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.
First of all, everyone said “Keep the fence.” Many of you liked the wine-purple color, but some agreed with me that an adjustment of some kind was needed.
I did try options 1 and 2.
Option 1: Start over with another fabric. Here are the samples I painted on the white fabric. I decided that it was a fun exercise, but just didn’t look too fence-like.
Option 2: I applied a wash of a cool blue color to tone down the strident red violet.
It just plain didn’t work as intended. To my eye, this is worse than before.
In the end, I chose to start again with the original fabric, for the same reason that I picked this fabric in the first place. The print had an earthy, woody texture to it. This time I mixed my violet paint with enough azure blue to create a sort of periwinkle or lavender tone. I also modified my foam brush by cutting notches into it.
Thanks to all who participated in the game. Your encouragement and positive remarks let me feel the community around me. I wish I could give you each a hug.
Now I can move on to sewing. I’ll start with a little hand embroidery on the flowers.
It’s a particularly cold and dark Monday morning. There is a light rain falling. I guess the rain is just enough to make roads slick. In the distance I hear the sirens of emergency vehicles racing to the scene of an accident.
No matter. There is coffee brewing and wool to keep me warm and occupied for the day. This yarn is a Berroco sock yarn called, appropriately, Berroco Sox, color number 14100. I am casting on this pair to gift to someone who loves me. The stitch pattern is the same 3 by 1 rib that I used for my husband’s cashmere socks. Which, by the way, he finally wore for the first time yesterday.
I hope your Monday sees you warm and content, making something you enjoy.
Today I finished painting the Van Gogh-ish sunflower scene.
I’m very happy with my work. I also applied a wash of paint on the fabric that will become the fence. But I’m just perplexed about whether the fence works with the rest of the piece. Here it is:
I like the texture – it’s quite true to the real thing. I even like the violet color. It’s the tone of the violet that I’m not sure of. And I don’t think the light tan base color works well with the rest of the palette.
There are a few options:
Start over with new fabric. I have white and a white on white print that might work.
Apply another light wash over this fabric. Since the paints are transparent, a cool shade of blue would blend with the background and make the violet areas look blue-purple.
Stick with what I have and modify the fence color by painting highlights in an opaque paint and stitching texture with thread in colors that fit the palette.
Omit the fence and let the sunflowers float on the background.
It’s the season for sock making, and here is my entry. Just your basic sock, nothing fancy.
The only thing worth commenting is this: I have been knitting for twelve years, and this pair is the first I have knit with a self-striping yarn. This particular yarn is KnitPicks Stroll. The colorway – Test Pattern – was on sale earlier in the year. I’m pleased that I was able to get the wide stripes to line up the same way on each sock.
For the past three days I have been working steadily on the small art quilt that was inspired by the sunflowers in my garden and influenced by Vincent Van Gogh. I’m about half way through. Today I want to share a bit about the process I am using.
While the technique I have chosen to use is applique, the design process for most art quilts is similar. Start with an image. I used a photograph, but drawings are also good choices. Decide on size and dimension. Then enlarge the image to fit.
This enlargement is about 18 x 24. I have printed it in black and white because eliminating the color makes it much easier for me to judge relative values.
Using a tracing paper overlay, trace the image. During this stage many design decisions are made. You want to eliminate any visual clutter that doesn’t support the overall design. You can manipulate the different elements to strengthen your main thesis. For example, I altered the position of one flower and the tilt of the stems to accentuate the diagonal lines. It took me a long time to draw the pattern but I enjoyed the process.
This pattern will be the map from which the entire assembly is guided. I drew in some directional lines that suggest details for painting on later. You see that I assigned numbers to every element. This will help me trace and cut out all the pattern parts.
Now the part that every quilter just adores: Choosing colors and fabrics! Since I am a budding painter, I made a quick color chart in water color paint.
I’m trying to use an analogous color scheme. But my parameters are pretty wide, extending from violet through to yellow-orange. For this quilt I will assign the darkest colors to the background and the lighter ones to the elements .
Even though I did go shopping, in the end I chose fabrics mostly from my stash.
Next I traced each element onto freezer paper, cut them apart and pressed them onto the fabrics. Following the drawn lines, I cut out each pattern piece. Keeping them organized and up off the floor is the main challenge!
In my last post, you saw how I painted the background fabric. Here is the background again, up on my design wall and ready to accept the fabric appliques.
I use a fusible webbing called Wonder Under to glue the appliques to the background. I won’t go into detail on that step. The product’s packaging tells you what to do.
First I assembled the flowers, each of which had several fabrics. Once that was done I started attaching appliques to the background. Any pieces that lie behind another piece go down first. I started from the top. Here is a photo with about half the appliques on:
Here you see all of the flowers and leaves attached. This is where I left it yesterday.
I’m pleased with the result. I like it so well I may not even attach the fence applique – just let the flowers float in mid air. What do you think?
If you read my post dated October 1, you will remember that I have a desire to make a fiber object featuring sunflowers. As a reminder, here is the photograph I took this summer that will form the basis of my design.
I got pulled off my work when I decided to make a “confetti” sample on October 1st. It was great fun, but it won’t really give me the effect I want for this background.
So today, I am back on the trail of Van Gogh. I’ve studied some of his still life paintings, enough to get a handle on how he painted those dotted backdrops. I am trying it on the background fabric I have selected. It is a mottled pattern in a Prussian blue color. Certainly, it looks painterly in its own way, but it lacks the dynamic quality I seek.
I get out my Jacquard textile paints and, with new brush in hand, start at the top of the fabric. Directional lines and dashes are what I’m going for.
As I work my way down the fabric, I move from thinner lines to fatter, more blocky shapes. These represent what I see when looking at the background of my photo: mottled light and shadow of leaves, branches, etc.
I leave the bottom of the fabric blank, because the foreground is the fence. I have another piece of fabric for this element. It will be painted with a dry brush technique to portray the weathered state of the boards.
I found this process quite meditative. As the fabric gets filled with splotches, one pauses, studies the work, and asks oneself: Where do I put the next mark? What is it calling for? How will I know when it’s finished?
Mr. Van Gogh might have known, but I am only guessing.
My collection of water color brushes has been growing. Every time I take a new class on line, I end up purchasing new brushes. Storing them stuffed into my water jar just doesn’t work too well anymore. So I decided to make a roll-up brush holder from my quilting left overs.
You see in the picture my fabric selections. The log cabin square was made to practice free motion quilt stitches for Under the Sea quilt. The funny tape measure fabric was left over from the journal covers I made as gifts.
Let’s get started.
First, measure your brushes. The roll needs to be long enough to hold them all and tall enough to cover up the tallest brush. I cut the backing fabric 13 inches wide and 11 inches tall. The inner piece holds the brushes. I cut this fabric 13 inches by 12 inches and folded it in half, which gave 13 inches wide by 6 inches tall.
Sew them together around the outside edges. Next, mark the points where you want to make dividers. This was easy and fun with the tape measure fabric!
Make a standard quilt binding strip and apply it around the four sides.
That’s pretty much it!. You will want to add a cord to tie the roll shut.
For now, I just grabbed a piece of ribbon, wrapped it around the roll and tied a bow. Eventually I will get a nice cord or strap. Or maybe I will add a toggle and loop.
But for now, I am ready to paint en plein air at a moment’s notice.
While we were in Wisconsin last month, we visited the Northside Farmers Market in Madison. My daughter was eager for me to meet the local yarn vendor who had a stall there. Yorkshire Rose Farm offers lamb and chicken products, and at this market, wool products including yarn. The proprietors, as suggested by the name, came over from England and have been farming in Wisconsin since 2008.
To my chagrin, I failed to get any photos of the stall or the couple, due to my need to corral the toddler. But I discovered that the farm had a blog, so you can read about it here:
The yarn was displayed in groups by weight. I focused on the fingering weight. It was made from the wool of the Tunis breed. As expected in a natural yarn, it was a bit scratchy. I chose the colorway Peacock and Turquoise. It has short color repeats.
It seems to be a 2-ply yarn, in my mind very comparable to Knitpicks Palette. I found it combined beautifully with a grass-colored fingering twist yarn I had in my stash. Since the Tunis yarn has no nylon reinforcement, I decided not to use it to knit socks. Instead it will be made into a hat and/or gloves.
Here are the two yarns knitted in stripes.
And here they are in a stranded pattern called Rose Window.
Another option would be a mosaic stitch.
So, what do you think of the two yarns together? And should I work them in stripes or Fair Isle pattern?
The yarn is Plymouth Encore worsted weight in color 686.
As you see in the photo, I made the sleeves longer. They come to slightly above my wrists – long enough to keep my arms warm but short enough to stay out of the way when I am making objects or washing dishes. You also see the little lace motif added throughout the body and sleeves. I believe it’s called Snowflake, and can be found in 750 Stitches, The Ultimate Knit Stitch Bible. Other adjustments include picking up 2 extra stitches on either side of the armhole openings, so that there would not be holes in the fabric.
After it’s dry, I’ll sew on the buttons and ask hubby to photograph me in it, so you can see how it fits.
I’m really happy to finish before the week-end. Now I can cast on something new with the yarn I bought at the Farmer’s Market in Madison, WI. More about this on Monday.