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!!!!
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.
I kept doing this on each side of the piece, adding bits of color to my paper and then transferring it onto the fabric.
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!!!!
Today, I decided that I had caught up enough from our trip and that I could play some in my studio.
Just before I left for Italy, I had purchased the book “Inspired to Quilt” by Melanie Testa ….. I loved her ideas about using paints and different layers to create the quilt top and then I REALLY loved the way that she quilted her pieces!!! One of the tutorials was about using freezer paper as a mask when painting with thickened dye. Well, I didn’t have any dye to thicken, so I decided to use the Water Soluble Oil Pastels that I had learned to use in a Margaret Hunt workshop back in May (here is the post about that workshop).
The brand that she suggested were Portfolio Brand I began the process by picking out a floral design that I liked and then I transferred it to freezer paper and then carefully cut out the design.
I ironed it onto a piece of PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric and then ironed a larger piece of freezer paper onto the back of the PFD. The purpose of this was to stabilize the fabric better and to also remove the worry that the colors might soak thru the fabric…..
I then picked my palette of colors and scribbled swatches of each color on the shiny side of another piece of freezer paper….
I dipped a brush in water and used it to liquefy the colors and then apply them to the fabric……
When the piece was completely colored, I took the pastels and used them directly on the fabric to add some extra highlights…..
In each case, I would draw a few lines and then use the brush to “scrub” the color into the fabric.
I removed the freezer paper resist…..
….let it dry, added a border fabric and then sandwiched it in preparation for quilting. Then the really fun part started…. I first quilted around the design and then started using various threads to add more interest to the piece.
I finished the edge by simply folding the border over to the back and stitching it in place.
Here is the one of the finished pieces……
and here is the second…..
They were SO much fun to make and I am looking forward to playing with this technique lots more!!!!
We had no plans for Wednesday, so I decided to use it to do some fiber stuff.
Before I left, I had read about using Golden “Open Acrylic” paints) to paint on fabrics. I was thinking about painting an underwater scene and had bought two shades of blue and one yellow…..
Supposedly you can thin them with water and then use them to do a color wash on fabric. I had brought some PFD fabric, so I took a piece, wet it, and started playing with the paints….
Then I opened another bag and discovered that some ink stamps that I had brought had come open and made a mess in the bag, so I grabbed a brush and started picking up the “spilled” ink and adding it to the piece. I also discovered that I could stamp a small area and then take the brush and blend it in as well…..
I left this to dry and went out on an errand that I will describe later in this post.
When I came back, the piece had dried, but was now too light in color. I sure wish that there was a way to keep the colors so intense when it dries. So, I pulled out my water soluble pastels and started adding layer upon layer of colors.
Here is the resulting piece…….
Now is where the day started to get interesting…. I had searched out one quilt shop and decided to take a field trip to visit it. I had to ride a LONG way on the Metro and ended up in an area that was not on my map. I had sketched out where it was located from the station and was able to find it fairly easily. I did stop to ask one security guard and he started spouting directions in Italian. After I explained that I didn’t speak much Italian he resorted to pointing and smiling. But, it worked because I found the street!!
The shop was a mixture of fabric, paint and other craft products. There was one lady there working on a machine applique piece and there was a quilt set up on a long arm machine. Most of the work was fairly simple and cute….not much “art” quilting. The biggest problem with the shop was that no one spoke ANY English so I just kept to myself and shopped. Most of the fabrics were from US manufacturers, but I did come home with 3 meters of Italian batiks, some fun Aurafil threads and an Italian Quilting Magazine.
I made my way back to the Metro and hopped on the train home. Then, I had a brain-storm that turned into a pain-in-the-butt!!! I thought that I would stop in at the Eurostar Train terminal and pick up our reservations for the next day’s trip to Florence. I left the Metro and found the ticket kiosks but couldn’t figure out how to buy a reservation only (we were traveling on a pass and didn’t need an actual ticket). Unfortunately, while I was standing there, a sketchy looking man came up to “help” me so I quickly left the area and went back down in the Metro to get back home. My Metro ticket, which should have still been valid, would not work so I had to find a ticket machine and buy another one.
THEN, when I got to the train platform, they were not letting people onto the platform that I needed to go and there were hundreds of people being funneled onto the train that would go the wrong direction. I quickly decided that I did NOT want to do that so I turned and walked past all of the “do not enter” signs and made my way out of the tunnel. I thought that I would have to go all the way back to the train station to get out, but saw some steps that led up to the sunshine so I took those out. Fortunately, I was able to figure out where I was on the map and I set out back for the apartment. Unfortunately, there was a big thunderstorm heading my way so time was of the essence and it did start raining about 10 minutes before I arrived at home, but at least I had an umbrella!!!! So much for my fun field trip!!!!
David, Lyn, Michael and I had decided to have dinner at a little place that is just across the street from the door of our building. Here is a picture of it taken from our front door…..
…..and here is our table, with our door visible in the top, middle of the photo….
We all enjoyed wonderful pizzas and deserts, and of course, wine…..
On the way back to the apartment, Michael decided to show exactly how steep the final set of stairs are…….