Archive for the ‘Techniques’ Category

A sneak preview…Start your Art – Lyric Kinard

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

Art and quilt teacher and friend Lyric Kinard (website and Facebook and Instagram) delighted me recently when she asked if I’d like to be part of a bloghop to launch her new prompts deck of cards “Start Your Art”…of course!  The official bloghop is in about two weeks after International Quilt Festival, but I’ve had a chance to download the pdf and play a bit.

Hot off the press, Lyric Kinard’s Start Your Art deck of cards / prompts is available as an actual deck or a digital download. You can get the deck here at Lyric’s shop.

Then, not long ago, Laurie Russman, of neonkittyquilts on instagram and website, told me about the MegaPhoto app she uses to make “tweaked” photos.

Sitting waiting for my annual physical check-up, I decided to play–a prompt from Lyric’s deck plus MegaPhoto!  Lyric has some suggestions–like set a timer and keep it short–to get you started along with 48 exercises.  I hopped around the set randomly and selected one (and of course I forgot to write which prompt) that I could do on my phone while waiting.

I began with a frequently photographed location on my afternoon dog walks and used one of the MegaPhoto filters to get this image…all sorts of new ideas for quilts are funning (what a hoot, that was meant to be running, but I like the typo!) through my head.

To those of us who have been teaching ourselves art for a while, some of the prompts may be familiar, some are new, but I have to say I totally love having these on my phone where I can take advantage of those moments where you are somewhere without a book–a productive alternative to Facebook!  Even familiar prompts become new and are worth doing again. Then I tried another filter on the same photo–what a difference in mood!

Another filter in MegaPhoto –just look it up in your App Store. I believe there is a free version, but you can get rid of the ads and add a few extras for about $2.99.  

I tend to be pretty literal in my artwork, so many of Lyric’s prompts that require one to work in abstracts will be a good push for me.  This may be my favorite of my Mega Photo filters I used on this photo:

Love the prismatic, fish-eye look to this photo. I can see playing around with this type of composition and fracturing in an art quilt….maybe over winter? Or even…hmmm…printed onto cloth, then paint on the cloth, then quilt….hmmm….

See, that’s what happens with prompts:  they get the creative juices going.  They let you get out of your own way and try something that isn’t in your “usual wheel-house aka creative safe spot.”  I’ll do a proper review of the deck in mid-November when it’s my turn, but just wanted to let you know what I’m doing now that the boxes of stuff are shipped to Houston, it’s not yet time to pack clothes, and I’m noodling around with play time!

So I can heartily recommend Lyric’s Start Your Art.  I’ll play around with it more and check back with another review for the bloghop in mid-November.  Here’s the link again to this deck of cards:

An Apple for your favorite teacher

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

Recently made up a VERY quick and easy project for Janome America which is free for you to use… a felt apple pin for your favorite teacher.   Of course you could also make it in woven cloth, a lovely wool, anything you like, but a wool felt is fast, Fast, FAST…and fun!

 

A quick and easy project by Sarah Ann Smith for Janome America ©2018

I used leftover bits of felt–you could use black for the backing instead of the oatmeal felt I had, anything you want!  Including drafting the apple and sewing on the pin backing I think this took all of an hour to make.

The blanket/buttonhole appliqué stitch on my Janome 9400 make this quick and easy.

To find full instructions with more pictures, details and tips, visit the Janome blogpost for this project, here.

Thanks as always to Janome America for their support.  I’ve sewn on Janome machines for 15 years now, and they are the best.  Currently I’m using the 9400 and it is my dream machine!

 

Knits, Sergers, Cover Stitch machines, and more at Janome Education Summit 2018 Post #7

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

Thursday was a whirlwind as we finished up at lunch time.

Me with my Summit t-shirt (we also did some iron-press decals…this was a basic shirt with an altered neckline also done at breakneck pace) with my skirt tucked underneath. Even my lime suede sneakers go with it!

In that morning we had a presentation on My Fabric Designer Software by Eileen Roche and made a knit skirt using sergers and cover-stitch machines thanks to Girl Charlee.  The amount of machines and work Janome America put into having them onsite for us all to test-drive and learn was amazing–huge kudos to Janome America for such a great Summit!  And of course major thanks to the sponsors and presenters for all the goodies and best of all the learning!

Today I am actually wearing the skirt I made (photo above)…the project was to make a pencil skirt.  I’m afraid that pencil skirts and my body and lifestyle are not a match made in heaven, so once again I was the disobedient child and made a gathered skirt.

The fabric I chose…other choices were a solid denim look and a blue floral print. Heather Peterson’s Girl Charlee site is here, with a wide range of VERY reasonably priced knits. This particular fabric is still available as of early July 2018, here, and is only $8.50 a yard! It’s a lighter t-shirt weight skirt (so not too heavy for a full skirt) and is soft and comfy.

Owner Heather Peterson showed some of the fun projects she has made and gave us tips for sewing on knits.  For those who don’t have a serger, even the most basic sewing machines have an overlock stitch that you can use to whip up these fun things on your domestic machine.  What I learned:  don’t be afraid of knits!  You can do it!

Heather holding up a comfy knit dress

And on the screen behind her, tips:

Different types of knits….I had never heard of Vegan Leather….but it looks leather-ish and it actually stretches! I don’t think leather leggings are in my future, but maybe this might work on a quilt….hmmm…….

Some of the delectable fabrics at Girl Charlee

A couple knit projects up on the front table

The ladies who DID make the pencil skirt wore them and fell in love–the entire time I was thinking “I wish I had Ashley’s (DIL) measurements” because this project was ideal for her.  When I showed very petite Ashley the pattern provided (here) she was delighted and said “OMG, a pencil skirt that would actually FIT!”  The pattern has you start with your measurements, then subtract a bit, calculate the length, and presto, nearly instant skirt.   I used the full yard of fabric to make a nearly ankle-length skirt.  I didn’t have time to be afraid…we had to work FAST, so I serged up the side seams, serged the elastic (my first time ever doing that!) to the top, then switched over to the cover-stitch machine to stitch down the elastic and hem the skirt.

The hem of my skirt. I’ve never used a cover stitch machine before–I love the look of this three-needle hem. On a domestic machine, you can simulate the look of a cover stitch machine (or setting on a serger) by using a twin needle. The bobbin thread zig-zagging on the bottom side gives stretch to the hem, which means the threads don’t break.

After the summit I did some noodling around on the internet: the one issue I had was the fabric curling at the top edge of the hem.  Terial Magic would take care of that by stiffening the edge, but there is also stuff called wash-away tape that is 1/4″ wide.  That, placed on the cut edge, would hold the hem in place AND keep it from curling (which it does between the pins).  Thanks to Heather’s workshop I’m determined to take the fabric I bought to make leggings 2-4 years ago will be MADE UP into leggings this summer!  I’m not afraid any more!

Back to Eileen Roche– her company prints your designs (similar to Spoonflower) on a wide range of base goods (cottons, knits, poly, etc).  But she also offers software that works on PCs (sorry, not on Macs which is what I have) that helps you design repeats.  I could see having a lot of fun with this!

Here’s the print fabric website: https://www.myfabricdesigns.com and here’s where you find the software: https://www.inspiredbydime.com/inspiration-software/my-fabric-designer/

Although I’ve returned to earth after the rush of the Summit, just revisiting these photos has brought back what a great week this was.  A TON of good stuff packed into 3 full days!

Quilting Arts–my article on using your camera as a design tool

Saturday, July 7th, 2018

Delighted to share that I have a new article, “Use you camera as a Design Tool” in the August/September 2018 (just came out) issue of Quilting Arts magazine.  The article is inspired by my “Inspiration in the Ordinary” lecture which encourages quilters–traditional, art, modern, any and every kind–to look for inspiration in the world around them.  All the photos in this quilt and in my lecture were taken in my daily dog walkies and a couple forays (to the farmer’s market).

Delighted to be published in Quilting Arts magazine again…gosh, I just realized the first time I was published in QA (and in a national magazine ever) was twelve years ago!

The cover of the issue with my article and some great ones by friends that I can’t wait to read!

There are examples of my world (including my slippers), some challenges for you to try to think, or re-think, how you approach design.   After all, good design, a good composition, is just that.  It doesn’t matter if it is a photograph, a quilt, a painting, a garden.  The same principles apply.  In the next couple of weeks I’ll share a few more tidbits that didn’t fit into the article so by coming to my blog, you get even more!   Here’s today’s tidbit:  pause briefly and take three shots changing only the horizon line.

Look at what a difference changing the horizon line makes in your composition. Three quick snaps with your phone on a dog walk to practice design.

 

I’ll be back soon with more tidbits!

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Getting ready for the next quilt….the herald of summer in Maine

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

Before I can start in on the fusing and collaging process, I find that I now need to dye fabric specifically for a project.   While working on my Lilies of the Valley Quilt, I used up most of my good “summer” greens.   My next piece is for Explorations at the New England Quilt Museum (in Lowell, Mass.), a regional SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) show.  I’ve had several ideas I wanted to try for this piece, and really wanted to push myself to do something different and unexpected.  Unfortunately, those ideas are just not wanting to fit into the required vertical orientation and size required!   So I’m going to do a large piece on something I’ve been wanting to do for a while:  Maine’s lupines that bloom in late May and early June and herald the summer.

SAQA members from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont were invited to submit a body of work.  If selected, artists would then make a 30×50″ art quilt featuring a specific technique.  We were advised to submit several techniques, so I suggested dyeing, fused collage and machine quilting/threadwork.   I am delighted that I am one of 24 artists selected!  There will be two exhibits of 12 artists each.  We won’t know whether we will be in the Oct-Dec 2018 exhibit or the Jan-April 2019 exhibit until the works are completed and submitted August 1.  That means I need to work FAST!

I was chosen to showcase fused collage.  The exhibit is about techniques, with in depth information and supplementary materials.  From the acceptance letter:

In the exhibit, your piece will be accompanied by a number of items, including your artist statement, a brief bio, a photo of you in your studio, and materials which explain your technique. Each artist has a 20″ x 50″ area that they can use to explain their process. You can use process photos, sample pieces, written materials, even video presentations if you can figure out how to make it work.

But before I can fuse, I need the right COLORS to fuse.   Some years ago I made some cloth that I gave to my friend Kathy, who used it is a fabulous portrait of her granddaughter.   I thankfully kept notes of which dyes I used, and I call this combination “Kathy’s fabric.”  This time, I decided to make it not as dark—summer meadow greens instead of piney woods greens.

I start by dotting dye on, both navy and basic blue. I literally stick my latex-gloved fingers into the dye and daub it on. MANY classes with Carol Soderlund and many MANY yards of fabric and miles later, I can begin to predict what I will get because I tend to refer to my notes and books from the workshops, then go improv.

Then I add two or three yellows, because not just one will quite do what I want. Sometimes, I do a second cloth, as here, where I have actually mixed some greens instead of just doing yellow on blue.

For dye geeks, most of the time I prefer to paint dye onto cloth, then paint soda-ash/fixer solution on top, but this time I soda-soaked first, then daubed on the color.  When I want significant patterning, it’s soda-soak first.

The photo at the top of this post is the one which began with blue dots, then yellow, then greens.

Once I’ve gotten the color on, the fabric needs to batch so it moves under the table for several hours before washout, sometimes (as this time) overnight. Had to make some of my bright spring greens, too.

Then I decided to try to make a field with lupines in it, but blurry, to use as background at the top of the quilt.  I may have messed this one up…..

Sky at the top–good until I put some plastic over the top to batch it overnight. Apparently SOB there were stray dots of dye that didn’t get washed off properly last dyeing session. SOB.

This is what it looked like about six hours later. I like the way the dye is seeping up into the sky. This is when I covered it. SOB.  And most of those dots got covered up. 

This morning when uncovered. SOB. Random specks of pink in the sky. SOB. Will have to see after washout what remains.  Cover it up with tall lupines perhaps.  SOB.

I also decided to try ice dyeing for the first time, inspired by my friend Jim Vander Noot. I used a magazine holder because it was available to keep the fabric up out of the pooling, dripping dye (instead of a screen). Put another piece of cloth in the bottom of the tub to soak up the drips. I use pure dyes, not mixes which is more typical for ice dyeing, so I kinda winged it on this one. I sprinkled the dyes in the picture below on, then dribbled some yellow dye solution I had already mixed up as well.

Dyes sprinkled on.

Today I washed out….stuff in the washer now.  OH MY I am SOOOOOOO gonna do more ice dyeing…totally hooked!   Hope they look as spectacular washed and dried as they did rinsed out!

Stay tuned for an update.

And…gratuitous cat pic of the new kitten, Zabu (named after the Leapin’ lemur on Zoboomafu which the boys watched when they were little)

Sweetness, to be followed when awake by zooming and cavorting and wreaking kitty havoc.

#saqa, #fabriccollage, #artquilt,#artistsoninstagram, #fusedfabric

#saqaexplorations, #neqmexplorations, #saqa, #neqm, #saqamari

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