Sunday, August 28, 2011

Piper Cub at Sunset Wall Hanging

I finished this little wall hanging this afternoon to commemorate J's cross country flight from Rhode Island to Idaho to begin a new life as a wildlife pilot. She's living the dream!

The sheers play games with the flash, and make this difficult to photograph. In real life, the sunset colors are richer and deeper, not so washed out.

It started out a few weeks ago with this watercolor study in my sketchbook (just after J had passed through Oshkosh on her historic cross-country flight). I wasn't thinking that it would actually become a quilt, but sometimes these things take on a life of their own ... lucky for J!

I started out with this piece of hand-painted Skye Dye from a class with Mickey Lawler in 2008. This makes the piece about fat-quarter size.

The next step was to layer it with this sunset-colored sheer. I wasn't sure how this would work out since the sheer felt pretty synthetic ..

Next step is to layer with the batting and stitch-stitch-stitch. I got to use some of my new Sulky Blendable threads. I used the walking foot to stitch gentle arcs across the face of the sky. I knew the sheers would be slippery, and wanted assurance that things would go together well. This worked!

Next, I made freezer paper stencils to cut out the silhouettes of the mountains and the Piper Cub out of wool felt. These were appliqued down by machine. Add a backing and a proper binding and Viola! Almost ready to gift ...

J--It may be another week before I get this in the mail to you. I'm kind of a slacker when it comes to affixing lables and hanging pockets.

Detail of the Mountains and Sunset Sky.

This is the backing fabric and binding, in case you're wondering what that wild border could be. Wink!

This is J and her Piper Cub on her stop in WI this summer. Yes, I got a ride!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Playing with Red Barn Scraps

With some of the scraps from Unca Ray's Red Barn Quilt, I made a cover for this portable sewing kit. It's really a re-purposed box of matches. This is the sewing kit I keep in my Quilt Guild Bag. This way, I'm always prepared in case they give us some kind of small project to do on Guild night. The safety pin marks to top of the box--so I don't open it up-side-down by accident.

I also made this small journal quilt using more scraps from Unca Ray's Red Barn Quilt. The Rooster is a silhouette made from some black landscape cloth (It seems very similar to Lutradur, and is available locally for much less $$) along with a layer of bronze-sparkly tulle. There's a lot of reflection in this picture, so I took another one below.

I traced the outline of the rooster onto Quilting paper. Then layered it (from the bottom up : batting, red patchwork, black landscape cloth, sparkly tulle, quilt paper), and sewed it. Then I clipped carefully around the rooster; Free-motion quilted the rest of the background, added a backing and finished it with some yarn on the edges. It's 9-1/2 x 9 in.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge : Fire Flies : Summer Wonders

These Fire Flies are done with Neocolor 2 Watercolor Crayons.

Remember catching fireflies when you were a kid, and putting them in a jar, thinking they'd be your lantern? They were never quite the same contained in that jar as they were flying free. We've seen a few around here this summer.

On J's cross country trek in her plane, she hopped from small airport to small airport. Many nights she slept under the wing of her plane. One night she said the fireflies were dancing in a field of soy beans in the midwest. I couldn't figure out how to render that scene, so I opted for the above. Maybe someday I'll figure it out ...

Sketchbook Challenge : Ordinary Objects

Piper Cub at Sunset
The original was done in gouache watercolors on some heavy watercolor paper (What a difference that makes!). I'm going to give the original to my best buddy J (Shhh! Don't tell her ...) since this is a silhouette of her plane, a Piper Cub.

This summer, she flew across the country, from Rhode Island to Idaho, to start her dream job as a wildlife biologist, tracking animals with radio collars (among many other things). She did stop to see me in WI. ;-)

Although seeing one of these little planes, and even flying in one, is a rare treat for most of us, this is an everyday thing for her. See how I'm shoe-horning it into the August Sketchbook Challenge theme : Everyday Objects?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rust-Dyed and Printed Messenger Bag

My friend J. was visiting at the end of July, on her way to ID to start her dream job as a wildlife biologist flying her own plane, tracking animals with radio collars (among many other things!). She will be paid to do what she loves best -- Fly! You can tell how proud I am of her--and I'm not even her mother! ;-)

She left her "Iron Bitch Pilot" messenger bag for me to rust dye. She designed the IBP patch for a group of female pilots she likes to hang out with. They realized they liked to talk about flying WITHOUT men around, and the IBP was born.

This is the bag soaked in vinegar solution, wrapped around rusty objects and left to marinate in the sun for several days. It's always a surprise to see what you'll get!

This is a favorite rusty trivet that I had hoped would leave an imprint on the front of the bag ... It left some rusty streaks but no visible outlines. So I moved on to Plan B and used some fabric paint to make the impressions :

I know J will add her own marks to this bag as well. I'll be mailing it off to her on Saturday. ;-)

Monday, August 08, 2011

Writing in Style

I just ordered this lovely glass dip pen from Shakespeare's Den. I saw some beautiful glass pens at the Ren Faire a few weeks ago, where I got to try them out. They have scores in the tip that hold the ink so you can write more than a few letters at a time before having to re-dip. Smart engineering!

This summer, I'm exploring some homemade ink recipes. One recipe is just a strong black tea with gum Arabic. It makes a convincing and very simple, nice smelling brown ink.

But so far, I am not at all impressed with the goose feather I cut Shakespeare-in-Love style, nor the cheap calligraphy nibs. Seems like these both worked a lot better when I was a kid writing secret messages in invisible ink ... Oh yeah, did you know that lemon juice and milk make a great invisible ink that appears when you heat the paper in a candle flame?

In a week, I should have more writing samples with my elegant new glass pen! And another ink recipe to report on. The walnuts have been falling to the ground, and I've been collecting them for just this occasion! Tonight, I put a pot on the stove to simmer and reduce to a fine brown writing ink. They need to cool, be strained and left to sit for a month ...

Eureka! Unca Ray's Red Barn Quilt is Done!

This is just half of the quilt.

At the thrift store last week, I found some Red Barn coffee mugs. Of course, I had to get them and make them part of the gift. ;-) These reds are more true to the actual colors of the quilt. I love this picture of Ray's hand with the coffee mug. He always has a cup or coffee! Or a beer ...

First look ...

He likes it!

Me and Unca Ray with his new quilt.

I like it so much I told him I just might keep it! Actually, I have enough blocks left over to make a smaller (lap size?) quilt. I'll have to start putting that together ...

Notes on the Making of The Red Barn Quilt
The pattern is by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. The "Band Together" pattern appeared in the Feb 2010 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting.

The Quilting Pantograph is "Wind Water" Pantograph by Kathie James. It looks kind of like flames rolling over the rich reds and browns. It just makes me think of Christmas at Fanny & Alexander's grandmother's house in Sweden. ;-)

Here's a shot of the quilting from the back where you can see it a little better. The colors in the photo have been enhanced to highlight the stitching. I did the quilting on the Tin Lizzie at It's Sew Rite, here in Oshkosh. It only took 3.5 hours. It sure beats 3-1/2 months of weekends to finish it!

Batting : Hobbs 80/20 BLACK batting. Since the colors of the top were so dark, I didn't want bearding to be an issue. I tried to order 2 black poly batts online, but they were both unavailable. Who knew black batts would ever be so popular or difficult to find? Unca Ray wanted a light quilt, not so densely quilted. He didn't want to feel like he was sleeping under a carpet. (I remember those heavy moving blankets we slept under at Grappa Eddie's house! Sheesh!)

Threads : I used a vareigated red to brown thread by Guterman (Col. 9959 : Berry Berry). It blended really well for quilting.
Black cotton by Connecting Threads for piecing.