Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Bounce
56" x 79"
(the back side of Unfinished)

I love how the trajectory of this bouncing ball shows movement. The ball cannot avoid the force of gravity, just like the things we cannot avoid and must eventually accept. Putting a positive 'spin' on it, I like the metaphor of dealing with life’s difficulties with a “bounce”! 

I took a detail photo of the front side of the quilt and manipulated it in Photoshop to make a pattern for the ball.  The apparent weave and colors of the ball are the same as the woven pattern on the other side, just distorted into a sphere.  
Then I printed it onto freezer paper (don't try this!!), and the heat from my printer jammed the wax side of the paper into the printer.  So, that didn't work!!  Next step, tape the pattern onto a glass window and then by hand, trace the shapes onto freezer paper, and cut out all the shapes.  I then ironed them onto the fabric and cut out the pieces with a seam allowance.  Next, I decided the order in which they would be sewn together.  I glued down one seam allowance with the washable glue stick, and then glued it in place on top of the piece it would be sewn to.  By holding it up to the light, I could see when the edges of the freezer paper were nearly touching.  Then I hand sewed the pieces down, one at a time until the entire sphere was sewn together.
When the entire sphere was completed, I peeled the paper off the wrong sides and gently washed the glue out.  Then I turned under the outer edge and appliqued to the quilt.
It kinda seemed like a lot of work for all the little balls, but I have never done a technique like this before and it was fun to learn something new.  And it worked! The spheres were all stitched onto the back after the quilt was quilted. I am satisfied with the design elements and colors.  All is good!

The next step was to photograph the quilt.  How to photograph a white quilt?  It is really NOT easy.  I set this up in my living room.  It required a lot of furniture moving, and a lot of cat hair clean up, all before I started hanging the white drapes on the sides, and covering the rug.  I just really wanted all the light in the room to be white, I didn't want my photography lights bouncing off my shiny blue concrete floor and casting a hue onto the quilt.  I couldn't decide if I should light this scene with the lights on the outside of the hanging sheets, or bouncing off the insides of the white 'box'.  I tried both.  Still it was hard to get even lighting.  Overall, this worked pretty well, but I still think I have some more to learn when it comes to photographing white quilts.
Here's a close up.

Thanks for stopping by!  When was the last time you tried something new?


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Unfinished
56" x 79"

I am happy to share with you a quilt I completed last year.  This quilt is all about what is left unfinished in life.  It helps me think about all those things I still want to do and prioritize how I spend my time.

The white in this quilt is so white that it blends in with the background of my webpage.  Therefore, I have shown it here on the background of my grey design wall.  It is a simple design, one that I am certain I have seen before, but I haven't seen quite like this. I love the colors and the meaning it holds for me. Also, it was fun to make because it wasn't one of those projects that I agonized over.

I bought all the fabrics for this quilt, no dyeing involved.  I LOVE the vast choices of solid color fabrics that are available today!

This one started with a sketch with my Copic markers.  You can see that I cannot color inside the lines!! Ha! As I worked, I took several photos along the way.  When I finished, I realized that I like the piece that was colored with less color, than the final product.  So, that's what I chose for the quilt.



Next up was deciding the size of the quilt, how much fabric to buy, prewashing the fabric, pressing out the wrinkles and cutting all the blocks.  Whew!  Then the assembly via sewing machine.


After the top was completed, I pin basted it, and then decided because of the way I would quilt it, that I would take the extra step of machine basting it, so that I could remove all the pins, and hope the quilt sandwich would possibly shift less while I was stitching.  This did work well, but I also spent extra time taking out the machine basting stitches.  In the end, it was worth it!


Here's a shot of all my threads and bobbins lined up and ready to go! Spools of Masterpiece by Superior are my current favorites!


I also decided that I would free motion quilt this because that would allow me to go back and forth within each color block.  I could have chosen a walking foot, but that would require turning the entire quilt a lot, or quilting backwards with the walking foot which I have not learned to do yet.  I don't mind the free motion, and for short sections, the straight lines are achievable.  They are not all perfect, and that is just fine with me.  I like that free motion quilting doesn't look like a computer did it, or maybe just MY free motion quilting doesn't look like a computer did it! Ha!


I love the texture I have created with the straight line quilting and the tiny unquilted white square blocks.

This one is also a two sided quilt.  I will post about the back next week.  Cheers!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Overlap
48" x 48"
(the back side of Two Halves)


This is the back side of my quilt, Two Halves.  In a sense, it is the opposite of the front side.  The front has two different halves that meet in the middle.  This side has two different tracks that overlap.  The overlap represents the places we have in common.

Some things I love about this design.  One, I LOVE the actual design, of the lines going off every side.  I love their exactness, and I love how the process let me dye one color on top of another thus creating transparency.  I love the colors!

To create this, I had to make the quilt top in two halves because my batik frame wasn't large enough for one piece of fabric. I drew lines in pencil to help guide the application of the wax.  Then I filled in with dye.  Here's a photo of what it looks like when the dye spills in an area where it is not supposed to be.  I hate it when that happens.


Then I rinsed, and dried, and boiled off the wax, and then repeated with the second half of fabric.


Next, I drew the lines for the second set of overlapping lines, and very carefully applied the wax.  It looks grey in the photo below.


Then the fun part!  Adding the dye now shows me the exquisite colors of the overlapping areas!


This is where I stand in wonder and awe.  How can something so simple be so crazy good?
Unfortunately for this one, I used a red dye that had died. And when I rinsed it out, all the red went with it.  This SHOULD have been a signal to reapply another red dye, but I skipped that step, because something about the 2 orange lines also looked good to me.


The above photo was before the wax had been boiled off, and the two oranges look slightly different.  After boiling the wax off, the two oranges became almost identical, when it was too late to change it.  So, I had to repeat the "mistake" on the second panel so that it would match the first.  Here they are, hanging together for the first time on my clothesline outside, getting a little rinse with the hose.


Yeah baby!  Works for me! A little measuring and then sewing the two pieces together and it was ready for the basting in the quilt sandwich and quilting.


I was also rather pleased with another aspect of the planning of this quilt, and that was to make the back design a bit too large.  Then when I finished quilting, and trimmed the quilt to it's final size, there was a section left over that was large enough to make the hanging tube.  So the colors and the size perfectly match and appear somewhat invisible.  And if not invisible, at least not distracting from the overall design.


I am pleased this quilt.  I like how the front and the back complement each other. I hope you like it too!

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Two Halves
48" x 48"

Two halves make a whole.  If only it were that simple for our country....

This quilt began as an abstract. As I worked, the horizontal line became more prominent.  Could it read as a landscape?  Perhaps the orange blob is a setting sun? As time passed, the idea of 'two halves' started settling into my thinking.  In this quilt both halves are quite lovely, and if you look at the shapes and colors, they have a lot in common, though they appear different.  If feels like a metaphor for the two halves of our country, split and polarized.  And it could have been more obvious if I had selected more patriotic colors.  But, I didn't start this quilt with THAT in mind, it is just something that percolated while I was cutting and stitching.  And, it kinda of proves the point of why abstract art can be so great.  It can appeal to many different people, for many different reasons. The meaning lies in the eye of the beholder. And if you stare at it long enough, you can feel and think, and perhaps connect on a totally different level.  A great goal to aspire to!

And now for those of you who like to see behind the scenes, many, many more photos!

Cutting strips of fabric efficiently includes lining them up and cutting multiple layers, and multiple colors all in one slash with the rotary cutter.


Pairing up the colors and getting stacks of blocks ready to sew.



Half way there.  Next up, cut these blocks in half and then stitch in another center piece.


I make all my blocks too big.  This is because my sewing skills are not that accurate.  I like to square up the blocks and then trim them to the right size before sewing them together.


This is one of my favorite parts.  Finishing up a set of blocks and placing them on the design wall.  I have, on more than one occasion, taken them all down and tried different designs.  So much fun! I also like this stage because of all the negative space.  Just having partial block completion looks good to me!


Then it is time to baste the layers together and let the quilting begin.  This quilt did not feel that big until I had to quilt it.  Quilts with lots of tiny blocks get really heavy, really fast and are more difficult to quilt.

A close up of the quilting.  Notice the walking foot.  It is really working and doing a great job!


Next week, I will post photos and process of making the back.  Yes, this is a two-sided quilt. Thanks for stopping by.