Monday, February 26, 2024

Garden Lady #6 - part Two

This is a continuation of a previous post about the making of Garden Lady #6.

I wanted to pick the background before I made the clothes for this Garden Lady.  My Garden Lady quilts need 54" or so in length (to end up 50" L), and a lot of the material that I buy and save is one yard.  I did find a couple fabrics that fit the bill, and ended up with a fairly plain, neutral background.    I also had a lovely black mottled fabric designed by Marcia Derse.  I used this for the bottom of the background.  In order to get the right curve, I traced the shape onto freezer paper, ironed this to the back, painted the seam allowance with starch, and pressed it into place.  This was appliqued to the upper background with invisible thread and a small zig zag stitch.

I decided to collage the dress, since I've used that method for all of the other quilts in either the clothes or the background.  I drew the outline of the dress onto tear-away stabilizer and started with a hand painted fabric.  I pulled out a pile of things to add to the top and stopped for the night when most of it was covered.

                                    Yarn, Angelina fibers, antique trims, hand dyed fabric.

When I was satisfied with the toppings, I added a layer of tulle and quilted the dress in 2 shades of green rayon thread.  I like how pretty it is and am now not so sure I want to cover it up with an organza over-slip.  

What do you think?

Monday, February 19, 2024

Garden Lady #6 - Part One

I started making Garden Lady #6.  It was based on one of Aurika Piliponiene's paintings. She lives and works in Lithuania and I found this picture and many others on Pinterest.  I love her whimsical ideas for ladies in nature. She has a distinctive style of face and skinny arms and legs.

Here is the original inspiration.

My favorite blue print shop (used to be Rose City Blueprint) has changed names, but thankfully is still in business!  Their new name is Crisp Imaging (part of a chain) and they are in the same location near the Portland airport.  I love taking my things there - they are prompt and cheap.

I traced over the drawing to widen the shoulders and increase the legs and arms a bit.  I also sketched a different face.

Here are the face and arms cut and fused; all ready to add details.

The next component that I worked on was the bird.  I had some marbled fabric in my stash and used this to make the bird.

Then I made the legs.  For the red stripes, I started with 1" wide red hand dyed fabric.  I folded this over twice, pressed it, and applied a 1/4" double sided fusible tape.  These strips were pressed onto the brown fabric, then stitched down with invisible thread and a very narrow zig-zag (1.2 width, 1.05 length). 
If you use this very narrow setting, you can still use your single hole throat plate.  I love doing that because the wide slot in the regular throat plate tends to eat things and pull the down into the machine.  

After the red stripes were sewn down, I darkened the heels and soles with Derwent Inktense sticks.  I tried out a few colors before picking the one that I wanted, and used clear aloe gel and a paintbrush to apply the color.  Here, you can see one of the legs painted, and the other one before the painting.

Testing the colors.

Derwent Inktense Blocks - the whole set

Stay tuned for more progress on this Garden Lady #6.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Transparent Layered City Map - Final

This is a continuation of a previous post about the making of the transparent layered Vancouver City Map.

I searched for more ideas of how I could add things to the background to achieve my vision.  One was a skyline.  I printed out one and enlarged it to fit this piece.  All I can say is "meh".  Vancouver is not really known as a city, like Portland or Seattle.  The skyline is short and not distinctive, in my mind.  So, even though this was my first idea, I decided not to do it on this art quilt.  

I kept going back to the idea of the new waterfront, which is distinctive.  But it also isn't a distinctive skyline.  We have an old apple tree, an old Fort Vancouver, a heritage farm, a couple of bridges, a couple of wildlife sanctuaries, and then just plain suburban sprawl.  Ugh!  So, it was back to searching for more ideas.  I had a February deadline for the entry into the quilt show, and I was running out of both ideas and time.  Here is what I finally settled on:  places to visit in Vancouver.  I downloaded the pictures, photoshopped them to the right size with borders, and printed them on prepared for printing fabric on our home printer.  

I cut the pieces out, appliqued them to the background and voila!  I had something to enter into the quilt show.  It wasn't my original vision, and it isn't my finest art quilt, but it's done.

I hope you appreciate the steps that it took to turn this idea into reality.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Transparent layered quilt - Vancouver waterfront - Part One

I got an inspiration from a glass artist at a Portland art fair last year.  I forget the artist's name, but she used historical maps as the background.  Then she layered a skyline of the map area over the top of that (city buildings for a city map; elevation for coastlines, etc.).  The final glass layer was an etching of something that related to the previous 2 layers.  For instance, she etched a bicycle on top of bridges which were layered over the map of Portland.  This was to memorialize the Portland bridge pedal event.  I was so blown away at her original idea of layering.  Since then, I have thought about how I could bring this technique into an art quilt.

One of my ideas was to document the changing Vancouver waterfront.  What used to be industrial and old hotels is now being turned into a destination waterfront along the Columbia River.  There are restaurants, hotels, wine and spirit tasting rooms, condos, and a huge retirement complex.  Here are the pictures that I located to give me a start on this idea.

I know that the night time views are more dramatic with all of the lights.  I'll have to see if I can work with these.  Don't you think it is beautiful, though?

Anyway, I wasn't sure if my idea would work, but I decided to turn the paper into fabric paper by using dilute school glue between a layer of white muslin and the map, and another layer of dilute glue on top.  I had the picture printed in black and white and trimmed it so that it wouldn't cover up the entire map.  Here is the street map wet and after the drying process, which curls, crinkles, and stiffens the paper.

Here is the photo of the waterfront while it was wet and after it dried.

I trimmed the waterfront picture, and I didn't like it at all.  Oh well, onward and forward.  I layered the city map with organza on top, batting and backing.  It was quilted with green and blue thread, pressed, and put underneath a large cutting mat with weights to flatten it out.  Here is what it looked like after those steps.

Stay tuned to see if I scrapped the idea or continued to move forward.

Friday, February 9, 2024

YouTube quilt channels and memberships

I've thought a little bit about how much time and money I want to spend on YouTube quilt channels and membership in quilt groups. 

I like the following YouTube quilt channels:

The Quilt Show - led by Alex Anderson.  Sometimes goofy, but she has guest interviews that are interesting and leads block of the month clubs, and shows highlights of National quilt shows.  

Ricky Tims - led by Ricky Tims.  Upbeat and interesting, always changing the way he earns money in the quilting industry.  Sometimes, a little personal, but that's what makes him unique.

Just Get It Done Quilts - led by Karen Brown.  Timely and friendly advice to help quilters get their projects completed, including an annual declutter challenge.

Quilt Roadies - led by Anna.  Mostly talking about projects, sometimes reviews quilt shops and quilt shows around the Northwest, including Sisters quilt show.

Lyric Montgomery Kinard - let by Lyric Montgomery Kinard.  Find joy, create beauty and be inspried by art lessons, equipment to teach over the internet, listings for quilt show entries.

Zen Chic Quilting - led by Brigitte Heitland.  Tutorials about patchwork and quilting and the world of Zen Chic fabric.

SAQA Art - textile talks by various artists and news about the Studio Arts Quilts Association.

Membership in Quilt groups:

Clark County Quilters.  I've been a member since 2011, when I moved to Vancouver.  Indispensable local group of quilters with exciting lectures, events, quilt retreats, free table, zoom meetings, classes, etc.  Well worth the annual fee to be a member.

SAQA - I want to join, but don't like some of the local politics of the group.  In Southwestern Washington, we're too far away from the Seattle group; close to the Portland Group (but don't qualify for Oregon events).  Maybe I'll give it a try for a few years and see if there is any part that I can live with.   Maybe some classes or galleries that will help get my art out there.

Modern Quilt Guild - the closest Modern Quilt Guild is in Portland and I've resisted joining another group that would take me away from the house in the evenings.  Advantage is the annual MQG quilt show, which you have to be a member to submit a quilt, and lectures and classes that would be available.  I'm a member of a small modern guild group with no dues and several of the members are also members of the Modern Quilt Guild.

Anyway, do you look at how you spend your time and where you spend your money?  

Monday, February 5, 2024

Charity quilts - Log cabin scrap with black and white sashing

I still had blue and purple fabrics left over after making the first 4 charity quilts in 2024.  Since I had already made 4 from the same pattern, I decided to use one with black and white sashing.  This quilt measures 66" x 66" and the sashing is made with black and white fabrics.

Here are the instructions:



66” x 66”

This is a great quilt for using up scraps of fabric, or even a jelly roll.   The black and white are made from strips cut WOF.

Cutting instructions:

Black fabric:  Cut 41 each 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” squares

Cut 1-1/2” wide strips WOF – you’ll need 3 for each strip set; or 6 for the entire quilt

White fabric: Cut 1-1/2” wide strips WOF – you’ll need 2 for each strip set or 4 for the entire quilt

Cut 5” wide strips WOF – you’ll need two for each strip set – or 4 for the entire quilt

Colored fabric:  Cut 2” wide pieces of fabric WOF, or whatever the longest you can get out of scraps.  If you're using a jelly roll, the strips will need to be cut down from 2-1/2" to 2" width.

You’ll need a large pile of various fabrics.  (Since I made this from scraps, I can’t tell you how many I cut).

Sewing instructions:

Make the strips sets with the black and white fabrics.

Sew a white 5” strip to a black 1-1/2” strip; then add the 1-1/2” strip of white; then add another 1-1/2” strip of black; then another 1-1/2” of white; then another 1-1/2” of black; and finally, a 5” strip of white. The final piece should measure 14-1/2” wide x WOF.  Make two of these.

Press towards the black.

Cut the strip sets into 2-1/2” wide strips.  You should be able to get 16 pieces from each piece.  You need 28 total.

Make the log cabin blocks with the colored fabrics and 16 of the 2-1/2” black squares.

Using the shortest pieces of your scraps, start sewing the colored strips to the black squares in log cabin fashion.  Press and rim at each step.  Keep adding logs until you have 4 strips added to all sides of the black square.  The blocks should measure 14-1/2” x 14-1/2”.  You need 16 of these.


Layout the black corner squares with the sashing pieces.

Place a colored block in the 16 squares.

Sewing the top

Sew the sashing into 5 vertical rows, pressing towards the black.

Sew the sashing to the blocks in their 4 vertical rows.  Press towards the colored blocks.

Sew the vertical rows together and press in one direction.

 Stay stich 1/8” to 1/4” around all edges.

I hope you like this quilt.

Friday, February 2, 2024

New Design Wall

My ratty, dirty design wall had served me for well over 10 years and it was high time to get some new fleece.  I thought that I would need about 11 yards, but ended up buying 15 because by buying the whole bolt, I got not only the 50% discount, but another 10% for finishing the bolt.  I bought Pellon Thermolam Plus, a Sew-in fleece quilt interfacing, #TP970.  It is a 100% polyester product that is 45" wide.  If you frequent Jo-Ann Fabrics,  you'll know that the Pellon interfacing/stabilizer products are almost always 50% off (but not always!).  So if you need a lot, like I did, make sure you buy it when it's on the 50% off days.

As it turned out, I only needed 3 lengths of 9' fleece to cover the entire wall.  So, I could have only had to purchase 9 yards.  Oh well, I think I might try to use it in an actual art quilt and see how that goes!

I like my new clean and white design wall.  I even used some new pins and threw out all of the ones that were bent or had sticky stuff on them.  Why not start off the year with new stuff to support my quilt hobby.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Hanging Device with wood eye screws

I looked back at previous blogs about the making of hanging devices for art galleries.  In the first one that I wrote, I used small eye screws.  But those weren't big enough for one of the local galleries.  What they needed were eye screws that were large enough for a pencil to go through it.  Here is the package and a picture of the eye screws, and  a bunch of them showing how they slip over the pencil. They are #10 x 1-3/8" zinc plated wood eye screws.  They are rated to hold 25 lbs.  

I remember now that the sleeves had to be split for some art galleries, while a solid sleeve was fine for others.  I'll wait to see if I get my garden lady series into art galleries, and then modify my sleeves then, if I have to.  

My husband went to the local big box store and bought boards from the craft wood area.  They were 1/2" thick x 4' Long x 3" deep.  He cut these to the exact size that I needed for my quilts, which is 1-1/4" shorter than the finished width, or the length of the sleeve if it's shorter.  That leaves 5/8" on each side for the eyes.    We figured out last time that the eye screws needed to be put closer to the top edge, rather than in the center.   So we marked those at 5/8" from the top edge and centered on the 1/2" width side.

We made 5 of them for the garden lady series, which I'm hoping to get into gallery shows.  Each board got labeled with the name of the quilt that it goes with.  Here's what a finished board looks like:

I hope you are able to exhibit your art quilts in galleries and here's crossing my fingers that these can be shown side by side.

Friday, January 26, 2024

quilts for charity 2024

My fabric stash was getting too huge with left over pieces from other quilts.  So, it was time to make a few quilts to be donated to our charity group.  

These two were made with simple 6-1/2" squares and 2-1/2" strips of color and white.  They measure 54" wide x 66" long and were made mostly with purple and blue fabrics.  Our group often asks for quilts that are appropriate for boys and men, and I think that these will fill that need.  In fact, I almost always make donation quilts with the males in mind.

Here are some instructions:

Cutting instructions:

Colored fabric:

Using a variety of scrap fabrics, cut 50 each 6-1/2” squares for the solid blocks.

After 6-1/2” squares are cut, use the scraps to cut 2-1/2” wide strips, at least 6-1/2” long or as long as WOF.  You will need enough for 50 pieces, but don’t cut them all into 6-1/2” pieces unless you have to.  It’s much easier to work with long strips and cut them to length later.

White fabric:

Cut 2-1/2’ widths of white fabric at WOF.  If you’re using scraps, cut the strips as long as you can.

Sewing instructions:

Sew the white strips to the 2-1/2” colored strips, with white strips on the top and bottom of the colored strip.  Press towards the colored strip.  Cut into 6-1/2” x 6-1/2” blocks.  You need 50.

Layout and sewing the top

Lay out the quilt blocks in a setting of 9 blocks x 11 blocks.  Make sure that the solid blocks are at all the corners and alternate the strip set blocks with the solid blocks.

Sew each row separately and press towards the colored blocks.

Sew the rows together and press these long seams in one direction.

Finish stay stitching

Stitch about 1/8” to ¼” from the edges to secure all the seams, since there are no borders.

I hope that you also find some time to make quilts for those in need.  Perhaps you are already in a quilt group that collects and donates them in your community.  

Monday, January 22, 2024

Garden Lady #5, part five and final - "Harvesting"

This is a continuation of 4 previous posts about the making of Garden Lady #5.

I quilted the piece on both my domestic sewing machine and my sit-down long arm.  I used all kinds and colors of thread and tried to add some texture in the sky and field; there was already plenty of texture in the foreground.

It turned out to be 31.5" W x 51" H.

I started looking for some art venues to display the quilts all together and will let you know if I get accepted into any of them in 2024/25.

I hope you like Garden Lady #5, which I've named "Harvesting".

Monday, January 15, 2024

Garden Lady #5 - Part Four

This is a continuation of 3 previous posts about the making of Garden Lady #5.

The next thing that I wanted to add was some purple fruit that might look like as if it was being picked and put into the basket. I used some purple hand dyed fabric that I had on hand.  Using printouts from Pinterest and my sketch book, I drew up some plums in a couple of sizes.  One technique that I like to use is to trace the shape onto a dissolving foundation, glue it to the backside of the fabric, trim the edges, glue them again, and iron them to the back.  This gives me a nice clean edge that is easy to stitch onto the quilt.  (Unfortunately, the product that I used was Ricky Tims poly stable stuff and he is out of business!)  Here are some progress pictures:

I placed the plums and basket on the quilt and stitched around all of the edges with invisible thread and a small zig-zag stitch.  Once they were placed, it was clear that some leaves needed to be added, so I drew them up and used the same technique as the plums.  The final thing I added were some inked birds and white butterflies.  Here is the quilt top all pinned and spray basted, ready to quilt.

I hope you like how the top turned out!


Monday, January 8, 2024

Garden Lady #5 - Part Three

This is a continuation of two previous posts about the making of Garden Lady #5.

The arms, legs and face were made from a couple of flesh colored fabrics.  After they were interfaced, they were fused to Steam-A-Seam II and put together on my Teflon covered board.  I made the face and colored in the lips, then made the mistake of using water to activate the ink.  Needless to say, the red lips bled into the face and I had to toss that piece in the garbage.  This picture shows the 2nd face without any of the details, nor the red lips (yet).

I decided to use colored pencil after trying both the Inktense pencils with aloe gel and some Fabrico ink pens.  The pencils were the only thing that didn't run.  I think I was having this problem because the fabric was interfaced.  In previous pieces, the skin wasn't interfaced and both of those other options worked just fine.  Here are some of my trials on the first face and the final face.  I love how youthful the face ended up looking.

I hope you like it so far.  Stay tuned for a couple more blogs about the making of this art quilt.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Garden Lady #5 - Part Two

This is a continuation of a previous post about the making of garden lady #5.

I turned the edges underneath on the "garden" pieces and stitched them into place on top of the path and the two top background pieces.  I used a zig-zag 1.8 stitch width and 1.0 stitch length.  

I noticed that, since the background wasn't continuous, I was having a difficult time keeping the background flat and intact.  So, I added some stabilizer into the areas without fabric.  Here is what the background looked like after those steps:

I traced the pattern for the dress and hair and pinned them in place and here is what they looked like:

I could see that the back leg was going to cover up some pieces that were 3-dimentional, so I moved the location a little bit.  It'll take some of the dynamic nature out of the piece, but it's better than ending up with bumpy legs.

The next thing I worked on was the dress.  I decided to fuse some interfacing to the back of the purple material, and will do so with the arms, legs, face and hat.  Some of my other art quilts had see-through that I didn't like, so fixing that problem in advance made sense.  I used Pellon interfacing meant for lightweight clothes  (I don't know the specific number, because the paper insert covered 6 different types.)

I used a Dark violet Inktense pencil and water to paint the shadows on the dress  The freezer paper pattern was cut to reveal the areas to be inked.

And here is the dress with one arm pinned in place and the cuff and color pinned in place.

I hope you like it so far!