Sunday, August 5, 2018

Work in progress-Zinnia quilt

Original photo by me.  I grew the flower, too.

I’ve been busy.  I took a photo from my garden, photoshopped it to narrow & alter the color range a bit, printed on (I think) 18 sheets of paper & taped those together.  Outlined color areas with a red Sharpie so that the outlines would be visible on the back side of the paper, and color coded each area.  The large drawing (cartoon in artspeak) is divided into a 6 x 6 grid with a blue Sharpie, to make it easier to figure out where the pieces go.

altered photo

Part of the cartoon showing red outlines and color codes

Each piece is traced from the reverse side onto the paper backing of Soft Fuse fusible web, cut out, fused to the back of my fabric (my own hand dyed sateen), then cut out again and assembled.  Lighter colors underlap darker colors.  I separate the fusible from the darker fabric along the edge, insert the edge of the lighter fabric, and tack together with a hot iron.

Hand dyed fabrics selected and labeled

Pieces traced onto paper side of fusible web

Puzzle pieces cut out of fabric


 The trick is to keep the paper backing under everything or it will fuse to my drawing.  I got about ¾ done in 4 long days, and the rest a few days later.

Starting to put the puzzle together

3/4 done

Next step involves lots of threadwork to blend the colors.  Background will be solid black.

Ready for the next step

Background fabric was added, and the whole top fused to DecorBond.  Next, to choose thread colors.

Threadwork in progress.

More threadwork in progress.

This glove was brand new a week ago.

Threadwork almost complete.  A zillion thread tails to pull to the backside.

The backside

Threadwork now complete

Finished backside
The background was quilted a week ago, but...the more I thought about it, the more unhappy I was with the quilting. Lots of little tucks, and it did not flatten out with quilting. Part of the problem was that the entire top was fused to a sheet of DecorBond. So, the rows closest to the flower were ripped out, and I carefully peeled up the edges of the black background and cut the decor bond around the edges of the flower fabric. I laid towels on my cutting table, dampened the flower on both sides, and ironed it flat. Had to cut along the edges of several petals to get things flat, but it finally is.
The black background fabric was a bit stark, so the new background fabric is a bit more interesting, without being overpowering. I basted thee flower to the back along the stitching lines, cut away the fabric over the flower, leaving a good inch or so. With a lot of careful clipping and trimming, I turned under the edge of the black, pinned, and stitched it down close to the edge, working on 8-12 inches at a a time. 5 hours later, the background was attached. It’s basted, and the background is partially quilted now. And, this time, it’s flat!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Fabric Challenge Quilt Step by Step

Challenge pack with a fat quarter and rules, shown on back of quilt.
I participated in a quilt challenge a year ago, and while I was picking up my quilt, I picked up this year’s challenge packet.  Since the shop is 2 hours from my home, I planned my quilt while still in the store, and bought an extra yard of the fabric to use for the background.  The theme this year is to use a traditional quilt block name and make a new interpretation of the name.  The quilt had to finish at 30 x 30, and use a recognizable amount of the challenge fabric.  I had planned to do a maple tree interpreting the traditional maple leaf block, and to make the leaves from cast fiber.  Since the finished size is 30 x 30, I decided to make the background from 6 inch blocks.  I added 2 blue solids and flipped the color placement in each adjacent block.
Next, I enlarged and printed out a drawing of a red maple tree to the size needed for the piece, laid it on the back, and traced it onto the paper side of Wonder Under.  After fusing to brown fabric, it was carefully cut with embroidery scissors.  I drew some concentric circles starting in the center of the paper, and cut out the center areas first, working outward to keep from handling the already-cut areas.

What’s left of my challenge fabric. 

Two Maple Leaf blocks 

Cut out tree was carefully slid onto the quilt top, after peeling off the backing paper, then fused in place. 

Quilting started on the branches, shown from the back. 

Tree is quilted, and background will be as well (backside of quilt).  Lots of small spaces to quilt, and a ton of thread ends to pull to the inside. 

Cast fiber leaves, made by taking real leaves, covering with 2-3 layers of silk and bamboo roving, then wetted with soapy water, blotted, and brushed with textile medium.  When dry, the leaf shapes are cut out & leaves peeled off.  Casting leaves the imprint of the veins. 

More cast fiber leaves.  You can see the imprint of the veins.  Sometimes the leaves crumble and small pieces remain, as they did here.

Sheet of cast fiber.  Leaves wind up on the bottom until it’s dry, then shapes are cut out and leaves are peeled off. 

Not enough leaves.  I went to a friend’s house and gathered tiny new leaves from her Swamp red Maples.  Filled a phone book, then cast them all a couple days later. 
Still looking sparse in the leaf department.  I made a sheet of cast fiber and cut leaf outlines, 4 at a time, to use behind other leaves. 

Maybe enough leaves now.  Each is hand sewn down the center vein, leaving the edges free.  A few lines were embroidered to suggest ground, and the last few leaves were attached. 
 Detail of finished piece

Swamp Maple

At the quilt exhibit.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Advocate For Nature

Honoring Rachel Louise Carson,

Marine Biologist, writer, naturalist, one of most influential people of 20th century
An author of several books, and nature writer, Carson was the winner of National Book Award for The Sea Around Us.  She wrote Silent Spring in 1962 as a warning about chemical pesticide and fertilize use.  The book led to testimony before Congress and national television exposure in 1963.  Carson was vilified by chemical industry and some in government for speaking out, but was ultimately proven correct when studies of dead wildlife found high concentrations of chemical pesticides.   
Ocean scene with net overlay, attached only at the top.   Materials and techniques: hand dyed and commercial cottons, metallic mesh. cheesecloth, netting.

 Currently on display at:  The Art of Fiber III: Hidden Dreams, Arts Council of Livingston Parish, LA, through October 28, 2017.

Come join the fun!   Amy's Creative Side  is sponsoring the Blogger's Quilt Festival again this year! 

Music's Wonder Woman

Honoring Sarah Caldwell, (born March 6, 1924, Maryville, Missouri, U.S.—died March 23, 2006, Portland, Maine)
American opera conductor, musicologist, producer, impresario, international musical ambassador
Caldwell was the first woman to conduct at White House, USMC Band, Metropolitan Opera, and only the second woman to conduct the New York Philharmonic.  She also founded the Opera Company of Boston.  Caldwell was known for unusual presentations of standard works, innovative productions of challenging and difficult works; including traditional works in contemporary or different historical settings.  She often went back to the original scores, and also presented new modern work. As conductor and producer there, Caldwell established a reputation for innovation. Her pursuit of meaningful character interpretations and her concern for both musical quality and visual appeal drew to her productions many of the greatest opera singers of the time.
Depicted is my interpretation of Caldwell's production of 'Voyage to the Moon.'  She is conducting from a director's chair in front of the orchestra pit.  Materials and techniques: painted fusible interfacing, hand dyed and commercial cotton fabric, velveteen, metallic gimp braid, netting. 18 x 30.

Currently on display at:  The Art of Fiber III: Hidden Dreams, Arts Council of Livingston Parish, LA, through October 28, 2017.

Come join the fun!   Amy's Creative Side  is sponsoring the Blogger's Quilt Festival again this year! 

Monday, September 19, 2016

By the Light of the Silvery Moon

By the Light of the Silvery Moon, 18 x 30, 2015

What might you find in a moonlit Louisiana swamp?  Alligators and Luna Moths, among other nocturnal creatures.  Spanish moss, swaying in the nighttime breeze, as it hangs from Bald Cypress trees.  Lots of stars in the night sky.  Crickets chirping and cicadas trilling, along with a chorus of frogs.  Orb Weaver  and Banana spiders spinning their magical webs.  And the annoying whine of mosquitoes, no doubt, as they are sometimes nicknamed the Louisiana State Bird. Swirling air currents inspired by the sky in Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Much of my fiber art references nature, particularly the natural environs of my adopted home state.  While not a native to the area, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of the plants and animals, some of them endangered or threatened species, in the swamps, forests and bayous.  I selected By the Light of the Silvery Moon to interpret for the whimsical possibilities. 

The song, originally published in 1909, was written by Gus Edwards & Edward Madden.   A cartoon version with ink illustrations by Myron Waldman was produced in 1931 as part of Fleischer Studios Screen Songs theatrical cartoons.  They ran on television 30 years later, and I remember “follow[ing] the bouncing ball” to read the lyrics along the bottom of the screen.   Popular for years, the tune was used in/by numerous performers, recordings & films.  My challenge in making this quilt was depicting nature in a low-light situation, rather than my usual bold and bright colors.  


You can see all 175 quilts in the Fly Me to the Moon exhibit at the locations listed on Coordinator Susanne Jones's Website