Posted in sewing

Stash-busting: Open Wide Zip Pouch

Okay, so I’m making this zip pouch because Chris at Chrisknits can’t stop making them! They are just so darn quick and useful. You can check out her blog here:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/32776

Do I have what I need? Let’s see. The project requires about 1/4 yard of fabric each for the outer shell and lining as well as a zipper. This one is about ten inches long.

I also required the better part of a cup of coffee to get started.

The gold cotton damask on the left is left over from a bedspread I made about 15 years ago. This scrap has been used in an experiment with Dye-Na-Flow fabric paint. I applied the paint to the back side of the fabric, to see if the color would seep through the woven vines but not through the shiny gold parts. It sort of did that. Now I have a use for it.

I also have this scrap, printed with shiny gold dillweed stems. I’ll use it for the bottom section of the bag.

Instructions for this project come courtesy of Anna Graham, at Noodle-head. com. You can get the details here:

open wide zippered pouch: DIY tutorial

My first attempt took about an hour or so to complete, with only one rip-it-out moment.

This is very girly looking, with the pairing of flowery and metallic prints.

Here’s a peek at the inside. It does indeed open wide.

This will be a nice item for gift-giving. I think I will make the next one with a wrist strap.

Posted in painting, quilting

Update on Turtle Fiber Object

The past five days have found me in a creative slump. Having got my turtle idea started, I am mulling ideas and fiddling with techniques for the next steps. As a reminder, here is my inspiration photograph.

There are two tricky parts for me: 1. How to portray the reflections, and what other elements should be included.

I did get the subject-turtle painted onto to white fabric, in two pieces.

I also added more wash to the background. My goal was to achieve some depth of color and depict some of the swirls and waves in the pond. That didn’t happen but I did achieve some nice shadows. Next I fused the turtle in place with Wonder-Under.

After practicing on scraps, I decided that I have enough skill to machine quilt the reflections. The advantage of this technique is that the thread can be very light colored, even shiny, against the dark background.

For additional elements, I may go with pond grasses….

… and damselflies. Maybe a willow branch or two. But I have yet to work out the specific images and techniques.

This morning when I entered the studio, I felt momentary pleasure at seeing my recent work. Maybe it’s a sign that today I will get my mojo back.

Posted in painting

Spring Creations – Watery Images

Lately I have been so inspired by the fresh green-ness of springtime. I am eager to make fiber objects that memorialize what I see. While viewing some of Bill’s photographs from our recent camping trip at Lake Montgomery, I was amazed by his images of red-eared slider turtles. They were paddling around in a quiet inlet. The colors of the surrounding trees were reflected in the water and bent by its ripples. That water surface reminds me so much of silk moire. I would love to re-create the image in fabric.

To get started, I reach for my old stand-by medium: Jacquard Dye-Na-Flo.

I’ve mixed up a leafy color by blending yellow, green and a bit of orange. Black will be dabbed on in small quantities.

I think that I can manipulate the paint into ripples by sewing the fabric into pleats – much like a Shibori technique. Studying the photograph, I organize the pleats by direction and number to match what I see.

The fabric is wet thoroughly. I don’t want any of the fabric inside the folds to remain white. Then I sponge the green paint onto the top and bottom sides of the fabric. A little extra paint, including dabs of black, is applied to the edge of the folds. Here is my piece after the painting is finished.

The fabric will need to remain tied up until it is thoroughly dry. This technique works because the parts of the fabric that dry fastest hold the most color. The slowest drying sections will be the lightest in color.

And here is the finished, pressed cloth:

It may be difficult to tell from the photograph, but yes, this fabric is completely flat. I was pleased. There is an uncanny resemblance to the lake water in the photograph.

My next step will be to imitate the ripples by brushing on thicker textile paint. It will be interesting to see if I can do it.

Posted in painting

Fun with Paint

Over the week-end, I played with paint – both fabric and watercolor types. It was a relaxing way to spend the days. Let me tell you about the fabric experiments.

I have an idea to create a small quilt with an underwater theme. There will be schools of little fish moving about in multiple directions. I already have some lovely orange striped and some batik fabrics for the fishes bodies. What I need is an interesting blue background that looks like ocean. So I got out the Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow paint.

I started with plain white fabric and painted a series of bands in shades of blue and blue-green. Not content to stop there, I grabbed the rock salt and applied it liberally.

This was a little bit of overkill. It’s very pretty, but now the fabric looks like blue seltzer water. Since this look is too busy for my original purpose, I will set it aside for another use. Next I overpainted a couple of printed fabrics that had white backgrounds. The first piece was pretty straightforward – a marble veining on white.

This could be a background

And finally I selected a print that had a white background. It looked like this:

After painting with azure blue it now it looks like this!:

I love it. Notice how the chartreuse green blobs jump into prominence. They resemble tiny fish. And the dark pink blobs remind me of coral clumps. All the paler colors have faded into the background. This is something I’m excited to work with.

Posted in painting, quilting

Just Trees in Progress

It’s a cold, drippy, soggy-ground day here. Even with the sun behind a cloud, one can revel in the beauty of Spring arriving. This is our neighbor’s tulip magnolia which overhangs the fence in our yard. It is robed in amazing color just a handful of days every year. So I put on shoes and went out into the wet to capture its moment of glory.

Yucky weather seems to give one full permission to huddle indoors and work on fiber objects. The Weaver’s Square vest is within three inches of being fully knitted. I should have a good image to post in a couple of more days.

Here is a progress photo showing work on my latest fiber object, which I call “Just Trees.” I have cut and basted four rows of clam shell shapes, then painted each with a tree.

My original intent was to paint all trees without leaves. But hey, I can’t ignore the burst of color right outside my window. The three trees with black trunks and pink tops are meant to be redbuds. It is a native tree that puts on screaming pink to magenta blossoms in mid Spring – usually before any of the other hardwood trees have even leafed out.

I think three redbuds will be enough to create a nice focal point.

So far the top two rows of appliques have been stitched – by hand – into place. This step is only a little bit tricky. But patience and persistence always yield results.

With a continuation of rainy weather and the unceasing announcements of event cancellations, I may easily finish this object before next weekend.

Posted in colorwork, painting, quilting

Painting Thread

So far I have found myself frequently frustrated while shopping in my local craft store for decorative topstitch thread. My local craft store, which is a Hobby Lobby ( I have a love-hate relationship with H-L,) has a limited selection of quilting threads, none of which are what I am wanting for my current project. And the threads that are available are not particularly affordable.

I have nothing to lose in experimenting with painting my own thread. (Not be confused with thread painting, a hand embroidery craft in which stitches are worked densely to create a painterly landscape of thread on fabric.) I have everything I need.

1. A 50 gram spool of 100% cotton DMC thread no. 10 in an off-white color. 2 Assorted jars of Jacquard Dye-Na-Flo fabric paint. 3. water proof freezer paper. 4. latex gloves.

After coiling several yards of thread and tying them together with string, I let the thread soak in the paint for about ten minutes. Wearing latex gloves I lifted the coil from the paint, squeezed out the excess and laid the threads on paper. Drying took several hours. The next day I pressed the dried thread with a hot iron, under a pressing cloth, for about 30 seconds. This was my attempt to fix the color. Because Jacquard Dye-Na-Flo is an acrylic paint, it is essentially color-fast from the moment it dries. But if you want to use the paint on an item that will be washed, I would recommend letting it cure for at least a week before washing.

Here are my hand-painted threads wound on spools.

I love that the paint gave the thread a variegated effect. I’m not sure if this happened because I mixed paint colors together or because I had a cord tied around the coil. It certainly makes for a splashy look.

Airplane is in natural thread. Moon is stitched with painted thread.

So far I haven’t noticed any color bleed on my sample fabric. Tomorrow I will start using it on my quilt. I’m excited to see how that goes.

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 colorwork, hand embroidery, quilting

Oakleaf Hydrangea – The First Leaf

Yesterday and today I resumed work on the oakleaf hydrangea fabric paintings. Above you see the reference photo for the first leaf I am painting. I chose to do two experiments. Here are the two paintings after the first round of painting. The color wash – resist steps were complete and the paintings left to dry. In these photos, the water resist medium has not been washed out yet.

And here are the two paintings, washed, dried and with final details added, using Jacquard Textile paint inTurquoise and Goldenrod, so palette was quite limited.

It was a learning experience, trying to paint on dry fabric with thicker paints. I discovered how to add depth to the background by dry brushing. And I learned that my skill in painting delicate lines needs work. After the pieces dried, I pressed them and continued on to the stitching phase. I chose to work with the purple piece first, hand quilting with embroidery floss. Instead of backing with regular batting, I used cotton flannel, since it would be easier to push the needle through.

I carefully stitched over the major leaf veins, and then made two borders around the leaf margin. After finishing the leaf, I just improvised the background, using two shades of purple and two stitches – feather and chain.

So far, undecided about how to stitch down the edges. The choices are blind stitch or use a decorative blanket stitch. Does anyone have a recommendation?

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.