Saturday, September 25, 2010

Zentangle / Study of 2 Larkin Van Horn Pieces


I've been doodling at breakfast in the mornings after Oliver leaves for school.
That leaves me 15 minutes to doodle. It's amazing what you can accomplish in a week in just 15-minute blocks of time.

I'm a big fan of Larkin van Horn's exquisite work. The doodle above is a study on her piece, Another Dawn is Breaking. I thought if I study some of her work at this detail, I'd get the hang of doing them myself--and Zentangles, too! Of all the beading books out there, hers is the one I purchased as a reference : Beading on Fabric. Wonderful stuff!


This one a study on Larkin van Horn's Chaos of Creation.

Portrait in Blue


This one is a self-portrait in blue.


Here it is with a little more distance on it.


Even farther away ...

Note to self : I grabbed the wrong fusible for this one. Steam-a-Seam Lite, not the SAS Lite 2 with the tacky surface. The paper pattern kept falling away from the fabric and fusible during the cutting process. This one came out a bit stiff with all those layers. Stick with the SAS Lite 2 for best results.

Maria Elkins offers instructions for Beginning Portraits on the Quilting Arts website.

I have Quilt Camp coming up in 2 weeks. Yahoo! I'm hoping I can quiltwhisper the 3 portraits and finish them at Quilt Camp in October. Each of them is 8-1/2 x 11 inches, so that seems like an entirely do-able prospect.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Creative Cue : Treasure



It's all in the eye of the beholder. ;-) Wanna see what I did with it?

Last weekend, I took my husband on a "cheap date" to the junkyard. I was in search of an old brake rotor to use for rust dyeing. I found one. ;-) I needed DH to come along to make sure I didn't come home with a car full of old rusty stuff that I didn't really need.

There was so much there at the junkyard to choose from! When I told them what I was looking for and what I planned to do with it, they guys who worked there seemed amused, and told me where I'd find the pile of old brake rotors. Their advice, "Pick one that's not too greasy." Yeah--I didn't even think of that, but it was good advice!

I wish I would have brought my camera ... Maybe I'll go back someday just to take pictures of the mountains of junk and rust.

See other Creative Cues for Treasure.

September Rust Dyes


This is my favorite rust cookie tin doing it's magic ...

I was inspired by LuAnn Kessi's rust dyeing results, and just had to go another round before the season ends for the year.

So on Sunday, I got to work ...


Here is the fabric soaking in a 50/50 water/vinegar solution that makes the chemical process go faster. Some of the pieces had been dyed earlier, and I was unimpressed, so they are in the bin for another round. They actually look better wet than dry ...


Here's the little rusty wagon I use for rust-dyeing, with items that were batching for 4 days this week on the driveway. I turned the brake rotor daily so that the rusty liquor could penetrate more of the bundle. It worked marvelously!


This is the brake rotor right before I unwrapped it.


A piece of scrim that was crumbled onto the brake rotor.



This is what I crumbled into the bottom of the little red wagon.

Here's what I got (before rinsing and washing) :

Doesn't it look great wet?











Shibori / Arashi rusty pole wrapping.

Here's what I peeled off the pole :


Gypsy Quilter Visits Oshkosh


Lanette Edens, The Gypsy Quilter, came all the way from Savannah, Georgia, to be our special guest speaker at Lakeside Quilt Guild this month. It was a great evening! She is funny and energetic; she offered some advice and ideas that I haven't heard anywhere else. She also sells items that are difficult to find many other places.

She has been a quilt teacher for many years, so she can vouch for the gadgets and patterns she sells. The really do work and make your quilting lives easier.

The first thing I noticed on her table were replacement blades for the Martelli Rotary Cutters. If you have one, you know that the Dritz and Olfa replacement blades don't work because they have a different anchoring center. It's been difficult to find replacement blades anywhere -- but she had them! I now have a lifetime supply!

The Gypsy Quilter gave some advice about banishing your iron from the sewing room (except for fusible applique projects). She says that pressing after every seam will shrink your fabric as you work through a pattern. Things get wonky in a hurry. No wonder things don't fit or match by the time your done ... "Press" is not part of her vocabulary. The log cabin quilt behind her (at the top of this post) was made with Marti Michell's Log Cabin ABCs rulers and techniques. No pressing along the way--well, maybe not until the end.



I admit it, I bought a few things that night -- including the pattern and fabric pack for this Wild Girl pattern. Maybe I'll start that at Quilt Camp in October ... Some of the patterns are from Big Fork Bay Cotton Company. You've seen some of these patterns by Toni Whitney (and others)--but probably not all of them at once, and probably not up close and in real life!


Look at the threadwork on this Backyard Bear. Such a treat to see these finished pieces up close. It was a great night for inspiration. Thank you, Gypsy Quilter for

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Simple Photo Editing

I thought it would be a good idea to do a post on photo editing and how just a few simple edits can make a tremendous difference in your pictures. Admit it, it's not very often we take perfect picture right on the camera. Most pics can use a little work to make them even better. Even Ansel Adams did a lot of his work in the darkroom after the photos were taken. Fortunately, the advent of digital cameras and photo editing software makes this task fast and cheap these days.

I use Picasa, which is a free Download from Google. More about Picasa. But ANY photo editing software would offer these same basic tools to improve your pics.


This is the original photo of the kids swimming this past summer.
They are in the center of the photo (That's good!), but they are kind of far away. I don't really care about those people in the background, and one kid's face is in shadow. We can fix all of that! Read on ...

Picassa offers an "I'm Feeling Lucky" option where it automatically does a number of fixes all at once. Sometimes this works out great, and sometimes, you still need to do a little more to it manually. In this case [See photo below ...], "I'm Feeling Lucky" tried to balance the colors and light and sharpen the image (among other things). Aidin's face looks even darker now, but don't worry! We're not done yet ...



Next, I decided to crop the photo down so that the focus would be on the boys. I also wanted to make sure we had the trees and sky to show a sense of place, so I tried to balance the water in the foreground with the sky above them.


We're getting there!


Next, I added some fill light so we could actually see Aidin's face. I could have added more light, but I didn't want to lose the pretty pattern on the water. Now it's a pretty good picture!


I even went so far as to crop it again to zoom in on Oliver. Nice! You can really see the patterns on the water behind him. This was brought out in the "I'm Feeling Lucky" step where it sharpened the image. If I ever decided to turn this into a quilt, that step makes it easier to map out possible quilting lines for the water.

Photo editing software also has a number of effects and filters to let you do all sorts of other things. So have some fun and experiment! But always save a copy of your original, just in case you don't like where the explorations take you.

Creative Cue : Pair



See other Creative Cues for Pair.

Creative Cue : Stack


This probably looks really strange ... It's a sketch of a lone chimney standing among brushy bushes. When I was a kid, an old hermit lived in the house across the road from us. He had no plumbing or electricity there. The house had weathered to black, like an old unpainted barn. Well, one summer, he died there and the house was condemned. The County officials did a "controlled burn" to take down the house. The wooden parts of the house came down first, leaving a brick chimney which stood like a tower for several more days before it finally fell. Herder had died sitting next to that chimney. Perhaps it was his spirit and energy that worked so hard to keep it standing for a few days more.

Read the full story about the old hermit.

Other Ideas :

4-Patch Stacked Posey Quilt

See other Creative Cues for Stack.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Creative Cue : Light



This is a fabric postcard I made a while back, depicting Northern Lights.

See other Creative Cues for Light.

Eddie Vedder : Tattooed Everything



I have long-been a fan of Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam. I loved Eddie's hair in the early 1990s. I realized then that great hair didn't "just happen." I'm sure he worked at it.


Here it is at a distance, with the clutter of my studio edited out. ;-)


This is the pattern I started with, edges outlined in red as directed by Maria Elkins in the Quilting Arts instructions for Beginning Portraits. The photo is from a concert version of Black. "Tattooed Everything" is a line from the song.



The poster-ization process made a mess out of Eddie's hair, so I actually did that part manually with my own two eyes and a pencil. This pattern is a hybrid.

I'm planning to take a Quilt Whispering class later this fall, so that will help me plan out the quilting (and thread painting?) for these small pieces. They are only 8-1/2 x 11 inches. Here's the "New Oliver" Portrait I did a few weeks ago. I'm really happy with this technique!

This one uses the same color way as The New Oliver portrait. The burgundy plaids cried out grunge to me and wanted to be part of the Eddie piece. A couple of fat quarters go a long way on such small pieces.