Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mostly finished....

I haven't added anything to this blog in a while.  Not that I haven't been working on anything, but I guess I just didn't think it worth of being blogged. 

Instead of doing housework like I should have today, I spent the majority of my day in my sewing space.  I love my sewing space.  It is small....the smallest bedroom in the house, but it is adequate.  I have nearly floor to ceiling wire cubes plus a huge set of deep shelves on three walls plus drawers under my worktable, which doubles as a sleeping spot for Merlin when he joins me.  I also have a couple of "drawer's on wheels" for thread and other sewy stuff.  In the middle of the room is my sewing machine with it's wonderful cabinet.  Space for cutting and ironing.  

Today I mostly finished three tops that have been languishing around the house.  I need borders for all three, I think, but that's just picking out fabric.  

 This first one is called The Pantry.  I took pictures with my iPad, which doesn't do that well in the lighting in my sewing space.  The squares have either food...fruits, veggies or preserved food in circles on them.  I'm going to border this with fabric that looks like wood.  No idea what I'll do with it, but it was fun to make.




The quilt top above I started and finished this afternoon.  It's called a "Jelly Roll Race".  You take a jelly roll of fabric and keep sewing the strips together randomlyI like the result and it was super fast.  This top is not very big, so I'll probably use two borders.
 
This quilt top is a fence rail.  I made sure to create "stars" with the yellow and blue fabric. I've had this one in the works for a whileBlocks were all sewn, just not sewn together.  It's a bit bigger than lap-sized...kind of a quilt to cuddle on the couch with...but not here in Hawaii.  I'm going to put on a small border just to hold it all together visually.
 

  

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Painting Silk Ribbon Revisited

Yesterday I posted that I had painted some silk ribbon.  Even after ironing it came out rather stiff...that's ok for my art quilts, but not ideal.  Although I am not a perfectionist by any means, I really didn't like the feel of the silk ribbon, so I did some online reading about painting silk and discovered that I had used the wrong kind of paint.  I used normal textile paint.  What I needed and, oddly enough have, is paint specifically for silk painting.  I tried using that on wet silk ribbon this morning and found that it is just perfect.  

This probably looks a lot like the picture I posted yesterday, it is the same kind of ribbon after all...but it feels much different. And I learned this little trick to make a more variegated look:

See how this ribbon is blue along the edge and greenish yellow in the middle?   I did that by wetting the ribbon, painting it blue, then wetting the brush and brushing the blue paint.  Most of the blue paint came off.  I then painted the middle with yellow, turning that area greenish, but leaving the edges blue.  I like that technique and when I get my wider ribbon, I'm going to try that.

Finally, I had a triumph of sorts with dyeing silk scarves.  I have had a problem getting really dark colors on silk with the dyes I use.  Technically the dyes are for cotton and rayon, not so much for silk, although they do work.  The colors come out a lighter pastel.  Well, not if you put a whole big bunch of dye in the water and dye the scarf in a ziploc bag.   The dark navy color of one scarf is the first of very, very few dark colors I've been able to achieve.

I have almost decided to take an online silk painting class.  After watching some YouTube videos, I think I might be able to add to my repetoire of very entertaining skills :)
 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Yarn and Silk Ribbon Painting

So, not that I don't have many, many unfinished projects to do in my other crafts, I decided I'd try my hand at painting cotton and silk yarn and silk ribbon. Actually, I am working on several art quilts for which I really need some embellishments.  I thought maybe I'd just make my own by painting yarn and silk ribbon.   

Here's how the yarn came out:

 Trust me when I say I will never paint yarn again..... Just this little bit drove me nuts!  Trying to get every little strand....ugh...no...

However, the silk ribbon was another matter.  I had 1/8" wide and 1/4" wide ribbon on spools.  I just kept unwinding and painting.  This picture is the 1/4" wide.  I like it and it was fun to do.  I used regular textile paint.  I need to iron it to see if it will be supple again.  I don't really care if it softens or not because I'm just going to stitch it on an art quilt.

 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Xs and Os Quilt

Recently, I discovered quilt tutorials on You Tube done by Missouri Star Quilt Company.   What I really like about them is they involve easy ways to cut and sew quilt patterns that usually take FOREVER to put together.  I've gotten over my snobbishness about what "real quilting" is and have embraced all the time saving techniques I can.  

Even more recently, I bought a series of videos from Craftsy.com, which has been taking so much fabric money from me it's ridiculous.  The videos are made by Missouri Star Quilt Company, too.  They are fabulous!  One of the quilts Jenny teaches is the Xs and Os quilt.  I decided to try it with some fruit fabric I've been hoarding...er....COLLECTING...and came up with this wall quilt.  

I want to hang it in the kitchen, but I don't know if I can figure out a way to attach it to the cinder block wall.  Whatever, I'll figure out some place for it once it is quilted.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Husbands as Props for Quilt Photography and other Cool Stories

Without going into the various deficiencies of the dwelling we have in Hawaii, let me just say, it's not a quilter's house.  There is no place to hang a design wall where one could pin up a quilt to take a picture.   So, after trying various venues for photographing my Rose Garden quilt top, I had a workable idea.  

Bob decided to take a siesta in his living room chair yesterday afternoon.  I have often cautioned him that should he fall asleep in an accessible area and I am experimenting with a new hobby or technique, he could wake up dyed, painted, quilted, beaded, etc.  The only thing I vowed not to do is cut him into little pieces to make a Bob Quilt.  He always thought I was joking...well...maybe not....

Still puzzling about how to spread out my quilt to best advantage, I glanced at Bob's sleeping form.  Bob is a little over 6 ft tall and was all stretched out in his chair with his feet on a footstool. PERFECT, I thought.  I can spread the quilt over Bob and it would be high enough and even enough to get a passable photograph.



Bob woke up as I spread the quilt over him and was happy to assist.  He probably figured that functioning as a photography prop was preferable to many of the other things I could do in pursuit of my various hobbies.

I have a confession to make: I am a total convert to quilting pre-cut fabric.   I have resisted jelly rolls, layer cakes, turnovers, honeybuns and other dessert-named fabric shortcuts.  And charm packs held no charm for me.  

I have bought yards and yards and yards and yards, etc. of fabric over the years.  I've cut it into all sorts of shapes and had scraps and bigger pieces leftover.  This is what REAL quilters did.  They didn't buy pre-cut 10", 5" or 2 1/2" pieces that make  piecing faster and easier. 

 Well, shame-faced, I have to say...I have bought my first charm packs and layer cakes.   I like them because as fabric gets more expensive and I get older, I realized that buying yardage is costly and I have more fabric than I can possibly use in two lifetimes, let alone just the one I have.  And I've found it easier and faster to cut these into useful shapes.   AND they contain entire fabric collections, so they always go together.  Here are a couple of examples of some cute pre-cuts




 Mind you, back in the late '80s I didn't think machine quilting was "quilting" at all, but I have been machine quilting since the mid-90's.  So I guess this old gal can learn new tricks.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Adventures in screen printing

For the last few months, I've been hand-dying fabric and clothing.  The clothing is nice, I've come up with some colors I really like and I get compliments whenever I wear my creations.  But they are plain colors.  It's a little boring after a while.   And the fabric I've dyed is nice, but I'd like a little more design.

So, I've been looking at screen printing books and videos, although I had pretty much talked myself into the fact that screen printing was beyond my skills.  Today, I took the plunge.  I had a screen around and some paint and all the tools I needed.

I have lots of paint, textile, acrylic, oil stiks, watercolor crayons, silk paint, etc, etc, etc....  I got everything set up and poured my paint into the screen.  The paint seemed a bit thin.  And it proceeded to soak through the tape on the screen, around the stencil I was using and through the fabric.  I tried to pull it through the screen and ended up with this:

 Not really what I was looking for :)

 I cleaned everything off...used some paint just for screen printing...much thicker....and came up with this:


 The paint was a little thick, but according to everything I've read and seen, that happens on your first print.  I thought the definition was pretty good.

This was my second print:

Sloppy because I pulled the squeegee in two directions disturbing the stencil and causing the paint to go under the stencil.  Oops!

My third print was pretty much perfect:






Love this one!

I used small stencils...6x6... which were problematic given the screen is 8x10.  I need to make my own stencils which are bigger so they fit inside the screen better and I don't need so much duct tape to cover the parts of the screen that have no design on them.  I think my small stencils are best left to stenciling and not screen printing. 

So, for the next few days, I'll be making some of my own stencils to use.







Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rose garden quilt

Geez...first I don't blog forever and now you can't shut me up!  Two posts in one weekend!  Gotta blog when the spirit moves me!  I'm going to try to cut back my hours at work to no more than 9...not 9.5, not 10 and DEFINITELY not 12.  I get so exhausted that by the time the weekend rolls around...I don't get much housework done...all I want to do is play.   So, I did this weekend :)


Here's a quilt I've been working on.  I call it Rose Garden.  I love the fabrics.  They came out around Valentine's Day and I bought a yard of a few designs.  Then I thought of making this quilt, so I ordered a whole big bunch more.  Good thing, because I can't find it anymore.  

I'm using setting squares for the sashing, something I haven't done in a long time.  I always sucked at measuring and getting the squares right.  But, this time it's going quite well.  The blocks are about 14" square with 3" sashing, so  few blocks will go a long way.  Funny thing is I made a BUNCH of blocks, so I have a whole lot leftover.  

I'm not done with this yet.  I'm adding at least one more row horizontally.  Then I think I'll put a 2" border of the sashing fabric and then either the red rose fabric or the striped fabric for a 4" border.  

Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I'm back!

Although I haven't been blogging on this blog, I have been working on quilts and fabric in general.  While looking through my extensive stash of fabric, I found some that made me wonder what I was thinking when I bought it.  Like this piece:

It is probably the ugliest piece of fabric I've owned..EVER...and  I've been quilting since 1987.  
When I first found it, I thought it was inside out....but, nope, it is right side out the way you see it.  The stuff I would never put in a quilt is going into a pile to be made into cotton crocheted rugs like this one I made:

 
 I had yards and yards of drapery weight fabric my mom had gotten in a community yard sale years ago.  The fabric was leftovers from the funeral parlor across the street from my mom's house when they made new drapes....kinda funny :)


This rug is almost 4ft across and it is gracing my foyer.  We have beige carpeting in this house and it never stays clean...so I'm covering it up.  Here are some others I made:








 I think I am obsessed...there are a few more rugs in my future as I clean out my stash....
 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Retirement Quilt

I'm planning myself a retirement quilt.  I know, I'm starting early, but it takes me time to make a quilt. For my first spring in New Hampshire after I retire I want to snuggle under a new quilt made by me!

I love log cabin quilts.  So, I decided to make myself a log cabin quilt in purple and rose and yellow polka dots.  I've made two blocks so far.  And you'll note that I have a black cat-shaped spot on my two blocks. And this spot is apparently washing his feet....on MY quilt blocks.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Merlie's Quilt Addiction

Let's remember that Merlie never lived in a cold climate.  I doubt he ever really knew what a quilt was until a few weeks ago.  Ever since he became acquainted with his Aunt Denise's quilt, which she made for Bob, he's been a quilt junkie. In fact, he's become a FABRIC junkie!  

I submit this picture as evidence:

Note the colorful fabric Merlie is ensconced upon.  That is a quilt top that I spread over one of our pub chairs in order to decide if I wanted to make the quilt bigger or leave it as a wall quilt.  

Merlie has never sat on our pub chairs.  Never showed any interest in them.  BUT, add a quilt top and he's right there!  Also, he's been joining me in my quilting area lying in quilt scraps.  HOWEVER, once I tried sprinkling fabric scraps on him.  He got scared and ran.  I have no idea what he thought I was really doing to him.  He doesn't seem scared of lying on the scraps, but scraps raining down freaks him out.   Strange cat....