Category Archives: In Process

Too Much Purple?

People see red, turn green with envy, are blue, etc., but what emotion is associated with purple? Passion? Overheated prose? Anger? Elegant decadence?

I ended up with a very purple quilt top for a prosaic reason, nothing to do with emotions. The scraps I had, gifted velveteen from a church janitor, and luscious grape fabric I had on hand determined my purple path. I stitched  already pieced scraps from past projects onto old phone book pages. My idea was to do paper piecing light, with far fewer seams sewn through the paper.

The scraps are left from a baby quilt and “Church Windows”

Next, I sewed Marcia Derse’s grape crush solid fabric down around the edges, along with contrasting color handles. It was easier said than done, as sharp angles caused me to misjudge how much fabric to allow.

I also added velveteen edges and tried mixing in different purple fabric. That did not go well.

I abandoned the velveteen edges and tried other corner treatments made of velveteen and silk.

I didn’t like the clunkiness where the corners meet. I also decided to eliminate a row of blocks and add a border. I was bound and determined to use the velveteen. It’s not your eyes; the photo is out of focus.

I’ll spare you all the fiddling I did, but I eventually settled on the following arrangement.

The corners are spread out and work on a border has begun.

I decided to drop the narrow inner border. The color is really a yellow green, which photographs more yellow than it is.

The present state of “Deep Purple.”

Right now it’s quite prickly looking. Maybe I’ll get it quilted this year or maybe I’ll decide to change it and save the quilting for 2019.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.

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Filed under In Process, Modern Quilting

Modern Curves

I hereby declare this is drunkards path week. First, I featured the paintings of Luiz Zerbini. Now, I want to show you two small quilts, let’s call them quiltlets, I’ve been working on. They use the modern drunkards path block.

What makes this block modern? As the photo below shows, the larger, traditional orange and yellow blocks have at least a half inch between the outer edge and the pie piece, while in the smaller modern blocks the distance between the pie  and the curved piece is just 1/4 inch. When the modern blocks are sewn together, the pies touch each other. At least that’s the theory.

Inspired by the work of Jenny Haynes, I created a flower pillow and a small quilt using the templates I had copied from the back of Angela Pingel’s “A Quilter’s Mixology.”

The 15.5 inch pillow cover is made up of 3.5 inch blocks and is quilted with my sewing machine’s serpentine stitch.

The 20.5 by 24.5 inch quiltlet reverses the light and dark colors from the pillow cover.

The stem is a strip of old curtain material I plucked from the theater costume shop’s garbage can.

I’m still working up a quilting design for “Flower Power” but have managed to start two new projects, so I’ve shoved all the boring (to me) finishing chores to the bottom of the heap. I have a month and a half until the close of 2018, plenty of time for all the facings/bindings/quilting/hanging sleeves needed.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.

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Filed under In Process, Modern Quilting

Getting From Concrete To Abstract

Many art quilters seem to struggle with creation of abstract work, whether from scratch or from a recognizable photo or drawing.  Even if you don’t want a totally nonrepresentational piece, abstracting can help simplify and strengthen your design.

To work on my abstracting skills I signed up for Lyric Kinard’s Abstract-a-licious online course. To quote Lyric, ” Lessons consist of  concrete design exercises that are clear and easily understood as well as ample encouragement from an award winning teacher. You don’t need to have drawing or design skills as this course is designed to inspire and teach  both the timid beginner and the confident creative.”

The course consists of five play exercises that use pencil, paper, and scissors. There’s no projects involved. So far we’ve done three lessons. The emphasis is on using design principles to develop abstract designs.

First class lesson, unit 1, sketches with line only.
Second lesson, unit 1, adding value to line.
Third class lesson, unit 1, rearranging elements of iron sketch and adding color.
Lesson 2, unit 2, abstract of Degas painting with color added. Lesson 1 was to abstract the painting.
Lesson 1, unit 3, line doodles. I did several.
Lesson 2, unit 3, shaded doodles.
Lesson 3, unit 3, fabric versions of a doodle.
Extra: Fabric doodles with organza overlays.

Once I complete the remaining units I’ll let you know how it all went.

I’m linking this post to Off The Wall Fridays.

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Filed under In Process, Techniques

Stars From My Scrap Bins

My last procrastination to avoid my canal project was a scrappy stars quilt. The canal project is onto its next phase, so I can stop making excuses now. Meanwhile, I have yet another top to quilt. I don’t think I thought my diversion through to its logical end.

As I’ve done before, I pulled out my scrap strips bins to create lots of strip squares, which I then cut into two triangles. Many of the light colored squares were made from scrap bags I bought at the Sew Batik sewing expo booth. I just don’t use light fabrics enough to have a good stockpile of light strips.

I paired the triangles in mostly light/dark combinations, with a few all light ones, and had fun creating stars with them. I was inspired by a quilt posted on Pinterest. It was made by Stash Lab Quilts, and is brighter than mine.

I had made a rough drawing of my layout, but found that getting the light triangles to flow together really drove the composition. I guess I know who or what is really in charge. That’s right, color and value.

I’m linking up to Nina-Marie’s Off The Wall Friday.

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Filed under In Process, Modern Quilting

A Map Quest

Here and there I’ve alluded to my long term project that involves research and planning. It’s the opposite of improv. I think it’s far enough along now I can share it, or at least what I’ve done so far.

An art quilt group I belong to set a map quilt as this year’s challenge, inspired by Valerie Goodwin’s book, “Art Quilt Maps.” I reviewed her book a few years ago. Our quilts are to be no larger than 20 by 20 inches, and no smaller than 12 by 12 inches. I’ve already broken that guideline as my piece is shaping up to be about 20 by 28 inches.

My subject is the Ohio and Erie Canal through Summit County, Ohio. Why? Because the current Towpath Trail that I walk on every week follows the canal’s towpath. Here’s a subway map type rendering of the trail.

The canal was constructed in 1827. Canal building fever struck New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and other states in the early 1800s as a way to open up the region for trade. The Ohio and Erie Canal was part of a system of connected canals to link the Ohio River with Lake Erie ports. A disastrous flood in 1913 finished off the canal. It had long before been superseded by railroads, but was still used for transporting coal.

I began my project with a map of the towpath and Cuyahoga River, mottled green fabrics and a piece of crinoline. I sewed the green fabrics together for my base on the crinoline, and traced the towpath and river onto separate light green fabric. I dabbed green paint onto that fabric to make it look more like a topographic map. My plan is to embroider over the lines and possibly do some embroidery on the edges to integrate this large piece with the base.

Next, I searched out historic photos of the canal. Luckily the Summit Memory Project and the wonders of Google Images provided some.  As with many historic photos, some have damaged areas, and some were digitized at a very small size – about 1.5 by 3 inches. The photographic skill levels were casual, at best. I persevered and came up with some that showed the canal in operation, stores and businesses along the canal, and the 1913 flood. I also took photos of display maps at the Mustill Store in Akron, and explored the Cascade Locks.

Once I ran the photos through PhotoShop Elements to adjust size and clarity, I had to print them on fabric. I decided to go with black and white as almost all were that way to begin with. The hard part was choosing how to print them. I ended up buying silk organza sheets and inkjet transfer paper.  The organza printed well and will allow me to get a soft translucent quality. The transfer paper, which I chose because I didn’t want a white fabric background, printed well, but I had problems with the heat setting. The paper backing didn’t peel off smoothly and I had to reprint some transfers. Also, the finish is very plastic-y and will be ruined if you put an iron near it. Your iron won’t be in good shape, either. But, I got the natural linen background I wanted.

I played with layout possibilities for months, beginning with paper copies of my photos. I want to show the canal’s history, but don’t want a school poster board effect. The layout has changed since this mockup that combines fabric and paper photos.

I will work with overlapping fabrics, transparent effects, and embroidery to make it more arty. I plan to have the quilting be the current road network in the map area, and am considering outlining parts of the photos with stitching. After looking at Valerie Goodwin’s latest art quilt maps, I yearn for the ability to laser cut fabric.

 

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Filed under Art quilts, In Process, Project Ideas

A Landscape Experiment

Back in 2016 I used a phone to take this photo of a downtown Akron intersection, drew up a sketch from it, and then did nothing with it.

I resurrected the sketch when I saw an announcement for a juried local art show called Against The Sky. While I haven’t had luck getting into all media shows, I thought I’d make up my work and then decide whether to enter it.

Luckily I had bought the perfect piece of hand painted fabric for a sunset, which I combined with simplified outlines of the buildings in the photo. I adapted the technique Heather Dubreuil uses for her cityscapes. She outlines buildings and architectural details with black thread by drawing her design on a Sulky heat-away product. She uses the drawing to place fabrics underneath, fuses the fabrics, and then stitches the lines on the iron-away product over everything. She tears away the product after stitching.

Instead, I drew a line design, made freezer paper templates from the design to cut out fused fabric, fused the fabric on my background sky and pavement, and then traced the line design on the Sulky product (I had purchased a package at a quilt show) and stitched over it. Because my fabrics were dark, I used a dark gray thread.

Sketch as line drawing.

Freezer paper templates before cutting out.

Thread color trials. I went with the dark gray that’s on the bottom.

Start of stitching over Sulky product.

Despite the product instructions NOT to use a permanent marker, that’s what I ended up using as wash away markers wouldn’t leave a mark. I was able to tear away most of the plastic so there was little to remove with heat.

I may glue the quilted top to a pre-stretched canvas with black painted edges. Maybe that will make it more appealing to a juror.

Final (before edge finishing) on stretched canvas.

 

 

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Filed under Art quilts, In Process, Techniques

It’s All About The Surface

Over the years I’ve accumulated a pile of fabrics I’ve created with paints, stencils, dyes, and other surface design techniques. Since I didn’t feel up to deep thought projects but wanted to make something after my surgery, I sorted that pile and cut up much of it into 5 inch squares. Then, I arranged the squares that seemed to go together into more or less traditional designs.

The resulting tops are totally about texture and color. I meant no discernible message. Each is about 41 inches square and has a border (gasp.)

“All Decked Out” is a trip around the world design made with fabric I designed or dyed, with one exception. The center is a paintstik rubbing of a glass salad plate, accented with embroidery. The surrounding squares are either Marcia Derse fabric (the darker fabric) or sun printed with a crocheted doily. The blue and white squares are from a silk screening class, while the multicolored squares suffered through four processes – dyeing, fabric collage, cheesecloth overlay, and stenciling. The dark and light rose squares are hand dyed, while the blue and white border fabric is from a photo of my deck I manipulated and printed through Spoonflower.

“Sur La Table” is made mostly from tablecloths I painted and dyed.  (Finally a use for high school French.) The yellow is damask that’s been printed with leaves, while the orange is a drop cloth I enhanced. The green strips are from a gradation and the outer border is linen I dyed. The diagonal strips are bias tape I made and some cording. The squares on the end of the green units are made from fabric I painted and stenciled. The thin green strip inside the border is Grunge fabric, the only fabric I didn’t mess around with.

I thought I’d do quick and dirty quilting on these, but already that isn’t going to plan. A group I belong to had lots of complicated ideas for quilting “All Decked Out.” Of course the ideas are much better than what I had envisioned, but also more work.

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Filed under dyeing, Fabric Printing, In Process, Techniques