Friday, January 25, 2019

Week in Review 2019 - 01/25

What a difference 30 years makes! I began quilting in September 1985, so actually it has been 33 years. My first foray into quilting was to take a class based on Quilt in A Day: Log Cabin Pattern by Eleanor Burns. Everything was new to me, from how to select fabrics based on value to the importance of maintaining a 1/4" seam. I knew nothing about art quilting. I'm not even sure the term was in existence, although there were a few pioneers doing their own thing.

My Neighbor's Shed
All fabrics come from my stash of hand painted fabrics
My 32 year old self would have been clueless about how to create this mini (4.5" x 6.5") art quilt. I don't think anyone was doing thread painting back in the mid '80's. I realized as I was contemplating what to write this week, how very grateful I am for all the time I have put in making work and filling my technique tool box. I now have the ability to breakdown a design and know immediately how best to execute it. There was a time when every new project had a learning curve, some much steeper than others.

Steps taken to create My Neighbor's Shed:

My Neighbor's Shed
Thread painting in progress. Two of the elements are done,
the third is outlined on Solvy and ready to be painted.
1) I selected a pleasing image of the shed across the street from our home.

2) I imported the image into EQ8 and traced the primary lines to create a blue print to follow.

3) I broke down the shed so it could be paper pieced.

4) I sized the original photograph so I could trace some of the trees and bushes for thread painting.

5) I pieced the shed and backed it with Heat 'N Bond so that it could be fused to the quilt.
My Neighbor's Shed
Nearly done

6) I created freezer paper templates for the background.

7) I ironed the templates to fabric, trimmed to an approximate 1/4" seam around the templates, then pieced the background.

8) In order to create the bushes and trees, I traced the shape and key color changes onto Solvy, a water soluble glue film.

9) I made a thread painting sandwich by layering to two pieces of tulle between the Solvy sheet with the tracing and a blank Solvy sheet. This provides stability for thread painting. If it is done directly on the quilt, there will be puckering and shrinkage. Instead the individual elements are thread painted off quilt, cut away, and rinsed in warm water to dissolve the Solvy.
My Neighbor's Shed
How it will look in the mat board frame.

10) Create a quilt sandwich of the background, batting and a background, and quilt it BEFORE the foreground is added. Why before? If one waits until after, then the quilting process is more complex. It is the difference between mowing a wide open lawn and one with boulders and trees.

11) Now it is time to arrange the shed and greenery to the quilt. The thread painted elements are attached with the addition of a little, emphasis on little, more thread painting.

12) This is my Spotlight Auction submission. The size is mandated at 4.5" x 6.5" viewing area, but must measure 6" x 8". The recommended finish for the edge is a zig zag stitch. Other than the paperwork and label, it is done!

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays

Friday, January 18, 2019

Week in Review 2019 - 1/18

Mid Tide
12" x 12"
Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Isn't it great to finish a project? Much as I love delving into something new, I relish its bookend, completion. There is something very satisfying about setting out to do something and accomplishing it.

Mid Tide detail
My past year has been rather topsy-turvy, as we moved from our home of 8 years, in Appleton, Wisconsin, back to our home state, Massachusetts. We are living on the south shore, a region of Boston suburbs south of Boston and north of Cape Cod. It is an area we only occasionally drove through in the past. Everything is new to us. Moving to a new area of the country requires so much, from sleuthing out the best grocery store to finding a dentist. We have been busy moving in. The result is bigger gaps between times in the studio and shorter time spent in the studio during the days I manage to find time to work.

I am so grateful I chose to focus my year on making 12 12" x 12" artworks. It is manageable, comfortable, and I feel zero pressure. I've basically finished my first one. So, now I have 11 12" x 12"s to go.

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays

Friday, January 11, 2019

Week in Review 2019 - 1/11

Quick reference photo for my first 12" x 12".
Our home overlooks this view.
I've been obsessed with the roof line of the shed
ever since we moved in. 

I don't make New Year's resolutions. I do choose something to focus on each year. In the past I've undertaking various weekly art exploration classes such as mixed media or how to draw. One year I committed to doing something new each week. Another year I made sure to extend an unexpected kindness. This year, I'm back to focusing on art. I have decided to make a different 12" x 12" fiber art piece each month.

Piecing planned designed on EQ 8
Current state of Mid Tide

Cohasset Sunrise is squared up ready for binding

I normally work on mid-size to large pieces. It is the scale I am most comfortable with. So, focusing on something small forces me out of my comfort zone. It also has the advantage of being the required size for two different SAQA projects I plan on contributing to. The first is Massachusetts/Rhode Island's regional trunk show. The trunk show will tour  libraries, guilds and other venues found for it. It is a great way to introduce people to the variety of work being produced by local art quilters. The second is SAQA's annual benefit auction. This is one of the ways SAQA fills the gap between membership dues and annual expenses.

Detail of the free motion quilting of waves
in the lower section of Cohasset Sunrise

I spent the last month of 2018 obsessively free motion quilting Cohasset Sunrise. It is squared up, 84" H x 59" W,  and ready to bound. It has been a long time since I have had the excuse to do some hand sewing. A question I have been asked from time to time, is what is my favorite phase of making a quilt. The truth is I enjoy all aspects. Hand sewing is one of those rare moments in life when one can sit back and let the mind wonder. There aren't enough times carved out for reflection in a day. No wonder slow stitching and knitting have been gaining in popularity. Such peaceful pursuits.

The weather may be turning colder, but I have the good fortune to be able to hunker down in my studio and create.

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays