Sunday, May 29, 2011

Little Blue Bird : May Journal Quilt

I finished the Little Blue Bird Journal Quilt this weekend.
The blue and purple background is one of my hand-dyes; so is the pink cheesecloth. The Little Blue bird was free-motion embroidery stitched in a workshop last fall with Karla Spinks.

He's been sitting on on design wall for the past few months in this state. I wasn't quite sure how to proceed. I knew I wanted a cloud of pink for spring blossoms on the tree, but I also wanted to be able to see the sky through those blossom-laden branches. So a solid piece of fabric wouldn't work ... It took me a while to figure out I could use the cheesecloth for that purpose. So I top-stitched the pink cheesecloth onto the batting topped with the background fabric.

In this picture, I had just stitched down the branches, using a piece of quilting paper for placement of the branches. Once it's stitched on, you can easily tear away the quilt paper. For the branches, I made a machine-stitched cord out of 4 pieces of textured yarns. Lots of color in these branches (black, purple, brown and green) all twisted together.

Next, I added the little blue bird with a simple applique stitch and invisible thread. When I first made him, I had also embroidered a branch for him to grasp. That had to go, so I cut it off and let him grasp the yarn branches instead. Since the yarn branches are kind-of 3D, I had to add a little extra batting under the rest of the bird to make his head stand at an even height with the parts on top of the branches.

Next came the little flowers. These were cut off of a silk flower probably gotten at a thrift store. I had pulled the flowers off months ago, and tried to dye them. But they must be synthetic, as they would not take the color. They are not stark white, they took the slightest hint of color. For the centers, I added gold and pink beads. Some of the flowers were folded over or crushed, so I let them stay that way.

Detail of Blue Bird and Flowers.

Here it is trimmed to size and squared up awaiting the backing. [It is square : The design wall is tilted, so it looks a little wonky.] For the journal quilts, I usually do a simple envelope binding.

This is the stitching from the front through the batting layer.

The final step was to add a twisted yarn as a border (which you can see in the photo at the top of this post). It just needed a little something else to finish it off properly.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

NG with Citrasolv Set 3

National Geographic (November 2008 issue) dissolved with Citrasolv.
Love this technique!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Macro In a Mason Jar : Pink Sparkles

This is looking down into a large mason jar full of Christmas ornaments. I like pink splarkly things!

This is the side view. I actually use it as the base of a lamp--My favorite lamp!
Here are a few more views :

Sketchbook Challenge : Can't Resist This

The Sketchbook Challenge theme for May is "Can't Resist This." This is based on a picture from The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. I used a white crayon on white paper, with a blue water color wash. The paper was not designed for water color and it got kind of water-logged, so I decided to iron the page dry.--totally forgetting that it would also melt the wax crayon. LOL! The white disappeared, but it made a darker blue on the page.

Other things in my Sketchbook this month :

May Zentangle

The Red Dress. I saw a dress in a catalog, and decided it would be an easy shape to draw. Pen with NeoColor 2.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Dyeing with Spectra Bleeding Art Tissue

After the success of using this special tissue paper to dye silk, I wanted to try it on this cotton "folding" sun hat from Dharma. They also have silk sun hats for dyeing. I thought the cotton would offer better UV sun protection, so I went with the cotton rather than the silk. But now I have some ideas adding color to a silk sun hat, too!

Dharma says that you can use Procion dyes on these hats, however, the soda-ash fixative will wreak havoc with the metal hoop in the rim. So they recommend alternative coloring methods (fabric paints, for example). This method requires water to make the dye transfer, so I expected some rusting.

This is the hat covered in the now-dry tissue paper.

This is the folded hat ready to go into the little carrying case, which I also dyed in this session. I've been looking for a hat like this to take on trips. We always do a lot of walking, and I need to be careful about getting too much sun. These fit the bill perfectly!

My first impression was that the results seemed very faded and muted.

It looked like much of the color remained in the "spent" tissue.
Was it too cold in my basement wet studio? It actually looks much more striking as a sun-catcher than in regular light.

There is a slight bit of rust on the brim. Perhaps that could be used to advantage in another design?

The cheesecloth worked VERY well! Even the sop cloth (blue-green) took the color beautifully

The hat worked great working in the garden yesterday!

Inspired Surfaces : Out of the Cupboard Online Class

Lynda Monk and Carol McFee at Fibre-in-Form are offering another luscious surface design class : Inspired Surfaces : Out of the Cupboard. That's something I just cannot resist!

They are offering a free taster with Lesson 1 - Chapter 1 if you are curious. The focus is on using items you probably already have in stock (Aluminum Foil, newspaper, muslin/calico, and white school glue). I guess, I'd better get to work!

Cost is a very reasonable $34 US or 20 British Pounds.

Citrasolv Backgrounds : Round 2

Here is another round of Citrasolved National Geographic background pages.

I'm still amazed with these results! Enjoy!

How do I keep all these pages organized?
I seem to get about 45 usable pages from a single issue of NG. Many pages are 2-sided.
1) I put each page into a sheet protector, in a binder. I keep the issue cover so I know which issue these pages came from. They are usually so "transformed" with the Citrasolv dissolving the inks that you can't usually tell what the original image was.
2) Picassa helps me organize, view, and edit the digital versions so that I'll be able to use them in various ways -- like how about a new background for this blog?

Sunday, May 01, 2011

3CS April Journal Quilt : Red Wing Black Bird (Mock II)

This is the final installment (?) from the Red Wing Black Bird series that began as a simple sketch in my Sketchbook Challenge notebook. It later morphed into a paper collage, and finally grew into this full-fledged journal quilt.

Requirements : Use some of my hand dyed fabric.
* The green background was dyed in Feb 2009
* The green cheesecloth was dyed in Feb 2008

Size : about the size of a fat quarter

Notes : The cheesecloth is free-motion stitched to the wintergreen background fabric and batting. I just followed the crinkles and folds in the cheesecloth. My aim was to secure the cheesecloth down. My regular open-toe free-motion foot did not work at all with this cheesecloth. It kept catching on the strings. The open-toe zig-zag foot worked much better because it's sort of curled up at the front, like a ski; That way it's didn't catch. The real backing came later ... You can see how much I thread painted the grasses at the bottom. Unfortunately, they don't seem to show up much on the front-side. I am considering going over them with Neocolor 2 water-soluble crayons to make them stand out more ...

I liked the scrubby, ragged edge of the hand-dye and couldn't bear to trim it down when adding the backing fabric, so I managed to preserve that textured edge by attaching the back to the batting layer. It's a basic turned binding, envelope style.

The rock was made with a scrap from a pair of wool trousers that I managed to felt (by accident). Since I can't wear them anymore, I've discovered the fabric makes fantastic rocks. I just sort of crumbled it into a rock shape, pinned it in place and stitched it down. Then I added some yarns to add depth to the crevices. It's a great perch for this red-wing!

The bird is made from black felted wool. I started to attach the red/white patch on the wing by needle-felting, but soon realized that it would distort too much. So I went with Plan B : applique the wing at the shoulder and thread paint the red and white patch. That worked! The bird's wing is attached only on the shoulder side. The wing-tip can pull away from the bird body. In this picture you can see a slight shadow under the wing ...

If it had been a smaller quilt, the bird on the rock would have been enough of a focal point. But it looked like the bird was watching something in the sky--it needed something up there for balance ... but what? A dragon fly? A green marsh star? I considered beading something to put in the sky, but I knew that was likely to add years to finishing this piece. I am not a confident, nor an efficient beader. Plan B : Try to find a suitably hideous brooch at the thrift store. Enter this Emerald beauty found at the St. Vinny's in Madison, WI (They have really "good" junk there!) It's just the thing to balance this piece.