May 24, 2009

Group Quilt

Several months ago, my Fibervision group got together for a funny face portrait workshop led by Rene Jennings. Our friend and Fibervision member, Susan West had just lost her home of 25 years in the Tea Fire. We decided to combine these small quilts into a group quilt for her. Each portrait is an 8-1/2 x 11 finished quilt that is attached to a quilted backing. It turned out great! Here's the finished quilt.
We gave the quilt to Susan yesterday at the Fibervision meeting. Needless to say, she loved it. It's probably the most laughing she's done in the the last 6 months. If you want to see a close up of my quilt, look here and here is the second funny face I created.

May 22, 2009

Are you a topper?

I could easily go through life creating quilt tops. Surely, I'm not the only one!
I learned how to machine quilt quite a few years ago, but I never really felt comfortable deciding how to quilt it. When I finish a top, I layer it with batting and backing fabric, pin it, and then I go brain dead.
I hang the top on my design board and stare at it, waiting for an image of the perfect quilting pattern to appear. Well, let me tell you, it never appears. How should it be quilted? What will it look like? It seems the fear of choosing the wrong design is enough to paralyze me.

Usually a looming deadline kicks me in the behind and forces me to take the quilt to my sewing machine and start quilting it, whether I have a plan or not. Once I get started, I relax and the quilting design works itself out. Most people are amazed when I tell them that I have this internal struggle, because it doesn't show in the final product.

I've heard of all sorts of ways to test out a quilting pattern, but they're too structured for me. I started asking the best quilter I know, Susan Italo, lots of questions. She's been really generous with her knowledge and quilting library (thanks Susan). I'm hoping that some of her quilt magic rubs off on me.

I've been making a lot of quilt samples on plain muslin, practicing different patterns, searching for the ones that are comfortable for me. I decided to paint one of my quilting samples with textile paints and here's a portion of it. What will I do with this? I don't know, but it still doesn't feel finished. Any suggestions?

May 18, 2009

Needle Felted Postcards

These postcards started with a piece of gray wool that somebody put on the free table at our guild meeting. It was the perfect background for these needle felted postcards for the Surface Design group "Anything but Cotton" trade.

I worked on these while we were visiting our daughter in Evanston, IL. It was the perfect travel project. The front is made with wool roving and decorated with beads, the back has painted Lutrador. I hope the recipients enjoy receiving them as much as I enjoyed making them.

May 17, 2009

Postcards Received

I received three wonderful postcards in the "Anything but Cotton" trade from the Surface Design group. What material(s) do you think I used to make my postcards?My camera didn't capture the iridescent quality of this postcard. Annette used polyester brocade and velvet.
Jan made this luscious postcard from silk, wool, and a variety of yarn.
Tracy couched a lot of yarn onto a background and painted it with metallic paint. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to capture the shimmery gold paint on this postcard.
A huge thank you to my trading partners, it was a fun trade. My postcards are finished and will be mailed tomorrow. I was a bit distracted during the wildfire and was a bit late getting my postcards finished. I'll show them to you next post.
I was going to take a workshop with B. J. Adams, but I ran out of vacation days, so had to back out of the class. So, I decided to try some of the FME techniques that she uses on my own. This little tree is thread painted on a tulle background. I like the way the tree looks, but I'm not thrilled with the tulle. Next time, I will use a water or heat dissolving stabilizer.
I think this would be classified as thread drawing. It's pretty quick and easy. I can see this technique being used with quilting designs too. Both techniques could be quite useful, so I'll stick them into my bag of tricks.

May 12, 2009

Funny Face

Here's my newest Funny Face. I just love making these! I think it might be impossible to look at it without smiling.
The idea is to turn the left brain off and let the right brain take over, in other words, create intuitively. It's all about having fun. I didn't intend for the portrait to resemble anyone in particular, but I've already heard two comments about how much it resembled an un-named relative.
I've got a lot of embellishment to do, but I thought you might enjoy seeing it in progress.

This piece was made using leftovers from other projects. I pulled random pieces out of my scrap basket and attached them to a muslin foundation. Once the pieces were arrange to my liking, I quilted the top to muslin and batting. I stitched along all the edges and turned the piece right side out. Some hand stitching and embellishment is already underway.

May 11, 2009

PhotoEZ Screenprints

Wow . . . I can't believe it's been over a month since I last posted. Where does the time go?
Here's some of the printed fabric I made using the PhotoEZ screens I made from bubble wrap. As predicted, both samples printed great. The red sample looks pretty similar to how real bubble wrap would print. This sample shows the Photoshop manipulated outline of bubble wrap. I really like the way this one turned out, it will add a wonderful layer of texture and it's very unique.The graphics for this last screen was made in Illustrator by manipulating the letter"o". I'm involved in an alphabet challenge, and this is one of my experiments. I'm not sure if I'll use it, but I enjoyed playing with letters.

As many of you know, there have been a lot of wildfires around my house in the last couple of years. Unfortunately, we're having another one, the Jesusita fire! This fire quickly spread through the hills of three neighboring cities, Goleta (where I live), Santa Barbara, and Montecito. Over 30,000 people were evacuated and another 15,000 were in the evacuation warning area. The winds blew embers up to 1/2 mile away and would start another fire. Needless to say, it was horrific. Nobody was safe. I've never been so grateful to see the fog roll in.

The last report I heard said it was 65% contained, and as long as the Santa Ana winds don't blow tonight, we should be fine. I think 80 houses were completely destroyed and 20 or so damaged. I was packed, but didn't get evacuated. Many of my friends were evacuated, but all of them are safe and none of their houses were burned.

Firefighters from all over the surrounding states came to put this fire out. I am in total awe of these brave individuals, they are true heroes.

I guess I'll get my sewing machine out of the car, I need to finish some postcards for an Anything but Cotton trade for the Surface Design Yahoo Group.