Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WIP - Iris

Last week, I posted about an iris applique quilt I had started working on.  All I had done was dye the fabric and choose the picture.  I am a bit further along with this now.
This is the unfinished pastel painting I am going to use.  It is about  30 inches square.
As you can see in this photo, It is covered in acetate, which is what I use for pastel WIPs so they can be stacked and not get smudged.  I traced the main lines of the picture onto the acetate with a marker.
Then used the acetate as a master to trace a pattern on wide format paper.
This is my background fabric, which I have darkened a little at the top with pastel and textile medium.
I traced off each part of the iris separately and cut out the centre so I could audition and fussy cut the fabric.
Using these reverse templates, it was easy to find just the right area on the fabric.
It's very hard to see in this picture, but I traced along the inside of the templates with an iron off pen.
And then rough cut out the pieces.
I free cut some leaves and stems.
I cut my pieces out more carefully and glued them down with a glue stick (I find when I am thread painting, that a glue stick allows me to add more thread than I could if I used fusible web).
And that is where I am at!  Next stop thread painting.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Recycled collage

Forgive me if I have been remiss in getting back to everyone who has commented in the last week or so.  Needless to say, I will try to catch up on the computer stuff, but it is soooo hard to fit in when the creative juices are flowing.  And at the moment, they are!

OK, let's get the business out of the way.  There were five commenters (both here on blogger and at the hive) and I numbered you in time and date order.

The winner was number 4  which is Connie Haskell from creating the hive, whose address I have, so I will be sending six fat quarters out to you asap!

Now down to the creative stuff! 
Remember last Monday I was beginning a collage made from recycled bits and pieces.
This is my desk, whilst I was sorting out what I might use
And here, I am brightening up a few of my bits with nail polish.
Here are the raw materials I started with.  Beginning at the top right, are circles cut from clear plastic packaging and coloured with nail polish, going clockwise, next are some flowers from the same source as the circles, some more flowers cut from some free motion scraps, then some angelina scraps, then teabags, some rings cur from a spring, some black clasps from some machinery, some small washers, some crimpy flower like washers, some plastic rings, some led lights, some led holders, large plastic and metal rings, flowers cut from vinyl, flowers cut from gum wrappers, flowers cut from coloured tyvek scraps and lastly flowers cut from foil packaging.

I think you might all have an idea of my theme, now.  Lisa you were right with the money!

Here is a more complete layout idea - at least, this is how I have bagged them up for sewing.
Here is the first block sewn.  I have put some red whipstitches along the edge of the plasterer's tape and some tied blue thread in the corners.  I attached a circle of dyed batting from my felting scraps with a green blanket stitch.  Next came a flower cut from plastic painted with nail polish.  The red petals are made from tiny springs that I have painted, then sewed the ends together to form a loop,  and the flower centre is a small blue coloured crimpy washer.  I have put a few french knots in blue in the centre (perhaps they should be orange?).
Here is the second block.  On this one I have put some half cross stitches in blue across the diagonal on the plasterer's tape, then added a tea bag/tyvek flower on the other corners with a cross stitch.
Next, I added a plastic ring, secured by alternating red and blue stitches.
The flower in the centre is made from one large washer with six smaller washers arranged over the top of it.  In this picture, there is nothin in the centre.  I took the centre out to get a good scan.
Here it is with the centre in, an LED from some old electronic parts.

Since the blocks are generally in sets of four,  I have more of each of these two, in other colour combinations and then another two sets to finish.
The blocks are about 3 1/2 inches, so the whole piece will probably be about 16 inches square, depending on how much space I leave between the blocks on the backing.
Oh, and I forgot - the thread I am using is from one of my waste bags from embroidery, so even that is recycled!

Congrats Connie, I'll be heading to the PO tomorrow, which is craft group day at our community house and hopefully I'll have another giveaway before Christmas!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Snow gum bark

Sorry about yesterday, folks, the hubby came home from town with a nasty cough and headache, so I didn't get onto the net, but today has been a great day for creating!
I have been wanting to have a go at screen printing for a while and I decided today was just the day.  I need some fabric for the bark on my snow gums in the landscape I am working on.
Remember this sketch?  At present I am working on the leafy layer, but will be needing some tree bark soon.
Here's my stylised sketch of some snow gum bark.  It's very bright, isn't it?  But for anyone out there who has never seen a snow gum, here, here and here are a few links that will show you that my sketch is actually a little subdued.
I am not using a store bought screen, just a piece of organza stretched on a frame, then covered around the edges with duct tape.  It worked really well for me. Kerr Grabowski, in Adventures in surface design, said it works ok for most things.
Here are my home made bits and pieces on my table wich has been lined with some old fabric..
The printing boards are made from polystyrene sheets cut from a box, with batting and fabric added on top.
 I started out by laying a paper stencil down, and pulling some yellow and brown down it.
The result was interesting, but not quite what I wanted, but I could see some interesting streaks where the colours went together.  (You will notice I am just using some scrap floral fabric), so I got rid of the stencil and went with lots of colours.
I think my textile paint really needed to be thinned a bit, as I had trouble getting it on as you can see.
But this was the result and I was really pleased with the textures created by the different colours streaking.
I made two of these (actually four, because the fabric was two screens long) and here are the final results

I was really quite pleased with these, and went on to make two more slightly different ones
This one had a colour range that is totally over the top, but I loved it and the streaky texture.
This one was more in keeping with my colour range for my tree, but a little toned down for the less bright parts of the tree.
The next thing I wanted to try was using pastels.
 On this piece of fabric, I screened with the leftover paint from my waste (just because I liked the browny colour of it) and then put a texture plate underneath the fabric (simply made by drawing lines with hot glue on cardboard)

The lines that came up are from drawing a square pastel over the texture plate.  I can see with a bit more fiddling, this technique might be useful for making lines.  Next time, I will try it with string glued to the card to get more consistent lines.

 The next thing I tried was drawing with the pastels on the screen.  Above is a screen with lines drawn in pastel,  It transferred well, when I squeegeed some extender across it, but I couldn't help but get my fingers dirty.  As the fabric was wet, I just hoed in and added more pastel by hand.
After this I dispensed with the screen and did some playing around with pastels.
Here are two long skinny bits of fabric ironed onto freezer paper and then drawn on with pastels.
Then I just painted over them with diluted textile medium and a great big brush. Now that the fabric was wet, it fell off the freezer paper and needed to be pinned, but I found that the pastel really went on well, so I added some more.
This reminded me of when we were at kindergarten and we used those hard faber-castel chalks on wet cartridge paper, so...
I just wet some newspaper and had a go...and I really liked it.  When the paper is wet, the pastel goes on quite thick and some colours are a little opaque (black and white), whilst others (bright red) are a little transparent.
The newspaper was very thin and fragile, but I liked the semi transparent texture.  I think I might have to try this out with my next batch of fabric paper.

So all in all, It was a very productive day. I do find, that when I play around like this I am more likely to find things I like and will use again.  Serendipity.

There's a lot more experimenting I need to do with the screen, but also with the wet fabric and dry media.  I wonder if......

Friday, November 25, 2011


I have been toying with the idea of a leaf quilt along the lines of Beryl Taylor's heart quilt for a few months and this week I finally got started.  Here's a brief outline of my construction, which is slightly different to that in Beryl Taylor's book "Mixed Media Explorations" ,
Above, with the book are my design notes and some silk fabrics, chosen for the leaves.
Here, I have selected a cream silk background (A large quilt on which to attach the little mini quilts), and some satins and silks for the mini quilts which will be about 4" square and felt squares for the batting in the mini.quilts.
Here, I have my silk leaves cut out,  cardboard backings and batting to go in the leaves and at back, the  mini quilt foundations and felt, spread out.
Above, I have basted the leaves together, ready to embroider and layered the little mini quilts ready to quilt.
Here are all my pieces set out in a grid arrangement so you have an idea of what my quilt will look like when I have finished all the and sewing.  Of course it is totally unembellished here, but it will be totally overembellished when I am finished with it, lol.
I have actually found that I like this type of work, and get a lot done in the evenings.

Laura Kemshall commented once in a design matters video that it can be easier to do complicated quilting sometimes, because the simple, repetitious quilting become so boring, it is easier to persist at something more complicated.  I find the same thing with constructing my pieces.  It is not that I am patient, or persistent, as some people comment when they see some of my complicated work, it is just that fiddly, complicated work keeps me interested where something simple would bore me and I would never finish it.

Anyway - as I say, "That's my story and I'm sticking to it"

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A few updates

OK, so I don't have  much of any one project to show you today.
Instead I have updates on three  projects.
The first update is from yesterday.  The first block of the second red quilt is finished.
Obviously, this is not really finished, but it is as finished as I can go before I have all the blocks finished as the binding and quilting will need to happen when the size is finalised (as I mentioned yesterday).

The second update is from last week.  I started a new landscape which is of some snow gums.  Last week I began to add the sky and this week I have much of the background hills in place.
Both the sky and these hills have been sewn down quickly around the edges and now I am fiddling with leaf shapes, as these and the foreground hills will be next.  It might surprise you, that all of the hills are cut from the same fabric as the top two blue hills.
The lower hills were soaked in a strong tea solution and dried and this gave them a bit of rocky definition.
don't forget, There is a ton of thread painting to go on top, so I am not concerned with how harsh the value changes are at present.

The next update is from Monday's recycled collage.  One of the guesses about what theme I am  using is very close,  but you can still ad more comments to that post until  I draw the winner on Monday (or Sun in US)
Remember all the bits and pieces?
I took the decorating fabric samples, which were strips of textured weaves, about 3 by 6 inches, and cut a square (no rulers involved here) off one end.  Then I frayed all the edges.
I laid out all the 'squares' and put a little bit of the plasterer's mesh in the centre of each.  This mesh, which I found at a friend's  home building site, is for plastering over joins in walls.  It is flexible, like netting and sticky.  I just added it for a bit of texture.
Next, I started playing with my little found bits. 
In the two middle rows above, you can see I have put some of my bits down to create motif ideas.  None of these is set in stone, but I did like these two after playing for a while.
The top arrangement (or second row) has large circles with a small flat washer and a crinkled washer (the technical name of which escapes me right now), in the centre.
The arrangement below is composed of a circle of dyed batting, a funny little metal tube with a grey bit at the end, and a lttle gripper thingy, which could hold a piece of dowel or something circular.
I collect some of these interesting bits from my husband's  workshop debris and from machines that no longer work, like cd drives and computer parts.
Anyway, I still have a bit of doctoring of parts and arranging to do before I start to put this piece together.
I don't think my theme is quite noticeable yet, but remember, keep trying here. lol.  Someone has guessed very close, but the winner of the fat quarters will be a random commenter.  (PS this also applys to comments on the hive)

Remember to play, it's the best route to getting creativity in your day.