Saturday, May 30, 2015

Memory Quilt(let)

Sue completed a memory quilt project this week - this is her story.

I haven't been doing many commissions, but this was a request by a former co-worker for a belated wedding gift for another former co-worker, so how could I refuse?  I agreed to make something using the wedding invitation, but really didn't have a plan until I had the invitation in hand.  My initial thoughts were to create a transfer, but in the end it was easiest to just use the actual invitation in a mixed media piece. 

I started with the background fabric and taped off the dimensions of the front, since it was to be mounted on an 11 x 14 art canvas. 
After playing with layout ideas, I determined a sequence for putting it together. The next photo is a general idea of what I was aiming for, using some vintage lace and a doily and other embellishements. 
It became apparent that I would need to quilt the background first, if it was going to be quilted at all.  So I cut a piece of fusible fleece to fit the 11 x 14 dimension and fused it to the wrong side.  Then I quilted it with an all-over loopy design.
Next was figuring out placement of the design elements.  The doily was first; it was fused together where the folded layers overlapped, and then fused into place on the background.   The invitation would overlap the doily at the bottom.  Fusible was applied to the back of the invitation, and then the lace trim was fused just under the edge on 3 sides.
After it was fused in place, the next step was placement of the vines and flowers. Rather than stitching down the vines, the flowers were used to anchor them in place.
The last element to be added was the felted heart, which is also fused in place.
The final step was mounting it on the canvas.  After carefully positioning, the extra fabric was wrapped to the back and stapled in place.  A piece of felt was used to cover the back, also stapled in place. 
The finished piece.  Hope the recipient likes it!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Studio Clean-up Continued

Can you see the long-arm machine in this photo?
It's hiding amongst the piles.  The table is a "stuff" collector, so the machine doesn't get used that much.  Just like people who use exercise machines to hang clothes on.  Expensive table!  Getting it cleared off is the next goal, and here is the result.  I wonder how long it will last?
In the process of cleaning out the cabinet, I found some Cherrywood fabric.  I like to use Cherrywood for printing samples, and their grab bags are the perfect size.  Well, I found enough leftover fabric to make my own grab bag!
I also found another stack of fabric and bag hiding under the cutting table.  Actually these are both from last summer in New Hampshire, visiting shops in the row by row shop hop, and several trips to Keepsake Fabrics.  These have now found a home in the cabinet.  (There was room!)
And finally, here is the mostly cleared off cutting table.  Hopefully it will stay semi-clean for a while!  But clutter just shows I am working on things, right?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Elizabeth's Blog Prize

Recently Elizabeth was lucky to win a drawing by playing along with a surface design challenge on the blog of Julie BoothThe prize was three books from Quarry Publishing.  One was Julie’s fantastic book Fabric Printing at Home: Quick and Easy Fabric Design Using Fresh Produce and Found Objects.  Julie shows you how to use found objects from around the home, particularly the kitchen, as well as fresh produce to print on fabric.
Another is Playing with Surface Design by Courtney Cerruti.  This looks like it is right up our alley here at PGFiber2Art!
The third is Tangle Stitches by Jane Monk.  Hand stitching is enjoying a resurgence lately, so this looks interesting too.
We will have hours of fun playing with the ideas in these books this summer!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sue's Studio Clean-up

Often after a project (or several) are finished, it's time for a studio clean-up to put things back in order.  I can work in the chaos for a while, but then it's got to go.   Of course, you might look at my storage systems (or lack of) and think it's still chaotic but it works for me, mostly.  At least it hasn't taken over the floor - yet.  The worst part of this task was that I had way more new fabric to put in the storage cabinet than would fit; the piles end up taking over my cutting table, so I decided it was time to clean out the cabinet.  Of course I forgot to take a true "before" picture - I was about 2/3 done before I remembered to pull out the camera. 
In this picture I'd already tackled the bottom 2 shelves and the top one, and was started on the 2nd from top which is the batik section.  These are my favorites, and what I have the most of in the stash, and many of these have not seen the light of day in a while.  I decided some color sorting was in order so I could at least have a chance of finding what I might be looking for at any given time. 

The above two shots show my attempt at color sorting.  I was surprised to find that my 2 biggest piles were green and brown - I would not have predicted that.  Neither are really my "go to" colors - but I guess I'll be looking for more ways to use them in future projects!  Also, I buy mostly fat quarters but was surprised to find bigger pieces - 1/2 yards, full yards, even some bigger.  Those went into a separate group for potential backings.  After "weeding" out a selection to use for an upcoming retreat give-away, I had enough space to fit all the "keepers" back in the cabinet.
Taking your stash out and really looking at it makes you realize several things:
  • time to put the brakes on buying!
  • time to get rid of more - I feel a give-away coming on!
  • if your tastes change, find it another home!
  • time to make more charity quilts, or donate to charity projects
  • start making bigger quilts!
  • I'll never use it up in my lifetime! 
Of course, I am not finished.  This is process that will not be completed overnight. Changing habits isn't easy!  And as I continue to clean up, I find more forgotten piles to deal with! Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Anticipating Summer

Elizabeth hasn’t had much time lately to print fabric or work on projects ("real" jobs, you know, tend to get in the way!), but she did make this quick mug rug as a birthday present for a friend on her new Destiny machine which she named “Super Baby”. 

In just a few weeks we will be off to New Hampshire for another summer and Quilt Camp VII!  We are looking forward to trying some new techniques and sharing our creations with you.  After all, we both have several new books to explore!  And there are sure to be field trips, with another summer of Row By Row shop hops!  Don’t miss out on our blog posts or newsletters; sign up to receive email notifications by typing your email address in the box on the upper right of this page, and subscribe to our newsletter by submitting the subscription information in the boxes below.  It's sure to be a creative summer!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Polymer Clay - Mokume Gane

Last Saturday, Elizabeth and her son, Thomas, took a polymer clay class at Artistic Artifacts taught by Susan Gantz.  The class was about Mukume Gane, a method of manipulation where you stack varying values of clay, impress it with many different textured items, then shave the layers and collect the shaving to create a project.  Elizabeth started with maroon, a metallic beige and white clays to create a three color stack which reminded her of red onions.

She created some buttons and also some flat pieces that she could make into pins.
After a lunch break class moved on to four layer stacks with two darks and two lights layered many times.  Elizabeth's stack:
Thomas's stack after shaving and stretching:

After shaving them down class members made buttons, pendants, pins, and pieces for mosaic work. The last hour we learned some other fun techniques like rolling our layers into lizard tails and creating canes that look like brains. 
 Lizard tails, above.
 Brain cane, above, and buttons, below.
This class was a great opportunity to work in a medium other than fiber yet still use the basic principles of color and come out with a few cool items that could either be turned into jewelry or added to a surface design project, journal or other mixed media work.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Inspiration for Creative Minds

Where do you go when you're looking for inspiration, or that missing piece to pull a project together or get one started?  For us, it's the shop we teach at, Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, Virginia. Owner Judy Gula provides "creative finds for creative minds".  It's a place where the eye candy makes you want to buy some of everything, and inspiration abounds!  If you're local, be sure to stop in.  If you're not near the DC area, you can still enjoy the creative finds by shopping online.  Take a look around in the pictures below (taken with Judy's permission).

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Feeling Blue

Feeling blue?  In search of Roy G Biv, it is time this month for BLUE pictures. We are linking to Julie Booth's blog and her friend Jennifer Coyne Qudeen in finding the colors of the rainbow.  Check out their blogs for more blues. This month's finds are contributed by both Sue and Elizabeth.  We thought blue might be a little challenging, but as it turns out, there were more than enough to choose from.  In fact, it was hard to narrow it down to just these 7!
 Delicate blue blossoms.
 Blues at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.
 A hand-dyed blue drying on the clothes line last summer.
 A perfect blue sky with a gaggle of geese.
 A felted flower pot cover.
 A view of Lake Winnipesaukee from the restaurant deck at Castle in the Clouds.
 Yarn bombing the fence at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Black-Eyed Susans

The Quilting Arts magazine June/July issue arrived this week and anticipation was high to see Sue's quilt published in the Reader's Challenge.  Imagine her surprise to see it on page 2 along with the Editor's Notes! 
As Vivika notes in the caption, it reminded her of the flowers growing along roadsides in Vermont.  Coincidentally, this little piece was inspired by a photo taken in neighboring New Hampshire!
After finding the great batik background, Sue set out to create a Buds, Blossoms and Blooms quilt of Black-Eyed Susans.  The first step was creating the flowers using Thermofax screen fusible appliques.  There were 2 different flower images made in different sizes for variety.

The flowers were printed, fusible web was applied to the back and then they were cut out individually.
Placement was decided on the background.
Stems were added (also fused).
The top was backed with a fusible fleece for batting and machine stitching was the next step to secure all the flowers and stems.
There was no backing as yet because hand embroidery was the final step and Sue didn't want that stitching to show on the back.  Here is the start of lots of French knots!
And this is the finished quilt, which also includes embroidery stitches on the stems and other parts of the background.  A bright and cheery piece to celebrate summer!