Around Here Week 34

My sort of daily walks take me across the Cuyahoga River on a footbridge. Lately the river has been low as we haven’t had rain, but the curtain of green I see from the bridge never fails to cool me off. This photo seems so summery I want to break out the voile fabric and sew gauzy layers. And to think it will be September next week.

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Yet Another Finish

August has seen one finish after another, and when I say finish I mean I’ve even sewn down the facings. Here’s “Mean Streets” (33 by 22.5 inches) which I began as one of the last assignments of my Elizabeth Barton master class.

I used a grab bag of fabric – eco-dyed linen and silk organza, painted silk organza, coarse weave linen, netting, and a fabric softener sheet. There’s non-woven interfacing under the top to help stabilize the varied assortment of fabric.

The inspiration for all the shadows was a photo of a rough town on the Mexican border. A harsh light filters through a grill to cast stripes of light onto the buildings and street. Away from that light the scene dissolves into shadows.

I really did a lot of free motion quilting on this. In fact, it’s so stiff I think it can stand up on its own.

I made the graffiti with a freezer paper stencil and fabric paint.

I used black netting to give shadows to the side of the building.

Electric wires are strung haphazardly across the buildings.

This piece won’t hang in my house, if my husband has anything to do with it, though I’m proud I managed to realize my initial idea of danger and menace.

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Around Here Week 33

They’ve finished blooming now, but I enjoyed a bountiful display from my Stoke’s Aster plants this year. I’d like to try an abstract of this flower, surrounded by the swirl of leaves

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My Finishes Are Like Buses

From years of riding public transit I know that buses are happiest when traveling in packs. Often three on the same route arrive nose to tail after a long wait.  It seems my quilt finishes are the same way.

After months of not quite getting there, I have three finishes, plus one quilt that just needs a facing.

First,  A Grand Day Out (24 x 36 inches) got its hot air balloons sorted out, and minor repairs made.

The girls waited patiently for me to give them something to look at.

Winter Fields (26.5  x 47 inches), the third in a series of a Nova Scotia salt marsh, got painterly finishing touches with a paintstick and watercolor pencils. I still need to make the summer version, though so far all I have towards it is a lot of green fabrics.

The quilt for each season features a gate, which marks the entrance to the salt marsh from the Annapolis Royal gardens. If you’re ever up that way I heartily recommend them.

An array of  fabrics found their way into this one. The reddish/purple fabric is a silk scarf I painted, and the light area on the left is part of a damask tablecloth.

Lots of the hand dyed fabrics were made by Vicki Welsh.

I needed a break from landscapes, so Rick Rack (36 by 46 inches) got yanked from the back of the closet and wrestled into a quilting design inspired by Jacquie Gering’s walking foot quilting book. It began as practice for sewing half circles. Then, I joined the halves with ribbon, and added another round of fabric every so often. The colorful fabrics were done by Marcia Derse and Valori Wells.

I thought my to be quilted list would have dwindled, but I’m back at five as of last week. I don’t even want to think about the number of hanging sleeves I need to make.

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Around Here Week 32

I’m back to looking at my feet, thanks to a piece of sycamore tree bark that immediately reminded me of a Henry Moore sculpture.

Here’s what I mean.

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It Seemed Like A Good Idea

A few months ago I wrote about Wen Redmond’s book “Digital Fiber Art” and my confusion about how to proceed with her techniques. So I was glad to see steps to follow in her article in the latest Quilting Arts about how to transfer a photo to cloth. Of course I had to try out the technique.

I made my base fabric collage with scraps that included an old tee shirt mop up rag that had turned lovely pastel shades.

Then, I covered a black and white inkjet copy of a photo from my Around Here series with mat gel medium per the directions and rubbed it onto the fabric base.

Once that dried I moistened it and rubbed away the paper to (hopefully) leave the transfer print behind. At this point my results diverged from the instructions. Either too little or too much of the paper came off, so some of the edges were jaggedy. Maybe I didn’t apply enough gel medium. More important, the photo looked really dark.

I thought I could brighten it up with big stitches.

After three colors of perle cotton I decided it was still too dark, so I moved on to machine stitching. Then I got the bright idea to highlight the light areas with metallic paint.

That turned out way too garish, so I tried sanding the painted areas to tone them down. I found that gel medium stands up well to sanding with fine sandpaper. Unfortunately, it didn’t remove as much of the paint as I had hoped.

Right now my experiment resides in the drawer of shame. Lessons learned:

-choose a photo with a lot more light areas and just a few dark lines

-do a practice photo transfer before the one that counts

-remember that subtlety isn’t my strong point, and there’s a fine, but definite, line between subtle and dreary.

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Around Here Week 31

Last week we stopped by a local orchard and bought a peck of peaches. Yes, peaches grow in northeast Ohio. To let them ripen before we cut them up and freeze them, we set them out on our dining room table to ripen a bit more. I don’t know about you, but our dining room is used mainly for non-dining purposes, such as laundry folding.

I couldn’t resist photographing the voluptuous peaches on the blue check tablecloth. Such a fabulous, classic color combination. Wouldn’t you like a bite?

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