April 18, 2014

Sweet Ride!

I just got home from riding my new bike. Isn't she sweet? It's a Giant Escape. The fact that it's called "Giant" cracks me up because it's a size Small, but yet it's a Giant.
The gears on my old bike are tired. I have to say that it's much easier to ride a bike when the gears shift smoothly. I'm really enjoying the bike and have been riding it quite a bit.

I couldn't find my old set of pant wraps (for lack of a better name), so I made a new set from some ribbon and Velcro that I had in my stash.

You wrap them around your pants and secure the Velcro end. They save your pants from getting caught in the bike chain.

April 15, 2014

Quilting on the Sweet Sixteen

Fibervision has a exhibit at Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center in Santa Barbara in June and I need to finish some new work for the show. Here are a couple of close-up photos of my second piece in the Looking Up series. It's pin basted and ready to be quilted on my Sweet Sixteen.

 The fabric on the left side was created using soy wax and paint. The purple fabric on the bottom is one of my Shibori dyed pieces.

The purplish fabric that is inside the orange stripes are photos of a skylight that I printed on cotton fabric. Hand-painted, hand-dyed, photos printed on fabric, batik and commercial fabric all combined in one piece. Quite the variety!

Here's a close-up showing the quilting in the area that has the hand-painted fabric.
Stay tuned . . . plenty more to come.

April 4, 2014

Bits and Pieces to Finished Top

I took a one day workshop with Sheila Frampton Cooper through my local guild. She was a good instructor and everyone had a fun day using basic curved piecing techniques. I've done this type of piecing before so the technique wasn't new to me, however, she did have a couple of twists that did make her technique a little different. I generally don't use solid(ish) fabric and was feeling a bit resistant but I wanted to try something different, so I stuck to her rules for the most part. I used a lot of my own solid(ish) hand-dyes, some solid commercial fabrics and one wipe cloth fabric. I'm sure you can guess which fabric that is.
Here are the bits and pieces that I had finished by the end of the one day workshop. At this point, it would have been pretty easy to put them away like I usually do after a workshop and never finish the piece. For some reason, that didn't happen. I kept plugging away, adding pieces until they fit together in a way that felt balanced.
Here's the finished top. It measures approximately 40"w x 35"h. It's not square and it's not going to be. Now I need to figure out how to quilt it. One of my friends suggested quilting each different colored fabric with a different stitch and matching thread. That sounds extremely time consuming and I don't think I want to do that. I'm thinking something simple like vertical lines.

What do you think? How would you quilt this?

April 1, 2014

Clearing the Clutter

Spring always seems to make me want to organize my surroundings, but this year, I've gone way beyond my routine clutter busting. I actually tried on every article of clothing that I own and made an immediate decision as to what its future was going to be. Some of the skirts were too long, some clothing was too large (yes, you read that right), some made me look hideous. It felt great to finally go through all of it and clear out the clothes that I wasn't wearing. Here's the pile going to the thrift shop.

My DH was very honest (not easy to do) and said that the long skirts made me look frumpy. I took a long, hard look in the mirror and agreed. I rolled up the skirts to evaluate whether they were worth shortening and decided that many were. Each was mid calf to floor length to begin with and I removed between 6-12" from each hemline. After hemming, I washed and twisted several of the skirts and left them to dry outside.
The skirts turned out great and I'm glad I took the time to shorten them. Knee length turned out to be a flattering length for my height.

The most complicated alteration was to this black jacket. I haven't sewn clothing in years but it looked like I should be able to adjust the shoulders fairly easy because it didn't have a lining.
I called my friend and sewing teacher Ranell for a quick consultation and decided to give it a try. I removed the sleeves, marked the new seam line with a chalk pencil, cut the new shoulder line and resewed the sleeve back into the armhole. I removed about 3/8" from each shoulder and had no trouble fitting it back together.

Have I inspired you to clear the clutter from your closet?

February 1, 2014

Quilted Circles

One of the items I bought at the Road 2 CA quilt show was a set of Quilter's Rule nestled circled templates to use on my HQ Sweet 16 machine. Using plastic templates are new to me, but I used masking tape and felt shapes as guides when I quilt on my Viking, so I decided to give the templates a try. I LOVE circles, so I bought the whole set and hoped for the best.

Here's the wholes set nestled together. The little rectangles are like sticky backed sand paper that I added to each circle to prevent them from slipping. The fabric it's sitting on was my first practice piece.

I've taken some of the circles taken away so you can see how the increments break apart. I placed one template on the marked guideline, held on tight and stitched around it. Apparently, an easier way is to tape several rings together (say 5) with an X of blue painters tape, place on the fabric and stitch. I didn't find this out until after I did all this stitching! I have since tried the tape version and found that it is easier than trying to hold one of these skinny rings still. So, don't do what I did.

 Here's the result of my circle play time. It's not too bad as long as you don't look too close! I'm not used to quilting between the lines like this and adjusting the size of your pattern as you go around in a circle. It sort of reminds me of a spirograph . . . which I loved as a kid. I think these templates will help make my circles a lot more accurate.

January 28, 2014

Road Trip

Click and hold . . . That's what happened many times on the bus ride home from the Road 2 CA Quilt Show. Once the sunset started, I pulled my camera out and the fun began. This is when my quilt show experience became very different from all the rest of the passengers on the bus.

Each photo was considerably different than the one taken before. Some exposures were long and some were short. It just depended on how many lights were present in the background.

If you look closely at this photo, you'll see vertical lines caused by the bus hitting pot holes during the exposure.
This light dance happened while passing a car lot.

The only lights available here were from the passing vehicles. If you look carefully, you can see the outline of several cars.

Strip malls always have great lights. As Lora said, "In-N-Out Burger never looked so good."

I took photos of the quilt show too, but those are for my own enjoyment. I've never been comfortable posting other people's quilts on my blog without their permission. I emailed photos to a couple of people that don't live nearby and they appreciated receiving them. We had a nice time, saw some great quilts and I took some great night shots too. 

January 24, 2014

Abstract Painting

I've been adding more layers of oil paint and Dorland Wax to these pressboard pieces. You can see my last post here. Unfortunately, I haven't been good about taking photos of all the layers, but there have been 3-4 sessions on most of these.

What can I say . . .  this is a lot of fun. If you like to paint, you should give this a go. You can just keep mixing paint, adding layers and scraping lines away. You never know what's going to be revealed from the layers below and I think not knowing is half the fun.

If you go to the link above, the 3rd photo, which is pink and green, is the base for the piece above. Hard to believe, isn't it? It's undergone some changes.

 I think this one may be my favorite.

This reminds me of the sunset photo that I took of Campus Point a few posts ago. I wasn't planning to make a landscape, it just happened.

 If you go to the link above, this is the 2nd photo shown. I think it could use some more work.

These three pieces were made using a base of fabric paper. I used a mixture of oil paint and Dorland Wax on top of the fabric paper.

 I tried scraping into the layers but it just wasn't working so well. I ripped areas of the fabric paper away and added more paint. This time I laid it on thick with a palette knife.

This worked better and I was able to scrape through the layers a little, but it was still difficult. These pieces have a lot more texture, but less line. I guess it just depends on what you like.

A couple of them could use another layer, but I would say I'm finished with most of them. It'll take about 3 weeks for the wax to fully cure, then I'll frame the ones I like. All of them were painted on 5 x 7" pieces of pressboard. The pressboard worked great because it is really sturdy and can withstand all the poking and scraping. Stretched canvas won't survive.

January 18, 2014

Digital Collage

Digital collage is the perfect way to combine mediums. You can create your image entirely on the computer OR you can dye or paint the background then put it through the printer to add the final digital image OR you can print the digital image on the fabric and then add to it afterwards with screen-printing or stamps. There is no right or wrong way and it's fun to try them all to see what you like best.

I love photography and I take a lot of photos. See me in the shadow?

One of the best things about digital photography is the trash can. You can take a zillion photos and if they don't work out the way you planned, delete them. I think a lot can be learned by trial and error and I never shy away from an experiment; sometimes the experiment yields the best result.

I've always been intrigued by the branching structure of trees. Once the trees lose their leaves I grab my camera and start taking photos. I really love the lines and shapes created by the branches but I thought it had potential for something even better.

This is how the photo looked straight out of the camera. Yes, the sky really is that blue. We are having record breaking warm winter in southern California and could use a lot of rain.
This is what the branches looked like once I converted the image to black & white and removed the background. There are several ways to remove the background, but I like to use the magic wand and the background eraser.

Here are the branches inserted onto two different backgrounds. Both are lightened photos of my hand dyed fabric. Doesn't the branch look much better on beautiful background?

I've been playing around with several ideas of how I could incorporate line into my work and this type of exercise is helping me sort though my thoughts.

Final Question: Is this a photo of something that exists in the natural world OR is it a photo of fabric that has been painted, dyed and/or manipulated in some way?

December 27, 2013

Silk Scarves

I hope everyone is enjoying some relaxing times with family and friends. All three of our grown kids are here and we really enjoy having them all together. We've been playing a lot of cards, ping pong, bananagrams and going for walks on the beach. I was quite surprised to find ten pieces of beach glass the other day. The high surf must be responsible for churning it up because it's usually hard to find.

Here are two hand dyed silk scarves that I recently finished. If you're interested in purchasing one, email me or click here to go to my Etsy shop.

Silk Crepe de Chine-SC3 (red, green, yellow, blue purple)

Silk Crepe de Chine-SC10 (blue, fuchsia, yellow, green)

December 20, 2013

Scrappy Rag Quilt

I've been trying to finish up projects that have been hanging around my studio way too long. This one is for my grand niece, Julia. When she was five years old, I made her a flannel rag quilt with raveled seams. Now that she is nine, she informed me that it was too small for her. I told her to pick out the flannel she liked from my stash and I would make her another quilt. Of course, she loved all the fabric, so she is getting another scrappy quilt. She spent quite a bit of time arranging the squares.

I labeled everything so that it would go together exactly as she envisioned and now I'm sewing it all together. This may be larger than anything I've ever finished. Did you notice I used the word finished?

If you are a book lover and appreciate great photography, you should check out this book. It really is one of the most spectacular books I've seen in a long time.

This is one of the many photos from the book. It looks like one of my hand dyed fabrics. Every page is filled with amazing images and great information about the world.

I won one of the gift baskets at the guild Christmas raffle. It had a lot of fat quarters, a pattern, book and a yo-yo maker. Most of it doesn't match my style so I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with it yet.

December 18, 2013

Knitting Projects

Yay! I finished my Russian Wedding Band Cowl, however, mine has two loops instead of three like the pattern suggests. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. The loopy yarn adds a lot of interest.

The knitting group I meet with once a month is called "Loose Threads". I really joined the group because I like the women, not because I liked to knit. I used to bring a variety of things to work on, but the last few months I've become addicted on knitting. They are so talented and make such beautiful items . . . I want to make them too. Lucky for me, they are really patient and willing to share.

Katie taught me how to knit short rows so I could make this helix scarf. I tried to flatten the scarf out a bit  to show how it ruffles on each side of the center spine. I'm using a 75% Supersocke 100 wool and #3 needles. It'll probably take me 6 months to finish the scarf but I'm sure I'll love it when it's finished.

Here's a close up showing how the scarf naturally twists. Aren't the colors gorgeous?

December 17, 2013

Fantastic Sunset

After a really cold week and several nights of frost, mother nature delivered some warm weather and a beautiful sunset.

 I'm taking these photos from the pier in Goleta Beach. Campus Point is the whole area of land that extends into the ocean in the background. That is where the campus of UCSB is located. It's a great location for a college. Whenever I see clouds like this, I know it's going to be a great sunset.

The colors gradually begin to shift, but within five minutes, the change is dramatic.

I took this photo after the sun had completely set using a long exposure.

 It was completely dark when I shot this photo of the campus lights. It's a fun little experiment that I continue to play with whenever I have my camera with me after it gets dark.