Archive for the ‘Machine Quilting’ Category

Lupines: the quilting begins!

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Ever so slightly ahead of schedule, I have begun quilting on the Lupines. Luckily (and one reason I chose this imagery) this will be easy quilting.  And yes, once again, I LOVE MY BERNINA Q20.  Crazy expensive and worth Every. Single. Penny.   Lots and LOTS of pennies.

This morning I finished basting the Lupines quilt.  I decided to try something I haven’t done before:  a double batt.   I definitely wanted to use wool, but I haven’t been able to find a source for my favorite Matilda’s Own Wool-poly blend batt in the US recently, and I’m hoarding my last batt.   So I used  Quilters’ Dream Wool which is much fluffier; I fused my top to that.

BUT I was concerned about distortion because of the fluffiness–it just didn’t feel like it would hang well and be stable.  Dreamy (pun intended) in a bed, lap or snuggle quilt, but by itself on a densely quilted wall quilt?  Not so much.  So I took the only cotton batting I had, Quilters Dream Select, and layered that underneath the wool.  If I had had Request, the thinnest, I would have used that instead.  Finally, spray basted the backing and safety pinned intermittently.  I am using up long lengths of print fabric in my stash when they suit the quilt–time to move them along.  Will have to dye something to match for facings and hanging sleeve.

I also selected thread yesterday afternoon and this morning.

When I choose thread for a quilt, I “test drive” it by drizzling on the surface. If it works, it goes in the shallow box. I probably won’t use all of these, but will use most of them–about half the solid greens and almost all of the rest. And I added a medium purple this morning and will likely not use the dark purple in the box at all.

Things I have learned so far:

  • Painting a nonwoven is a good thing.  But if that nonwoven is Pellon 65 heavyweight interfacing, it is somewhat like using construction paper.  Will do the non woven thing again, but will look for something softer yet still dense (so no shadow through).
  • Mistyfuse is by far my fusible of choice.  But it behaves differently on the interfacing than it does on cloth.  If I fuse this particular interfacing again, I will use TWO layers of Mistyfuse–it is plenty fine and easy to stitch, and it will help this painted interfacing stick better–see photo.

Because of the difference (in porosity maybe?) between fabric and interfacing, my fusible isn’t sticking quite as well as usual. So I have re-fused various spots, and in a couple of cases tucked snippets of Mistyfuse under the stubborn lifting petals. I found, luckily, that if I am careful I can still quilt those lifting petals because the interfacing doesn’t wobble around like fabric.

And to my astonishment, I quilted almost five of the six purple lupines today.  I have a couple of the tops where I will use pale lilac or cream unstitched as of this evening, but I am definitely farther along than I thought I would be.

Quilting in progress…done on the right, not done on the left. Using just one purple thread to stitch down the petals/quilt down the petals is working out OK despite the value changes from petal to petal.

That means the “after Eli goes back to college” period may be less frantic than I had feared. YIPPEE!  Barring catastrophe, I will be one and able to take photos and submit then ON TIME.  Stay tuned!

 

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She persisted/Ocean quilt published in Quiltmania

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

My ocean quilt, She persisted in her quest to reach the shore and sing the anthem of the sea, was one of 16 quilts featured in an article on the 2018 Road to California shows (where it won a First Place art quilt ribbon no less). The other quilts in the article are all stupendous, so I am quite blown away and honored to be included.

Thank you so much Martha Sielman, Executive Director of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) and Quiltmania! Martha emailed a couple days ago asking if I had seen my quilt, She persisted in her quest to reach the shore and sing the anthem of the sea, in Quiltmania. I had no clue and the nearest place that might (?) still have a copy of this issue is over an hour away. So Martha sent me her copy which I’ll now add to my groaning (lucky me!) shelf of published works. Sixteen quilts, all wonderful, widely ranging in style, were published from the Road to California 2018 show. I SO need to go see this show. Maybe I need to apply to teach! Thank you again, Martha!!!

Quiltmania, a French magazine that is also published in English and available in the US

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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Pink Oyster Mushrooms for Dinner@8, Celebrating 10 Years

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

 

Here’s what I wrote on my entry: Beneath the Surface of the Edges of the pink oyster mushrooms, the Space Between the gills forms rhythmic Patterns of shadow and light. My Affinity for fungi and lichen extends to the inspiration I find in the world around me in Maine, even at at the Belfast Farmer’s Market. Dyeing and painting white cloth is part of my artistic voice, my Personal Iconography.

I am over the moon excited that Pink Oyster Mushrooms has been juried in to the 10th and final (SOB) Dinner at Eight exhibit and that I can now share it with you–I made this back in the January to April time frame, and keeping it under wraps has been difficult!  From that website, “Dinner at Eight Artists is pleased to present The Best of Dinner at Eight Artists: Celebrating 10 Years of Exhibitions. Each artist selected a theme from the last 9 years for what will be our last exhibition. Quilt size is 30” wide by 50” high. The exhibit is sponsored by Havel’s Sewing.

“Artists considered the following:

We’ve explored the Edges and the Spaces Between

We examined things Beneath the Surface

We all admit that we have Rituals

We shared our Exquisite Moments

We Reflected upon ourselves and the world around us

We expressed our Affinity for certain things

We’ve noted the many Patterns in our lives

and expressed ourselves through Personal Iconography”

First and foremost:  Yes, oyster mushrooms really can be PINK!   Here’s the photo I took at the Belfast (Maine) Farmer’s Market last September:

Yes, the mushrooms really grew that color of pink!!!!! The tops are the usual brown, and apparently they lose the vibrant color when cooked, but still….Gorgeous!

Here are two detail images.  For this piece, I dyed the background fabric a very pale, warm pink. Then I used Tsukinenko inks mixed with aloe vera gel (the white kind from the organic food shop that is about 98 percent gel, not the green yuck that is barely 60 percent aloe gel from Rite Aid) and painted the browns and pink shadows on the gills.  I used stabilizer underneath and did all the stitching on the curled tops before layering up with batting and backing.  I then quilted the wholecloth top, outlined the brown tops/edges, and added a little more quilting where necessary to prevent buckling on the brown areas.

Detail 1

Detail 2

It has been such an honor to be a part of so many of the Dinner at Eight exhibits.   I am a better artist and a happier person for having met and worked with and become friends with the strong women involved, starting with Jamie Fingal (http://www.jamiefingaldesigns.com) and Leslie Tucker Jenison (http://www.leslietuckerjenison.com).  I am proud beyond belief of the work I have done for these exhibits, which I consider to be the best of everything I have done, and deliriously happy to be included in this final exhibit.  THANK YOU, Jamie, Leslie and all the Dinner@8 artists.

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Janome Education Summit, Post #2–overview and quilting with rulers

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Quilting with Rulers with Amy Dreisbach Johnson of Sew Simple of Lynchburg (Va.) and Amy’s Quilting Adventures

So before I begin with our Tuesday afternoon session, let me set the stage:

Imagine: 2 1/2 plus days in a room with like minded sewing geeks on the best machines around doing what we love best, with a wide range of talents from garments to funky fabrics to quilting to Janome Educators

Upon reflection, the range of techniques and machines we covered in 2 1/2 days was remarkable! Kudos to Janome’s Education Coordinator Regena Carlevaro for a fantastic Summit with amazing sponsors and projects.  Our schedule was:

  • Monday evening:  arrival and welcome reception with munchies
  • Tuesday morning:  Kimberly Einmo, Welcome and Flying Geese on the 9400
  • Tuesday afternoon:  Amy Dreisbach Johnson and Ruler Work on the 9400, Janome David on Marketing Trends
  • Tuesday evening:  Pizza Pajama Party and more fun sewing and playing and seeing everyone’s quilt blocks, presentation on using the Binding Attachment with Liz Thompson
  • Wednesday morning:  Working with Double Gauze and Luxe Cuddle from Shannon Fabrics–OMG …WAIT until you see the furs…not cheesy fake stuff but feels like heaven fake stuff…bring on the winter snuggles AND  Build your Brand and Design your own custom Fabrics with Eileen Roche
  • Wednesday afternoon:  Exploring AcuSketch for Quilting with Tamara Kate
  • Wednesday evening:  a dream excursion:  dinner cruise on the Hudson at sunset!
  • Thursday morning:  More on Build your Brand with Custom Fabric, then Serge Forward with Heather Peterson of Girl Charlee and making a  knit pencil skirt (custom sized) on a Janome Serger and Cover stitch machine
  • Then, sigh, the buzz and comradeship drew to a close and we all spread to the corners of the continent going home.

Many of us are blogging so I’m going to set up a separate post with links to posts from the Summit, here.  I’ll add to this as more posts go up.

Back to Amy and Ruler work:

The day started out with a real boost–Amy came up to me and said my book, Threadwork Unraveled, was one of the ones she used to learn how to free-motion quilt and that I was part of how she got to where she is today…isn’t that kind and sweet and amazing?   Squee!  She certainly has learned…look at some of her her amazing quilting (more at the end of the post):

Some of Amy Johnson’s ruler-work quilting.  She does what I love:  combining linear with curvy designs to heighten the contrast and make a quilt top sing.

Many of the participants had never done ruler work.  The 9400 machines were equipped with the latest upgrade and the ruler-work foot.  WE were equipped with (Oh my!) a set of Janome rulers made by Westalee!  Amy gave each of us a quilt sandwich with a small square in a square design printed on fabric (done at sponsor MyFabricDesigns.com), which we could quilt using the design she provided to teach using the various rulers in our kit.  Of course (this will be a recurring theme) I decided to do the quilting my way instead–sorry, I am SO not a hearts person!

I decided to start out combining ruler work (the pumpkin seed designs and the first shape in the orange) with free-motion work.  Compare this to how it looked when I was done:

Doing some fill work around the curvy-pointy-shape in the border to increase contrast. It’s hard to see in this photo but I’ve done bubbles in white in the background of the center square.  Straight line outlining done with ruler foot.  And notice that pull-out extra light on the 9400…LOVE IT! Use it all the time at home.

And some more delectables from Amy’s work:

Love the combination of swoopy grid and feathers and in each block the straight next to the curved.

Just WOWza!

And more swoon-worthy quilting by Amy Johnson

Even in-progress is gorgeous. Of course, I’m a sucker for curved cross-hatching. I wish I could get my round swirls to be so round and even!

Tune back in a couple days for more of the Janome Education Summit 2018.

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