mastery

  •  Thread Magic: Painting with Thread

Do you want a One day classes that focus on a specific achievable project? These classes offer that.

  • Dragonfly Sky

  • Ladybug’s Garden 

  • Dye Day Workshop

Do you want classes that teach technique and don’t work on a project but teach a specific skill? Here are some great skill based classes

  • Thread Magic Technique Book

  • Stitch Vocabulary

  • Corded Binding 

  • Thread Magic Overview

Are you looking for an easy entertaining class,just for fun?

These achievable projects are a great afternoon sit and sew.

  • Perfect  Pin Cushions

  • Guilding the Lily

  • Thread Magic Badges 

  • Tea Towl Sampler 

    So why do I set up so many kinds of classes? I really want to teach groups what they really want to know. If you ask me for a special class, of course we’ll set it up. That’s how new classes start.

    How do you get classes with me? Just ask.  I’ll say yes. But your best venue is your local guild or shop. If you ask them for my classes as a member, they’re so much more likely to respond than to my my adds or offers. Guild requests are responsible for probably about 70% of my teaching invitations.
    Don’t belong to a guild? Well, you’re missing something. Guilds have always been the backbone of the quilt community. They offer companionship, fun, fabric opportunities, and inexpensive classes from world class teachers. And you get to touch the quilts.

    For a complete list of lectures, workshops, and pricing please visit my web site at
    http://www.ellenanneeddy.com/classes.php  for all her class  and lecture offerings.

Sarah Hinman will be handling Ellen’s Scheduling. You can call Sarah at 616-485-5646 or email her atthreadmagik@gmail.com to schedule your class time with Ellen today!

Classes at the National Quilt Museum

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Source: bing.com via Ellen Anne on Pinterest

There’s two really great things about quilt classes at the National Quilt Museum. One is that it’s the National Quilt Museum and the people who come to class here are spectacular. The other is that it’s the National Quilt Museum, which is the epicenter of support, information, and exposure for quilters and especially art quilters. Don’t think you won’t see spectacular traditional quilts. You will. But the art quilts there are of a caliber that makes my heart sing. It’s a bit of quilt heaven in every way.

I taught a three day class here that made my heart sing too. Astonishing students! We worked mostly on flower studies out of my new book Thread Magic Garden. But what they came up with was their very own.

 

Top it off with a lunch at Caryl Bryer Fallert’s Bryer Patch Studio.Caryl is a quilting legend whose work has revolutionized the quilt world for 30 years.  Caryl graciously had us all to lunch and showed off her latest work and her fabulous Paducah studio.

 

Here are some images from class. If you’d like to see more, check my facebook page at Thread Magic Studio.

What a class like this does is really build all kinds of skills. The luxury of three days in class (and a late evening session) means that people get to refine what they’re learning into what they do.

From my point of view, I’m still bending my head around the notion that these people have a quilt of mine in the museum. It’s still a moment standing in front of Dancing in the Light in a museum setting and saying, “Yep. That one’s mine. I’m still looking for the other Ellen Eddy who must have quilted it.

So support the National Quilt Museum either by visiting or by becoming a friend of the museum. Take lovely 3 day classes when you get the chance to really dive into a new technique with a teacher.  And celebrate this brave new world where we have real museums that support, preserve, show and educate quilters as the artists we know that we are.

You’ll find  information about the National Quilt Museum on their web site at http://www.quiltmuseum.org/.

You’ll find more information about Caryl Bryer Fallert on her web site at http://www.bryerpatch.com/

You’ll find the gallery pictures on my face book page at https://www.facebook.com/ellenanneeddy. If you’re from class and you want to tell more about those pictures, log in and you can!

Pat Jones: Mountain Fringe Girl

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

 

 

I met Pat Jones at the Mountain Laurel Guild in Georgia. The whole guild was full of wild gardeners and astonishing fiber artists. Pat fits right in. She lives in a cabin up the mountain where birds sing to her right off her porch, looking down the gorge. It’s another world.

Pat tells me I gave her permission in my first book to try things. And she has. She’s this quiet and very proper southern gal doing wonderfully wild things with her thread and fabric.

She took my flower class, and being a master gardener herself, she build one incredible flower garden.

Here’s what she had to say about it.

“First, THANK YOU for your visit with us in June.  We were ALL blown away by your work!  What inspiration!  As a result, I had to put all the work I was in the middle of aside and try your techniques.  This is my first attempt, and I plan to do MANY more!  I have a long way to go….got to learn to be FREE!  What a joy you are and your work is gorgeous, on top of that, your teaching is so excellent that it makes us feel confident that we can try it. 
The pink flowers in the wall hanging were stitched onto a felt background then stitched on the background fabric sandwich.  That made them raised a little and I really like the effect.  The center of the flowers is all thread stitched onto Ultra Solvy then applied.  The butterfly is, of course, Angelina.  The wisteria is made of tubes of hand painted organza and silk. 
This past Tuesday was guild and it made a splash with the girls!!!”
There’s no way to know where she’ll go next with her work, but she’s unstoppable. I can’t wait to see.

More of Ellen on Quilt It!

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Photo: Hi Folk! Another edition of the taping with Jodi Davis at Quilt It. Here's the info.</p><br />
<p>Catch even a quick glimpse of one of Ellen Anne Eddy’s quilts and you will see that Ellen does in fact create a “magical world” with fabric and thread. Having seen her quilts before she joined me in Salt Lake City to tape Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show, I was anxious to find out how she made those fabulous creatures and fairy tale scenes come to life in her quilts.</p><br />
<p>It all starts with Ellen’s hand dyed fabrics. Not only do they provide her palette, but often the pattern within the fabric evokes an element in the quilt.</p><br />
<p>Then there’s the thread. Lots of thread! My big “aha” moment was when I saw how she made some of the frogs and butterflies separately from the quilt top and then attached them. That’s how she gets those thread-heavy creatures onto her quilts!</p><br />
<p>As wonderful as her quilts are, the same is true of Ellen herself. She could easily be a character who just stepped out of one of her magical quilts. Meet Ellen Anne Eddy this month on Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show and be charmed!</p><br />
<p>Happy quilting,<br /><br />
Jodie</p><br />
<p>Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show!<br /><br />
Quilty<br /><br />
Quilt Out Loud!<br /><br />
The Quilters Community</p><br />
<p>ADVERTISEMENT</p><br />
<p>Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show<br /><br />
Episode 216<br /><br />
The Magical World of Longarm Quilting Artist Ellen Anne Eddy</p><br />
<p>The longarm machine was invented for quilting quilts, or so we thought. Leave it to the imagination of gifted artists like Ellen Anne Eddy to take the longarm to places that astound us. The longarm machine and threads become her pen and ink and her hand painted fabrics are the paper as she quilts, bringing her magical world of colorful creatures to life before our eyes.</p><br />
<p>Ellen Anne Eddy works her quilt magic with hand dyed fabrics and lots and lots of thread. Many of her exquisite creatures and flora are stitched separately using bobbin work and then later attached to the quilt.</p><br />
<p>Short Takes on Longarm Quilting with Vicki Hoth<br /><br />
Vicki shows us some gadgets sit-down longarm quilters should have in their bag to simplify their quilting time.</p><br />
<p>Jodie and Ellen Anne Eddy have a blast going through a trunk show of Ellen’s quilts. She points out special techniques used on different quilts. Her hand dyed threads and fabrics and lots and lots of shiny threads are the special ingredients used to create her fantasy world.</p><br />
<p>Watch it here!
Hi Folk! There’s another edition of the taping with Jodi Davis at Quilt It. Here’s the lovely note Jodie Davis wrote about it.
“Catch even a quick glimpse of one of Ellen Anne Eddy’s quilts and you will see that Ellen does in fact create a “magical world” with fabric and thread. Having seen her quilts before she joined me in Salt Lake City to tape Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show, I was anxious to find out how she made those fabulous creatures and fairy tale scenes come to life in her quilts.

It all starts with Ellen’s hand dyed fabrics. Not only do they provide her palette, but often the pattern within the fabric evokes an element in the quilt.

Then there’s the thread. Lots of thread! My big “aha” moment was when I saw how she made some of the frogs and butterflies separately from the quilt top and then attached them. That’s how she gets those thread-heavy creatures onto her quilts!

As wonderful as her quilts are, the same is true of Ellen herself. She could easily be a character who just stepped out of one of her magical quilts. Meet Ellen Anne Eddy this month on Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show and be charmed!

Happy quilting,
Jodie”

Quilt It! The Longarm Quilting Show!
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Quilt Out Loud!
The Quilters Community

Thread Magic Summer School 3: Metallic Threads

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Metallic threads are different from all other kinds. Largely because they are hybrids. Rayons, polys and cottons are all of one piece. It makes them stronger. It makes them more integral. It’s rare to even have a rayon (the most fragile of the three) that won’t work easily and well through the needle.


Not so with metallics.Most people report they have trouble sewing with metallic thread. It’s also always harder free motion. Why?


It’s All in How It’s Made

Metallic threads are usually a combination of lurex, viscose(rayon), polyester, and whatever else was in the test tube. They’re usually wound together in the process. Of course, whatever is wound can be unwound. So it makes sense that under the stress of sewing, these threads are much more likely to break.

There are three basic forms of metallic thread

Flecked Thread

These threads are twisted with the components all together. They have an appearance of flecked sparkles.These tend to be the strongest of the metallic threads. My favorite flecked threads are the Madeira Supertwists.These threads work either in needle or bobbin, zigzag or straight.


Wound thread

This thread has a poly or rayon core with lurex or metal wrapped  around it.These threads vary a lot, depending on what the core is, and whether the wrapping is glued on or not. My favorite wound thread are  Superior Metallic, and Yenmet, which have a poly core and are glued supposedly with rice paste. These threads work either in needle or bobbin, zigzag or straight.


Flat Threads

These threads look like Christmas tinsel. They’re flat and nothing but lurex. They’re notoriously breakable.

But they are lovely. I use them in the bobbin only.


The Three Best Tricks

Here are the three best tricks for making metallic thread work better.

The Bobbin vs the Needle

Every thread that goes through your needle goes through it 50 times. That’s a lot of wear and tear. If it goes through your bobbin it gets picked up just once. So if your thread is breaking, sew with it in the bobbin with a poly or rayon thread that matches it in color on top. Much less breakage.

The Right Needle

The best needle for all free motion embroidery is usually a #90 topstitching needle. The bigger eye and shart point make a huge difference. See my entry, The Needle Knows.

Sewers Aid

This silicon thread treatment makes threads infinitely stronger. You can use it on threads that need some help. Just drool it along the spool.

And as always

Garbage in, Garbage out

Nothing fixes either cheap or old thread. If it won’t sew you can always glob with it. I’ll show you that trick another time.

Wrapping it up

Metallic threads are a beautiful addition to your thread pallet. With special care and tricks they add all the glitz a girl can use.

 

Keep reading for more Thread Magic Summer School. And remember the test an contest are on July 20th. More information

Books in Action

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

It’s lovely when you get to see a book you’ve written  go into  action. Books are made to be working tools. 

Morna McEver Golletz just wrote a review of Thread Magic Garden on her blog for the
International Association of  Professional Quilters.

She says “At first glance, it’s clear that Ellen is a teacher. Using simple step-by-step instructions, you’ll learn basic skills that build upon each other, for example, special stitch techniques, building edge-to-edge color and progressive shading. Then she offers more than 20 floral studies to understand the shapes of the flowers. She notes that you cannot create a flower through fabric without first seeing and studying a real one, so she includes close-up photographs for this purpose. She also includes a good discussion on color theory. If you are interested in learning or expanding your skills at machine embroidery, you’ll enjoy this book and appreciate Ellen’s attention to detail.” Thanks, Morna!

I just taught a class at Mountain Laurel Quilters in Clarkesville, GA based on  the book. We did the abstracted florals class. These women are master gardeners. They took me up and down the mountain to see their gardens, which were spectacular.  I’ll post on that later. What a dynamic group of women!

I ended up demoing on hostas and lady slippers, in honor of their forest and clearing gardens, that absolutely make my heart sing. What a lovely trip!

You’ll find the International of Professional Quilters on their web site at http://www.professionalquilter.com/index.php. They put together a very useful publication called Professional Quilter that serves the needs of the quilt community that sells, shows, teaches, writes and quilts professionally.

Anatomy of a Quilt: Background Search

Friday, May 4th, 2012

One of the most telling decisions for every quilt is a background. It’s the light within the piece.

I’m working on a commission  which gives me the opportunity to play with a lot of possibilities. This is a great little quilt with butterflies and bleeding hearts. I’ve got number of backgrounds to try, to very different results.

Here are some of our possibilities.

 

 

 

I did some paint stick rubbings for this. But this is going into a baby’s room and the mom has a sensitive nose. So the answers to those is  no, no matter how lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which leads us to several hand dyed options. This has a darker black, blue purple background that is more mysterious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This brighter background gives us a well of color behind the red exterior.

Which did my owner like? The green felt I embroidered the vine on. So I’m off to look at my stash of green hand dye.The background of a quilt is usually your first decision. Except when it isn’t. It changes how everything in your quilt is perceived.

 

 

Sometimes it’s very valuable to take your elements and give them an interview on differing backgrounds. You know.

“Do you work and play well with others?”
“Do you share the limelight?”
“How do you fit in here?”

Often the answers aren’t what you expect. Aren’t you glad you asked the question?

Anatomy of a Quilt: Building Elements

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Butterfly Components

I’m currently working on a commissioned quilt for a new family that’s just had a baby. The dad has asked me to do a butterfly quilt, partially for the mom but for his baby daughter as well. Commissions are a privilege. It’s an act of trust, that I am always a bit nervous about.

So I make several approaches possible and go from here. The premise was pink and purple butterflies. So I’ve started the quilt with those. I’m using an applique process where I cut my shapes out on sheer fabric backed with Steam A Seam 2, fuse them into a form, embroider them and then cut them out to use as appliques on the quilt. You’ll find full information on this in my new book Thread Magic Garden.

 

 

Fabric for butterflies

These are my butterfly fabrics. They’re great sheers and an oriental brocade. I buy these wherever I see them, because you never know if you’ll see them again.

 

 

 

butterfly bits on a pressing cloth

Here they are cut out as butterflies. Each butterfly has two teardrop wings, a body and eyes. They’re on a non-stick pressing cloth so I can arrange them.

 

 

 

 

fusing onto the sandwich.

 

Once their formed, I fuse them on to a stabilizer sandwich. This sandwich is made from hand dyed fabric, poly felt, and Decor Bond. This makes a firm embroidery surface that controls some of the distortion that happens with intense embroidery.

 

 

 

I embroider the  butterflies from inside out. First the bodies, then the veins of the wings, then the shadings and finally the outlines. They’re embroidered with a freemotion zigzag stitch and metallic Supertwist threads from Madiera. Finally I added in my bleeding heart blooms as well.

 

in place with the stem

The image at the top is what they look like cut out.
Here’s the rough placement with the stem I have planned.

Next time we’ll talk about backgrounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thread Magic Garden

You’ll find information about freemotion applique in my book Thread Magic Garden, available on my site, on Amazon, and at your local quilt store.

Dragonfly Spotting: Researching Images with Pininterest

Friday, April 27th, 2012

I’m a frustrated archaeologist or paleontologist. My Dad read me God’s, Graves and Scholars when I was a kid, and took me to every natural history museum he could find. By the time we hit the tar pits, I was hooked.

As I got older I realized
a. I wouldn’t be able to handle the snake component.
b. I don’t want to 
hang out in baking sun.

But the fascination is always there.

So lately I’ve wanted to do a dragonfly in amber. How many dragonflies have I done over the years? I’ve honestly lost count. But I’ve always done live dragonflies. What makes a dragonfly look dead rather than alive. Time to look!

Now, good etiquette is that you never copy anyone. But all art is visual and all art is reference to something. Or put biblically, “There is nothing new under the sun.” So I use pictures as information. What angle does the wing take ?  What does it look like if it’s folded funny? How did the antenna go? It’s always my drawing, but it helps to have a reference.

Enter Pininterest.  I faced facebook with fear and dread. Until I realized it was the largest living room out there. I hesitated on blogging until I realized what an amazing connective community it creates. I guess I’ve passed some kind of threshold on social community, because I flew right into Pininterest. I know it’s not traditional to use it as a bulletin board for a project, but it does strike me as an amazing place to share a creative process. If I’ve fallen off some bridge into evil territory, I’m sure you’ll let me know.

Things I’ve noticed

 

The shiny sliver eye really does make them look alive. So no shiny eyes.

 

 



Broken bits of wings are very effective.

Source: psd.tu-torial.com via Ellen Anne on Pinterest

 

Limited color pallet creates that dead look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s all kinds of bits of fossil around this stuff. Maybe that could be accomplished with oil stick rubbing?

 

Am I ready to start yet.

 Actually no. I’ve got a number of things that must happen first. But I’m very excited by my research.

I’ll continue to share this process with you. Next time we’ll look at Flotsam and Jetsam: Creating a Background 

As an update to this, I got a rather heated comment from an artist quite unhappy about Pininterest and pinning in general.  Her own work is not shown here or on any of my boards.  She felt it was generally an infringement. I now understand we are to get permission to pin  before we pin anything. I’m not sure how we do that, but I’ll try.  So should I have pinned something of yours that offends you please let me know and I’ll remove it immediately. You all have complete permission to pin anything of mine as long as it has my name and address on it.

 

 

 

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