Friday, February 28, 2014

Quilted Silk Giclee

Earlier posts addressed my 4Q 2013  oil painting on canvas of a regal red lion. I loved the result which was targeted for anothers ownership. but  since I own the rights to the image, I decided to experiment with having Studio West ( a fine art printer) in Anthem Arizona, to put smaller  12" x 12" images on both cotton and then silk.  Earlier this year I posted a quilted cotton giclee. Now...FINALLY, I have quilted the  silk version. I love the look of silk anyway you can get it, but definitely when quilted.  First a small  quilted comparison of the same area within the piece (both  photos taken at the same time under the same light )  .. first on cotton, then silk.   Both are photographed here under strong light  which slightly overpowered the actual color intensity but know the color richness on both unquilted giclee is equally rich.
silk wins for sheen

This one is ready to travel with me to my teaching session III class at Empty Spools Seminars (Mar 14-19).The photo areas shown above are the upper right corners of each quilt.
                                           (c) copywritten image
I very much enjoy documenting quilts on a label originally generated in powerpoint. I save a soft copy of each result in my  Mac folder called  just "labels."
          This is added after quilting... in this case because this is a small piece ( not a good plan for a larger quilt) ... I added a second backing on which I could before attaching it to the back, machine stitch the label.  Finally I machine stitched the backing to the very outer quilt edge.
Double click on image for a enlarged view,

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Some Serious STRIP Fusing

I need every available minute to work on 3 pieces 1 with a 4-1 Due Date, 2 with May 1 due date.  Have 2 of the 3 tops done, 1 w/ quilting in progress.. But I NEED to get the third TOP finished. Some have seen this piece in progress a couple weeks back. The top area of background and hearts were in place though not stitched and the lower part with loose pieces of green 'hills' and fabric beneath in audition mode.
Not shown ( yawner if so) stitched down the black radial lines and ribbons, plus hearts.  Then the hot red/orange sun and  green hills...   NOW... finishing the very bottom using some stripes of fused atop fused fabric strips out of these  fun fabrics
After estimating area to be covered, I decided an 8 1/2"  x 10 1/2"   piece of each fabric could be prepped for later 'strip fusing.'  A piece of paper backed fusible web  ( appx 8 x 10.. ie slightly smaller than fabric) placed atop back side of fabric, then fused with iron on cotton setting.
'Trimmed excess away and removed paper.  Ideally... one might want to remove the paper first.. then cut away fabric without fusible web.  It's easier to get a clean edge this way BUT if you are using fabrics that are light..say.. yellow ... it's hard to see where the edge of the fusible is, so with some fusible can get away with the method shown here.  
 Once paper is removed.. the entire surface is usable in fusing. I chose to rotary cut 1 3/4" strips ( i.e 4 strips plus a wee bit leftover out of each of these 8 x 10' fabrics.

Atop a teflon sheet, strips are overlapped by 1/8 to 1/4 inch... one overlay at a time and fused in place.
4 sets of four were created then all 4 were fused together to make one strip-fused patchwork
Once all four sections were together, I placed an freezer paper template atop it and cut fabric to match the top curve... later the bottom edge .

I saw here an opportunity to subdue the impact of the black and white grid.  I definitely like the grid fabric but also decided I might break the area up by overlaying a small strip of fusing leftover from the purple circle fabric. 
 I like that small addition and am now ready to connect this segment to the bottom of the green hill arch above.
YAHOO... the top is in one piece.  I will with monofilament do a small appliqué stitch to permanently secure fused edges before the quilting process. 

I'm liking this piece.. destined for auction in support of Libby Lehman's medical costs.I'll post details of the auction when I know them.  For this, I am not the organizer but an enthusiastic contributor for Libby. 
I think for this piece , I'll be departing from my more common knife edge finish  and instead add 1/4 inch binding in a fabric style that would suit Libby's approach to finishing. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Are You Kidding Me? Christmas???

My Wanabe Friendship Group agreed to create one Christmas block each month based on The Quilters Newsletter  FREE Web Extra Christmas Album pattern.  This just looked like too much fun and required no fabric purchase beyond maybe a background fabric.

The patterns are there for the taking.. go to

I loved the freshness of the green and white polka dots so thats my background. I have the 3 of the blocks done so far.  These are just plain fun and festive. This represents blocks for the first 3 months of 2014.  I work one month ahead so at the February meeting I can show the Mar block ( the poinsettias) and pass out the free pattern.

 Our March challenge... I followed the pattern pieces but had to play with fabric choices as the original   WEB sample fabric choices weren't working for me.  :-(
 Our February challenge
  Our January challenge

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Honoring Work and Learning

Leah Estrin was in my 2 day Painted Quilt Art Class at Road To Ca last month.  Leah took a different approach than many... spending most of her learning time truly experimenting/learning the medium of ink without pushing herself to walk out with a finished painting That time investment truly paid off for her as Leah really learned alot about  painting with inks on fabric.  She then went home and in the privacy of home studio, created this painting of a child Leah had photographed in her world travels.
Yet to be quilted... but what fun the quilting process will be.
Leah also created  her version of a color wheel she can use to select for future.  There are 45 bottled inks in the line. Leah has most of them shown here.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Have a Heart for Libby

What else would you want to do on Valentine's DAY.   ;-)

   This is a quilt in planning for sure but I'm loving where the design is heading.  Now to start getting some things really attached to the background before I do more on the lower green part of the piece. I still have some  fabric auditioning going on at the bottom. .

   This piece will eventually be among 30 x 30" pieces made by 30+  well heeled art quilters from around the world, all collaborating for a fundraiser auction in honor of and in support of the rising medical costs for the incredible Libby Lehman.   I hope you will be at the 2014 International Quilt Festival in Houston ( end of Oct/early November) and "BID."

YES... I know this isn't exactly what you might think I'd do....    but this is an out of my own box challenge. I'm feelin' happy so far

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Day to All

Wishing you all a great day.   Buy some fabric.....   Have some chocolate! :-)    Life is Good!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Patty's Birds

I LOVE it when I get shareable photos of finished/quilted pieces  that were started in one of my classes... this one from Road To California last month!!!    Patty Latourell wasted no time painting or quilting her cardinal piece shown below.  Way to go Patty!
 female close up 

Monday, February 10, 2014


THANK YOU to those of you who have sent positive comments about this emerging piece.  Anyone that has done a piece with lots of challenging quilting knows  that after days/weeks of work and when about 70 or so percent complete... The quilter gets pretty tired of the piece and definitely needs a time break before completion. I do have about 10 full quilting days in so far. I'm about there at that my eyes are spinning and my brain is fried  AND I have another travel that follows this so will finish up this quilt in future posts.

For now:   This lion is winged.... representing how we might each rally our own strength.  A basic wing secured to start with monofilament. Here's a before quilting view:
 The challenge here is to effectively deal with the transparency allowing background night sky to be viewed THRU the lower wing area.  I had to avoid the inclination to quilt with white....   I will make the white thats there look more white by quilting with a darker thread... in this case only slightly darker  using a shimmering silver-grey thread.'  First thing is to outline/ define the edges of feathers.
I want to leave these lower feathers looking transparent so no more quilting on them.... but the TOP of the wings calls for something else.  The upper area had 2 challenges... 1) I needed to show something more solid/strong looking for 2 reasons... 1) the upper edge of a wing need be represented in a position of strength and  2) the photo software overlays/collaging of images showed some edges of elements that were not seen in a small print  size but are in a larger image.
First : stitching equal curved divisions between the straight lines at the top of the wing... and the feathers.  Following this effort... additional stitching warranted between the curved lines .
The result seems okay! The top of the wing looks solid... the rest light/transparent.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

"Transparent" Background Quilting

There are lots of things going on in the background of this lion so I clearly need something that keeps the mystical qualities of the dark night sky while at the same time providing a foundation pattern that somewhat stabilizes. I chose to quilt a a wavy horizontal pattern allowing one to see through the pattern to symbols behind quilting.

I will later  be covering the turnaround spots with very pale yellow stitching.

I did choose to 'protect' a few seemingly floating foreground elements placing them 'in front' of the wavy pattern.
  This is quite an  quilting experience unlike any previous.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Lower Shaggy Mane and the Legs and Paws

After many days of quilting this lions face and upper mane, I can spend time on the much darker 'under mane where lower mane meets legs.
A variety of shapes slightly differing from the upper mane  were warranted. The original image was so very dark in this area that all fur patterns are 'made up.'

This lion is running straight toward the viewer... so at first I thought I would study the muscles of a lions legs and quilt accordingly... but alas....    the fractured light in this animal is so severe, I abandoned the earlier idea as it just wouldn't look right, so I let the fabric ( light fractures) guide me to merely create a new texture, less densely quilted.

The result is almost impressionistic which reads fine at a distance.
Since this is a competitive piece.. The full image will have a delayed photo post.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

My BIG Quilting Challenge

Alright... I won't be showing you every aspect of quilting this piece as I need private time to weep and figure out my path. ( A small laugh here but VERY small)   I am working on a special digital piece with a great deal of 'fractured light' which creates a large number of quilting 'pockets'.. ie starts and stops plus mind boggling challenges on how to quilt.. especially since I'm working on a soft silk!  YES... I know I teach the Art of Quilting, so one might say this should be a snap. HA!  There are so many things to consider in this piece that I now wish I had brought with me some of that homemade rasberry liquor to settle my nerves.  I'm kidding.... a little!  

This is definitely a quilt from the middle out piece.  This is a large animal moving across a night sky. What you see here is a already couple days of slow work.  That to say you won't see the finished piece in this series of postings.   This side of the animals face was easier to figure out than the left side which is a good bit different.
That side of the mane without side light as shown above brought a different challenge... again several days of slow quilting on the left side of his mane.  There is different lighting here so one might better see the quilting patterns starting to develop.  The true colors match the above piece.
If I live long enough to finish him, I think at least the central image will be an attention getter. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Embroidery Threader par none

 This is a 'rotational basket pass project from my Wanabe's friendship group. Each year in January, each member ( there are 12) start a project for which  month by month each other member participates.  This group has been around for 25 years.. lots of talent here.  When I started quilting , this group allowed me to join in 2001 and WOW... with this project method alone, I learned much, fast.

This kind of work is not my usual but I enjoyed  this wool embroidery project which would have been far less enjoyable without yet another great gadget:  The Embroidery Threader by Clover. It wasn't cheap (over $9 in a small resort town.. hopefully less elsewhere.)  but worth it for sure if you do much embroidery using heavier threads.

Monday, February 3, 2014

2 Tips That Really Help

 I've always said quilters are good engineers at figuring out ways to make things 'work.' When traveling and woking without all our normal sewing tools, one makes do.  One of the things I carry with me in my travel kit is a metal napkin ring... otherwise known to me as an emergency spool holder. 
A full size spool fits nicely inside... and the thread goes up and through the carrying handle of my  Travel 153 Bernina.... then on into the normal thread feed of the machine.  Why do this?   Sometimes these large spools ( especially when full/new)  like to tangle at the base of the machines spool holder ( this is my only complaint about this older Bernina).  So... I sit the 'napkin ring with spool a distance away from the back of my machine.. and thread as noted. It works quite well. 
Indeed, for quilters, where there's a will... there IS a way!!! 

The next tip is one I'd guess all quilters that regularly use monofilament know.   There are tricks to filling a bobbin ( I almost exclusively use mono in my art quilt bobbins.) 
1) It's pretty simple.. wind it slower than  pedal to the metal. Stretching the mono with a high speed winding stretches it and makes it a bit more apt to break.  Be light on the foot pedal or slow your machine speed for those with no foot control on bobbin winding. 
2) Fill the bobbin only 2/3 to 3/4 full. This thread is around 5 times thinner than an average weight piecing or quilting thread.  You don't need a full bobbin AND a full bobbin is more difficult to get into your bobbin case.   I want to see some daylight between the threaded bobbin and the engaged bobbin winder lever. This one is as full as you would ever want

Happy quilting all.   

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Prepping a Silk Sandwich

I will be quilting a silk piece so before I begin, I am choosing to use small pieces of  "Misty Fuse' to fuse the silk top to the batting as well as the backing.   (  WHY Misty Fuse?.... Pins on the lightweight silk would be a problem and I dislike pins anyway.   Temp spray and lightweight silk don't seem to love each other either. ) This is a slow process but in my view worth it.  I worked from the middle of the quilt piece outward about 6 inches at a time.
Prepare and place pieces of Misty Fuse on the batting..  bring the fabric atop batting and fuse.  ( you are seeing the backing here being fused to the black batting)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Oh Sedona... I'm B A C K!!!

 This place beckons me.  I was here in early December and while here booked another return visit.  I am tucked away in a cozy peaceful resort with a view from my room that just won't quit!!  ;-)  Much thanks to God for such a beautiful place!

Sometimes we need to get far away to get some creative work done...    so that is this weeks plan.  This is mostly a quilting week. I have an important piece that needs my full attention , thus I am away from the world... with my Bernina, my Sew EZi table, a treasure trove of threads, and TIME. I did make one run to the Quilt Shop on this my first day here..... It's like a vitamin fix! ;-)  and driving back to my room, I  stopped just a few yards away to snap a photo of beautiful cactus...  Breathtaking color!!!  In my usual Tsukineko ink painting descriptions... No 15 Cherry Pink, and No. 36 Wisteria.
  Great cast shadows of the smallest elements.  It already feels like this will be a great trip!