Thursday, March 22, 2018

Tu Me Manques

I worked this up at the request of a dear friend who lost her husband a few years ago.  The butterfly has special meaning for her ...  and so does the purple.

Tu me manques is French for "I miss you."
Literally it is translated at "You are missing from me."

This one is more of the original, done over one of my coffee stain textures with salt. 

I actually printed them out and mailed them to her in a frame.  She received it this week, and was very happy to have them.  I'm glad. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Frank and Holly's Gi-normous Quilt Top is Done!

It's done!  It took the last 3 Sundays to work up just the 9-inch borders!
It's so big, I can't even get a good picture of it.  I may have to wait until show-n-share at Quilt Camp next weekend.
Perfect Mitered Corners!
I decided the best treatment for the borders would be to miter them.

I sewed the borders all together OFF the larger quilt top.  It's so big, it's difficult to work with.  This tactic made it a lot easier to handle.  By my calculations, it was about 12 yards to go around this king-size quilt.  Much easier to do with shorter widths of fabric than trying to wrestle the whole quilt top with every round.

Inside view of mitered corners.
To my delight, this is the first time mitered corners have worked out for me!  I'd remembered seeing a demo in the Fons and Porter magazine a while back.  They explained it in a way that made sense for me.  So I tried it, and the first corner came out perfect!  So did the 2nd one, then the third. And I thought for sure the 4th one would be the problem child, but that one worked out, too!  After 40 years of sewing, I finally have mitered corners licked!

 Close-up shot of the 9-inch borders.
The pale purple and green borders are actually flanges that were folded and sewn in, so there's an added dimension there that will give the long-armer fits!

And my mom still has a lot of left-over fabric!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Fence - Let's Do 52 - Week 12

Snow Fence makes pretty shadow patterns.

Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Cathedral Window Preview

 Cathedral Window stencil.  Rose Window by The Creative Iron. [Sorry-- It doesn't appear to be available for sale anymore.  This has been in my mom's stash for probably 10 years.] 

My mom had this cutout applique stencil with fusible already on it.  This saves so much time and effort cutting out all those little bits and pieces!   Been there; done that!

 This shows it fused and held up to a sunny window to emphasize the light through the colors.  
You never get this light effect after it's layered and quilted. 

Since I did those table toppers for family in France last year, I didn't have one to keep.  Ma let me have this, and I finally picked out a backing fabric for it :

This explosion of color is what it was BEFORE the black cathedral window stencil.  Really tames it down nicely, with color right where you need it!

Here it is in full, on the design wall.   At this point, it is only fused on.  I may decide to work on stitching / quilting it at Quilt Camp in a few weeks.  Or it may take longer to finish ...  It looked so neat, I wanted to share here.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Footpath - Let's Do 52 - Week 11

 Ruined Tower at Fairy Glen, Isle of Skye, Scotland
I think the official name is Ewen's Castle

Fairy Glen is one of our favorite places to visit on The Isle of Skye.  It should be some kind of national monument, or historical place, but instead it's just a bit on someone's farmland there.   If you follow the road to the end, you wind up in the farmer's yard.   Sheep graze the hills there (Watch your step!).      It's getting so many visitors these days who are not careful about disturbing the space ...  that I've really seen it get more run down and tired in recent visits.    It's sad, and magical, just the same.  

Photo Processing :
1) 2LO Texture as background : Fairy Tales 18
2) Ruined Tower at Fair Glen Photo - Blend Mode : Multiply
         Touch ups (remove people)
         RadLab Magical Black & White
3) Sparkle Brushes to add texture to the rocks and sky
4) On iPad in Distressed FX App,
         Add bird trio brush
         Add Azure Sky texture
5) Back to PhotoShop Elements to clean up a few bits in the sky
6) Final brighten

Here's the original photo for contrast.  

Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Polar Bear Under Northern Lights

Polar Bear Under Northern Lights

This wall quilt is finished!  I'm very happy with the way it turned out.  Northern lights and all!
Quite a departure from the original pattern, and even the kit I purchased from Going to Pieces Quilt Shop in Appleton, WI.

I used velvet for the background -- something most quilters would never do.  But hey-- it had the shimmery, northern lights effect I was shooting for, so I made it work.  It's not like a wall-hanging gets washed like a regular bed quilt.

Detail of the border stitching.

You can see the other posts about it in progress here :

Progress on the Polar Bear - November 25, 2017
Polar Bear in Progress - April 30, 2017

I actually finished it on New Year's Day, but just realized I had not posted the final pics.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Stencil-work on the Red Spice & Curry Quilt Top

I finally started doing the stencil-work on the Red Spice and Curry Quilt Top that needed an extra layer of something to tie it all together.

I'm using a stencil from The Stencil Lab, with Paint Sticks.

My method : I rub out some Paint Stick Color on a piece of freezer paper (The shiny side).  This is also known as palette paper.   Then I can spread it out and pick it up on the stencil brush, then add the color to the fabric.  IT would go on way too thick if I tried to "color" with the stick itself directly onto the fabric.

Although I was introduced to Paint Sticks about 10 years ago, when my Art Quilt Group was still meeting.  It also came up at The Sewing Expo at the local Tech School.  I think I was reminded of it in the Pepper Corey Scrap Quilting class.

Helpful Tip : I picked up a flannel-backed vinyl table cloth at Voldemart for less than $4.  I laid it on our dining room table with the soft fuzzy side up.  This served 1) to stabilize the quilt top and 2) protected the table beneath.  The Paint Sticks didn't seem to "bleed through" the fabric.

It's slow work.  I got the first tracing done in about 90 minutes.  That's the one in the middle.  I used the color Alizarin Red [top of post].   The 2nd one seemed to go a little faster -- I used a mixture of Burnt Sienna and Asphaltum, with copper highlights.

At first, I was thinking of just doing a quarter of the stencil in each corner as an anchor.  But the quilt top is bigger than I planned on.  Turns out 1 entire repeat of the complete stencil will fit in each corner.   I think I will do 3 more in the corners, and then fill in with fabric pain on stamps or other mark-makers.

As I worked, I realized I coulda/shoulda used different colors in different parts of the stencil.   I had a smallish orange block left over from Mande's quilt on which I tested the first colors (the oranges corresponded to the warm colors in this quilt).  This also let me try the stencil work/technique, get used to the brushes, etc.   I guess I can still add highlights to what's already done.  But then, I thought -- I want the stenciling to blend into the whole, not necessarily take over ...

The Paint Stick color does get lost in some of the darker patchwork.  Maybe I can go in with a little gold (or something) to highlight the edges? I'll have to think of something ...  My husband and friend Lynda suggested white when I was testing colors in PSE.  And I thought no way ...  but that is one color that would be visible in every block.  It just seems such a stark contrast as to NOT fit into the whole.  Maybe if that what was underneath and off-set a bit?

I know they say work in a ventilated area with Paint Sticks ...  but it really did not smell too bad.  I think I could take this project along to Quilt Camp in a few weeks.  I'll have a nice big rectangular table to work on there.  It's really the Do-Your-Own-Thang Retreat, so half the people are scrap-bookers there anyway.  No one will even batt an eye if I start doing surface design work on a quilt top.

Once those larger stencils are done, I may go back in with block prints and fabric pain to fill in some of the other areas.  I think that will go a lot faster than the slow work with the paint sticks.  For one thing, I can use a larger brush to fill in the stencil holes.  Or even make it more like a screen print, where you scrape the paint across the stencil holes. 

The wheels are turning in my brain ...  The Paint Stick stencil tracings need a new layer to help them stand out -- akin to a glaze with a kind of cracked ice texture over the top that lets the paint stick through.  I'll have to figure out what will stick to the Paint Stick after it's dried and set.  Does it have to be another Paint Stick product? or can I just use fabric paints? Or even acrylics?  Sponges and texture tools.  This could be fun!

Everything is a work in progress!  If this were some really special work-of-art quilt, I probably would have done more experimentation on other fabric.  But it's not, so I can afford to experiment.  By the last stencil, I'll have it all worked out!

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Bokeh - Let's Do 52 - Week 9


I used my Big-Girl camera (Canon EOS Rebel T3i) for this one, with the 50 mm lens.

Looks like the meta-data is off though.  I definitely shot this yesterday through the kitchen window, but the meta-data says March 17, 2017.  Hmmmh ...  I take such long breaks from using this camera because it's heavy, or the battery is perpetually dead--perhaps time stopped for it?

Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Fill the Frame - Let's Do 52 - Week 10

My Beautiful Sophie, the Newfie - Big as Life!

Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Scrap Abstracts

 Scrap Abstract #1

These card-making "sketch" layouts have been running across my feed on Pinterest in the last week.  Although card making is not my thing / medium, it occurred to me that these layouts were transferable to my world of fabric and stitch.  I didn't actually use the layouts as given, but it did get my mind thinking in terms of layering the elements.

Scrap Abstract #2
I was looking at my pile of scraps -- too big to throw out -- not really big enough to sew with ...  and I remembered a creativity warm-up that I learned about during The Creative Jumpstart Project a few years ago with Dina Wakely.   She recommends doing some "creative calisthenics" for 10 minutes to warm-up in your creative space, before you start your "real" projects.  Playing with color and shapes, and seeing what comes of it ...  That's what this reminds me of.

Scrap Abstract #3

I didn't want to invest a lot of time or effort in stitching these down, so I thought the easiest option wold be to glue-stick them into a sketchbook.  I suppose I could have turned them into fabric postcards, but again, I didn't want to take the time -- maybe someday I will take it to the next level.

So for now, I am enjoying playing with the colors and shapes to make these little abstracts.  Also reminds me of the waste-not-want not notebook/cards I started to use up paints, inks and wet media. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Silhouette - Let's Do 52 - Week 8

Cormorant at Sunset

Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Diamond-in-a Square 4-patch Posey Test Block

I worked up these 4-patch posey blocks about 10 years ago.  They've been sitting in a box with some of the finishing fabric ever since.  I think I was not happy with the traditional straight-on grid layout with sashing.  The blocks seemed kind of small, and I didn't want them to feel crowded in that grid.

The other day, I had an epiphany to enlarge and frame those old posey blocks with the diamond-in-a-square treatment.   I was finding tutorials about it, but the younger generation of quilters calls it "the economy block" -- I guess because you make the most of your fabric with very little waste.    Perhaps that was a response / backlash to a much more wasteful way to accomplish the same objective by sewing squares onto all 4 corners, then trimming off half that fabric to make the corner triangles -- I can see how that would seem wasteful.  I will admit that I used that method years ago on a storm-at-sea quilt, and it was a huge help to keep everything straight and true.

 Detail - 4-Patch Posey Diamond-within-a-Square

There are many tutorials out there for making the diamond-in-a square or economy block, like this one.  But only a few that help you make the size YOU want to make.    This Economy Quilt Block Tutorial Any Size tutorial from Melanie McNeil at Catbird Quilt Studio was the most helpful for me.  There is a formula for figuring our how big to cut your framing squares depending on the size of the original center.  But the numbers are so precise- down to 1/8th inch.  That doesn't leave a lot of room for the fudge factor.  Melanie's numbers are generous -- which I appreciate, making it easy to trim the finished blocks down to size, squaring them up in the process.  And her table made it easy for me to figure out what size I needed to cut my framing squares.   In my test block, I got perfect points, with a generous seam allowance.  That made me very happy!

For my own notes :
     Center Squares are about 4-3/4 inches
     Cut Black squares 4-1/4 inches
     Cut Pink Squares5-1/2 inches

Then I was trying to do the math to figure out how much fabric I'd need if I set these blocks on point, with an alternate block and setting triangles ...  which added up to 6 yards of fabric!  Hmmmh ...  That's a lot of fabric.  Just how big is this quilt going to be?

There were some very helpful web pages out there for figuring setting triangles, including some calculators like this one from Generations Quilt Patterns.  And after all that, I determined, I'd wind up with a monster-size quilt that would be bigger than a King.  No need to set these on point, and I don't need the extra space setting triangles would add. So, I can nix that idea.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

2-Ply Yarn - Wool and Silk

2-ply Wool and Silk Yarn

The Olympics leaves lots of down time in-between the action, so it's good to have something to do during commercials while you're waiting for those exquisite moments of grace or the agony of defeat--hence, spinning.

Here's that fiber before dizzing and spinning.  Nice stuff!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Progress on Holly's King-Size Quilt Top

I finished this stage of my mom's king-size quilt.   I really like the way it turned out!

The blocks were trimmed to 10 inches.
Sashing was cut to to 10 x 2-1/2 inches with cornerstone blocks cut 2-1/2 x 2-1/2 in.

 Deatail - Blue / Purple block.  I didn't notice the fish in the batik until I took the photo.  Neat!

 Gray Block with sashing.
This the same kind of block I used in my sister's quilt and in Aidin's Quilt.  Easy Peasy!
It is officially called Sonia's Windows, if you're looking for the pattern.   
The blocks work up fast -- 4 at a time out of strip sets!

Purple block with sashing.  The green is the "river that runs through" each and every block, representing the trees my Dad tends so faithfully.

The next step is to take it up to my mom's house, lay it on the bed, and figure out what we need for borders to bring it up to size. 

Glad I won[t have to quilt this puppy!  It's BIG!

Something Large - Let's Do 52 - Week 7

Elephant Portrait
"Something Large"

Photo Processing :
1) Jai Johnson Texture as background - Sunrise Over the Marsh
2) My own photo of a taxidermied elephant (sorry--I wish it had been alive in a natural habitat) at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.  Weird to see an elephant indorrs with the balcony in the background.
       I cut it out carefully (digitally) and made a clipping mask, then laid it on the JJ background
3) Merge visible layers
4) Topaz Impression - Rembrandt Portrait Filter
           Who knew this treatment / filter also worked for animals?

I am really happy with the way this turned out!

Here's my original elephant photo for contrast.
And to think this was a photo I considered deleting : What the heck do you do with an elephant indoors at such a goofy angle?

I have to say I DO love elephants, and other large animals like whales and Newfie dogs.  Someday I want to go to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee to see them up close. 

Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Dancing with the Dawn - Morning - Let's Do 52 - Week 6

"Dancing with the Dawn" or Morning
I hesitate to call it "Fire Walk with Me" due to the horror connotations Twin Peaks brings to the phrase.   But she does look like she's dancing with a big flame.

Photo Processing :
Layer 1 - 2LO Fairy Tales 8 Texture as background
Layer 2 - Cut out Dancer and Blend
Flatten Image
Layer 3 - Rad Lab Clarify - to add light --I would still like to see a little more light on her face ...  May still tinker with this one!
Layer 4 - Topaz Impression - Color Sketch 40% - to smooth and blend

More light in this version.  On the verge of dreams and waking ...

Here is my original photo of a belly dancer at the 2018 Door County Ren. Faire.

Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Red - Let's Do 52 - Week 5

Red Apples

Red and Black Medallion
made with Kaliedecam App aimed at one of my quilts.

Once again, I am participating in Denise Love's 2018 "Let's Do 52 : 52 Weeks of Photo Prompts" to kick start the lull in my photography.   If you'd like to join us, find out more at the link above.  The more the merrier!