Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Carrying Bag for Art Quilts

An art quilt group that I joined requires an identifying carrying bag for each quilt that travels to their shows.  One of the members told me that she makes hers out of rip stop nylon and I thought that was such a great idea!  Rip stop nylon is waterproof and light weight, and the quilt slips into the bag easily.  Of course, I bought green fabric, however, there are many other colors you can choose from.  I thought that I would share with you the process in case you want to make one too!

Rip Stop Nylon Bag for Art Quilts

Rip Stop Nylon cut to the width and length required in Step 2 and Step 3.  For an 18" Wide x 18" length quilt, you'll need a 26" wide x 28" long piece of material. 
The measurements and instructions are for rolling your art quilt around a 4" diameter swimming noodle.  These can be purchased at all the big box stores in late spring. 
1-1/4 yards 1" wide ribbon
1 zip lock quart sized freezer baggie

1.    Cut the noodle 1" longer than the width of your quilt. (For an 18" quilt, cut at 19")

2.  Roll quilt around the noodle starting at the top and ending at the bottom.  Measure the circumference.  Add 8" to this number.  This is the width of  your fabric.  (For the 18" x 18" quilt, the circumference is 18".  So 18" + 8" = 26").

3.    Add 9" to the cut length of the noodle.  This is the length of your fabric. (For the 18" quilt, this is 18" +1" + 9" = 28").
4.    Find the center of the width of the material and chalk mark 12" from the top of the material.  Place the baggie on this mark and pin, or tape, this to the bag.  Sew around 3 edges of the baggie, leaving the zip lock opening unsewn. 

5.    Fold the material right sides together.  Sew 1/2" seam.  Fold this seam over and sew again to get a double seam. (Note in the picture that I folded the seam over right at the thread from the first seam).

6.    Sew 1/2" on the bottom.  Fold this seam over and sew again to get a double seam.
7.    Turn the bag right sides out.
8.    Make chalk marks for the two buttonholes 2-3/4" from the top edge, 1-1/2" apart, and 1" long.  Place stabilizer underneath these marks.  Sew two 1" long buttonholes on these chalk lines.  Trim the stabilizer.  Cut the openings with sharp scissors.

9.    Fold down 1/2" on top edge.  Fold again at 2".  Pin and sew close to the edge.  This casing should be sewn with the buttonholes centered in the casing.

10. Put a safety pin near the edge of the 1" ribbon, and ease it through the casing.  Center the ribbon ends, and stitch  a line at the center through the casing to hold the ribbon inside.  Stitch or tie the ends so that they won't ravel.

I hope you can understand these instructions and that you will try making a carrying bag of your own!

Monday, April 25, 2016

25% recycled Green Quilt, Part Three

I hope you're not losing faith in me!  I am so glad that I have the time to ponder this piece on the design wall, as it has gone through so many iterations.

In the last post on this art quilt, I said that I needed to change the dark background since I had changed the orientation of the piece.   I looked through some of our pictures of foggy Northwest forests, and found one that I liked as the inspiration for the background.

Foggy hike in the Columbia Gorge
I pulled out more colors of tulle, some off-white grunge fabric, and some organza.  This has become the upper background now.  I also cut trees and branches out of 3 different brown fabrics.  This look worked for me - finally - so I stitched it down.  Being very CAREFUL not to get my finger under the needle, since I did this step without a pressure foot.

Thread painting without a pressure foot

Here is the final picture showing the background and moss after it got stitched to the background and the quilting.

"The North Side" by Joanne Adams Roth

The piece is faced and measures 25" x 30".

I hope you like it!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Teaching quilting classes

I recently taught a quilting class to some of my local quilt guild members.  We sponsor a day in January every year, where members teach to other members.  It is so fun to share techniques and stretch myself to design quilts.  Plus it's cheap for the students - $20 for a full day class!

Modern Quilt by Joanne Adams Roth

I like a lot of the modern quilts and have found the free form piecing techniques to be freeing and fun.  So this was one of the techniques that I wanted to share with my friends.  I also wanted to introduce dissolving foundation, glue basting, and invisible machine applique.

My classes always include a lot of tips and tricks, and I try to give my students not only a fun experience, but something extra.  Ten women took my class.  Thanks ladies.  It was a great time!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Center of gravity on Art Quilts

I've never had to think about the center of gravity on a quilt before.  Normally quilts get hung from a rod through the sleeve and the person hanging the quilt can adjust the rod height so that the quilt is level.

Now that I'm making art quilts to be hung in a gallery setting and have been inserting boards with a center loop, I've noticed that the center of the quilt is not necessarily the center of gravity.  OK, I'll give you some examples of what that means.   If you take a yoga class and you have to stand on one leg, you'll gently compensate by shifting your weight, and center of gravity, towards the one leg on the ground.  Or if you've ever been in a boat and your husband is reaching out while netting a fish on one side, you try to move farther over on the other side to keep the boat from tipping over, which equalizes the weight in the boat.  OK, get it?  

The nests on the quilts are slightly heavier than the rest of the quilting materials.  If they're centered, no problem.  But if they're offset, problem.  One of my recent quilts had the nest all on one side and at the bottom.  So... problem.  As soon as it got hung up by the center loop, it tilted towards the nest. 

What it needed was a little weight on the other side to move that center of gravity back to the center.  My husband suggested some of his fishing lead and so I tried it.  

My husband's fishing led
 My husband cut a length of the lead from his stash.  I straightened it.  Then sewed it into a little muslin case that was 4" long and about 1" wide.

Encased in a muslin
 I put the quilt up on the hanger and placed the encased lead just where it needed to be to offset the nest and it's weight; thereby getting the center of gravity back in the center of the quilt.

Weight in the bag ready to stitch down
I hope this tip helps you on your art quilts!

Monday, April 4, 2016

25% recycled Green Quilt, Part Two

After letting the mossy log, er field of lettuce,  simmer for a few days, I decided that I had to back up a little bit and tear some things out.  Ripping out is sometimes called un-sewing, and there was plenty to edit out on this piece.  I took off all but the three center pieces of the log.   That helped a lot.

Then I made some sheets of moss in various color ranges.  It was so fun to lay down recycled and re-purposed stuff.  I used dyed cheesecloth, dyed trim, ribbon, moss, wool roving, dyed goat hair, painted color catchers, thread, snippets of fabric, and lichen.  There were two wash away stabilizers used; one for the bottom that is normally used for embroidery, and clear Solvy on the top.  I tried stitching willy nilly on one piece, and did a purposeful grid on another.  After dissolving top and bottom stabilizers, it was clear that willy nilly doesn't work that well.  A lot of the pieces dropped out in the sink!  So for all the rest of the pieces of man-made moss, I went back to the grid system and added enough free motion thread work to capture all the little pieces in the thread net.

Here are a couple of pictures of the man-made moss, which was made in different shades.

There were a lot of pieces of green fabric that were placed in the background with a layer of tulle on top.  This still didn't look right, so I switched the orientation of the piece, and now plan to make it into a mossy tree in the Northwest forest.   Now I need to remove most of the dark background and get some light into the piece.  Hmm, maybe some branches and little trees to give the feel of the forest and give a sense of scale.  Stay tuned.