Posted in painting, quilting

Update on Arches Quilt

I last wrote about this project on November 16th – almost a month ago. In that post I made a list of next steps. While I have completed all but a few of those steps, I started to lose enthusiasm for the project while painting my fabric. It seems that all of my fabrics began to look alike. I told myself that the background fabrics SHOULD look alike, otherwise they wouldn’t retreat into the background. But I still wanted more texture and movement in the colors. So I decided to go back to Cindy Walter’s fabric painting class, to review my technique and discover what I’m missing.

https://shop.mybluprint.com/quilting/classes/fun-techniques-with-fabric-paints/35491

That did the trick. I worked a few variations on color washing and finished painting the background fabric. I now have enough fabric to start building the quilt blocks.

Looking at all the difference in the fabrics, it’s clear to me that I need to organize them in a way that illustrates the scene I want to paint. The solution came to me while I was in the shower. (Why do I get my best ideas while washing my hair?) The Arch stretches itself across three different backdrops.

Water.

City.

And sky

I have my design, my structure, my fabric and my pattern. Now I can begin to sew.

Posted in drawing, knitting, painting

Life in the Studio

As much as I enjoyed our little trip to visit family, it’s nice to be back into my routine. Just as an aside, the faux suede baby booties, while slightly too big, were well accepted by little L. In the meantime, she had also acquired two other items of footwear – a pair of sneakers and a pair of snow boots. She did a brief baby runway show, modeling all of the above. It was so funny to watch her toddle around the house awkwardly, although looking quite pleased with herself and her ability to work the crowd.

Back at home, I have picked up where I left off on various fiber projects.

First of all, I’m knitting a birthday surprise for my daughter. (A big clue to the surprise is found in the sketch above.)

Secondly, I’ve resumed efforts toward making the Arches quilt. It’s amazing how just writing down the next steps motivated me to work. I have finished drawing the full-size patterns for each block. And by completing this step, I have been able to determine exactly how may squares of each color will be required. Over the past two days I have been painting the background fabric. I chose to paint the background squares on a gray fabric, in order to keep the background looking like the night sky.

Next up will be the fabric for the quilt subject.

 

Posted in knitting, painting

A Hunker-Down kind of day

The wind howled all night and by 8 am this morning, the temperatures were in the lower 30s. I’m told that this is today’s high. The temperature is still dropping and the wind continues to blow. It’s a good thing that I have plenty of fiber objects and other creative endeavors on hand. No need to change out of my comfy yoga pants.

Yesterday I began to learn watercolor painting on paper. It’s been a long-time goal of mine to study this art form. I signed up for Lindsay Weirich’s introductory course Hand-painted Holiday, which can be found at https://lindsayweirich.teachable.com/p/hand-painted-holiday

During an overly-optimistic moment several years ago I had purchased a water color set. I dug it out of a drawer and retrieved several tubes of paint. It took some muttering and a dull yarn needle to pierce some of the foil seals, but eventually I had small quantities of paint laid down onto a cheap plastic palette.

First the tags. Lindsey called these a warm-up exercise. After a few hours I had completed six or so gift tags. Here are some of my favorites:

Next came the cards. I worked the first of the series, stopping when I realized that the afternoon had flown the coop, it was 5 pm and time to cook dinner.

Taking a break from painting, I moved on to knitting. At this point, all of the holiday gifts that I wanted to make were finished and ready to be wrapped. (Mmm maybe I will attach some of those gift tags!) I suddenly remembered that daughter had requested a pair of mittens for her son. She specifically wanted stranded knitting, so the mittens would be extra warm. I found the perfect pattern on Ravelry. It will only require a few adjustments, including the insertion of a thumb gusset for better fit.

Here is my progress so far.

With the weather so brutal outside, there is a chance I can finish these mittens and another watercolor card before the sun comes up tomorrow.

Posted in hand embroidery, painting

Hydrangea in my Rearview Mirror

Before I say farewell to my study of the oakleaf hydrangea plant, I want to share the little study I made of the blooms. Above is a reference photo for the plant. The “flowers” open pure white, changing over times into shades of rose, rust and green. I say flowers in quotes, because the part of plant that most people identify as a flower – it has petals, after all – is really a bract, or sterile flower. The real flowers are in the tight little buds that you see at the top of the panicle. Here is a specimen, much dried up, that I took from my hydrangea.

Interestingly, there are some bracts with four petals and some with five. I did a drawing in colored pencil before I started making the fiber object, which depicts the rusty pink color of late summer.

My first thought was to make corner blocks for my quilt with images of the flower panicles. But after I had assembled the quilt and laid out the border, I decided corner blocks would not improve the quilt at all and might even detract from the focus. By then I had already started a sample block.

It is a sweet little object, just 4 by 4 inches. Made with hand painted cotton, block printed and embroidered. Perhaps I can use it in another project.

Posted in hand embroidery, painting, quilting

Leaf Study Quilt – Reveal

As I knotted off the last thread of the binding’s slip stitch, I drew my quilt around me and snuggled down into its folds. It is wrong to be in love with one’s own work?

This little lap quilt turned out very much the way I had hoped it would. The dark sashing focuses one’ eye on the beautiful leaves, as if each was a boxed jewel. I loved quilting in free-motion over under and around the leaf shapes.

The batik fabric of the border matches many colors in the blocks. And the botanical pattern on it suggests the sort of wooded area where one might find an oakleaf hydrangea shrub in the wild.

“Oakleaf Hydrangea Study” Hand painted cotton, cotton flannel, and commercial printed fabric; hand embroidered and machine quilted free motion style.

Posted in hand embroidery, painting, quilting

Milestone

Today I am writing my 100th post on Daily Fiber blog. I am pleased that this milestone arrives at the same time as another mini-achievement: the completion of my oakleaf hydrangea block series. After some consideration I determined that the final block count will be nine, as you see pinned to my wall boards in the photo above.

Decisions still need to be made on how to finish. After consulting with a few friends, I have settled on the arrangement of blocks and the decision to use a dark border around each block as if it were an individual painting. Also, I will add a border around the whole quilt – width and color yet to be determined.

Here are some close-ups of the groups;

As you can see, only the first block is quilted so far. I will finish the quilting after assembling each row.

Hand-painted cotton fabric , hand embroidered with a flannel background. Each block is 10 by 12, including flannel border.

Posted in colorwork, painting

Another Hydrangea Leaf

…..With apologies to readers who might be tiring of images of leaves.

I’m experiencing momentum on the oakleaf hydrangea project. While I intend to create 12 leaf blocks, I promise that I won’t blog about every single one of them. But I think today’s block is worth a few words and images. Here is the reference photo.

After making my sketch on the fabric, I masked the veins with resist and applied a pale emerald green wash. In this photo the piece has dried, and the leaf is covered in resist before undergoing the second wash.

I went really dark.

After the paint dried overnight, I pressed the background in an effort to set the color, then washed out the resist. Before I started painting in the details, I sampled several colors of paint over the pale emerald on waste fabric, because I had no idea what color would give the effect I wanted. I ended up applying yellow-orange, let it dry, and then painted in the major and minor veins.

This image has strayed pretty far from the reference photo! It is no longer a summer leaf, but a slightly battered early fall leaf, getting ready to change color before dropping to the ground. I love the chalkboard look of the background. Because it is black, I was able to use an Ultra fine point Sharpie to draw the leaf margin.

Posted in painting

Painting Hydrangea Leaves

Beside the patio lives a beautiful oakleaf hydrangea. Every morning, I drink my coffee in its shadow and admire the sunlight shining through the leaves. I have been wanting to incorporate these wonderful leaves into my fiber art all summer long.

If you look carefully at the photo, you will notice that there is a variety of leaf shapes presented by this plant. There can be three, four or five lobes on a leaf. It seems that the baby leaves start out almost round and the lobes develop as the leaf matures. I have decided to do a mosaic of the leaf shapes with fabric paint and resist on cloth.

Here are two of the drawings I made of these shapes. I will be using the shape outlined in black ink for today’s paintings.

There are two experiments today. In one, I use the water based resist on the leaf shape, paint the background, then remove the resist and paint the leaf. In the second experiment, I paint the entire piece, add resist to the leaf shape and over-paint the background. Here is a photo of both experiments in the first stage. The lines are traced and a yellow tinted resist is applied to both swatches. The left swatch has the whole leaf covered in resist.

Experiment one. I used a violet background.

Wet painting
This photo show the fabric after the resist is washed away. The yellow leaf veins didn’t stick, but some of the yellow outline is still visible.
in this photo I applied resist all around the leaf shape before painting the leaf itself.
Paint on leaf still wet. Only a little green leaked out on the lower right side.

Experiment two. I started by applying yellow tinted resist to the veins and outline, then covered the entire fabric with yellow-green paint.

Paint is still wet.
Paint has dried. I applied additional resist over the leaf area before painting the background.
Finished leaf, still wet.

I am happy with today’s experiments. I like the dark velvety color of experiment two. But experiment one has potential. Both are now ready for additional paint effects.

Posted in colorwork, painting

Consolidate. Gestate. Internalize.

For the past three days I have been irresolute about making new fiber objects. I haven’t been idle – not a chance of that! But I felt more internal about my efforts than external, that is, not ready to show or talk about them.

Consolidate: (verb) 1. to join together into one whole. 2. to make firm or secure.

Gestate: (verb) to conceive and gradually develop in the mind.

Internalize: (verb) to incorporate within the self as conscious or subconscious guiding principles through learning.

If you ever start to feel you are stuck creatively, I suggest you reframe your status with the verbs above. It could be that you are not stuck at all but are internalizing.

A week ago, I agreed to offer fiber arts lessons again to the local homeschool association. To keep from being overwhelmed, I suggested that I teach project or workshop-type lessons. So part of my time has been spent on writing syllabi for these workshops. The first topic is crochet. I propose to teach crochet in the round.

View of my worktable with two crocheted baskets in use.

I finished the syllabus for this workshop and made this sample.

It has been a while since I’ve created with yarn. It felt good to get back to it.

Secondly, I have been fooling around with pattern and paint on my color washed fabrics. Using foam, felt, cotton yarn and cardboard, I made these stamps.

Stamps sitting on color wash sample

I then proceeded to use them on this sample as well as a dark gray sample. My paint selection included Jacquard Textile paints, which are semi-transparent, Pebeo Setacolor opaque white, and some metallic acrylic paint I had laying around. Here are my doodles.

I’m loving the dark sample, especially the way the white opaque shapes and the glittery bronze shapes jump forward from the brooding background.

Posted in painting

Color wash – The Dark Side

Okay, no Star Wars reference intended – I am talking about painting on a dark solid fabric. This is what I chose to do today. My goal is to make swatches that will represent the night sky in a future fiber object. Here are my chosen fabrics:

The gray solid will be used for most of the work. I chose the white marbled fabric because the black lines are vaguely cloud-like. Here we go:

With the gray fabric pieces cut roughly 13 by 21 inches, I painted one with blue and black and the other with violet, blue and black. I used foam brushes and loose, wavy strokes. Then I blended all the blotches together and lay the fabrics flat to dry. Here they are after drying.

Blue-Black
Violet, Blue and Black

The original gray is still visible, but it just shades the colors into a deeper range. I like the brooding, atmospheric effect. Next is the white marbled fabric.

I stuck with the blue paint, but darkened it by mixing in black for a monochromatic color scheme. At the last minute, I decided to scrunch the wet fabric.

And here is the swatch after it has dried.

Whoa!

This looks nothing like a night sky to me. It more resembles fast-moving water rippling over rocks. This piece could inspire a new fiber object for a later day.