Sunday, January 30, 2011

Looking for inspiration...

I have been trying to get some ideas for a couple of projects that I need to work on. Sometimes I just seem to get stuck and spend time in my work room aimlessly looking through books and fabric trying to come up with an idea. Friday I was having just one of those days .

I made myself a salads for lunch and then noticed the ends of the romaine lettuce that I had just used. Loved
how they looked like flowers and
decided to try some vegetable prints. The fabric on the left is one I pleated and painted a year or so ago so and used it for the background for printing. I have no idea what I will do with this but it was fun. Still no great ideas so I just kept looking at stuff and pulling out more books and fabric.

I found the scrap below on my painting table. I have been using it to test colors and clean my brushes. I am sure it has possibilities for something. What do you do when you are having a creativity block and how do you get past it?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Aftermath of the creative process...

I don't know about you but when I finish a project my work space is a total wreck! I took this picture after I completed the quilt below and this is what my work table looked like. I should have taken a picture of the floor in front of my design wall since when I do free form cutting I just let all bits and pieces fall to the floor and based on the project it can get pretty deep. I have actually tried to do the 'clean as I go' approach but somehow it seems to distract from my creative process. Maybe I will try to work on this again this year. Do you also make a big mess????

Saturday, January 15, 2011

'Environment' Reveal

Here is my quilt for the Fiberactions group challenge. The word was 'environment'. To me nothing is more important to our environment than the relationship between plants and animals. Each supports the existence of the other and hopefully we can find peace between us. A few years ago during the house building boom in the Atlanta area, I read an article stating that this area was losing on average 40 acres of trees per day due to new construction. Maybe something positive can come from the downturn in the economy.

I love creating trees so I really enjoyed making this piece. I started digging through my stash and found the border fabric first. Next came the background and tree fabrics. I placed the background fabric directly on a piece of wool batting on my design wall and then created the design. I work free form by cutting pieces of fabric as I go and placing them where I think they should go using pins to hold things in place. This is an iterative process and I move things around until I am happy with the design. Then I use a glue stick to secure all the pieces to the background using just enough so I can get it to the sewing machine to sew thing in place.

I usually don't place the background on batting but I wanted to see if I could add more dimension by adding the extra layer at this stage. I then did some highlighting with thread sketching, paints and pastels on the branches. I quilted it and after trimming it and zigzagging the edges, I placed it on the border fabric that had been layered with another piece of batting and backing fabric.

Now I sewed around all of the elements again. The branches really popped. I tried to hold a light at an angel and take the picture from the side so I hopy you can see this in the picture below.

Adding the bird was a suggestion made by my husband. I painted it on a piece of white cotton, cut it out an the stitched it to the quilt. I wish I would have added it earlier since it does not have the dimension of the tree limbs.

I then added the yarn trim around the center panel to cover up where I had stitched it to the border fabric. Now I quilted the border, painted some highlights on the water and gave the branches a few more high and low lights.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sneek Peek

Saturday is reveal day for the Fiberactions group. The challenge word for this round is 'environment' and I am almost finished with my quilt. This may be my favorite of the 8 I have created for this group. Stop back on Saturday to see the entire piece.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Record snow in Atl

Nice day to stay home. This is the most snow I have seen in the 13 years we have lived here. Lucily we still havd a snow shovel from when we lived in NJ. Now it is sleeting which is much more common for this area. Even more amazing is that we actually had a white Christmas....the first in over 100 years! Think I will make some homemade vegtable soup.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Missed deadline

"Holiday Ham"

I had fully intended to enter the Quilting Arts calendar contest this year. The deadline for having pictures of your entry in was today. This years theme was 'feeling petty' and above is my would have been entry. I finished this on Wednesday..... 2 days 2 late to get it to MA in time. I am really upset with myself. I have been sick for the last 2 weeks and have been having a difficult time getting anything done but still this is no excuse. My procrastination has always been an issue.

Now I do think that this quilt would have had a slim chance if any to be selected as a winner since it is so holiday focused and would have to had been chosen for December. I still did just want to enter. So water under the bridge and lesson learned. Now let me tell you about the quilt.

While enjoying the holidays at my brothers house a couple of years ago, he brought out the smallest member of the family dressed in her best holiday outfit. Skipper is one of the funniest dogs I have ever seen with a personality to match and added even more joy to the day. She loved ‘hamming’ it up and really made us laugh.

This quilt is based on a photo I took. I posterized and printed the photo and then used 3 commercial fabrics to create Skipper. I did heavy thread sketching for the dog’s hair, eyes and nose. I placed Skipper in a night winter scene to complete the quilt.

Here is a detail shot of Skipper.

Does this background look familiar? I knew I would be cutting it close on time and also knew I had to put Skipper on some sort of background. The above photo is of a UFO that was hanging around from several years ago when I was just learning to quilt. I cut off the dancers hair and then placed Skipper on top. I stitched her down, added the thread painting. quilted it, cut it to 12" x 12" and zigzagged the edges. So maybe in 100 years someone will ex-ray this and see the dancer underneath..........just like one of the old masters paintings........ I am still mad at myself!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thread Sketching

All last year I have been following the thread sketching articles in Quilting Arts magazine by Susan Brubaker Knapp. I love the detail she adds with thread and though she did a great job with the series. I did this small (6"x 7") piece to practice my own thread sketching. I love to make small pieces from my scrap box and use these little experiments as gifts also.

I did purchase Susan's DVD, Master Machine Stitching, from Interweave and actually thought it was quite good. The quality of the DVDs has really improved from the first ones that they put out. I bought one a couple of years ago (won't say which one) that was awful to say the least. A couple of my friends thought the same of videos they purchased. At the time I was shocked that Quilting Arts would put out such a poor product. Have any of you had any experience with these DVDs?