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Friday, January 30, 2009

Not just drooling over the photos!


     For once I am going to use one of my many quilting books for something other than drooling over the photos.  I have joined a group that is working our way through Color and Composition for the Creative Quilter by Katie Pasquini Masopust and Brett Barker.  This is good!  I am trying to become more disciplined in my art.  There was discussion of right brain/ left brain and trying to bring more of one into the mix.  I won't go into a lot of detail since I don't want to give away all of their secrets in the book.  
     There are some interesting drawing exercises, the first of which you try to draw
 a still life while blocking your view of your paper.  A blind contour drawing!  That one was not pretty!  I think I did better art in kindergarten but, pretty wasn't the point so that was OK.  It was an exercise to help with that right brain/left brain cross over.  There were several exercises each leading one step further.
First is the photo of my fruit I tried to
 draw and later re-create with fabric.  A banana, an orange and a kiwi split in two.  I didn't want anything too complex but I thought the kiwi added a little punch.  Next is my first blind contour.  If you look closely and squint (maybe) you can sort of see, oh never mind!
     The next photo shows my drawing of the fruit while trying to look at my paper only 25% of the time.  (I think I may have looked a little more than that--it was hard to judge)  It was also hard to make myself not look at my paper.  If you have this book pull it out and give it a try.  It's very interesting.
Finally I have a re-creation of my
 photo in fabric (at the top of the page).  I also made an abstract of the fruit and a contour drawing with free motion stitching.  So, I have three small finished journal size quilts.  These will give me an excellent opportunity to practice the binding techniques I learned in my class on Wednesday.

     The binding class was so much better than I expected it to be.  If you have a chance to re-visit some of the basic skills for quilters, jump right in.  I had several Aha! moments that I know will make me a nicer person to be around when I'm trying to bind my quilts. Practice will be good so that it comes more naturally for me. Have a good day everyone! Janet

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Basic quilting skills


Monday night was the meeting for Minnesota Contemporary Quilters.  I love those meetings they always make me laugh.  I haven't made it for several months due to weather, health and no meeting in December so it was fun to reconnect.  Our speaker this month was a traditional quilter who was speaking about some basic skills such as binding quilts.  Some of us need to work on these skills just a little.  I know that I am hit or miss with my bindings.  I have trouble with the corners and the edges seem to want to curl.  Not pretty!  That is why I signed up a month ago for a class at a local shop, Bear Patch Quilting, called Binding Perfection.  I am mostly a self taught quilter and my self education is spotty at best.  I knew binding was a skill I wanted to improve.  So it was a little bit of serendipity that this was the topic at our meeting.  My class is this afternoon and I need to take something to bind.  I am trying to finish up examples from classes I have taken (at least the samples I like).  So, I am taking a sample from my Flower Power class taught by Susan Brittingham at Quilt University.  The one I am taking to my binding class is one of our beginning examples for the Flower Power class.  I also need to finish the final project for that class but I'll save that for another day.
I took some show and tell to the meeting the other night.  Everyone seemed to like my blue jean quilt.  I made two of these during a class in the learningfa yahoo group.  I cut out all the blue jean circles while I was watching the election debates last fall.  I'm calling this my green quilt!  I used an entire box of old blue jeans cutting 300 circles for the two quilts, and four yards of flannel that I have had laying around since my children were very young.  It felt good to use up so much of my fabric stash.  I had been saving the jeans to make a quilt 'some day.'  It was fun to make it along with other people all encouraging each other along the way.  The red and yellow quilt is my son's, there is a photo of each side for that quilt.  The green and purple quilt is my daughter's.



I also wanted to post a photo of the header I had on the top of my webpage.  I changed it today because it was hard to read the title with that particular quilt in the background.  This quilt was also made for a class at Quilt University.  It is my own design from the class Points and Curves taught by Myrna Giesbrecht when she was at Quilt U.  She is no longer teaching there you can find a link to her webpage on the sidebar (Creative Conversation).  This quilt is called Pursuit of Happiness.  It was part of an exhibit at the Textile Center in St Paul last fall.  The exhibit was called Freedom:  The Fiber of our Nation and was displayed during the Republican National Convention last fall.  Have a great day everyone! Janet

Monday, January 26, 2009



Thought I would post photos of some UFO's I want to finish very soon. Two are lap size quilts, one is about the size of a quilt for a twin-bed. I did the two lap size quilts the end of winter beginning of spring last year. They just need to have the backing and batting added and then quilting. I made them when I was beginning to learn more about sewing curves. After that I took the class where I learned to make the quilt I have in my header. I'll post the whole quilt from my header tomorrow so you can see all of it.
I made the t-shirt quilt last summer for my daughter. It was fun to make it personal for her with photos that went along with the shirts. I even used some of her caps. I took them apart and cut them up so they look like small caps. the photo shows one of the squares before it was finished.  I have the entire top for this quilt done just need to back it and quilt it.  I plan to finish all of these within the next month and than move on to a few art quilt's that are also UFO's.  Have a great day tomorrow. Janet

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fabric over dyeing

Yesterday I finished over-dyeing my soy wax batik fabrics plus a few shibori dyed fabrics that I wanted to finish. I haven't decided yet if I am pleased with all of the results but I had a lot of  fun working on these.  The shibori fabrics I have had ready to paint since late summer, early fall.  We were making trips from our house to the h
omes of relatives.  Tying the fabric for shibori was an easy relaxing way to spend the time in the car.  I think I will make a habit of leaving fabric ready to tie or stitch near my tv.  When I stop to watch a show I can also create some new fabrics.  
 know I like this first one with the green edges and the yellow dots.  If you look at it the right way(from either end) it looks like a field of yellow flowers.  I will have to experiment more with refining this technique. The next two cloths are some I did in a shibori dyeing class taught by Marjorie McWilliams at Quilt University online.  The lighter colored parts were white and I overdyed them both.  Not sure I like the blue and reddish one as well since I added the overdye.  Before with the white it was almost a patriotic fabric, now the blue has a slight greenish tint.  I have one other shibori fabric I am working on right now.  I'm trying to make a butterfly.  I'll let you know if it turns out.

   The next photos are my soy waxed batiks I showed you in an earlier post.  Now they are finished.  Not sure what I will make with them yet.  I'll have to think about it for awhile, I'll hang them on my design board one at a time until something comes to me.  I also threw some cheesecloth into the dyes to use with my embellisher.  Not sure they will work but they did end up bright colored.  Have a great day! Janet

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Round Robin

Good Morning everyone!

I have never participated in a Round Robin before this year.  If you don't know in a round robin each participant makes a beginning block.  Each group probably has it's own rules for the size of the block etc.  There are a set number of people in your group.  We started with five but due to health issues of one participant ended up with four.  You mail your finished block to one person on the list and they add a border to the block.  They mail your block to the next person on the list and so on until it gets back to you again.  Since there were four of us, I worked on the blocks of three other people.  Here is the block I used for my starting point.  I made this to try Susan Cleveland's Piping Hot Curves technique.  I am so happy with the quilt that came back to me.  I would never have come up with this on my own.  These woman are so talented I am in awe of the work they have done.  This group was through Shirley Patterson's learningfa yahoo group.  It was a little frightening for me to add to someone else's quilt but I am so glad I allowed myself this opportunity to grow.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Photo Postcards


I'm not quite finished with the postcard of my daughter, but I am close.  I did have to go buy some more purple fabric as you need multiple shades for it to work.  I have added photos of the postcard in progress.  The first photo shows the fabric with the patt
ern underneath on top of my lightbox.  The second photo is the postcard with all the fabric but no thread painting yet. The third is the finished postcard of my son.  I did his in shades of blue.

Talk to you tomorrow!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fabric Postcards

     I know I said I was going to learn more about my new embellisher on Tuesday but I got caught up watching the inauguration instead.  I was planning to record it and watch with the rest of my family, I did record it for them but I had to watch as well.  It was very inspiring!  I think what strikes me the most is the fact that Obama is telling us our job isn't over.  Our civic responsibility doesn't stop when we vote.  We are all in this recovery program together and we each need to do our part.  That is how we stitch and mend the fibers of this country.
     Yesterday I worked on some landscape postcards for an exchange.  I can't show those to you until they are sent and received but I will include photos today of some other postcards I have completed.  I purchased a free motion quilting pattern by Sharon Schamber a few months ago.  I know I need more practice with free motion and this looked like a challenge to me.  I was making postcards at the time and thought it would be fun to try her techniques on a postcard.  It was more difficult than I expected to do this in a smaller format.  The postcard with the bright colored fabric and all the stitching at the top of my post is the one I am talking about.  The fabric was hand painted using setacolor paints.  
     A second card I made is my winter snowman.  It was very cold outside when I designed this card.  The blue is hand dyed.  The snowy foreground is covered with a shimmery fabric that I used my heat gun to give a little ripple effect.  I also added a few liquid beads to this postcard.  I had never used liquid beads before and they are a fun new toy.  The beads are suspended in a gluey like substance that dries hard and clear and adheres to your fabric.  The card in the photo is the first one I made.  I tried to do better with the trees in the rest of them so they didn't look as though they were all blowing over.  Although that winter wind is pretty strong.  I've also included a blow-up of the section with the beads.  It's a little blurred but I think you can see the beads.
     A third postcard is my son.  I cropped a photo so it was just the top portion of his face.  I printed it in greyscale and made a pattern from that print.  I did his postcard size smiling eyes in shades of blue.  Today I plan to make my daughter in shades of purple.  My pattern is ready I just hope I have enough shades of purple fabric.  I will post both of those later today.
     I will also be working more on my embellisher today but I am going to work on class projects.  I am a little out of my depth with the class I am taking but getting very inspired by the beautiful work of my fellow classmates.  It is an online class through The Thread Studio.  The class is called Embellish, Stitch, Enrich.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Soy Wax Batik, learningfa(fiber arts)

     My first post told of my adventures with The Rosie Quilters (my small group).  The seven of us gathered at the school where one is a (let's see if I can get the title right) Family and Consumer Science teacher.  We had a big classroom with lot's of tables and outlets to plug in our electric skillets.  It was perfect.  We had a good time and each learned from the other as we went along.  None of us had done this before.  Yesterday I spent some time dyeing my soy wax batik fabrics and washing out the wax.  I haven't done any dyeing since early last summer so I had to do a little refresher first but I think they are looking pretty good.  The two fabrics I painted while at the school on Saturday have crisper design patterns than the two I brought home to dye.  I lost wax along the way.  I don't know if it was just the cold that made it crack and fall off or if you should always do the batik immediately but that's what happened to mine.  I like them in spite of losing a little of the design.  I plan to spend one more day with these fabrics before I call them finished as I want to color in the white.  I'm thinking maybe yellow with the purple but I'm not sure.  I haven't decided what to add to the raspberry colored fabric yet.

I have been anxiously and not very patiently waiting for my class on how to make a blog.  The class is this Saturday.  As you can see I jumped the gun and started my blog early.  I have many questions though and can't wait to learn the answers.  I feel fortunate to have found the yahoo group hosted by Shirley Patterson called learningfa, for learning fiber arts.  It is kind of a cooperative as people in the group take turns teaching each other skills that we have.  I originally signed up because I was interested in the thread painting taught by Shirley, she does amazing work and you will find a link to her blog here on my site.  She truly is a wonderful person who has taught me many things in the short time I have been a member of this group.  Chris will be teaching our blog class and she has one hundred students!  I will periodically post things I have learned to do on this site.  Here is a postcard I used my new thread painting skills to create. 
Today is a class day for me.  I received three classes along with my embellisher so I am going to take one of those.  Tonight I have a class called My Bernina Does That!  I will learn about a few new feet and what they can do.  Sounds like fun.  I'm also working on some postcards for a couple of exchanges and a landscape challenge that Shirley gave us to do.  I'm hoping to re-create Split Rock Falls in northern Minnesota.  I'll keep you posted. Janet

Monday, January 19, 2009



     I thought I had everything ready to go yesterday.  Not quite!  I spent almost an hour looking for the instructional CD that came with my embellisher.  It came in one of those little paper sleeves.  I thought it was sitting right beside my computer, waiting patiently for me.  My husband even joined in helping me try to track it down.  It appears to have gone the way of the the extra socks that disappear from my washing machine to my dryer!  I'll have to call the store today to see if I can get an extra disk.  I think it showed how to change needles etc. and would be very helpful.  
     So, then I thought maybe it's online somewhere.  I wasted another half hour or more trying to find video of people using embellisher.  No luck with that either.  This gave me the idea, somewhere down the road, I hope to add some instructional videos to my site.  I need to learn a little more about blogging first so be patient with me.


     I did read the instruction book before I began and have posted a couple of photos of my first attempt.  I was just playing with different fibers to see how they will work .  The sample with lot's of different choices I used felt as my base and randomly added bits of yarn, roving, ribbon, several types of sheer fabrics.  I wanted texture in the final piece so I didn't felt everywhere.  It is pretty lumpy and bumpy, so I have to figure out how to get the texture in the piece and still have it lay flat.  Lot's to learn!  

The second piece is a hand dyed silk hanky that I have had for quite awhile and could never decide what to do with it.    I want to add something more to that piece yet.  Maybe some yarn or ribbon and some hand stitching.  I like the colors and the feel of it though.  The base for the silk hanky is the sleeve of an old wool jacket.  I bought some wool jackets at garage sells and goodwill and took them apart.  I washed them a couple of times and now I will use them for backing for different projects.
     I have the twelve needle embellisher.  Today I want to learn how to remove some of the needles and see how it changes the effect of the finished project if I just use a few at a time.  Have a fun day everyone!  Don't forget to play a little each day! Janet

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New Blogger

I have decided to start blogging as a way to hold myself accountable.  I want to further my education and enjoyment of the fiber arts.  I hope to keep a record of my journeys on this blog.  By writing down what I have learned I can keep a record for myself.  This will work two fold for me.  On those days when I feel like I'm not accomplishing much, I can look back and say "Hey, I guess I'm doing pretty well!" and I will be more likely to keep learning if I'm writing it all down.  Yesterday I went to a play day with my small quilting group.  We played with soy wax.  I have never done any batik work at all so this was new for me.  It was so exciting watching the creative process emerge in the seven of us involved.  There were some gorgeous fabrics created and I can't wait to see what develops from them.  I know that I will be experimenting more with this technique.  I still have a lot to learn there.  The biggest learning curve for me is to get caught up in the moment and not worry about what others think or whether I am doing it 'right.'  I think the times I create something I truly love are the times I block out the world and just go with my gut.  Experimenting is the name of the game and I need to join in! I posted two photos of a couple of the fabrics I created yesterday.  I painted the black and brown with jacquard paints.  I'm planning to dye the other that just has the wax on it so far.  I think the dark one looks a little like a meteor shower or something space related.  Today I have set aside to play with my new embellisher.  It was a Christmas gift and I still haven't used it!  I had a couple of projects with deadlines I wanted to finish first and I have been reading to try to learn more.  Now it is time to jump in and create.  I can't wait.  I've seen so many beautiful things done with an embellisher.