One of six children, I was raised by a busy mom, who instilled in me a love of fabric. Though I learned to sew and knit at a young age, it was the arrival of my first grandchild that pushed me into action. A long-time knitter, I am now ready to explore all things fiber.
For the second week of the Stay at Home Round Robin challenge, Chris asked us to make piano keys.
In the world of quilting a piano keys border is one with narrow rectangles in assorted colors sewn together. Oh, I get it, this is like string piecing!
After looking at the other participant’s interpretations, I came back to my own center panel. I decided that my main objective for this round is to continue the outward thrust of the corner triangles. Using the same fabrics, I made half square triangles to use as corner posts.
Then I got out my orange and blue-green fabric scraps, cut them into two inch wide strips and sewed the strips together on the long edge. I alternated the two hues and arranged them from light to dark in shade.
These were cut cross-wise into three inch strips, which I then attached to my panel, adding the corner posts as I went along.
This post is linked with the group Stay At Home Round Robin. If you would like to see the work of other members….
For my exercise, I wanted to experiment with a quinacridone gold wash. Since it is a staining pigment, I decided to pair it with burnt sienna, a granulating pigment. With the idea of a sunset, I added some splashes of alizarin crimson. Streaks of payne’s gray served to ground the image.
I love the mingling of the pigments so far. This image reminds me of a place at Tallgrass Prairie, where rushing water had torn away part of a ridge, exposing roots and strata of soil. I quickly painted in some details to complete the scene.
Later, I searched my photographs for a picture of the wash.
If I were to paint this scene again, I would include the deep shadows where the landform bends away from the viewer.
Painted wet-in-wet and wet-in-dry with a Sumi brush on 140 lb. cold press paper.
I laid down this wash yesterday so it had plenty of time to dry. This is a weak blend of French ultramarine blue and sap green. It took mere minutes to paint.
This morning I had a firm idea of what I wanted to do. First I washed some water over the lower portion and blotted up the excess. This brightened the foreground. Using a one inch flat I brushed the sky with a stronger ultramarine wash and picked out the clouds with a tissue. The rest of the paint went on with the same brush using vertical strokes for the trees and horizontal slashes for the snow shadows.
At the end, I used the Sumi brush to work a little burnt sienna into the trees. It was this last step that caused the wonderful blooms. I love the texture that resulted.
Total time to make this impression: 15 minutes.
Pigments: Ultramarine blue, sap green, payne’s grey and burnt sienna.
Last week my order from Jerry’s Arterama arrived just in time. I had run out of watercolor paper. Here is my choice:
I was convinced to try this particular paper by a video demonstration from manufacturer. While the cotton content is only 25%, it was described as the next best thing to 100% cotton at less than half the price. If I use 1/2 a page per exercise, my daily cost for paper will be .25 cents.
So how did my first try go?
This is a gradient wash using Thalo blue. I didn’t get it as gradual as I would have liked, but I found it acceptable for my purpose. For the next one, I used a Sumi brush to manipulate the wash more while spreading it over the wet paper.
I really like this effect. The flares, or blooms, of pigment near the top of the paper suggest flowers to me. So I chose to paint poppies.
I probably spent about 45 minutes on this – 2 times longer than my allotted 15 minutes. What I like about this painting: By using a lot of water and working with the shapes left on the background wash, I achieved an impressionistic look. I was also able to make some nice shadows and highlights. What I don’t like: My brushstrokes are hesitant and a bit fussy. And the darks could be darker.
To evaluate this paper, I will need to paint on it a lot more. My initial impression is satisfaction. It didn’t buckle and it stayed wet an acceptable period of time.
In a traditional round robin, quilters make a block, then pass it to the next quilter who would add to it, then pass to the next, and so on, until the piece had completed its circulation. The final result is a big surprise to the original quilter when it returns to her.
This is a COVID version. Each quilter keeps her original block, but responds to weekly challenges by adding a border around her block. Each quilter in the round robin is responsible for providing one prompt to the group.
Can I try? I’m kinda new to quilting, but I have a few pieces of fabric left over from projects I finished last year. I invited myself to participate. Chris said, “go for it.”
Today each quilter is unveiling her center block. I better get started. First I pulled a few leftover strips that seemed to be big enough.
Both fabrics were experiments. The center piece is overpainted with opaque turquoise. then stamped with a metallic bronze color. The orange piece was painted pale pink, then a resist applied, followed by a deep orange paint. Removing the resist reveals pink lines.
So I have my palette, but I need supporting fabrics and a plan for the rest of the block. During my stash rummage, I turned up this beautiful batik that I had bought just because it was on sale.
The other two fabrics are too small, so I went to the hobby store to buy similar colors.
That part was easy for me. Selecting a block design? I needed help, so I got out a quilting reference book by Celia Eddy.
Gosh, I am so glad I bought this. Now, focusing on patterns that feature a center design and are not too hard for a beginner, I selected this one.
The pattern is called Economy, and includes a square, a right-angle triangle, a focus fabric and three supporting fabrics. It is rated for beginning quilters. Within an hour or so, I had put together my block.
If you also are intrigued by doing a round robin quilt, check out this group.
Below is the schedule of the designers and links to their blogs.
I am carrying on with color wash experiments. Today I am exploring yellow ocher. I started out by wetting the paper before dropping on the paint. Yellow ocher pulled from the top to near the bottom. Then I brought violet up from the bottom to mix and mingle with the yellow. Here you see the washes still wet.
I stared at the dried paper for a long time before deciding what to do. To me, the colors reminded me of a place where my family has spent many a vacation: New Mexico. The American Southwest is characterized by dark, crumbling mountains and earthy adobe dwellings. I wanted to portray this idea in a quick sketch.
Using a watercolor crayon, I drew in the buildings as I remembered them from past visits to Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Next came a little texture painted on the purple foreground. And lastly, I added a bit of blue for sky, pulling the paint down to touch the horizon.
Still working with the quinacridone red wash, I decided to paint a dried-up oak leaf over the washed paper. Here is my pencil sketch, drawn from a leaf I brought home with me a few weeks ago.
My experiment today is with a wet-on-wet technique. First I used plain water stroked over sections of the leaf individually. Then I dropped in burnt sienna. After watching the brown spread out, I added drops of different colors.
Adding details, I painted in the stem, veins and a shadow. Next came a little white gouache stroked over the pale veins. And finally some brown pen outlined the edges.
Today I finished this capelet, designed by Barbara Benson.
It was a breeze to knit up. I enjoyed working a combination of mosaic and lace stitches. My colors are deep green and bold rust. I’m glad that I was finally able to use the Knit Picks Gloss yarn that I purchased nearly ten years ago. It had been in a shrug, which didn’t look good on me and felt scratchy on my neck. Since this capelet stands away from the neck, scratchiness isn’t a problem.
Sorry about the shadow on the photograph above.
Now that I have it on, I have to admit it is not the most useful article of clothing that I ever knit. But it’s fine for sedentary activities when reaching your arms up is not required. And it’s not as warm as a shawl. (Yeah, the back of my neck is exposed.)
I can’t help but like it, because it’s pretty and graceful.
This pattern is available on Ravelry. I rate it a five for quality of design and clarity of instructions.
While it was a struggle to pull my eyes away from yesterday’s news feed, I got a surprising amount of work done. We even managed to take down and store the Christmas tree.
My new approach to watercolor painting adopted on Jan 1st has me excited about the potential. This time I chose to apply a quinacridone red wash. After it dried, I added a miniature landscape of snow-covered mountains at dawn.
This took me very little time to complete and I enjoyed every brush stroke.
Moving on to sewing, I got another block design worked up on the Animal Friends project. Here is a little pet condo in bright colors and fun geometric shapes.
That brings my completed block count on the project to twelve. I’m half-way there!
And finally, I found a use for some old yarn from a knitted item that I frogged almost ten years ago. It is a KnitPicks yarn called Gloss – a very soft blend of wool and silk in a dark green color. I bought three balls of a complimentary color to make this charming capelet.
Yesterday I got to work on changes to my studio, so that I can keep painting and sewing projects going at the same time. First of all, I put together a table top pressing board. It is a rectangle measuring about 19 by 21 inches. This addition allowed me to put the big ironing board away in the closet. I set up the card table under the window.
There is just enough room to allow me to paint on one canvas at a time, with all of the painting supplies directly at hand. To the right you see the big table that serves as my main work surface. The Bernina is on the shelf, ready to go at a moment’s notice.
To test out this arrangement, I got busy with the watercolors. I brushed washes on to two pieces of paper. My inspiration for the first painting was a photo I took when visiting Ohio in November. It is a slightly fuzzy image of Mogadore reservoir, the shoreline surrounded by bare branches.
Quite a lovely, abstract landscape. Here is my interpretation of the scene using a violet and turquoise wash blended slightly.
The second piece of paper was washed with the turquoise alone – two coats to get it even. For inspiration, I flipped through some reference photos I had saved and came up with this indigo bunting.
It inspired me to attempt a negative painting. In this technique, you paint around the area of the subject, drawing it out by subtracting the surrounding space. This first try at negative painting didn’t go very smoothly. I ended up having to use some white gouache on the bird to pick out the details.
Once the paint had dried, the little bird flew away. He found a perch among some of his feathered friends. I quickly snapped this photo.
He seems so at home there.
The casual observer will notice that my background turned out very streaky. I used a combination of burnt sienna and Payne’s gray with not too much water. It took a few coats over the turquoise wash to get the uniform color I was seeking. I used quinacridone gold on his perch.