Friday, August 22, 2014

Week in Review 2014 - 08/22

Lola - studio companion

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

You may recall Lola, my studio companion. I can always count on her to make sure my fabric doesn't float away. She is a soothing influence as I adapted many techniques gleaned over the years to create a step by step process of piecing Night Vision.

Freezer paper templates after marking the first
leaf to be pieced.

Several weeks ago I shared the various cartoons/blue prints I create in order to have the basic lines and breaks of the piece as well as freezer paper templates. The following week I decided which leaves were on top or under each other, as well as where the light and shadow will fall. At the same time I chose some leaves to have a more blue cast and others to have a more yellow cast. I marked my primary blue print with these choices.

Check out the notches, orientation marks and seam line.
These can be seen whether the fabric is right side or
wrong side up.

This week I began working on the lowest leaf. I broke it into segments by value for piecing. If you click on the image of the freezer paper templates you should see such cryptic notes as B D2. This segment would be part of a  Blue green leaf with a Dark value, but not the darkest. Most fiber artists audition fabric to see how one fabric works next to another. I tend to work more mathematically, thinking of my fabric like musical scales going from light to dark. I have been doing this for years. Rarely do I ever need to replace a fabric because it doesn't work. I still place my work as it progresses on my design wall, just to be certain. 

Organza is used to "darken" a fabric

There are also numerous Xs and single, double and even triple lines along the edge of the segments. These are orientation marks for where seams will intersect - the X's or where seams need to be matched, the lines. This is the same method used by dress makers. I transfer all these marks, first with a chalk pencil and then by cutting notches, when I cut out the segment with a very generous seam allowance. The actual seam line is stitched with water soluble thread. This way I can be completely oriented whether I am working on the right side or wrong side of the fabric.

This is where much of my week was spent, making
yards of piping and bias tubes.

There are several sections of Night Vision where there are gaps between the leaves and things get very, very dark. I don't have, couldn't find and don't want to spend the time dying/painting new fabric, the very dark green that I needed for these few small pieces. My solution? I overlaid a dark gray organza over my darkest green fabric. It is stitched in place with water soluble thread so that it won't shift when the combined fabric is seamed in place.
The first two pieces are ready to be seamed. I position
them on my fabric blue print and design wall. This way
I can verify that value changes are sufficient and
that I have more than enough seam allowance and
"trim" along the outside border of the quilt.

Night Vision is going to use yards and yards and more yards of piping along the leaf edges and bias tubes to create the leaf veins.  I learned how to make bias tubes back when Baltimore Album quilts were revived by Elly Sienkiewicz. The advantage to bias tubes is that they have two turned under edges and the fabric is cut on the bias. This gives a nice finish and the tubes curve without difficulty. Of course Elly would have hand stitched everything down. I would have enjoyed this, but just don't have the time. So, I stitch my tubes in place using my machine's blind stitch. 

I read for respite

It was a full week of steady progress. However, if all you do is look at the design board, or check out my weeks progress report it doesn't look like much. 

1) Night Vision - (Due January 1, 2015)

a) Start the piecing - Done!

OK, technically I still haven't seamed two pieces together, but I have cut out and prepared the first two pieces in preparation for getting seamed together. Close enough according to Lola, my studio supervisor.

2) Free motion quilting practice. 

Not this week. I was too busy catching up from time away and creating bias tubes.

3) LifeBook 2014 - Do the assignments. - Done!

I think my muse is saying, " Go
outside and play."

I had two assignments to do this week, since I was away from studio the week before and needed to play catch up. Play is the operative word since both assignments focused on play and respite. The first was to create a mixed media piece that showcased what you turned to daily to relax with. I realized that for me that is reading. I always have at least two books going at a time. One sits on my night stand for bedtime reading. The other is an audio book that I listen to while I work in my studio, do the laundry, get dressed, open and close up the house or basically any task that I can do as I listen. 

The second assignment was literally just to tap into your inner child by playing. Students were encouraged to use new tools to apply the paint, squeeze the paint directly on the page and try things you wouldn't ordinarily do. For example, I only colored in some of the petals on the page to see how that would look.

Hopefully, now that I am caught up and have a generous supply of bias tubes at the ready my progress will be more visible next week. My goals remain much the same.

1) Night Vision - (Due January 1, 2015)

a) Continue the piecing

2) Free motion quilting practice.

3) LifeBook 2014 - Do the assignments.

I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.

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