More surface design

When I left you, the Botero-inspired piece was at this point….

Now it was time to wash out the stabilizer. This was accomplished by soaking the piece in several baths of soapy water and then rinsing well.

Next, I headed to my “painting studio”… my garage….. to play with the background fabric. Since I am NOT a painter, I always video the painting process to show you that you don’t have to be a painter to work on fabric. I hope that you enjoy the video……

BUT, after I turned the camera off and added the thread-painted cheesecloth to the background, it was apparent that the sky was too light in color.


So, even though I loved the pale, pretty sky, I mixed up some more paint…..

…and proceeded to darken it.

It does look better now…..

Although the paint hasn’t dried in this photo, so I may have to go even a bit darker….time will tell!!

So far I am still enjoying this process and am pleased with how the piece looks.

Come back for more as I start to add flowers and more specialty yarns and….who knows what else!!

Sadie’s Background….Iteration #4.5!!

Well, after 4 tries, I think that I am finally happy with the background for the Saddle-Billed Stork collage.

Yesterday, I posted about painting this background……

As I looked further at it, I realized that I wanted to add a bit more shading to the two blue-green areas and also some more definition to the meadow in the foreground.

I decided that the best way to fix the meadow was using my trusty sea sponge and made a video to show you the process. If you have never worked with sponge painting, it is fun, easy, and adds SO much texture to the painting….

This is the final view…..

I am not super happy with the dark blue/green on the top left, but I think that I can work on it more with the quilting.

However, I AM super happy with the meadow area…..

It is going to be so much fun to add threads, thin pieces of fabric, and other yarns to make this area stand out.

Stay tuned for LOTS more!!!

Painting the meadow

Yesterday was painting day….YEAH!!!

Before I started painting, I added a few more couched yarns to the top……

I was pretty nervous about applying the paint but once I had my dyeing apron on…..

…..I knew that I could do it!!!

I mixed up the two paints that I needed, adding quite a bit of water so that they were really thin…..

I also sprayed water over the top of the fiber art before I started painting. To apply the paint, I used three makeup sponges that were stuck together…..

Starting at the top, I began sponging blue paint…..

Then I moved to the green, using paper towels to blot up any excess paint…..

This is one of the interim looks for the piece…..

I kept on going, mingling the blue and green so that it didn’t look so much like a line between sky and meadow. I also mixed in some darker green, adding some highlights.

When I was finished with the actual painting, I added a few more details….. the daisies were lightly rubbed with a blue metallic paint…..

…..and a few darker highlights were added with a copper paint…..

This was the final result of the painting session……

I am quite pleased with it, especially liking the white highlights in the sky and the dark couched yarns.

Now I am off to learn about free-motion embroidery of the flower elements…..or maybe I will just leave it as it is!!!!

Oh my…this is going to be fun!!

Yesterday I described my ARGHHHH day and ended the post by saying that I would try the machine quilting again….maybe…..or maybe I would start a new project. I am sure that it is no surprise that I STARTED SOMETHING NEW!!!!

When I had my “Inspiration Day” last weekend, I found one fiber art piece that looked like fun and would give me a chance to try some different surface techniques. During the week I gathered up my supplies and today I made a test piece to see how things would work and see if the paints that I owned were appropriate.

The first step was to cut little swatches of lots of the fabrics that I had pulled….

I moved to the machine and free-motion stitched them down, using the full-circle darning foot rather than the open toe. This keeps the foot from getting caught under loose edges…..

Then I mixed up a few of my Setacolor paints. Before I show the result, let me tell you about my paint collection. Many years ago (maybe 15 or more) I happened to be in a Michaels store when they were obviously dropping the line of Pebeo & Jacquard paints, and I bought them for 25 to 50 cents per bottle. Needless to say, I stocked up. This is what I still have left after all of these years…..

Most of them are in pretty bad shape, either very thick or almost empty, but I am always impressed with what a little bit of water or a mixer such as white or black can do to revitalize them. Someday I will need to replace them but today is NOT that day.

I mixed up a small pot of blue and another of green and started painting……

The middle stripes were applied with a stiff brush and I think that the paint is a little too thick. The two outside rows (green on right and blue on left) were applied with a makeup sponge and I am much happy with their appearance. I also know that using a sea sponge would change the texture.

I was pleased with the coverage that the paint brought to the 3-D “stuff”, and especially happy with the flannel, burlap and color catcher…..

I don’t see the point to using silk unless I spend some time to ravel the edges and I have just had the idea to maybe cut out some circles and ravel around them. (See…this is why I blog….I get ideas as I write)!!

As I just now looked back at the project that I am emulating, I think that the paints were too thick and I will water them down and try to make it more of a wash rather than heavy paint.

Now I patiently waited for it to dry…..NOT SO MUCH. I laid down paper towels on the paint and used a dry iron!!!

The next step was to try stitching on it and seeing if it would work over the paint and especially over the raised embroidery work. I started with some basic stitching with regular thread…..

Then I tried one of the “buttercups”, made with Tulle and thread……

Probably too much Tulle, but I can adjust that as I go. ALSO, I just realized that I was supposed to use Organza rather than Tulle so that will make a huge difference!!

Final step was to try one of the Daisies. I decided to test my machine out buy using two threads at one time…..

I also slowed Juanita down to the turtle position…..

…..and started making LONG stitches by moving the fabric quickly when the needle was up……

This is certainly not perfect but at least I have an idea that I can accomplish it!!

I enjoyed playing with some threads that I have collected from over the years but never used for quilting purposes……

Finally, I took some red paint and tried doing a little dry brushing on the raised embellishments. I think that I might use this, especially if I put a group of embroidery flowers in one area.

Bottom line….I cant wait to get started on this project!!!!

Going Green

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was a member of a group called Fiber Frenzy, and at our last meeting we set a challenge entitled “Going Green”. We are to each make a quilt that follows the theme in some way.

Now, most people would think of plants or recycling or something along that line, but my mind immediately went in an entirely different direction.

Growing up in West Texas, which is also known as “Tornado Alley”, we spent much of our Spring watching the sky for the huge storms to roll in. Many times, if a tornado was near, the clouds would turn a greenish color. There is even a line in the movie “Twister” where they say “she’s going Green” and that’s immediately what I thought of.

I searched on the internet for photos of storm clouds and was entranced by this photo…..


I thought long and hard about how I would depict this phenomenon, finally deciding to use the Water Soluble Oil Pastels that I have been using using for some other quilts.

I took a piece of fabric, ironed it onto a piece of freezer paper and got ready to paint. I cut a tornado shape out of freezer paper and ironed it onto the fabric.

I started by doing a little bit of painting on the bottom part to make the grassy area before working on the sky….


I have never found it easy to use these pastels directly on the fabric but instead I would use the backside of the freezer paper as a paint pallet and mix colors together, adding a little water to them as I went.


As I mixed the initial color, I realized that I was going to have trouble putting any movement in the lines on the fabric…. the brush technique is something I haven’t mastered yet. Instead, I decided to use this pallet to stamp the color onto the fabric, so I simply turned the piece of freezer paper, paint side down and placed it on top of my tornado, I ran my hands all over the paper and finally used a brayer on it.


When I pulled it off I was pleasantly surprised that the paints transferred in a very nice manner. I put a bit of water on the brush and added just a little water to mix the paints together.

_4022083 I kept doing this on each side of the piece, adding bits of color to my paper and then transferring it onto the fabric.

_4022084 _4022085 _4022087

Then I had another look at my original picture and realized that there needed to be some white clouds to give more contrast to the dark ones. So, I scribbled a bunch of white pastel onto the freezer paper, added a bit of water and started adding some highlights. It was amazing how much difference it made to the finished product.


I really like how the paints pool at certain points, giving a lot of dimension.

After it had dried and sat on my table for a few days, I decided that it needed a little more green, so I pulled out my Set-A-Color paints….an olive green in particular.   I dipped my brush in a small amount of paint and then dry brushed it on my “pallet”  until there was very little left on the brush.  I then added a few highlights.

The next step was quilting.  I am not particularly happy with the way that I quilted it, but since it was a challenge I am not terribly worried about it……


I see that the point of these monthly challenges is to simply try something new and learn something new and this time, I learned that I CAN paint fabric!!!!