Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Creative Cue : Shiny

Bet 'cha can't guess what this is ... Scroll down to find out.

Yes, Terri. It's another food picture! It's smoked salmon, vacuum-packed. My Unca Ray brought it over as his contribution to the Christmas Day Feast. It disappeared in about 20 minutes!

My guilty pleasure : I like the sparkle and shine of fish skin. In Lake Wobegone, Garrison Keillor talk about a venerable trout-skin parka at the Sons-of-Knut Lodge that they drag out on special occasions? I always wondered what that parka would look like, and how they managed to tan a trout skin into a wearable commodity. It's such a fine, thin skin.

This salmon skin came out pretty well in the photo. I've tried taking pictures of fresh-caught rainbow trout, but the pictures never turn out. There's too much shine, maybe. The light bounces back and makes for poor pictures.

See other Creative Cues for Shiny.

The Horses are Complete!

The Horses are complete!

Here's the happy recipient, my Dad, on Christmas morning.

And here we are together. He liked it!
Ma said he's looking for the perfect place to hang it in the house. ;-)

Here are some more detail shots of the stitching :

You can read about some of the progress notes here :
Thread Painting on the Horses and Horses (so Far)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Creative Cues : Snowflake and Stamp

Read about the making of this embossed velvet snowflake and the foam stamp here. This is something I did in 2007.

See other Creative Cues for Snowflake and Stamp.

Creative Cue : Sponge

I played with the effects settings in to "develop" this image. I think this was the Outline effect. I like the way it makes it look flattened, as if it's on a microscope slide. And the colors look more like watercolors. I never thought a sponge could be so interesting!

Here's the everyday sponge photo I started with.

See other Creative Cues for Sponge.

The Rust Fairies Left Their Feathery Marks

I went down to my wet studio this am, and this is what I found ...
The Rust Fairies did their magic over the past few months!

I had an old dish pan with some rusty liquor in the bottom. I left it last September so the liquid could evaporate, and I could recycle the rust dust. I usually use vinegar and water to speed the process. This batch must have had some salt in the brine. I never dreamed it would leave such a pleasing pattern in the process!

Here's a close-up of the rusty frosty feathers.

Wouldn't it be cool if you could get these patterns to form on the fabric? How? I don't have the answers. I'm just wondering ...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Creative Cues : Fan / Ornament

The Fan : On the first day of school in the mid-1950s, Little Holly (my mom) made a paper-folded fan. She gave it to another girl in class named Sally. Holly said, "I'll give you this fan if you'll be my friend." That was the start of a lifelong friendship.

Sally's mother (Gramma B.) made a similar folded fan into a Christmas tree ornament and shared the story many years later. The story has entered our family lore. I had to wait until I got to my mom's house at Christmas to get a picture of the fan ornament.

See other Creative Cues for Fan and Ornament.

Rosita's Twisted Bargello - Finished

This quilt top was made by my Aunt Rosita in her Quilting Connection class at Cutting Edge Quilt Shop in Antigo, WI. When she showed it to me, I liked it so much that she gave it to me, along with the book.

For the quilting, I used Leah Day's Matrix Rays in an edge-to-edge pattern. Since this is a smaller quilt, I was able to do it on my domestic sewing machine with the walking foot. I wrote about the quilting of it back in October, where you can also see a picture of my Aunt Rosita. She and my mom got me into quilting back in 2004 -- What a great idea they had!

Glad to have another quilt done! Bindings are getting easier and they look much better these days. Quilting is definitely a practice that gets better with experience.

Blue Picnic Quilt Finished

This quilt pattern is fat quarter-friendly and comes together fast. Each block is 16-inches square. I've been wanting to make a scrappy-looking quilt and when I saw Annie's Wicked Easy Quilt pattern, I gave it a go. I'm pleased with the results. ;-) Annie used to have the pattern available free on her website, but I don't think it's available anymore, or I'd include the link for you here.

I quilted it myself on the Tin Lizzie at It's Sew Rite, here in Oshkosh. It only took me about 2-1/2 hours to finish it. They allow people to rent time on this long-arm. It's a great deal! Even the quilting went fast with my default rolling bubbles pattern. Here are some detail shots :



Monday, November 22, 2010

3 New Journals

I think I like this one so much, I'm going to make it my new Sweet Leaf Notebook. All those little bits trapped in the cover are scraps from my past projects. This is part of my creative history--not to mention the ultimate in recycling!

This one is a quarter-size notebook, made from the same composed sheet of fabric :

This is the whole notebook cover spread open.

Here's another quarter-size journal :

Here's the whole journal cover spread out full :

I'll be selling these journals (and many more) at the FVUUF Arts & Craft Sale on December 4 in Appleton, WI. If anyone out there in blog-land is interested in purchasing a journal, feel free to contact me for prices. We can work out a PayPal arrangement. I just don't have time to keep up an etsy site, so this will have to do.

Creative Cue : Sharp

The sharp points on a mariner's compass block.

Other ideas : sharp eagle eyes, sharp eagle talons, sharp fish hook

See other Creative Cues for Sharp.

Creative Cue : Eye

This the eye from the Bubble Boy portrait.

I have to share the following close encounters, too:

Earlier this summer, I contacted Donna Schaffer, the artist who painted this scene, and purchased a giclee print of "Humpback Whale Looking at You." I love it! She and her family have vacationed where they could actually swim with whales. She takes pictures, then goes home and paints them. She has another one (which I also purchased) :

Reflection of a Humpback Pectoral Fin by Donna Schaffer.
I even bothered to get these two prints professionally framed. It was expensive, but worth it in my world.

See other Creative Cues for Eye.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Thread Painting Workshop With Karla Spinks

In October, Conversations-in-Cloth arranged to sponsor a class with local thread-painting (aka free-motion embroidery) expert Karla Spinks. Read/See more about the workshops.

My little Blue Bird, free-motion embroidery.
Here he is mostly cut free from the stabilizers and is ready to be appliqued to a background. Maybe that will be a art quilt / journal quilt in 2011?

"Look, Ma! No hands!" Well--not quite. But I will say this little bird is completely free-hand. Although I have an embroidery unit on my sewing machine, I never learned to use it, although my Aunt Rosita is the Queen of computer-driven embroidery.

Karla had us start out by thread-painting some flower fabric. Once we had that mastered, we could move on to something more challenging. Most of us chose birds.

Karla asked us to bring in samples of our own work, and I realized that I already had quite a few examples of free-motion embroidery.

Here are some samples from my thread painting present and past :


Gramma Pickles

Little Gardener :



Day at the Lake II

Oliver (aka Bubble Boy)

My advice : It just takes time and practice. A few weeks ago, I heard something on the radio about talent and success. The conclusion was that talent only takes you so far. Most things take practice, time and effort.

Theresa says that when she's teaching, she tells her students they can call her after the class, but not to whine. They have to put in 4 hours of practicing until they really start to get the hang of it. People in the class were amazed that my little bluebird came out so well, but I told them I just have more hours of practice at this already. They'll get there, too! This is not something that happens overnight (unless you do have a computerized embroidery unit).

Here are some other tips I picked up from the class :
Karla says :
* Heavy foot and slow hands. If your stitches are not nice, speed up.
* You don't need locking stitches to start because you go over and over and over and over it.
* Hollis rips more than she sews. She doesn't ever cross threads.
What needles to use?
Hollis Chatelain uses a size 90 needle, but they leave bigger holes. When I first started doing free-motion embroidery, I had a lot of problems with breaking the embroidery threads and other issues that seemed to be solved by using a 90 needle. Now looking back, I was probably not threading my machine right through the tension discs (It takes a while to learn the ins and outs of a new machine.) In my experience, the size 90 needle does leave bigger holes initially, but the fabric eventually relaxes and closes in around the threads. Karla says that Bob at Superior Threads recommends a size 80 needle, so that's what I used for the workshop. And it's true--smaller holes.

The members of CinC, with a few guests. We were at Julie's Sewing Center in Appleton, WI.

Back Row : Connie, Karla Spinks (Teacher), Lois, JoAnne, Pat
Middle Row : Brenda, Betty, Lynda
Front Row : Michele (me), Theresa
In October, CinC sponsored a 2-day workshop on Thread Painting with Karla Spinks.