Friday, May 29, 2015

Light and Dark patterns on Fur

This will be quite a journey for me.  This cat is standing in hot sun with extra light high-lites and then countered  with darker darks. I'll be using both solid color threads ( all 40 wt poly)as well as 1 inch  variegated polys). These happen to be YLI Variations as I gathered quite  a large thread stash when I began doing animals... Now Superior has some great ones too and I love their thread quality as well. In this case... I'm placing in some patterned highlites.
 Mountain Lions are patterned similarly to some house cats.. in fact are more like an oversized hunter house cat than any other of the BIG cats. One of the reasons I am so fascinated with this animal is that they are seldom seen... They like it that way. I've lived in mountain lion  'mountain country' for 9 years and have never spotted one.  Maybe not a bad thing!    I'm going to secure the cats eyes but NOT quilt the eye.
You can see the monofilament ditch quilting here. It will be covered  and disappear with much later quilting motifs.
 I used dark solid behind a sun lit ear... Now to start use of variegated... first a mid value 'Variations'
 I don't rush through quilting the 'important central' image. I like time for nuanced paths to present themselves.  Time to break before moving forward.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Starting To Quilt a Quilt Show piece

This piece once finished won't appear in any show 'til next year but this is a good-sized art piece that should call for about 6 weeks of quilting work plus finishing.. so I have to be on the move... besides... I have to move beyond the now seeming theft of my Winged Lion shown below in previous post mid May.  I had hoped it would show up by now but not so far. Please... if you've seen it... help me get it back.

Now to my mountain lion in summer. ( You will see portions of this piece but as I move along you are unlikely to see the entire piece straight on. It's not something one fully displays 'til complete and in competition.  I am nonetheless posting pics of quilting techniques chosen  for given areas as education by seeing is part of my blogging goal.)

 I generally pin my quilts, then secure  ( 'ditch' like )  major areas with monofilament. I will remove pins as I approach quilting an area I have 'ditched.'    This is a vertical rectangle with the lion perched atop a rock ledge about mid way up the rectangle. A shadow on the ledge area goes from left edge across 3/4 of the quilt width.  The  ledge is where I will begin  as I work from the middle of a piece outward/downward to minimize the potential for surface distortion.  Shadows are generally COOL... so mid value blue poly thread it is... 40 wt. I am using a back and forth curved meander that runs horizontal side to side of quilt somewhat visually and realistically stabilizing the mid quilt area.
Given the repeated sharp point turnarounds in this stitch pattern, it is mighty critical to pretest tension stitching on a separate 'play' quilt sandwich. Since the nature of bobbin action in our machines like it better, I am  also stitching up and down ( North/ South) as opposed to right/ left ( West/ East).
Before I move upward to the big cat... I also added a dark thread curved upward linear pattern  to the under side of the ledge.
All stitching doesn't need to be fancy... I never want a thread pattern to take stage over the story of a piece.  In choosing quilting motifs... to me, it's all about helping tell the story of the painted image.

Monday, May 25, 2015

To the memory and families of those who have sacrificed ALL for all of us.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Have You Seen This Quilt?

 Update... 6-4-2015 
PLEASE ... if you have this quilt in your possession, PLEASE return it no questions asked. My  insurance carrier  offers  NO compensation for it's disappearance. I spent 2 solid months creating this piece. I need it back.   Please step up if you have it. I don't deserve this loss and you can't sell it as you don't own it.  Patt

This art quilt vanished in April between Central and Southern California.. I'd love to have it back as it represents an enormous investment in energy, time, passion, etc. The digital image was created by a very talented digital painter from Arizona , printed on silk, quilted/finished, owned by me.  I'd like the image artist to have it. I am admittedly heartbroken.
Should you come across it, please return the piece... no questions asked. The label on the back  ( copy below) provides contact info.  Thank You,  Patt
UPDATE: 5-25-15... still vanished..  Thanks all for sharing this post. Still hope it returns.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Empty Spools Seminars - I'm there! Session II Mar 4-9 2016

Registration is just opened for 2016 seminars on the BEAUTIFUL shore of the Pacific Ocean.  Take a walk on the beach before breakfast, then class, great eats, and a truly beautiful experience!!!!

SESSION II FRi to WED Mar 4 - 9 

Email for registration.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

From Canvas to Silk for SAQA Auction

Just up on Utube.... from drawing on canvas, to stages of painting on canvas (finished canvas below) to a quilted on silk giclee  available for bidding on Sept 18, 2015  via the Studio Art Quilt Associates  annual auction  Someone will get the quilted Red Lion for a wonderful price. Mark your calendars as there will be MANY such pieces.
SAQA's Marketing Director just sent me this note:
your video is live on YouTube.

New SAQA 2015 Benefit Auction art work video!
Copy this URL into your browser 

OR click here to go to UTube video

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Grey Tone Miniature

This required some premarking... Love frixion pens and my 6" omnigrid clear ruler. The first angled line is drawn with the ruler.. then the 1/4" line on the ruler helps draw the parallel line/s as desired.  It's easy to free motion stitch these super straight parallels with pre marking.
I enjoy this echoed thread pool approach. Very forgiving and pretty quick.
Sometimes one lets the fabric tell the story...    This fabric had an irregular criss cross grid of lines.   I chose which lines I would stitch and marked them as in the thick of things... it is easy to get "OFF"
  Now trimmed but yet to be faced. "Click on photos for enlarged view .

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Quilting a Graphic Miniature

This is fun... Quilting small pieces allows one to get that timely gratification that comes with completion. The quilting in this kind of piece is secondary but must support the bold string image. Because there are 4 segments of the background, this is a great time/way to create stitch samplers.

First to select threads...   I'm choosing in this sampler series to keep the thread less important.. rather neutral rather than an earlier set of samplers where I played with threads that would really show up  that were compliments.
I like showing a variety of stitches... this piece a 90 degree angled meander..  sort of square like. 
 This one that both moves your eyes a bit and also gives a sense of stability or strength.
 This echoed pool of thread is fast, simple and somewhat 'quiet' in comparison to others.
 Once quilting is finished, I'll trim tight to the quilt edge before finishing with a facing.  

Monday, May 4, 2015

Getting Ready For Houston

YES.. I know it's months away.... but when I teach there I really try to have new and good examples, ideas  of the class I am teaching.  This year... "The Filling Station" class is all about enhancing  machine quilting skills and confidence using fillers.  Students will be creating a 'filler sampler' in class that can be used later at home as a reference library for selecting stitches they've already conquered and know they will like on the piece at hand.   A few years ago I created a series of small pieces called "STRINGS" which quickly sold to one buyer.  I'm creating anew now as they are interesting design pieces and are quite versatile for teaching/learning/reference.

Here's the big picture to where I'm heading.. Each of these 3 mini quilt tops began as four  6"  monochromatic squares stitched into a 11 1/2 inch square 4 patch.  The dark design atop represent dropped/pooled threads  which is how I usually audition thread choices before beginning the quilting process. The 'thread or string image is one piece of cut out fused fabric.
 I'll quilt in upcoming posts, but for now... here's the fused creation part... To design a new "string pool", I first used light pencil and drew a single pooled string line atop a piece of tracing paper. So you could see the initial line better, I used the pink highlighter to retrace the line.  Then... a sharpie was used to echo  roughly 1/4" to either side of the pink line.
Now we have a pattern for the fabric cutout that will be fused to the quilt top.  YES>>> some are already thinking " why couldn't I just create my pattern on the paper backed fusing material... Indeed you could....  I  just feel more free drawing on the tracing paper where I could easily erase a line I didn't like.... AND now I have a reusable pattern if I really like it as I did the one you see above.  In this case... I retrace the design on the fusible paper back product ( I'm using wonder under regular which I buy by the bolt to insure there are no krinkled edges on the paper.)

What I've photo'd here is an earlier drawn pattern from my pattern stash... i.e. slightly different than my  PINK drawing which I will use on one of the three photographed pieces above. I pencil traced on the wonder under paper side.  (Reverse your pattern if the orientation is important to you)
 Next iron to the string fabric ( I am using a hand dyed high thread count cotton fabric... I want little to NO loose edges once fused.

Cutting out takes some time but is reminiscent of kindergarten so kind of fun!
Peel the backing and carefully place the string piece atop the quilt top.  A little tricky because it's like loose lace.... but very doable.  

Place a cover sheet (eg. teflon or parchment paper) over the  string 'lace' to keep it  in place and flat when iron fusing is done and also protect your iron plate from  picking up any possible glue.
Iron as directed on product sheet.... in my case dry hot iron on cotton setting... and now we'll be ready for sandwiching batting and quilting.
Ta da!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Facing Off The Red Lion

As soon as I complete this post, I will be packaging this piece and sending it off to SAQA in prep for their September beginning of the annual auction fundraiser.
First to get it faced.

I cut 4 strips (1/3/4" wide)  and added them to the squared up quilted piece using a scant 1/8" seam allowance. It's like adding a sashing to a completed quilt.
Before the facing can be rolled to the back.... I will turn under the outer raw edge 1/4" and stitch
from the front add a stay stitch of sorts at 1/16" off the seam where strips were added. Click on photo for enlarged view. 
To better understand this 1/16" stay stitch idea.... see the photo below where the  inside  left  of the 1/4 inch pressure foot is my guide moving directly against the seam.  This makes for a uniform stay stitch that pierces the fabric and batting that is in the original 1/8" seam used to add the initial  ' face sashing' strips. 
Now to turn two of 4 sides to the back. I usually start with the top and bottom edges...  dampened  facing sashing rolled to the back with an iron and pinned to cool.

One can  now use a needle and thread to applique or binding  stitch the  finished edges to the backing  leaving the loose outer edges to be removed as shown below.   The intent: get rid of excess bulk before the next 2 sides are turned to the back.  The cutout piece can be tossed. 

The remaining two sides are pressed/rolled/stitched to the backing using hand miters at the corners. Finally add a sleeve / label where warranted. 
In this case.... I have machine stitched a label directly to the sleeve before completing the sleeve as a 'tube' and  before adding a sleeve to the top back. 

This LABEL albeit small has all the info one would want on any quilt
Title, size, techniques, textile/batting content, artists statement, artist and quilter name, when made, artist location/contact info. 
I have come to create lables using Powerpoint. I first photograph my quilt front and have the image in file on my Mac.  I open a new powerpoint presentation... slide 1.. pick a background, insert the picture, add text boxes and info about the quilt... then SAVE the slide as a .jpeg rather than a powerpoint presentation.   I can then insert the .jpeg into a word doc and can make and print  the label any size I want... in this case about 3" x 5" .. small enough to fit on the sleeve.   I save copies of all labels created... ie all quilts... in a  Documents folder called "labels".    I have all the info I ever need about  any quilt I've made... all in one place. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Meandering topography quilting

The dark reddish/black areas are at the top of the piece so I do those first with a slightly darker thread value than will be used on the brighter red area.
after that.. the brighter red areas were filled followed by the darker black at the bottom of the image.
You have a decent view here of the overall  background effect.
and finally sign that kitty. I usually make light parallel chalk lines to regulate my letter height.... then stitch my first name forward... then backtrack..  Below I have done just that on the first name.... and am now in the process of backtracking on the last name.  Backtracks with even 40wt. thread makes a bold signature.... a long ago tip from Ruth McDowell.
Happy quilting!   I 'll be facing this small piece next posting.