Friday, March 22, 2013

Sheers and Quilting

Inspired by some of Deborah Boschert's work, I decided to once again use up a supply that I already had.  So, I designed a quilt that used a bunch of fabric scraps and some larger pieces and used some of those sheers purchased long ago for . . . . I forgot what.

The quilt started out when I selected the piece of batik fabric that runs across the lower center of the quilt.  The shades of purple, turquoise and chartreuse and the grid pattern appealed to me and so I used that as a jumping off point.  I then went through my drawers, boxes and bins of fabric and pulled out a lot of different choices - many of which did make it into the finished piece.

I laid the fabric on the batting and arranged it over and over again until I liked the composition.  Then I stitched it all down with a neutral blue grey thread.  Nothing was fused but everything was raw edge applique. 

Then I drew a bunch of different shapes on some parchment paper and laid it over the quilt.  The parchment paper was already in my studio and transparent enough to get the feel of how each shape would look laid out on the fabric composition.  I put the sheer fabric over the quilt, laid the final parchment paper design choice on top and quilted through the paper and quilt at the same time.  Easy, no tracing or extensive transfer method required.  And parchment paper tears away pretty easily.  By the way the parchement paper with the unused designs did not go to waste since I used it to paint on and fuse other things together.

Once the design was quilted in the sheer fabric, I cut away the rest of the sheer fabric - very carefully with small scissors.  I then did some hand stitching to pull it together and give it some unifying elements.  I used DMC cotton floss - have loads of that in the studio too.  I love the way the colors shift by placing a sheer over the top of them.  It's subtle and I like that effect in quilts.

The center panel was quilted and I finished the edge with a satin stitch in the same neutral steely blue thread. Then I decided it needed something else.  So I made a panel that I quilted with a free motion pattern and facing finished to make a sort of frame.  I then attached the center panel using the steely blue thread and a hem stitch to the purple panel.  It gives the piece some sturdiness and it was the first time I ever thought to attach a piece in this manner.  I had attached back panels before, but by hand.  Since I had already satin stitched this piece I decided to just use my machine to attach it. 

I have already picked another inspiration fabric to make my next quilt using sheers.  Stay tuned as I arrange and rearrange the elements of the next one.  Thanks for stopping by the blog and hope to see you again soon.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Quick Project Journal Covers

In an effort to work on my free motion quilting skills, I decided to make some journal covers.  This also met my goal of using up stuff in my studio without purchasing anything additional. 

These journals have blank pages and measure about 8 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches.  I used overdyed commercial print fabric for the first one and decided that I liked the fabric enough not to add other fabrics.  The quilting was done with a walking foot and just followed a grid.  Easy - peasy.  Then I put some fabric selection and quilting into play on the other two journals.  Sometimes I used the walking foot and sometimes I used the free motion foot.  The center journal has a ripped strip of fabric in the center and the one on the right was pieced.

The journals came in a six pack so I carried on.  The one on the left was from some leftover fabric I had for a magazine article that I wrote for Stitch in Style coming out this May.  I added some buttons just to carry the design through the whole cover.  The center journal was pieced and both free motion and walking foot quilted.  The last one was a series of ripped strips stitched down with close rows of straight line quilting.  The butterfly and flower were fused and raw edge appliqued.   I was on a roll and I finished these journals in about a week's time.  Darn that full time job is slowing me down!

This last journal has pages that are 8 1/2 by 11 inches.  I used a decorative blade to cut up some black and white fabrics I had and fused them to the batting.  I close lined stitched them in a grid and then fused and appliqued the flowers.  The flowers are loosely based on some cosmos flowers I have seen in gardens. 

Coming up in my next post will be the project that I worked on simultaneously but it took quite a bit longer to complete.  Having the quick projects help me when I am blocked on a more complicated piece and it keeps me finishing projects which helps my motivation.

Thanks for stopping by and checking these out.  Have a great day!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mixed Media Mosaics

With the cleaning of my studio and my new parameters of working on only 4 things at one time, I made these little projects one of the four things I have going at any given point.  So, when something is baking or drying or I am stumped I always have something else to turn my attention but, my attention doesn't spread so wide as to lose focus.

I have it in a large format here but it is really 8" X 8' total in size.  The board was birch board leftover from a project that got started and never finished.  (I have 8 more to go and these little mosaics will surely fill all of the other 8.)  I used polymer clay, my fairly large collection of rubber stamps and Pearl Ex powders to get these little tiles together.  The centers are mostly made from molds that I made using the polymer clay and some vintage buttons.  I also have a rather large collection of beads of all kinds bought and partially used in other projects, but you know how those leftovers pile up and well, there's always that string of really pretty ones on clearance, yadda, yadda, yadda.  This board was just painted black and then I finished the edge with a dry brush and some metallic gold acrylic paint.  I think it was a good first attempt.

I call this one the House of the Rising Sun.  The board has old dictionary pages adhered with matte medium and overpainted with acrylics, metallic wash, gold dry brush and acrylic sealer.  The Sun is an old button with the shank cut off.  I think the rest is pretty self explanatory.  Again, this is 8" X 8" in size.

My third mosaic so far was born from a collection of similarly themed rubber stamps.  I liked the way they looked together and decided to go for a spring look.  Jewel tones, flowers and ferns and a dragonfly help me hang on to the thought of spring as I watch the dull grey landscape waiting for some warm weather.  The background board was painted with two colors of blue and purple, washed with metallic purple in several layers and then I used a stencil and a toothbrush with some metallic paint to "spring" it up a bit.  I also sealed it with acrylic sealer.  It's nice to use some of my stash and I have a bunch of ideas for the other 6 boards.  Stay tuned for what comes next and thanks for visiting.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tea Bags Revisited

Dimensions: Canvas 20" X 20"  Art Quilt 15" X 15"

In an effort to use supplies in my well stock studio, I revisited my use of tea bags as a surface design element for this art quilt.  The base fabric was ice dyed with chartreuse and navy dyes.  I then covered it with used tea bags using matte medium.  I painted a tree silhouette using a hand cut stencil that I made on 12 X 12 cardstock from a scrapbook sleeve.  Finally, I used fusible web to attach golden silk leaves.

In this detailed view you can see the mottling of the base fabric and the aged look of the surface due to the tea bags.  I also added some hand stitching with metallic seed beads at the base of the tree.  I free motion stitched around the stenciled paint in a copper rayon thread to help define it. 

Here is one more image where the tea bags really stand out.  You can also see the stitching around and on the leaves and ghost leaves.  I mounted this piece on a 20" X 20" canvas that I painted yellow, then golden brown and then washed with several coats of thinned gold metallic paint.  Finally I used some Lumiere gold paint and a dry brush.  The picture does not capture the depth of the colors.  I really like this piece, even though I don't usually do representation work.  I think it would look nice in a deep brown frame but I am wondering about the expense of framing it.  Knowing that this is going to be for sale I wonder if I should keep the price reasonable and let the buyer frame it, or frame it and raise the price.  I am open to suggestions from anyone who stops by to read this. 

Thanks for looking at my recent work and have a great day!