28 February 2014

15 Minutes of Creativity a Day

I have a desk with lots of cool creative stuff on it. I had purchased some luggage tags for a project but I couldn't get the results I wanted so they just found a spot on my desk to lay. On the Quilt Show, a pay by the year program I purchase, was a woman who daily made "cloth" from scraps as an exercise in creativity. Well, I do stuff too, not necessarily daily but a few times a week. It may or  may not involve fabric or sewing but I find it fun and creative. I thought it might be nice to share with you and maybe you'd like to do a short, maybe 15 minute bit of creativity too.

Here is my desk. This was a dining room table that I bought when I graduated from college ('71). I just replaced it about 10 years ago and only because I put a candle on it and burned the teak veneer.

There are LOTS of things to spark creativity

Ink, glue, pens (mostly fountain) mat medium, a water bowl for brushes and watercolors.

and stamp pads, luggage tags, white out, metallic threads a felt crow and a Christmas card from Kit Lang!!

Needles, thread. scissors, tape, tweezers,  PVA (both full strength and half watered), more water colors and three containers of brushes - all kinds.

A stamps made from rope. A piece I love that needs "more work", rocks (I love rocks), sea glass from the beach and my sweet grass in braids which I grow every year. There is even a bin of thread balls. I like thread balls and use the in my work.

One of the things I have been doing lately is working with these luggage tags. I bought them for a project but didn't get the results I wanted. I ended up taking 10 and covering both sides with mat medium. The first two I did were with oil pastels and watercolors.

I love the way the oil pastes shed the water colors but leaves small droplets of color on the pastels. Also any voids where the pastels didn't cover the tag are colored by the watercolors. You can really see that on the hot pink circle in the center above.

Next I made Brian a heart out of 2 layers of corrugated cardboard covered in white tissue paper. Then I did a collage of various colored tissue paper I had on hand.

Next time I sat down at the desk I decided to use some of the left over pieces of triangular cut tissue from this project to cover a luggage tag.

In the cup on the right is half PVA and half water which I keep mixed in a bottle. I have had it mixed and in the bottle for years. I painted glue on the tag, laid down about 6 pieces of tissue and painted more glue over it. I wrapped the edges too.

My "drying" apparatus 

I like the way the tissues from the various layers show through altering the values and hues!

I knew about water soluble colored pencils. I have had mine for years but I didn't know about water soluble graphite sketching pencils.

The colored pencils are Cretacolor

but the graphite pencils are Derwent.  These are dark, medium and light.

You can really see how the mat medium which was brushed on altered the application of the graphite pencils. Most of the time I love seeing the effects of the brush marks on the work but in this case the mat medium kept the wet graphite from working WITH the paper. It pooled and I did a lot of re-wetting to try and pick up excess wet graphite. This is what this is all about - learning!

Both colored and graphite water soluble pencils.

The last thing I am working on, I made a three day project to keep it short and not so much like work. A friend of mine saved her nylon dog food bags and I am making shopping bags out of them. Long time readers of my blog will certainly remember these on my blog from about 4  years ago.

Bags grouped in fours, turned inside out and scrubbed in the shower. Dog food smells BAD! I have serged the bottoms and they are waiting for bottom corners and handles.

Handles for 4 bags

Finished bag all folded up and ready to go

Open bag with nice stitched bottoms to standing easily

26 February 2014

After the quilt was finished

I decided the wash the quilt since I had, literally, been dragging it around the room, dropping it on the floor and probably the dogs had walked all over it -  not to mention chalk from the sketched quilt patterns. The fabric had obviously been washed since I dyed the fabric myself. I opted NOT to wash and dry the quilt batting since I like the look when the batting shrinks a bit and the fabric poofs out a bit, giving the designs 3 dimension. Here are a few of the blocks that looked great.

These two were in direct sunlight so they look washed out. You can really see those circles pop up.

This is literally in the middle of the quilt. What a nice sentiment to see when you glance at the bed.

This was at the foot of the bed and over the edge. Reminds me of lovely Hosta leaves.

These are really curly and dimensional

This reminds me of an octopus.

Remember I mentioned washing the quilt in cold water with synthropal and adding two color catchers? That purple could really dull down that dynamic olive green. Here are the color catchers after the wash and dry. So glad I remembered to add them to the wash.

And this is my bed on the first night I slept under it.

24 February 2014

Bias tape tutorial

I saw this technique on "The Quilt Show" with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. They are pretty traditional but I usually find at least one interesting thing on each show. BTW, I give away a free 6 month membership each year around November or December. 

Probably half the people reading this will have seen this bias tape technique before, but it was new to me and I was pretty impressed.

First you start with a square of fabric. On the quilt I just made I only had 30" of fabric left large enough to make a square. I had lots of the green but I thought that would stand out like a sore thumb. 

This is the 30" square. I folded it and ironed a crease in the fabric to act as a cutting line.

Then I cut the diagonal using a rotary cutter and a straight edge. Then I brought the left edge (above) and the right edge (above) together and stitched them, and then ironed the seam open (less bulk). 

After ironing the seams open, I laid out the fabric and used a straight edge ruler to draw lines 2 1/2" apart. I used a pretty heavy permanent marker because the purple was so dark. Had the fabric been a lighter value, I would have used a fine line Sharpy. The dark line will be cut and end up inside the binding so no one will ever see it.

 Before sewing this last seam. I cut the opposite ends of the fabric (upper left and lower right) along the drawn lines about 5". Then I sewed the seam being VERY CAREFUL to line up each line using pins to make sure the lines would align 

Then I ironed THAT seam open.

From then on, I used scissors to cut around and around the tube I had stitched using the drawn lines. All the while I am hoping I will have enough bias tape to go around the entire seven foot square quilt. That is over 9 yards.

Would you believe I ended up with over 9 yards of bias tape!! I had 19" left over. This was out of a 30" square of fabric. I was impressed!

I ironed the tape in half and here is my pile of perfect bias tape. This took practically no time to make. I have to emphasis  aligning the lines using pins for EACH row of drawn lines before sewing the last ( 2nd) seam). 

Hope you found this easy to follow and useful for your sewing.

21 February 2014

Finished, at last

Boy this sure seems like I have been working on this quilt for a YEAR! It is 
laid out across my bed but will need to be washed before I officially sleep under it.

Here we go. I had decided to do a 6" border on all four sides to give me the extra foot in width and length I needed. This was because of running out if fabric. I used the flip and sew method of attaching the first side. That was the side with the huge amount of extra batting I had included. The other 3 sides were a different story. I had to zig-zag the extra batting on to the quilt then I stitched the 6" of border ( 2" green and 4" purple) on along with 6 " of other fabric for the backing. Boy, did I go through a lot of fabric making this quilt. Good thing it is for me.

Cutting out the border fabric.

I am writing this in a paragraph but it took me 2 days because one of the sides had a massive mistake and it had to be torn out - both borders and the batting.

The borders (all of them) ended up looking like this - actually quite good!! Who would think a border could be so troublesome?

Then I trimmed the purple border to 4"

Stitched on the bias tape. (Don't forget to see the interesting bias tape tutorial on Monday)

Flipped the quilt over and attached the bias binding to the front with nice mitered corners.

And voila!

This will be washed before I officially sleep under it

This is why I am washing it. It spent the last week being dragged around my studio, thrown on the floor or falling on the floor. Plus there are little threads all over it so hopefully the dryer will pick them up.

Lessons learned - READ the direction before you start or a project will take much longer than you think. 

* Quilt washed on delicate, cold, with synthrapol and 2 color catchers. Dryed on delicate.