Saturday, February 27, 2016

More From MAQF

Today we want to share some of our favorites from the quilt show.  In addition to the show entries, there are numerous special exhibits.  Our favorite of these is by an art quilt group called Fiber Artists @ Loose Ends. Their new exhibit "Wind Chimes" debuted at the Mid-Atlantic show.  It is a very clever depiction of the Elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fire.  Each of the 10 members of the group created a vertical panel for each of the 4 parts of the installation.  The segments are hung from bicycle wheels so that each fiber piece can rotate with the air currents.  It's a different experience to walk among the fiber "chimes" versus viewing art hung on a wall.  Very effective and immersive.   We really enjoyed this exhibit.
The center panel shows the whole exhibit.  The top photos are water and earth.  The bottom are air and fire.
Another favorite was this heavily embroidered crazy quilt called "Elisabeth's Garden: A Tale of a Thousand Threads" by Elisabeth Frolet of Atlanta, GA.  It won Best Use of Embellishments in the Traditional Category.  The embroidery is exquisite, and each block has different sewing and quilting tools stitched into it.  Each square also had a needle and thread positioned in it somewhere.  You could spend a lot of time marveling at the workmanship and discovering the many images.
The quilt above was one of Sue's favorites.  It is called "Craig's Pond" and is by Tina R McCann of Depoe Bay, OR.  It won Best Use of Color in the wall quilt category.  The upper left shows the whole quilt, and the other 3 are close-ups of various parts, but the pictures really don't do it justice.  Click on the photo for a larger view so you can see the quilting.  The stitching with variegated thread adds so much to the coloration.  Also hard to tell in the photo is that the main panel is detached on the sides from the background, only attached top and bottom.
Some other favorites included these above.  Clockwise from top left:
Urban Systems by Paula Golden of Blacksburg, VA, in the Instructors' Row.
Blue Ridge Meadow by Jane Fellows of Batesville, VA.
Quilt it Wright by Mary A Menzer of Virginia Beach, VA. It won for Best Use of Color in the Modern category.
Modern Reflections by Pat L. Delaney of Abington, MA.  This piece is made with silk and has some unique quilting.
The Lookout is by Barbara McKie of Lyme, CT and won a Judge's Choice ribbon. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival 2016

We arrived at MAQF on Thursday around 3:00pm and spent a couple of hours at the show before checking into the hotel.
After an initial look at the prize winning quilts in the main display area, we visited a few of our favorite vendors and chatted with quilting friends we encountered as we wandered around.  Here are some of the prize winning quilts of 2016.
Upper left is called Moonflower by Molly Y Hamilton-McNally of Tehachapi, CA.  It won 1st place in the Innovative category.  Top right is a detail.  Exquisite quilting.

Bottom left is Silk Road Sampler by Melissa Sobotka of Richardson, TX, which won Best of Show.  If you follow the quilt shows, this also won at the Road to California show. The colors are gorgeous and it looks so real, like you could pull one of the pillows right off the shelf.
Top left is Ode to Spring by Margaret Solomon Gunn of Gorham, ME.  It won 3rd place in the Traditional category.  Another with exquisite quilting.

Bottom is also by Margaret Solomon Gunn.  This is called Springtime in the Geisha's Garden and won 2nd place in the Traditional category.
Top left is the 3rd place Wall quilt by Donna Clauer Stufft of Temperanceville, VA, called Together at Sunset.  This piece is very heavily thread painted. 
Top right is Lura's Choice by our online friend Vicki Welsh (Field Trips in Fiber) of Montpelier, VA.  We followed Vicki's blog posts about the making (and quilting) of this quilt.
Bottom left is Winter Fields by Cynthia L Vogt of Kennewick, WA.  It won Best Use of Color, Innovative, as well as a Judge's Choice award.
Bottom right is an Honorable Mention in the Innovative category.  It is Bursting at the Greens by Karlyn Bue Lohrenz of Billings, MT.

More to come over the next few days.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Caribelle Batik

Elizabeth and her family went on a Caribbean cruise this past holiday season.  They were on a small 600 passenger ship called the Ocean Princess.
One of the many stops was Saint Kitts and Nevis.  While there, Elizabeth, her mother Barbara, and sister Becky went on a tour to Romney Manor where a small batik factory called Caribelle Batik is located.  These batiks are definitely inspired by the Caribbean and thus have a different look than Indonesian or Indian batiks.  Here are some photos of the tour.

The artist was ill that day so they didn't see a live demonstration but the store had a nice display of all 12 steps in the process of waxing, dyeing, waxing again, dyeing again, etc.
 First 6 steps.
Last 6 steps.

The shop was full of lovely items handcrafted on the island using the batik fabrics produced by Caribelle.
Outside was a clothesline with pieces blowing in the wind of a sunny winter's day.  It was a beautiful sight but if we return we will take our own taxi so that we can linger longer.

Yardage and scraps for quilters.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Infinity Scarf from Fat Quarters

Last Friday Sue participated in a "quick & easy" Friday night sew-in at Artistic Artifacts to make an infinity scarf.  The class was lead by Chris Vinh of Stitchesnquilts who makes and sells small quilts, hand knit scarves and cowls, and now fabric scarves as well.  The concept is simple - using 6 fat quarter size pieces of fabric to make a two sided scarf; when worn as a cowl you can adjust it to showcase the fabrics you choose.  Chris has made several in the last couple of months, and also found that if you start with 2 1/2 yards, you can make 2 scarves - one about  17" wide, the other about 10" wide. 
Chris showed the various samples she had made.
These are the 5 fabrics Sue chose.  Six pieces are needed for the wider version, but the focus fabric can be repeated for the 6th piece.
But in order to have a piece of the focus fabric for both the wider and narrower version, Sue ended up using 6 different fabrics in the wider scarf, and 4 different fabrics in the narrower scarf.
This is the wider version.
This is the narrower version.  The piece of fabric with the green, blue and purple squares is a Japanese linen fabric.  The others are batiks except for one commercial print that looks like a hand print. This would be a great project to use some of your own screen printed or other surface designed fabric!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Sue's February Snow/Ice Dye

We had a President's Day snow this week and while Elizabeth planned ahead to take advantage of it, Sue didn't decide till the last minute to do more snow dyeing.  The snow had actually switched over to rain, but because of the crust of ice on top of the snow, she was able to gather enough of the snow/ice mixture for her 2 pans of dye.  What helped spur her on was the decision to over-dye the baby blue pieces from January.  Previously, these were intended for a challenge project, but a change in plan for that project meant these pieces could be made more appealing with more color (they all had a lot of white spaces).  So after a quick soda ash soak they were ready for more dye; sticking with the blue theme, Sue used azure blue and kingfisher blue sprinkled on top of the snow.
Though they look pretty much the same here, the pan on the right has only azure blue.  The pan on the left has a mixture of azure and kingfisher.
Here are the 2 pans after the snow/ice has melted.  You can see she used the whiffle balls again, this is the same piece that was dyed with them last month with the baby blue.  The piece on top on the right is a fat quarter folded.  There was a piece in the bottom of each pan as well.  Below are the pieces before rinsing.  They have since sat in a hot water soak for 24 hours, and are soaking a bit more.  After soaking some of the darker blue (especially the spots from the whiffle balls) is not as dark, but otherwise they look pretty much the same.  The final machine wash will have to wait a few more days till Sue gets a new washing machine installed!
The dye didn't quite penetrate to the center of the folded piece.
The whiffle ball piece; definitely an improvement over the original.
This piece was loosely accordion folded in the bottom of a pan.
This one was scrunched in the bottom of the azure/kingfisher pan.  Overall, Sue is satisfied with the results.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Special Request Gradation Dyeing

Elizabeth’s mother, Barbara, requested some fuchsia fabric dyed in a gradation for a class she and a friend planned on taking but then Barbara got sick, had to go to the hospital and missed the class. Her friend, however, was still able to take the class.  Since she had fresh fuchsia dye from both Pro Chemical and Dye Company and Dharma Trading Company, Elizabeth decided to make a batch of both and then compare them.  The Pro Chemical test was an 8 step gradation while the Dharma was a 10 step so you can discount the last two from the Dharma stack for a true 8 step gradation.
 Above, Dharma 10 step gradation.  Below, ProChem 8 step gradation.
To make the gradation Elizabeth used 2 Tbsp of dye to 2 cups of water then measured out one cup of the dye mix in which she put a fat quarter of fabric.  After adding one new cup of water to the left over cup of dye mix she stirred it together and then poured out a cup of dye to put the second fat quarter in.  Add another cup of water and then measure out a cup to put in the next piece of fabric and so on and so on.  Basically, with each step you are taking out half the dye and adding an equal amount of water.
Enough fabric was left to try a different dye and this batch was from Pro Chemical and Dye using a dye called Rosebud.  Rosebud dye is a mixture dye and definitely has a bit of an orange tinge to it.  The photo below shows the rosebud dye.
We aren’t sure which packet(s) Barbara’s friend Marsha ended up pulling her fabric from but here is what she had at the end of the two day session.  Isn’t it spectacular?  Marsha did a fantastic job.  Her next step is adding in some thread painting.  How thrilling to see fabric you created used to create such a gorgeous piece!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Elizabeth's January Snow Dye

As most of you know, Northern Virginia, where Sue and Elizabeth live, had a big blizzard in January and schools were closed for 7 days.  Elizabeth anticipated the closing as a break from her job and prepared her fabric earlier in January as you can see on January 18th’s post.  Well, the night before the blizzard began she got a phone call that she was needed at her mother’s home on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.  Luckily she got a seat on a plane before the snowflakes started.  So, she missed the storm and the snow dyeing to go where she did not have to shovel at all.  Barbara is better now and Elizabeth is back in Virginia.  The shoveled piles of snow in Virginia were so large that snow was still available when she returned.  It wasn’t the soft flakes of a fresh snowfall but rather a compacted dense mass, but since the fabric was ready, why not give it a try?

Here are her results: Sangria dye (from Dharma Trading Company) was placed on this piece which had softball sized whiffle balls wrapped inside the prepared fabric. You can see pictures of the prepared fabric in the January post.

It seems that Sangria has some dye particles that created brown in the areas where the fabric was stretched over the balls.  While the pinkish and blue areas are pretty the brown isn’t so appealing.  However, who knows what it could become when cut up or what someone else might see?

Below, a piece of Sangria and another piece where Wisteria (from Pro Chemical and Dye) was mixed in with a small bit of Sangria gave pleasing overall pieces of yardage.

Yesterday on President's Day we had more snow, so Elizabeth has more pieces in process.  Stay tuned for those results!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Playing with Photos for Screens

Have you ever considered how you might use your own photos in your art quilts or mixed media work?  There are several products available to create photo transfers.  You can also print photos on sheer fabrics like organza to create a different effect.  Some people use photos as the basis for a landscape or portrait quilt, using it to make a pattern for piecing.   At PGFiber2Art we like to use photos as the basis for thermofax screens.  Yesterday we taught our class on how to use Photoshop Elements to turn photos into black and white images suitable for screens. 

When using this pink flower as a sample image for our students to work with, we were reminded of how many different ways an image can be manipulated for different outcomes, excited by the "what if"....what if we created several variations of the same image and used them together?  
Photoshop Elements is a powerful program and has many filters that can be applied to a black and white image.  Below is the black and white image of the flower with the background removed.
Once we have gotten an image to this point we start applying filters from the Filters menu.  There are lots to choose from and it just takes some time playing to see what you like best, but usually we settle on one.  Each filter also has its own options that allow you to adjust things like darkness, contrast, details, etc. so the possible outcomes are many.  Just for the fun of it we decided to apply different filters to this flower to illustrate the options for our students.  And that's when the light bulb went on and we realized that this could be a cool design element.  Here are 5 different filters applied to the flower image.
These will be made into screens in a variety of sizes, and then the fun with fabric and paint will begin.  Can you visualize how multiple variations of the one image will work together?  Hope to get to work on this idea in the next couple of weeks and will post pictures of the results.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Turn Your Photos into Screen Images

It's not to late to register!  Once again we are teaching this class at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria this Saturday, Feb. 13, from 10 AM -1 PM.  We will show you how to use Photoshop Elements to convert a photo to a black and white image suitable for creating a thermofax screen that can then be used in your art quilts or mixed media work.  You will practice with some of our images first and then work with your own to see how you can incorporate your own unique imagery and own the copyright.  We'll also give you tips for taking photographs to make this process easier.  Soon you'll be looking at things with screen images in mind.  If you're in the metropolitan DC area, come join us on Saturday!

Note: While your own laptop and copy of Photoshop Elements are most beneficial, you can share one of our laptops if you don't have one, and download a trial copy of Photoshop Elements to try for 30 days before purchasing. Send us an email at pgfiber2art  @ gmail dot com.

Friday, February 5, 2016

UFO Busting - January Report

It's the first Friday of the month, so it should be the day for linking to Vicki Welsh's UFO Busting effort.  How did I (Sue) do in the month of January?  Not too great, I must admit.  Slow getting started, but I did start and finish two 12" square art quilts.  Those are the two I shared in yesterday's blog post about the "ugly" challenge.  I also finished hand stitching on a piece from a Laura Wasilowski class, but it still needs to be backed and quilted.  So I can't count that as finished just yet.  Here's a picture of it though, just to add a photo to this post!  Click on the photo for a larger image to get a better look at the stitching.  I'm also close to finishing hand stitching on another small piece, so maybe some "real" finishes will be coming up for the next post?

Starting UFO count: 11
New projects started this month: 2
Projects finished this month: 2
UFO count at end of month:11

Below is my listing of what I am counting on my UFO list, just as a reminder to me, so I don't have to go back to the January post each month to see what I included in the initial count.
The UFOs include 7 from 2015.  Five are projects needing to be quilted; one is a table runner and one is a wall hanging, but the other 3 are lap size or larger quilts, which is probably why I haven't tackled them yet.  One is the repair project I blogged about last year (30's bed quilt).  Two are piecing projects in progress.  Two are hand stitching projects, one of which is almost done, and then will need machine quilting.   The last is a 12" square that needs mounting on canvas - no excuse for that not being done, so hopefully I will get to report it finished next month.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

"Ugly" Challenge

You may remember a few weeks ago when Sue posted about discharging some fabric that was part of an "ugly" challenge by her art quilt group.  She used 2 discharge products on the cat batik fabric that was her challenge piece.  Here are the discharged pieces next to the original fabric.
 Sue was surprised at the blue-grey result in the piece above, so decided to do a second piece using a brown colored deColourant below.
This didn't make a very noticeable difference, so she used the same screen to add some more texture with Jacquard Lumiere metallic paint.
Digging through the stash she found some other fabrics to use with it to create this collage.
This was OK, but she decided to also try to use the first piece that seemed more challenging color-wise.  That resulted in this piece.
Not bad, but it needed a focal point. 
Birds were added, and some discharged leaves in the background.  Here's a look at the quilting from the back side.
And both completed pieces below. Another great learning experience. 
 This collage doesn't have a name yet - do you have any ideas?
This one she calls "The Cat Bird Seat".  Which is your favorite?