Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quilting Arts Challenge Quilt Continues. . .

The applique on my first version of the challenge quilt has begun and is beginning to come together.
I used my usual favorite free-motion stitch, the zigzag on the green circles, and
on the orange circles, changing to a free-motion straight stitch for the curliques.
Taking a break and backing off the project for a moment gave me the opportunity to see an additional element I needed.  I will applique the orange rays on next and begin putting it all together.  I believe I will call this quilt "Solar."

Until next time,

Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Abstract Art Quilt for Submission to Quilting Arts Magazine. . .

A few months ago I doodled this drawing and felt that it would be a quilt to make at some future date.  Well, "Quilting Arts" magazine put out a reader's challenge "From Sketch to Art Quilt" and the future arrived.  Having never submitted any work to a magazine before, I am excited to venture into this arena and see what happens.

Going to my stash, I selected my color palette.  Once selected, the colors allowed me to see a few different possibilities as to how I could use them.  With that in mind, I decided to make two design variations using the same fabrics but mixing them up.  
The process begins by drawing the design onto paper (the original) with a Sharpie, then turning the original over and tracing the pattern in reverse.  The project base layer is then laid over the original and drawn with pencil.  The quilt will be built on this layer.  In the past I have used Swedish Tracing Paper for this layer.  However, I am trying Pellon's Easy Pattern #830, a lightweight nonwoven interfacing,  for this project.  Keep in mind that I am drawing two of everything because I am making two quilts.  I next trace the pattern in reverse onto Pellon's Shir-Tailor #950F fusible interfacing using a Sharpie.  I know it's a bit hard to see, but if you look at both of these photos you will notice that the segments are numbered differently.  This signifies the order of building the segments.  Because I am going for two entirely different looks, both quilts will be built in different ways.
The interfacing is cut apart and fused to the wrong side of the appropriate fabric leaving a minimum of 1" space between pieces.
Once fused, each piece is stay-stitched approximately 1/8" from the interfacing edge.  This defines the outer border of each piece, necessary to know when embellishing the piece front with applique or decorative stitching, and also when building the quilt.
With stay-stitching complete, cut the pieces out leaving 1/2" seam allowance all around.
Here are the prepared pieces for each of the two quilts.  When I complete the quilts, I will ask for your favorite, so keep watching.

Until next time,

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Finishes - A No Binding Finish. . .

My first fused art quilt is quilted.  The quilting is minimal.  The lower middle of the quilt needed some quilting so I carried the lines from the left border strips out.

There is some hand quilting in the center here, something I haven't done before on my art quilts.  I enjoyed it and will do more.  All of the fused pieces were stitched around in a stitch-in-the-ditch style.  Because I hand quilted first, I had to machine stitch over the hand stitches.  I learned that planning ahead is necessary so as to not cross a hand quilted stitch over two fabrics.  This will avoid a collision of the two quilting styles.  
My art fused quilt is quilted and done, no binding required because of Melody Johnson's "Escape Hatch" technique I used; a cool finish I did PRIOR to machine quilting.  Here's how.

Begin by cutting backing same size as quilt front.  If off size like mine, make sure right sides of both are together before cutting.  Fuse strip of fusible web to top portion of backing as above.  Leave paper on.  Make a small slit in fusible web.
With right sides together, sew 1/4" around edge, making 3 diagonal stitches at the corners. Please note that my fabric edges do not meet.  Keep that in mind and I will explain further on.
Once sewed all the way around, cut initial slit in fusible web larger and pull quilt through to turn inside out.  
Push edges out to as much of a point as possible.  I used my "Purple Thang."
This is the corner from the front.  Once well turned out, press from the quilt back rolling edges back, still leaving fusible paper on.  Turn quilt over and press from the front.  When well pressed, take fusible web paper backing off and fuse raw edges together.
Once fused, the edges are barely noticeable.  Now, back to why my edges don't match.  I guessed that cutting the backing to the exact size of the quilt front would result in excess fabric in the backing when turned out.  My idea was to cut the backing 1/4" smaller than the quilt front which I did.  However, when sewing, I forgot to match the edges.  My bad!  In the end, there was a bit of excess in the backing that worked its way into the fused seam. Therefore, I had no problem with tucks when I quilted.

Quilted, finished, and done.  How great is that?  I will use this technique often in the future for my art quilts.  I recommend visiting Melody's blog Fibermania (one more time).  I appreciate Melody's willingness to share her quilting style and tips.  I have added one more technique to my quilting repertoire.  Thanks Melody!

Happy Friday,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Coloring fabric with Inktense pencils. . .

Yesterday was our monthly art quilt workshop.  We chose to play with the Inktense pencils.  
My design began with a drawing I developed to coordinate with a fabric I will use for the border,
that I transferred to fabric with a blue disappearing pen.  I then quilted the design with white thread and washed out the blue pen.
The coloring was done by first wetting the fabric with a paint brush of diluted fabric medium that was mixed with a pearl medium.  The fabric was then colored with the Inktense pencil.  The paint brush of fabric medium was then used to blend the pencil strokes.  This is where I finished coloring yesterday.  I still need to color the background and add some more quilting.
This is the project by one of the other students.  She incorporated more background stitching into her project.  I like the depth the stitching adds to the coloring.
Here is the backside of the above project.  The student decided to make it reversible.  She also added beads in the center of the flowers on both sides.  There are many internet sites on this technique.  Find them by searching for "Inktense on fabric."  I found the sites to be informative and inspirational.  

Until next time,

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fusible Art Quilt with an African feel. . .

During Saturday's class I began a new fusible art quilt.  While you may have noticed that I am generally a bright colored quilter, I had a feel for doing one on the darker side.
I do love black batik prints and enjoyed putting these all together.
I was originally inspired to makes leaves by the Quilt Along on Fibermania.  They were going to be the central quilt topic but you can see that changed.
For some unkown reason a small hut came to mind and ended up looking like this.  I would like to suggest that a needed piece of equipment for designing is a camera.  While determining what to place to the left of the hut, I auditioned a few ideas.  Taking a photo of each choice enabled me to see each as a whole and compare them to one another.
Here is what the top looked like prior to auditioning.
This was one of my considerations.

I decided on this multi cream/orange fabric.  I also played with the strips a bit to see how I would like them placed.
I rejected this strip arrangement.  You may notice that there are beads arranged on the top.  Another good reason for the photo is to serve as my memory when I am ready to sew the beads on.  The quilt top is now going to have some hand quilting added to it.

Until next time,

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cut, Fuse, Play class results. . .

Saturday I held a class based on Melody Johnson's art quilt technique.  There was much learning by all (including me) and lots of fun.  Here are the results of my students:
This student followed the technique closely;
This student took the technique and ran with it.  I greatly appreciate that as individuals, students incorporate their styles, colors, and knowledge into every piece they make.  Through them, I continue to learn, maintaining my status as "student," a status I love holding.  If you are a lifelong student, visit Melody's blog Fibermania to feel inspired to create an art quilt.  Remember that the first attempt may not be perfect, but we do take something learned forward into the next project.  Relax, have fun, and see what your creative juices can come up with.

You may have noticed that Friday Finishes was missing last week. Friday came and went and I didn't even realize it.  My apologies.  I will work on staying more aware of my schedule.

Until next time,

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Studio - New Quilting Opportunity

You may remember that in May of last year I moved into a studio space and posted photos here.  Then in November of last year I was asked to move into a different space and I couldn't help but say "Yes!"
The new space has a great floor space for my working studio.  There is a nice-sized closet which holds all of my stash and supplies.  And there is plumbing and space to create a wet studio as well.
Additionally, it has GREAT retail space.  This is classroom space.  The interior is warm and welcoming and I didn't have to do a thing but move in.  How great is that?
Can't you see class supplies in this space?
And how about fabric in here?

I have been very, very blessed to have the opportunity to move into this lovely space and am thankful to my landlords for needing me to move.  My current plan is to begin holding classes immediately.  The timing couldn't be better as our local quilt shop is closing and this will allow me to continue to do what I love:  teach.  Having said that, my first class schedule is posted and under the tab "Classes" above.   I am excited about this new opportunity.  Wish me luck.

Until next time,

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Eye Candy for a Sunday. . .

Yesterday I attended an art quilt show in Hamilton, MT hosted by In Good Company.  The quilts were awesome! so awesome I have to leave many of my photos at home but I felt the need to share with others what I loved so here are a few.
Loved the composition.
Great threadplay.
Cheesecloth adds texture.
Detail for above.
See photo below for detail to right of poppy.
This is crocheted beaded wire!
Simplicity at its best.
This exhibit was called the "Trunk Show."  There were 22 entries hanging from the ceiling.
Backside to quilt above.
Embellishment is dyed cheesecloth.
Fabric quilted and then glued to leather.
This quilt was part of a heart challenge.  The challenge was to have the pink cord enter the quilt on the left and depart on the right edge.  This quilt pulled at my heartstrings.  I appreciated its simplicity.

Many of these quilts were the result of techniques learned through In Good Company's TART (textile arts) program.  I highly recommend their monthly kit of some type of textile technique.  Please visit their site http://ingoodcohanddyes.com/textileartlessons.html if you are interested in further developing your art quilting skills.  My monthly art quilt workshop was inspired by what they began.

Enjoy your Sunday,