Posts Tagged ‘nature quilts’

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

 

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!

Once More with Feeling: The Bad Bugs

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
646 Floral Arrangement 25 - Copy (1)

Floral Arrangement 25

You know the feeling. You find it in the sink or the bathroom and you have to run  and get the bug identification book because you can’t imagine what that beetle is.

Well, none of us look our best sitting in the tub. I have a  Egyptian sort of attitude about beetles because of my father. He loved archaeology and regularly read me Gods, Graves and Scholars as my bedtime book. He read what pleased him. My mother kept trying to insist on things like the Little Grey Squirrel. I may have been only 3 but I knew full well the plot line on the Little Grey Squirrel just couldn’t keep up with the discovering of lost cities and tombs.  And beetles.

This did not extend to The Beatles. That’s a taste I acquired much later. If they’d come in iridescent purple and green, that might have been different. And if the Egyptians had drawn them with wings…..

 

163 Growing between the CracksLady  bugs are, of course, beetles, but if you dress up in black and red you[‘re already a buggy fashion statement that even Margaret would have considered stylish.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m talking about the beetles that are almost ornaments. They were often done as art deco pins.

They’re elegance is undeniable.
Source:

beetle bookSo I’ve gone in search of beetles. There’s a book called An Inordinant  Fondness for Beetles. It will give you the most amazing bug images you’ll ever see.

Here are some of my favorite beetles and bugs.

Sapsuckers. How could you not? They’re pink! And they look exactly like the blooms on the  branch. They are just too much fun.

382 Fallen Petals Rise - Copy (1)

Fallen Petals Rise

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brave Little Bugs

758 Bugs in Bloom (1)

Bugs in Bloom

And the Beetles that attend the garden. I so love these. Their shiny crunchy carapaces just please me.

 

 

 

 

Then there are the beetles that are too wild for words.

Beetles in Blossoms

Beetles in Blossoms

 

Light Japanese Lunch

Light Japanese Lunch

I have a love hate thing with Japanese Beetles. The hate thing is completely understandable. They eat everything in sight, but they specialize in roses.

The love thing… They’re iridescent purple green brown. How do you beat that? I’m completely torn. Usually I let them alone.

And how can you be sillier than rhinoceros beetles?

Stag party

Stag party

 

You’ll find An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles at Amazon.com

You’ll find fabulous beetles all over your garden. Look for them there.

 

 

 

 

Lyn Ennis: A Lunatic’s Transition from Mosaic Art to Thread Work

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

I love it when I get to watch an established artist change gears. It’s as if you gave them a new tool box and then watched them fly through a new vocabulary.

When I met Lyn, she was an already lionized mosaic artist. Her work was inventive, wild and full of nature and imagination. She was an established feature on the craft circuit in the pacific northwest.

 She took all that energy and vision and transferred it into thread work. Her work is incendiary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what she has to say about the translation between mosaic and fiber.

“I have an innate need to create, and in doing so I hope to inspire and delight the senses of the viewer. I have tried many art mediums to do this but I always come back to fabric and threads. I also have a love and fascination with puzzles, which also shows, in my mosaics and my quilts. Because after all they are both like putting a puzzle together, except I can cut the pieces to fit!!!

   This is one of my mosaic pieces, “Spilt Fruit”, and you can see the influence of quilting in this one in a very obvious way! But you can also see how much mosaicing is like quilting. You have a bunch of small pieces that you want to make a picture with. The difference is in the medium only. Both are cut to size and attached where they belong. 

   The moment I saw Ellen Anne Eddy’s work I knew that her use of thread was just the venue I had been looking for. After a couple of workshops with her, I begin to develop my own style and I am still working on it!

   I have done a lot of appliqué quilting and once I started adding the thread to bring out the designs of each piece, they came to life. Nature is what I like to depict in my pieces and with the aid of my camera I have been able to do this.”

 

 

 

 

I am so awed by Lyn’s work, both mosaic and thread.  It’s a celebration of personal vision mingled well with hard won skill and a dash of serious talent. 

You’ll find more of her work on her blog at allthingsthreaded.blogspot.com.

Her quilt Waves of Amber and Gold is being featured currently on myquiltspace.com. My Quilt Space is a open gallery put up by AQS that displays great quilts of all kinds

 

Interview on Thread with Frieda Anderson!

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Moonstruck

Frieda Anderson, another fabulous fiber artist haling from Illinois, has posted her interview on thread and  thread work with me on her blog at  http://www.friestyle.com/my-blog.html. Check it out!

View Cart | Check Out