Archive for the ‘Thread-coloring’ Category

Milkweed No. 2, Part 2

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

A few days ago, I shared with you the happy news that Milkweed No. 2 is heading to Australia and New Zealand to be a part of “A Matter of Time,” and exhibit curated by Brenda Gael Smith.  Brenda is blogging sneak peeks on the blog.

Milkweed pod, seeds and silks detail

Milkweed pod, seeds and silks detail

SASmith.MilkweedNo2.Detail2_DSC3256 I thought I’d share a few more bits of my process, especially because I will be demoing and teaching a class at Houston that incorporate these techniques.

In an effort to reduce the labor-intensive process of quilting the surface of my works at 1/8" apart over nearly the entire surface, I've started adding some surface design.

In an effort to reduce the labor-intensive process of quilting the surface of my works at 1/8″ apart over nearly the entire surface, I’ve started adding some surface design.

A couple years ago, I designed some Thermofax screens and had them made by Jan and Kristen at Fiber on a Whim.  They asked if I would be interested in selling the designs, and I quickly said Yes!   Here are three of my favorites:

On the photo above, I have used textile paint and my "celery" screen to help blend the collaged batiks and hand-dyes

On the photo above, I have used textile paint and my “celery” screen to help blend the collaged batiks and hand-dyes.

My alphabet screen was used on some rather plain brown hand-dyed (by me) fabric then cut into bits to use in the quilt in addition to using batiks.

My alphabet screen was used on some rather plain brown hand-dyed (by me) fabric then cut into bits to use in the quilt in addition to using batiks.

I mixed up some transparent textile paints--I use both Jacquard and ProFab--to screen print over the already collaged/fused background pieces.

I mixed up some transparent textile paints–I use Versatex, Jacquard and ProFab–to screen print over the already collaged/fused background pieces.

Next came the second round of screen printing, using my Squiggles screen, putting a darker green over the yellow-green I used for the celery.

I simply adore this screen. Add this to the top of any fabric--a plain tone on tone, hand-dye or batik and you've got great texture that can be blend or contrasty as you need.

I simply adore this screen. Add this to the top of any fabric–a plain tone on tone, hand-dye or batik and you’ve got great texture that can be blend or contrasty as you need.

I’ll be teaching some of this process in the Saturday Sampler where I will demonstrate working on your own personalized cloth as well as in my “Nest” class (you can see a bit about that here).

I also did a bit of stenciling using freezer paper and two colors of white.

I also did a bit of stenciling using freezer paper and two colors of white.

If you’d like to order those screens, visit Fiber on a Whim! Better yet, if you can come play with me in my classes at Quilt Festival in Houston this coming autumn!

 

Hot off the press: Descended is in MQU

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

I am absolutely THRILLED with how my article for Machine Quilting Unlimited’s January/February 2016 issue turned out! I don’t think I’ve been this thrilled since the first time I was published, so thank you editor Kit Robinson and MQU Magazine!

The opening spread on my article about creating Descended From the Stars

The opening spread on my article about creating Descended From the Stars

 

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Cover of the January/February 2016 Machine Quilting Unlimited (MQU) magazine with the article on the making of Descended From the Stars

In my last article for MQU about The Fourth Layer, Stabilizing the Quilt Sandwich (when doing intense quilting and/or threadwork), published in the  issue, I mused at the end that I might try to use my preferred choice, cotton duck, as the backing (the third layer) instead of as a fourth layer.  When I did just that in my quilt Descended From the Stars, I wrote editor Kit Robinson to share the results, thinking that readers might enjoy a quick update to the article.  Instead, she asked if I would write an article for their “Challenging Quilts” series!  You betcha I would, and now it is just published.

The quilt was made for the current Dinner@8 exhibit Affinity, and you can read the call for entry in the photo above, just to the right of the full-page image (and wow am I thrilled my photography looks so good and accurate on the page!).  At the top right of the right hand page you can read the quote written on the quilt, but I’ll also close this post with the quote which is fitting at this time of year.

The article takes you from the initial seed of an idea, to the call for entry, and through the creation process:  developing the working sketch, ideas abandoned, dyeing fabric (sometimes twice on the same cloth to get it right) and more.   I hope you will enjoy reading it; I certainly enjoyed making it and look forward to having it home.  And maybe entering it into shows or even selling it!  Yes, it would be hard to part with it, but a girl’s gotta make a living.

Squee!  On the first page of the Table of Contents!

Squee! On the first page of the Table of Contents!

As soon as I get the pie, cranberries and stuffing made today, I’m going to treat myself to a good sit-down and cuppa tea with this issue.  I always love Margaret’s articles and her posts on FB–she is simply a brilliant quilter.  She can take an already-outstanding client top and make it over-the-moon fantastic.  And I am REALLY looking forward to (and trying out) my friend Lisa Walton’s article on painting on your quilt after doing the quilting.  I wanted to win her donation quilt in the last SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) auction, but missed out to someone with a larger budget than mine.  Good for SAQA, but sad for me.

And here’s that inspiring quote from Mirza Khan, the Religious Studies Director at my old High School, San Domenico:

We have descended from the stars.  We have risen through the forms of thousands of animals.  We have passed through the lives of our ancestors, our grandparents, and our parents.  And now we have been born into the moment of our supreme existence.  We have a life.  What will we do with it? –Mirza Khan (used with permission, and with great thanks)

Welcome back to the light now that solstice is passed (and I’ll get caught up on my Foto Fridays that have been missing since the demise of the old laptop) and on to the peace and joy of the season, and a long winter for making art!

Yellow Rose of Tedium

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

So I have this idea for an article.   Which requires (SHOOT ME) about ELEVEN of these 8×11 small quilts.  ALL THE SAME.  Shoot me please.  Now.  Can you say BORING?  But I want to do this test of stabilizers.

Yellow Rose by Sarah Ann Smith.   The first sample, with no stabilizer.   The two fabrics began the same size--even at this small scale you can see noticeable shrinkage just from quilting.

Yellow Rose by Sarah Ann Smith. The first sample, with no stabilizer. The two fabrics began the same size–even at this small scale you can see noticeable shrinkage just from quilting.

I’ve been in a number of exhibits where you have to have an exact size, like the Dinner@8 and Living Colour Textiles exhibits.  For the latter, size was to be 40 x 100 cm.  That’s 39 inches long.  My top was 44 inches long.   Once quilted, I had exactly enough to make 1/8″ seam allowances for my facings!

Amaryllis by Sarah Ann Smith (C) 2014.  See the Living Colour Exhibit at http://livingcolourtextiles.com/

Amaryllis by Sarah Ann Smith (C) 2014. See the Living Colour Exhibit at http://livingcolourtextiles.com/

YEP, the quilt shrank up FIVE flippin’ inches in length.  So I decided I needed to find a way to stop the massive shrinkage, and that means a foundation of some sort.   Jennifer Day likes one product; my friend Susan Brubaker Knapp prefers another.  I decided I needed to test a range of options.   So shoot me.  And please excuse me while I vanish for a week or two to quilt the same yellow rose umpteen times!  EEEEK!

My episodes on Quilting Arts TV Series 1400!

Sunday, July 20th, 2014
Creativity, Inspiration, and Quilting Arts TV Series 1400, Clockwise from top left: Dog Walkies with Pigwidgeon (winter), Kiwi blossoms (garden), Eli home from camp (family), Poppy (garden), Notebook cover, On the set with Susan Brubaker Knapp, taping my Easy-peasy Inside-Out Bag

Creativity, Inspiration, and Quilting Arts TV Series 1400, Clockwise from top left: Dog Walkies with Pigwidgeon (winter), Kiwi blossoms (garden), Eli home from camp (family), Poppy (garden), Notebook cover, On the set with Susan Brubaker Knapp, taping my Easy-peasy Inside-Out Bag.  Click to view larger.

Series 1400 on Quilting Arts TV, now hosted by my friend Susan Brubaker Knapp, is about creativity and inspiration.  For me, inspiration can come from everywhere:  a glorious plant or view on my dog walkies with Pigwidgeon, ‘Widgeon himself, my family, an idea or a book, or something as utterly mundane as “I need a notebook cover”, or even a bag for all my watercolor stuff. I am so excited to get my copy of this series.  SOB–it’s not on PBS here in Maine on satellite (MPBN are you listening?), so I need to order.  You can too!  It is available either on DVD or as a download (episodes or the entire series) here.  Even better, if you link to the Interweave store from the button on the left sidebar, although the new series isn’t on discount, you can get a discount on some other items on the site. !    And last but certainly not least, visit editor Vivika Hansen DeNegre’s QA Blog and leave a comment for a chance to win a FREE  copy of the series!

Here's the cover of the upcoming Season 1400 for Quilting Arts TV!

Here’s the cover of the upcoming Season 1400 for Quilting Arts TV!

For today’s bloghop post, I thought I would share a lot of photos but not so much blather.  At the end of this post as well as here (the kick off day) you can find links to all the creative talented women who appear on the series, with many thanks to the creative talented women and men who are BEHIND the camera that make all this possible!

Thanks to Vivika DeNegre's post (she's Quilting Arts Editor), my dog walkies photos are now in the big time LOL!   Inspired by Gloria Hansen's butterfly photos, one day I took my good camera along with my phone and was able to get this shot of a butterfly on the clover alongside our driveway.  Inspiration is everywhere, including the most mundane of times and places--waiting for the dog to do you know what! Whoever came up with the idea of tethering yourself to animal waiting for it to do you know what???

Thanks to Vivika DeNegre’s post (she’s Quilting Arts Editor), my dog walkies photos are now in the big time LOL! Inspired by Gloria Hansen’s butterfly photos, one day I took my good camera along with my phone and was able to get this shot of a butterfly on the clover alongside our driveway. Inspiration is everywhere, including the most mundane of times and places–waiting for the dog to do you know what! Whoever came up with the idea of tethering yourself to animal waiting for it to do you know what???

And I'm always inspired by the landscape of Maine, the state that has become my soul's home.  From early summer mornings like this shot to the sunrises of winter and the sunsets of summer, the colors and lines and peace inspire me.  Makes me want to go play with cloth and dye!

And I’m always inspired by the landscape of Maine, the state that has become my soul’s home. From early summer mornings like this shot to the sunrises of winter and the sunsets of summer, the colors and lines and peace inspire me. Makes me want to go play with cloth and dye!

After nearly a decade using the same headshot, I decided it was time to be honest about the gray and the new glasses.   Here I'm with Widgeon--photos with him always relax me and make me laugh--so much better than posed.  And you can see my quilt, The Circle Dance, which is part of the exhibit and book Dare to Dance, An Artist's Interpretation of Joy (blogpost here).  Widgeon is joyful when he is fed!

After nearly a decade using the same headshot, I decided it was time to be honest about the gray and the new glasses. Here I’m with Widgeon–photos with him always relax me and make me laugh–so much better than posed. And you can see my quilt, The Circle Dance, which is part of the exhibit and book Dare to Dance, An Artist’s Interpretation of Joy (blogpost here). Widgeon is joyful when he is fed!

We all know trips can be inspiring, too.  Earlier this year I travelled to NY/CT to lecture, and got to spend a day with my friend Deirdre Abbotts.  We went in to the city and I spied this incredibly building.  Can't you see that as an applique quilt?  Reminds me of Jane Sassaman's work--and she's on this season too!

We all know trips can be inspiring, too. Earlier this year I travelled to NY/CT to lecture, and got to spend a day with my friend Deirdre Abbotts. We went in to the city and I spied this incredible building. Can’t you see that as an applique quilt? Reminds me of Jane Sassaman’s work–and she’s on this season too!

It's always fun to see behind the scenes, too.  Here are my three segments laid out in step-out sequence on trays, waiting for my turn to tape.  At the filming studios in Ohio.  I blogged about the taping here.

It’s always fun to see behind the scenes, too. Here are my three segments laid out in step-out sequence on trays, waiting for my turn to tape. At the filming studios in Ohio. I blogged about the taping here (part 1) and here (part 2).

Sometimes you just have to laugh!   We were trying to figure out where to hide the microphone for this episode, when I suggested pinning it to my bra strap.  The sound guy was only momentarily nonplussed, then started pinning as I stretched the strap.  Then, as Asst. Editor Kristine Lundblad was snapping photos, I blurted out, How am I going to explain to my husband that I just asked a total stranger to mess with my bra?   We all laughed!

Sometimes you just have to laugh! We were trying to figure out where to hide the microphone for this episode, when I suggested pinning it to my bra strap. The sound guy was only momentarily nonplussed, then started pinning as I stretched the strap. Then, as Asst. Editor Kristine Lundblad was snapping photos, I blurted out, How am I going to explain to my husband that I just asked a total stranger to mess with my bra? We all laughed!

One of the other fun things about this line of work is running in to familiar faces and friends in unusual places.  This is Lyric Kinard--does she not have the cutest, most infectious smile of anyone you know?

One of the other fun things about this line of work is running in to familiar faces and friends in unusual places. This is Lyric Kinard–does she not have the cutest, most infectious smile of anyone you know?

These are some of the bags you'll see on my Inside-Out bag segment (and ... hint hint... perhaps in print sometime soon too....more on that when I am allowed!)

These are some of the bags you’ll see on my Inside-Out bag segment for Quilting Arts TV Series 1400, Episode 1402 (and … hint hint… perhaps in print sometime soon too….more on that when I am allowed!)

Remember, you don’t have to wait for the episodes to air (mine are 1402, 1405 and 1408)–you can order the DVD or download the series or individual episodes here.   The way they are recorded, they should play on DVD players or computers around the world–yeah! And if you go to the Interweave store through the button to the left of this blogpost, you can get a discount!

Here’s the bloghop schedule, plus you can also read all about it on Quilting Arts Editor Vivika DeNegre’s blog here. Keep coming back here to click on the appropriate link for each day.

 

And because I can’t resist, one more of our beloved pug:

How can anyone NOT love a face that cute and pitiful?

How can anyone NOT love a face that cute and pitiful?

 

Quilting the Garden Workshop and Giveaway

Friday, July 11th, 2014

The Giveaway is now concluded. Any comments left after 12:13 pm today, July 19, will not be part of the drawing, but comments are still welcome!  The winner is Phyllis Carlyle, comment #36 (picked by an online random number generator)!  Congrats and THANK YOU to all!

Hey I need some advice!  I’m putting together a new workshop and/or class called Quilting the Garden (part of my Quilting the Good Life series). I need your help picking which colors and flower images to use for the class.  In thanks for your help, I’m offering a free copy of my Quilting Arts video workshop, Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork (read all about it here), for someone who answers some of my questions here on my blog (not Facebook).   I’ll choose a winner in a week’s time, on July 19th.  (See last paragraph for The Fine Print.)  Read on!

My questions for you, dear readers are these:

  • What color flowers do you think the majority of students would pick, including you?
  • Should I include the green-only hosta leaves?
  • Which individual images would you most want to do in a class?  Tell me your favorite three (use the names I have given to each such as Purple 2, Yellow 4, and so on). 
  • Would you want a complicated image as one of the options, such as Multi 1 below?
Purple, Multi and Green images

Purple, Multi and Green images:  four purple or purple and white Iris, a zinnia and hosta leaves.  Right Click on image to see it larger.

Some background information

Most students can either put together a top in a day class OR do some quilting in a day class, but not both.  And most guilds and shows won’t book multi-day workshops because students tend not to sign up for them.   I would dearly LOVE to teach 3-5 day workshops, but in the meantime I’m working on a one-day exercise which can be a standalone class also.

My solution to the “can’t do it all in a day” issue is this:  I will provide a kit for a modest fee including a photograph printed on cloth (from Spoonflower, my photos, about 8×10 or 12×10 printed size, or a tad larger) plus an 8 1/2 x 11 color photo, page protector, and possibly several color photos–one of each of the three options offered in the class.  The photos will come from the ones on this blogpost (or perhaps a different red, keep reading).  And what size is good?  is 8 x 10 too small, perhaps 10 x 12 or a bit bigger?  Or as large as 17 x 21 (which of course costs more to print)?

Dogwood, Water Lily, apricot Lily, closer view of apricot colored Lily

Pink Kousa Dogwood, Water Lily, apricot Lily, closer view of apricot colored Lily.  Right Click on image to see it larger.

For the class I want a relatively uncomplicated image that will allow students to learn to use thread colors to shade and paint and color their artwork.  By working on top of a photo, the imagery is provided.  They can then use my collage process, taught in my DVD (info here), to create their own imagery in cloth rather than using a photograph.  But they will, having taken this class, have learned the skill to interpret the photo into color and thread.  A multi-color flower may be best, but not many fit that bill.  The simplicity of a lily is perfect–only six petals!  Too many petals make it more complicated.  Would you want a complicated image as one of the options? Or should I keep all the images relatively simple?

Reds, alas I don't know the names of these glorious flowers (sending email to the Botanical Gardens horticulturalist).  Should I find a different truly RED flower?

Reds, alas I don’t know the names of these glorious flowers (sending email to the Botanical Gardens horticulturalist). Should I find a different truly RED flower, as these are burgundy and ladies who love red want REALLY red?  Right Click on image to see it larger.

In the red collage, photos 3 and 4 are intriguing, but probably not the best for this exercise, but I couldn’t resist including them.

Are whites too hard for thread selection?  Right click on collage to view larger.

Are whites too hard for thread selection? Right click on collage to view larger.

I’m also thinking that white flowers are not the best choice, but would like feedback.

Lots of yellows that I love.  The solution to the white question might be to choose the cream lily above.  The yellow rose will be one of my sample flowers--I'm working on another project for an article that involves this sample, so students may want to try this one.  Right click on the collage for a larger view.

Lots of yellows that I love. The solution to the white question might be to choose the cream lily above. The yellow rose will be one of my sample flowers–I’m working on another project for an article that involves this sample, so students may want to try this one. The coneflower photo may be too complicated for a classroom, especially the cone.  Right click on the collage for a larger view.

And:

A selection of  popular flowers, but the owner of the local gallery that has sold my work tells me orange doesn't sell, people don't like orange.  What do you think?  I think the lily would be a fabulous one for the exercise, but....

A selection of popular flowers, but the owner of the local gallery that has sold my work tells me orange doesn’t sell, people don’t like orange. What do you think? I think the lily would be a fabulous one for the purposes of the exercise, but….Right click on collage to view larger.

And there is the question of thread:

I use and teach using 40-wt poly thread, which shows up beautifully.  But some people prefer cotton, only cotton.  If students do not pre-order the photo, they won’t know what color they will get in class.  That means they would need to bring a LOT of thread:  for the orange lily above, for example, if at home I would use at least 3-4 shades of orange (pale to rust), yellow, yellow-green, and the background greens.  Is it better to kit the thread with the photo? Or allow students to bring their own, but perhaps be frustrated because they don’t have the right colors?   Me taking a thousand spools of various colors without requiring a purchase is, alas, not an option because I can’t afford to have so much money tied up in inventory.  So, what would you prefer from a class/teacher?

So tell me what you think:

  • What color flowers do you think the majority of students would pick, including you?
  • Should I include the green-only hosta leaves?
  • What is a comfortable size for you?  Is 8×10 too small? 
  • Which individual images would you most want to do in a class?  Tell me your favorite three (use the names I have given to each such as Purple 2, Yellow 4, and so on). 
  • Would you want a complicated image as one of the options? Or should I keep all the images relatively simple?
  • Should I include a thread as part of the kit?  Each one would probably need at least four shades of thread at $6-8 per spool of Superior 40-wt polyester plus a pre-wound bobbin of  blending fine thread, so that would be an additional $25-33 on top of a kit fee for the fabric and color photocopies of about $10-12.

If this class is a go, I will offer at most three flower options.  IF students register for the class 2 months in advance, they may write to me directly with their choice of flower and I will make sure they get their first choice for the workshop.  It takes that much time for me to order the fabric, have it printed, and shipped back to me and be ready in time for the class.  The remaining students would have to pick a color from what is available at the class.  That means they’d need to bring thread for multiple colors (at least four shades of each colors) if thread is not part of the kit.

THANKS!

The Fine  Print: 

  • Remember to comment by 8 a.m. Saturday, July 19th (US East Coast Time) for a chance at winning my DVD in thanks for your taking the time to read, think, and comment here on my blog!
  • If you are outside of the US, you may comment but I’d appreciate a little help with the postage–I’ll pay up to $5 in postage.
  • Comments must be here on my blog, not a feed reader or facebook!
  • Comments like “gee I’d love to win the DVD” won’t work–I’m really looking for feedback on the images and questions I asked.