Friday, 31 August 2012

Chipped Bananas

Yesterday you saw the bananas with green peel getting a colour change.

I worked steadily on the rest of the piece and got it done in time to post to the CQ group today. I also had time to sort out the rest of the process photos so I can show you how the work developed.

The first thing I did was to set up a 'still life' so I could have an idea in my head of proportions and shapes. I tried a couple bowls just to see if it made a difference.

Then I took it in to Paint Shop Pro and played with things like background.
I wanted to use the banana slice fabric to make a bowl or basket of dried banana chips. I didn't want to go to the shop to get them and pile them up! I borrowed a free image from the internet and altered the size and shape just to fit into my 'still life' so I could see what I needed to do for the real image.
In this case, colours didn't you can see above, I only had green bananas, which wouldn't do for a yellow piece! so, I selected the bananas made them a different layer,slotted the bowl of banana chips in there and put the bananas back in place.

Then I played with colour background ideas. At this point I got a bit frustrated because I don't know the programme well enough to get it to do what I wanted and it was taking too long. The local Advisory Committee (otherwise known as a Certain Young Man) was walking 50 miles over the South Downs, so I couldn't ask him. So, I left it where I had got it to and displayed it large enough to glance over and refer to now and then.

The next plan was to pull out all the yellows and figure out what wanted to go where. I found a ripe banana fabric in there too! (It had been purchased with potential dragon possibilities.) I also had a textured swatch of fabric that I had dyed yellow way back when I was doing C+G. One of the other students made a dressing gown of the fabric - white - and I asked for scraps to play with. This is the first time I have done anything with any of them!

As you can see, for the pieces which represented the still life, I just folded or rolled them up to be visually the approximate size. Then I auditioned fabrics for the background. Here are a couple choices.
It was interesting that with all the golden hued yellows that the acid yellow colour worked best - the difference gave it a lot more interest.

Then I tried out background proportion. Going back to the computer 'still life' I had created, I knew I wanted it to look like 2 different walls.

I wasn't too happy with the 'table'. I remembered I had a little bit of yellow check...much better. So, I tried the backgrounds again and found I still wanted the mottled golden with the acid yellow.

After I settled on proportion, I started cutting pieces of the background fabrics and the table. I cut them slightly bigger in case I decided to shift them slightly when I got down to the actual layout. I also cut out a bowl and developed a pile of banana chips from the fabric I had stitched. For the banana shapes, I printed my computer 'still life' and then cut out the bananas and used it as a template to cut them from the ripe banana fabric. I sketched a bit on it with a brown thin sharpie just so I could see I was getting the layout right. It would also work for a stitching guideline.

Before I actually started stitching, I left it laying on my large piece of cardboard whilst I went and made a stew.
Yes, this is part of the process! When you come back with fresh eyes, you can see what might need to be different. In this case, I did shift the background a bit. But I also realised it needed something in the upper right to give visual balance overall. with all the stuff happening on the table, it was too bottom heavy. So, I grabbed a piece of golden orange silk I had with the thought that it would make a great curtain. Not only did it give balance, it also gave life to the monocromatic scheme.

However, I started thinking it wanted stitching or stencilling on it to give contrast on the plain wall. No time for that! Try this piece of swirly golden yellow which I though was too much before. Oh, just right. At this point I didn't have was time to sew.

And after the sewing...Cool! I used a light brown water colour pencil to create shading and definition.

and here is the result!!!

I learned a lot about monocromatic scenes. They aren't easy. You wish you could use a bit more than 25% of another colour. But you also find out how important texture and colour values are.

Bring on Blue!!!!

Edit: I have linked this to Off the Wall Friday at Nina-Marie's.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

what I am working on

The last yellow journal quilt will also be a fruit. I did 2 backgrounds and 2 fruit for red, so I am carrying that through for the other colours. (May take some imagination for blue!)

I had this strange fabric given to me one time. I only have a strip of it left. (I made an origami bag from it.) On the one hand it looks like banana slices, but on the other, it looks like corgette/zucchini because of the green 'peel' round the edges. I am pretty sure it wouldn't be a fabric about plantain - which would look like banana with a green peel - but not that green.

Anyway, so I have decided to make this piece about bananas. So, in order to make this fabric more like bananas, I am working free motion embroidery around to cover the green. or at least to knock back the depth of green a bit.
See the difference? What do you think it was originally meant to be?

Tomorrow it needs to be posted online, so I am going to concentrate on getting it done. But not to fret, I have been taking photos as I go along and will explain the processes when I have managed to get it all posted to the CQ group site.

I have got it about halfway done at present. Just thinking over night about one area that needs something. Then the stitching together will get done tomorrow.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Books in the post

It got to be Wednesday night before I knew it! I have been doing paperwork stuff for organisations. These things always take me much more time than I can imagine. I get 'press send' panic moments. Then I do and then I find out - yes - you did forget something, add something wrong, or mispell the easiest words.

I have updated the previous post with a better photo of Luscious Lemons. I used a different camera setting. Somehow if I use Intelligent Auto for photos outside of my studio, I get more realistic photos. But because I have daylight simulation tubes in my overhead lights, it seems I need to have the camera on normal setting to get the proper colours.

Anyway, so here is a photo of a book I ordered at FOQ because they were out of them. The exhibition by Anne Woringer blew me away. I don't often buy books of exhibitions, but these images I wanted to see again and again.

You can see some of her work online. If you scroll over an image, you will see a detail.

I had the privilege of overhearing a conversation when Hilary Gooding asked Anne if she had lived in Africa. To her she noticed similar shapes in African art. No, she had lived in South America. I also have seen comments online where images in Anne's work is compared to images in Australian art. So, perhaps it is the type of shape which just connects with people from all over.

Another book which came in the post was from a new friend Dirkje van der Horst-Beetsma. We got to know each other while looking after the SAQA exhibition at the Festival of Quilts. Dirkje is one of the artists featured in the Masters 2 book, so had a piece - Frisian Sky - in the exhibition. That piece and more of her work can be found online.

At one point while we were chatting Dirkje said, "I am going to send you my book." So, she did! I am glad.

I also purchased the new book Exploring Dimension in Quilt Art by C. June Barnes. I had an interesting discussion with June about her new 3-D work. Some of the images in the book are here. I have exciting ideas I am looking forward to experimenting with. The work she has done goes hand in hand with those ideas. It was good to get encouragement for it. Too early to discuss in 'public' yet, but eventually you will see something of it!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Luscious Lemons

Remember the baked lemon print? Today we have lemon slice(s).

Some of the steps.
cut 3 lemon templates from freezer paper.

lay them in a suitable arrangement and press onto synthetic organza.
cut round template with soldering iron.
I did white and a crystal yellow.
I was going to do 2 layers of the crystal yellow and one of the white to knock it back. It looked quite juicy!

In the end, I found a scrap of thin habutai silk I had dyed, which I liked better. I could have cut it by hand, but as I had the soldering iron out, I used that. It burns through the very thin silk, but I also found there was distortion on the bias grain.

I used the same template for cutting the silk and then for cutting an off white fabric for the pith. The pith was cut with scissors. You can peel the freezer paper template away and use again several times as long as you have not pressed it with a very hot iron.

The silk had just enough colour variation to make it more realistic, but I still put one layer of the crystal yellow synthetic organza over the fused layers and then cut it back to expose the pith. It makes it very luscious and actually makes my mouth water to look at it! LOL

Next I placed batting and a layer of backing fabric under the lemon print and quilted segments into the lighter prints. I quilted round the solid lemon prints.

I took the lemon slices and worked out the position by folding the edges of the quilt sandwich under. I had another layer of fusible under the lemon slices, so fused it into place.

Then I quilted the little sacks of lemon juice in the lemon sections.
and then went round the edges of the pith with a zigzag stitch to give a glimpse of the peel.

At this point I had a think about the rest. I had thought that might be enough, but it was a bit puckery and since I haven't done intense quilting for a while, I indulged myself with fine wee circles. I think it worked well because it adds another scale of circles. Large lemon slice circles, lemon print circles, and then the wee small quilted circles.

Next I trimmed it - I wanted to crop some of the lemon print circles to keep a sense of movement out of the frame.

I did a satin stitch round the edge with a golden yellow colour that was near the golden brown of the lemon prints. I think this kept the background in the background and didn't take away from the lemon slices on top.

The actual piece glows more than this, but you can get the idea.
I have taken another photo with a different camera setting. Much more like the glow of the actual piece.

I have pinned it to M'Lady and am enjoying looking at it! My kitchen is yellow, so I think it will find its way in there soon rather than waiting to the end of the year! (This is July's journal quilt. Well it has been in my head from before then, I have just needed to have a clear life to do it!)

Edit: I have linked this post to Off The Wall Friday at Nina-Marie's blog - encouraging active creativity.

Sunday, 26 August 2012


I thought this sign on the toilet door was a bit amusing.
Especially as I didn't see the Museum part at first glance.

Perhaps a duty of the 201 Squadron?

Saturday, 25 August 2012

something on Saturday

from a different perspective

Friday, 24 August 2012

Purchased at FOQ - 3

The rest of the fabrics that I bought at the show are lovely.

All of these are from the Rosenberg stand. Most were £6 a metre! some are linen/rayon blend.

Often I find it hard to see anything in my colours there, although the fabrics are just gorgeous! He has Dolce and Gabana, Versace and other posh fabrics! okay, they are £60 a metre, but they are interesting to look at and fondle.

I am hoping to use these fabrics to make a mini-wardrobe with the white dress my husband bought me for our anniversary as the key piece. If I can make it happen, it will be made during September for the Pattern Review contest. I will go into more detail about it later, describing each one and what I think it wants to be.

You can see I was trying to keep in mind the jacket I got with the dress. It won't be part of the mini-wardrobe plan for the Pattern Review contest, but will be able to be used when I wear the clothes.

I am finding the Pattern Review contests a good motivating factor for actually making nice clothes rather than just thinking about making nice clothes. If you know what I mean.

The Rosenbergs have a new shop in London now. One of these days I will have to get the TV Offcuts to go there on a day trip! Here is the link to their website so you can look at the wonderful fabrics.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Purchased at FOQ - 2

Early this summer when we had a VERY hot day before we had yet more rain, I had to go to a funeral. What I had for funeral wear was not so great for very hot days.

My husband has a position now where he may be taking more funeral services. So, we are more likely to have to be at funerals than we did before. I feel I need something that will not read as inappropriate while at the same time working better for summer.

I found this fabric on a stand - at £3 a metre it will do til I can find something more suitable for my colour. The yellow is actually a bit more mustardy, but I may be able to pick up the lighter grey tones of the grey flowers and put it nearer my face.

Not the easiest thing to look for summery black fabric that isn't too cheerful.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Purchased at FOQ -1

In trying to make the journal quilts for July and August - which still need to be yellow - I discovered I had 3 pieces of yellow. none of which were the yellow I wanted for the next plan. None of which were more than about A4 to start with.

So, I needed to get some yellow in!
Do you realise you can hardly get yellow? Like the bag I made the other day, they seem to only want to pair it with another colour like pink. or orange. or grey. how dull to do yellow and grey!

Anyway, I did manage to get a bit here and there at various stands.
the little pieces at the bottom are the 2 bits I had left in my stash, along with the one I printed with lemons and baked!

I seemed to have turquoise in my head while there also. I wore several variations of it over the days. and I found the Fair Trade stand (couldn't find it last year when I was looking for more of a specific stripe I had bought the previous year). So I came home with more turquoise!
I have a nugget of an idea of what I am going to do with this, but it is still a bit illusive.

I am off to York again tomorrow because my Mother in Law is back in hospital and not too well.

I will set up 2 more posts with fabric purchases to publish while I am away. I hope they work!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Work for Stretching Art

I had a wonderful time at Festival of Quilts. I was looking after the SAQA stand rota and basically organising what was happening there. I met a lot of people and made friends with people I had only met before. And the best thing of all was that I was well the whole time! I was very tired on Monday, but not exhausted. It seems the relief from the stress of not even having to think about planning the schemes of work for teaching in the year ahead has already made a difference!

Anyway, I promised some photos of the work I sent for the Stretching Art Exhibition at PNQE ( I keep having to look it up...Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza - or Quiltfest, I guess it is also called.)

I wanted to carry on exploring work with translucent fabrics. This show gives me good opportunity to do that. Firstly because it is about Stretching Art and secondly because the motivating factor is that the resulting pieces hardly weigh anything! So, I don't have to pay a fortune to ship them to America. I learned this trick when I sent Endless Possibilities for one of the shows.

The theme this time was Foundations. What came to mind for me was the idea of a foundational course to give knowlege in something. Sometimes titled English 101 and so on. So, I decided on Sewing 101. I was going to do 2 pieces with variations on that title, but the second one morphed into Pattern Drafting 101.

So here is Sewing 101: Seams

A bit about the design development:
On the seams piece, I wanted to explore a variety of seam treatments as a design element similar to pojagi.

For my little sketch just to see seam placement, I wrote seam names along the lines. This looked like a good addition, so I decided to use it in the whole piece.

Carefully writing the words, all was going well until a momentary lack of concentration. I had changed the placement of the piped and lapped seams but wrote it as the sketch.
SO! What to do?

So, I decided to make a little cover for the name with the new name and see what I thought. I decided it actually worked to highlight the name. So, I did it to all the seam names, not just the piped one.

and Pattern Drafting 101: Adaptations

A bit about the design development:
For the pattern drafting piece, I wanted to include half scale samples of pattern adaptations which are used on a basic pattern piece to create the various styles. I looked through my books to find a few that might be recognisable, but that also were foundational in that they covered some of the basic adaptation techniques. I also wanted them to give an interesting design together.

I wanted the pieces to reference the tissue purchased patterns are from. But I don't have much of pattern tissue. I gave nearly all of my patterns to the National Needlework Archive. I do have one old pattern I had used to cover my drafting folder when I did C+G, but I didn't know if I had used it up or what. Anyway, some of the transparent paper fabric was nearly the same colour. A bit too transparent, so I used several layers. I cut the patterns out with a soldering iron,
and spot welded the layers together.

When you need to add additional paper to a pattern you are adapting, you glue or tape it into the gap. So, for this, I used another layer of the paper fabric and again spot fused it.
If you think you would like to see the other pattern adaptations close-up, let me know in the comments. The example above is the leg-o-mutton sleeve.

I arranged the patterns on the already layered piece and then used another layer of the paper fabric over top.
This was not the final placement
It seemed a bit static and like it wanted a bit of something else to give movement. So, I found I still had a part of an already cut section of that pattern I had used for the folder. I cut words, symbols and lines from the pattern tissue. For this I placed it between the bottom layer (silk organza) and the lowest layer of paper fabric. It kept these pieces from standing out too strongly.

So, there you are! If you are anywhere near the show; 13-16 September, 2012, do go and see my work and tell me what you think.

UPDATE: I have linked this in to a new feature on Nina-Marie Sayre's blog. Nin-Marie had a cool idea to invite artists to show what they're working on. The links will show up every Friday. Go see what others are up to. Leave a comment.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Cheerful bag!

Here are photos of the finished bag.

The idea was to be able to fold down the tips to make it smaller when not full.
So when it is unfolded, it looks like this.


and this is how the folds fasten with two poppers. One for one side of the zip to fasten to the bag, and the other for the other side of the bag to fasten to the first side.
It also shows a little popper for keeping the front pocket closed. The pocket has bellows sides, so it could flop open when full. I won't keep precious things there, but it is good for a glasses case.

Inside there are several pockets for things like keys or purse so you don't have to dig around for them.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Making a bag

I am having another go at making a lightweight rucksack. If you remember, this was the proto-type, but too small. So it went to my neice who is enjoying it.
This time I have worked out the bits that went wrong, and am nearly done with it. It is bright yellow and pink!

I didn't take photos all the way along like I sometimes do, because I am also doing paperwork for Organising the SAQA stand at FOQ this weekend.

But here is one photo.
The interfacing I had for the first bag was a bit too crackly for me. I need to get some from where I usually do. They have medium weight which has a loft feel about it. not, like wadding/batting, but just soft.

So, with this stuff I do have, I decided to fuse it to some offcuts of flannel I had. now I have the right feel for this bag. Flexible but firm.

Not rocket science, but perhaps an idea for using up interfacing you feel is a bit below par.

Tomorrow I will post the bag.