Yellow Rose of Tedium

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!

Erk…I forgot! About Lisa’s book–it’s a bloghop!

December 9th, 2014

My post reviewing Lisa’s wonderful Creative Journeys book is part of a bloghop, so I invite you to visit these wonderful artists and friends and see what they have to say.

8th December – Sarah Ann Smith – www.sarahannsmith.com/weblog (obviously you know me)
9th December – Lyric Kinard – http://lyrickinard.com/blog/
10th December – Erica Spinks – http://creativedabbling.blogspot.com.au
11th December – Susan Brubaker Knapp – http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com
12th December – Brenda Gael Smith – http://serendipitypatchwork.com.au/blog/
13th December – Judy Coates Perez – http://www.judycoatesperez.com
14th December – Shelley Stokes – http://cedarcanyontextiles.com/category/blog/
Erica is new to me, but the others are friends I have known for years.   This is yet another “I love the internet” moment–how fantastic that from Australia to North America we have managed to find each other and become friends, even when we haven’t met in person.  Then when you DO get to meet them in person, it’s a blast!
So head on out to visit the other reviewers, and be sure to go beyond the post about Lisa’s wonderful book so that you get to know their amazing artwork and products (thinking Shelley Stokes here!).

Creative Journeys by Lisa Walton

December 7th, 2014

When my friend Lisa Walton asked me to review her eBook Creative Journeys: Fun & Easy Textile Surface Design Techniques and participate in a bloghop, I jumped at the chance.  We’ve known each other online for many years n0w and met over the years in Houston, even done a couple video chats where our respective husbands wandered past in the camera while sitting on opposite sides of the planet–another “I love the internet” moment!   Over the years I’ve watched her try on new techniques and absorb them into her voice, her way of doing things, and now she shares them with you in her new eBook, the first in a series.

When I met Lisa, her business selling hand-dyed fabrics was well under way.  Then, I still remember that fateful trip she took to Hong Kong where she fell in love with beads and (I think!)  came home with a full suitcase worth, or at least the pictures looked like that!   Then she tried and fell in love with surface design, taking classes as part of the prestigious Jewel Pearce Patterson Scholarship she received.

A screen shot of a later page in the book where Lisa shows felting and the use of the felt in a completed artwork that features additional surface design.

A screen shot of a later page in the book where Lisa shows felting and the use of the felt in a completed artwork that features additional surface design.

In the incredibly modestly priced “Creative Journeys,” available on Amazon and which you can read via the free Kindle App (I have the app downloaded on both my laptop and ipad), Lisa shares with you some of these things, including the how and why.  Her book is just as approachable, down to earth and fun as Lisa is.  It’s like going to her studio and playing around with cloth and paint and fun stuff with her.   The book is thoroughly accessible for the newcomer to using paint on cloth, but also provides meat for those of us like me who have been around for years.  One great surprise was the link to a  15 minute youtube video lesson where you can actually watch as Lisa does several of the techniques from the start of the book, great those who learn better by listening and watching than by reading alone.

The book covers:

  • Introduction
  • Techniques
  • Fabric Painting
  • Stamping
  • Decorative Rubbings
  • Metallic Foils
  • Simple Screen Printing
  • Stencilling
  • Combining Different Fabric Types
  • Creative Stitchwork
  • Textural Quilting
  • Resources (including hotlinks)
  • About the Author

On the technical side, navigating the eBook was easy, even though I’ve probably only ever read one think on my Kindle app.  You can set the font size, display (one or two pages at a time) and so on.  This would be fabulous if you’ve got your iPad or eReader set up on your work table:  you can enlarge the print so you can read it while working!   The software allows you to add bookmarks and notes, too.

On the fun stuff side (everything else), there are LOTS of photos of  in progress steps, walking you through each part of each process plus completed art quilts by Lisa that use the fabrics she creates.  She also includes the photos she uses as inspiration, so you can see how she began with an idea, then worked through step by step.  In Fabric Painting alone she covers washes, repeating shapes, sun printing with scrunching and twisting and pleating, salt effects and more.   In Stamping, she shows carving your own stamps (easy and SO much more fun than buying something ready-made).  Her explanation of creating a tiling design was new to me–a much easier way than I had learned!

Here are two in-process photos of painting a wash over a stencilled piece.  I am SO going to try this!

Here are two in-process photos of painting a wash over a stencilled piece. I am SO going to try this!  Right click to view larger.

And with rubbings and stencils, I have NO idea why it had never occurred to me to do a rubbing or paint with a stencil then use dilute paints to create a wash over the first layer!   Nor had it occurred to me to use stencils with adhesive and foils….   As you might guess, my mind is (as usual) running amok with the possibilities.

Lisa’s book is highly recommended–it’s hard to find value like this at this price.   For the price of a latte and a cookie you could have umpteen hours of fun playing with paint, cloth, textiles and color.   Go for it!  Now I’m going to go get out my paints, open the book up on my iPad and have a play-date with Lisa!

England beckons yet again: more in York

December 6th, 2014

York was filled with inspiration wherever we went. Sunday was no exception:  fine needlework, illuminated artwork, inspiring architecture, Thomas the Tank, Harry Potter and best of all a day spent Anna W, a internet friend from a small group.  The day began with a visit to the York Minster, which is good because there was a good wind blowing–felt like early autumn not late summer.   Even though some parts of the Minster were off limits due to an issue with the security cameras not working we still had ample inspiration.

What a day, and it all began here, at the York Minster.  While in England, I learned that a "city" is a place with a cathedral, everything else is a town.  Makes total sense to me!

What a day, and it all began here, at the York Minster. While in England, I learned that a “city” is a place with a cathedral, everything else is a town. Makes total sense to me!

Since there are so many photos in this post, I think I’ll just comment below each photo:

On the way to the minster, we passed yet another pub with glorious flowerboxes and a wonderful sign.

On the way to the minster, we passed yet another pub with glorious flowerboxes and a wonderful sign.

Guy Fawkes day is a big celebration day in Britain,

Guy Fawkes day is a big celebration day in Britain, celebrated (according to Wikipedia) on November 5, where “his effigy is traditionally burned in a bonfire. ” You might also wonder where you’ve heard that name (if your not English that is):  That was the name of Dumbledore’s phoenix in the Harry Potter books.  Get it, the phoenix is reborn by going up in flames?

The inside of the big doors on the West face of the Minster and Eli, not so happy that I'm taking yet another  photo of him.  That's what moms do, kiddo!

The inside of the big doors on the West face of the Minster and Eli, not so happy that I’m taking yet another photo of him. That’s what moms do, kiddo!  Plus, those strap hinges are great inspiration for quilting designs.

Illuminated map and lettering--Val Webb, thought of you!

Illuminated map and lettering–Val Webb, thought of you and your fabulous Watercolor Lettering class.  This looks like gouache and gold leaf.

A close up

A close up–just STUNNING!  Love the artwork.  Notice on the left where it shows the chapel dedicated to the women of Britain who served during the wars.

Part of the stitchery on the altar cloth.  England has an incredible tradition of embroidery.

Part of the stitchery on the altar cloth. England has an incredible tradition of embroidery. Yes, that’s stitching, not paint!

And I "do" dragons, and loved this one.

And I “do” dragons, and loved this one. More design inspiration.

Just tilt your head sideways....

Just tilt your head sideways….an angel for Marie.  Have no idea why this flipped sideways!

Tapestry

Needlepoint kneeler and seat cushions in a chapel

Madonna and child

Madonna and child in cloth.  Art quilts eveywhere!

Up under the soaring roof are the ribs, the supports for the ceiling.  When part of one nave of the church was restored some years back, they had to make new bosses, the designs at the intersections.  Children were asked to enter designs in a competition, and this one of man walking on the moon was included.  Totally awesome way to restore yet include contemporary life, which is totally in keeping with how the churches were built and how they keep in touch with contemporary life.

Up under the soaring roof are the ribs, the supports for the ceiling. Glad my camera has a superzoom! When part of one nave of the church was restored some years back, they had to make new bosses, the designs at the intersections. Children were asked to enter designs in a competition, and this one of man walking on the moon was included. Totally awesome way to restore yet include contemporary life, which is totally in keeping with how the churches were built and how they keep in touch with contemporary life.

Antique storage chest for the Bishop's vestments, and more design inspiration in the hinges.   The capes/cloaks (don't know what they are called officially) fold into triangular wedges, then are stored in here.

Antique storage chest for the Bishop’s vestments, and more design inspiration in the hinges. The capes/cloaks (don’t know what they are called officially) fold into triangular wedges, then are stored in here.

Design inspiration in  a floor grate even!

Design inspiration in a floor grate even!

And I "do" bats as well.  Anything that eats mosquitoes is a friend of mine (yes, spiders also).  Loved this boss!  More design inspiration!

And I “do” bats as well. Anything that eats mosquitoes is a friend of mine (yes, spiders also). Loved this boss! More design inspiration!

asdf

The massive stained glass window that faces east is being restored.  Bit by bit as the work is done, the actual panels are being displayed at floor level.

And another angel for Marie Z. from said window.

And another angel for Marie Z. from said window.

And if you wonder why they call it a great window, this explains it.  The window is the size of a **tennis court**!!!!

And if you wonder why they call it a great window, this explains it. The window is the size of a **tennis court**!!!!

By then we were pretty much churched out, and decided to walk a portion of the medieval walls of the old city of York.  Anna led the way.  I was petrified.  I am not afraid of heights as much as I am of falling (and wait until you see my brave pics from the top of St. Paul's in London at the end of the trip).  This may have required more nerve, tho, as there were no railings on the left.  In the US there would have been cement barricades defacing the walk (to keep the litigious and the lawyers at bay).

By then we were pretty much churched out, and decided to walk a portion of the medieval walls of the old city of York. Anna led the way. I was petrified. I am not afraid of heights as much as I am of falling (and wait until you see my brave pics from the top of St. Paul’s in London at the end of the trip). This may have required more nerve, tho, as there were no railings on the left. In the US there would have been cement barricades defacing the walk (to keep the litigious and the lawyers at bay).  We didn’t do the whole thing due to time and, frankly, my nerves!

And lovely rooftops on the walk--would make a great quilt!

And lovely rooftops on the walk–would make a great quilt!

We had a lovely lunch and tea, and Eli kindly took this photo of me with Anna.   The sweater she is wearing is one she made and is FAB.  As you can see, though, the wind had abated and it started to warm up a little.

We had a lovely lunch and tea, and Eli kindly took this photo of me with Anna. The sweater she is wearing is one she made and is FAB. As you can see, though, the wind had abated and it started to warm up a little.

We walked Anna back to the train station (she lives about an hour away from York and came all the way to meet us!)

We walked Anna back to the train station (she lives about an hour away from York and came all the way to meet us!).  Next to the station is the Railway Museum, so had to take a selfie with Thomas the Tank since Joshua and I read those books and watched the videos.   Saving the books for some future decade and grandkids!

We were lucky--the "Hogwarts Express" engine was on the sidings at the museum--it is still a working engine so sometimes is out working!

We were lucky–the “Hogwarts Express” engine was on the sidings at the museum–it is still a working engine so sometimes is out working!

The actual Platform 9 3/4 sign from the Harry Potter museums is here, not at King's Cross Station, so I'm pretending to push my cart.  Thanks again to Eli for being my photographer!

The actual Platform 9 3/4 sign from the Harry Potter museums is here, not at King’s Cross Station, so I’m pretending to push my cart. Thanks again to Eli for being my photographer!

This was too cool not to photograph, also in the Railway Museum.

This was too cool not to photograph, also in the Railway Museum.  I think it came fro a station somewhere, but can’t read my photo of the signage.

And some of the engines.  That green one with the bump looks JUST like Percy, my favorite engine from the Thomas the Tank books.  Percy is such a sweet personality, always trying hard even if the task seems beyond his abilities--he always tries, and does so cheerfully.   Methinks I need another visit to York to include more time as this was just about a half hour quick visit!

And some of the engines. That green one with the bump looks JUST like Percy, my favorite engine from the Thomas the Tank books. Percy is such a sweet personality, always trying hard even if the task seems beyond his abilities–he always tries, and does so cheerfully. Methinks I need another visit to York to include more time as this was just about a half hour quick visit!

So that’s Sunday in York.  Monday will take us to–DREAM–the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.   Think Thomas the Tank steam engines, Hogsmeade (Harry Potter), and the moors from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.   Stay tuned!

A little holiday cheer–Ribbons galore

December 5th, 2014

A brief interlude to show that I actually DO make stuff!   Ever  fall in love with those beautiful ribbons but don’t know what to do with them?  Well, I had purchased the ribbon for the ornaments (which have taken me eons to finally set aside time to make!) from that oh-so-tempting company Renaissance Ribbons.  THEN, wonder of wonders, owner (manager?) Edith Minne asked if I would like some leftover bits from their most recent (at the time) holiday trims.  Umm..YES!   I had a ball with the latter and made this narrow banner plus a similar one from the pink color way (that one says Joy, but not sure I have a photo!).

Noel by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2014.

Noel by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2014.

It’s made of trim, hand-dyed wool (from Fiddlehead Artisan Supply in Belfast, Maine), wool felt and perle cotton–all the impact (of floss) with 1/3 of the work.   There is no backing, just the wool.  The letters are machine appliques, as is the ribbon.  Then the white stitching is perle cotton no. 5.  Eventually I’ll make a proper hanger instead of a fat skewer and binder clip!

Then today I was in Rockland, Maine (to the south of me, instead of the north), where I popped in to the new fabric store, Clementine, to pick up some floss bobbins (after 40 years I’m getting organized…some of my floss was purchased the wrapper tells me for 12 cents a hank….ummm…think it is OLD?   Think I am OLDER?).  The owner used to work at Fiddlehead, and the store shares the modern vibe with a range of fabrics including silk blends, linens, ticking and more.  And perle cotton.  Yep, love the stuff.  So I was sharing about my ornaments, and thought SHEESH, I should share on my blog!   Feel free to adapt these ideas–yes, go buy that glorious ribbon!

Kathy Daniels, Deborah Boschert and Kate Cutko, if you see this you may read about the owl, but then STOP SCROLLING.  Spoiler alert at the bottom.  Ahem.

This is last year’s ornament, the owl:

The owl--with a nod to my friend Jacquie Scuitto, who LOVES owls.  I wrote a story in first grade about Rowl the Owl and his girlfriend, Jane.  This is Rowl.  And another nod to my friend Janice Berkebile who sent me her "retired" metalworking hammer and some tools with which I made the hammered copper hanger.

The owl–with a nod to my friend Jacquie Scuitto, who LOVES owls. I wrote a story in first grade about Rowl the Owl and his girlfriend, Jane. This is Rowl. And another nod to my friend Janice Berkebile who sent me her “retired” metalworking hammer and some tools with which I made the hammered copper hanger.

Kathy, Kate and Deborah:  STOP HERE!

Made with ribbon, wool felt, perle cotton and embroidery floss, and the copper metal wire.

And the back with the date, since I always forget WHEN I made something!

And the back with the date, since I always forget WHEN I made something!

If I had realized how long it was going to take me to make the 2014 ornaments, I might have opted for machine stitching!  But instead I watched Endeavour, a Masterpiece Mystery series about Inspector Morse when he had just joined the force, and OH MY what excellent scriptwriting, acting and editing…if they don’t film a third series soon I may have to return to England just to throttle someone–with a cliffhanger like THAT?  Anyway…back to 2014….

SWOON....is that mistletoe ribbon not some of the most gorgeous ribbon you've ever seen?????

SWOON….is that mistletoe ribbon not some of the most gorgeous ribbon you’ve ever seen?????

Again, wool felt, ribbon, floss, perle cotton.  The white will make the ornament pop out from the depths of the tree.  I like “soft” ornaments like this near the bottom of the tree–that way if the cats swat them off, they won’t break!  The fancy glass goes up at the top of the tree!

And I did succumb to machine adding this little bit of ribbon to the back.  And I had the wit to include my initials this year, too.

And I did succumb to machine adding this little bit of ribbon to the back. And I had the wit to include my initials this year, too. What a concept. 

My stitching (stab) is clearly imperfect through the layers of wool felt, but oh well!   I’m kinda wonky and wobbly, too.   And I haven’t even had any wine.  Though I do have some leftover mint that is whispering mojito, mojito, mojito….yes, that’s a Christmas drink, mojito.  And I have Kate Cutko to thank for introducing me to them!   What a fun weekend that was my friends–here’s to this year’s giftie:  friendly hug under the mistletoe!  Yes, if you nab your favorite spouse (I’m assuming you only have one–sheesh…what’s with me tonight?) hold it overhead and it will be more friendly with him.

So you have my permission to head right over to Renaissance ribbons, spend money and start plotting how to use the ribbon.  I used their beauties in my Easy Peasy Inside Out Bag which is in this year’s Quilting Arts Holiday gifts issue (available here) and demonstrated on Quilting Arts TV series 1400, episode 1402 (I’m also in episodes 1405 and 1412).  It looks as though Interweave is out of the hard copy of the Holiday Gifts issue, but it is available as a download.  If you prefer a hard copy, eQuilter still has copies (as of Dec. 4) here.