P.S. There are a bunch of other tutorials in my Articles section.
P.S. There are a bunch of other tutorials in my Articles section.
I decided to make a tiny quilt for a fund raising event for SAQA, (Studio Art Quilt Associates.) Since it only needed to be 6″ x 8″ I just pulled out some small fused scraps and had fun creating a quick composition. (I started with a brightly colored landscape idea, but quickly took a detour.)
I added a little stitching and trimmed it to size.
But, there’s a catch. These tiny quilts will be matted so only 4.5″ x 6.5″ show. Something like this.
It’s a little challenging to create a quilt that will have part of it’s edge missing. I should have taped off that edge so I wouldn’t see it when composing.
This was so much fun, maybe I’ll do another one.
These little quilts will be auctioned at an upcoming conference.
P.S. I think I was influenced by Jane Davies’ book and some of those exercises.
My latest quilt, Initial Response, is now complete.
I’m REALLY happy with this quilt! Especially the color scheme, which was new to me. And, it went together easily, since I let the initial hand dyed fabric (center) give me lots of cues. I selected the name, Initial Response, mostly because I liked the sound of it and the idea of it. Then, I realized that it eluded to my process, as well. I like that.
I’ve written lots about my process in making this quilt. If you scroll back to January 14th, 2018 you’ll see the first post and you can read forward for the full story.
I’m looking forward to using the rest of that special fabric. Hmm, what shall I do with it?
In addition to the gorgeous indigo, my fabrics dyed with Procion mx dyes also turned out well. I didn’t have time to thoroughly wash them at first, so I draped them around my back porch for drying. So pretty!
Believe it or not, these fabrics were made by simply wadding and scrunching up a piece of fabric and loosely securing it with rubbed bands. Doesn’t it give a great mottled effect?
The indigo piece above is the one seen hanging at the bottom of this post. How simple is that?
Rocks were wrapped in fabric and secured with rubbed bands for these next two. Pretty cool, right?
Stitching created the resist in the next pieces. The red piece, top left was stitched by machine. The magenta one, bottom left was stitched by hand. Each row was tucked, resulting in a double resist line. The indigo piece was stitched by hand, both with and without tucks. The top portion was tucked and the bottom section was just stitched through a single layer. All were pulled up tightly and secured.
What I learned about stitching: Do it on the machine! Rely on the stitched line for the pattern, not the shirring caused by pulling the strings tight. And, for me, I like the tucked stitching best.
This is where I REALLY got my preference for machine stitching. Because I HAND stitched these – hours and hours worth. Wish I’d dyed that left one with something darker so it would show up more. Of course, I still like them, though!
This honeycomb pattern was achieved with what I dubbed “the scrunchy technique.” Because it looked like a hair scrunchy, once prepped. The fabric was wrapped around a fat cord, then the cord was tied together tightly, which required a lot of scrunching together of the fabric. (A fatter cord would have given me a larger pattern.)
Finally, this gold piece was folded like a flag and held together with two rubber bands. I like the design a lot.
This was so much fun and I’m loving my results. The next challenge: cutting them up. (I’m pretty practiced at that, though, so it shouldn’t be too rough.)
Do you have a favorite?
Wow! Wait till you see these fabulous results from our dying day.
We began to get an idea of what lay ahead as Gabriele unfolded her pieces and hung them up. Aren’t these awesome?
Gabriele used colored fabric for some of her dying, like the yellow and blue one below.
And check this one out! Me likey! Gabriele is very skilled with surface design and she put a lot of thought (and stitching) into her pieces.
These pieces with the striped effect were pole wrapped and scrunched tightly. These tight folds created a barrier to the dye.
And here are some of my own wrapped and scrunched pieces. The subtle chevron pattern on the right occurred (accidentally) when I folded the corner of the fabric before wrapping it.
This was one folded and then held in place with clothes pins. Didn’t they make a neat pattern?
And that’s not all. I’ve got more fabrics in various colors to show you in the next post. Loving it all!
Are you a Star Trek fan? Do you know about Klingons?
They’re a very fierce fighting clan who’s motto is “It is a good day to die.” So, when I headed out the door to a recent dye session my husband pronounced it as “a good day to dye.”
And indeed, it was. The weather was perfect as the Dirty Dozen Fiber Artists gathered at Ruth Anne’s “barn.” Kathryn kept us busy mixing, and timing, and mixing procion dyes inside.
We had each previously stitched, folded, bound, and prepped our fabrics for dying. It was time to mix the dye and throw them in! At one point four of us were lined up stirring bundles of colorful fabric and watching the clock.
I was out of sight on the right. Someone said we looked like witches stirring our brew and Ruth Anne got a witch’s hat and plopped it on my head!
Outside, we did something almost magical: dying with indigo! Oh my! Becky was the mistress of the pots.
Have you ever dyed with indigo? I hadn’t and I found it to be totally amazing! The fabric comes out of the vat almost yellow. But, it very quickly turns yellow-green. Within a minute or so it’s green and eventually, after absorbing enough oxygen, it turns dark blue. The transformation was mesmerizing.
This is one of my fabrics, shortly after coming out of the vat. Can you see that some of the most exposed areas are starting to turn blue?
And here it is a few minutes later.
Kathryn bound the heck out of this piece of fabric. Here it is shortly after coming out of the pot.
And a few minutes later.
All those little rubber bands will create white rings and the pleating will create some variation as well.
Gabriele was smart enough to string up a clothes line. This was great because hanging our fabrics allowed oxygen to penetrate from all directions. It all looked like an abstract art installation.
The photo above shows the barn. Aren’t we LUCKY to get to play in such a fabulous place? Ruth Anne is a very gracious hostess.
Fabrics are being washed an ironed as we speak, so I’ll have some photos of finished fabrics in the next post. Can’t wait!
P.S. My apologies to Ruth Anne and Gabriele, whose photos I didn’t get.
Well, I just wasn’t happy with the in-progress quilt I showed you last time. It seemed a little static.
I tried to analyze what needed to change and I referenced my original black and white sketch.
Wait a second. It was different from the working sketch I’d been using:
At some point I had switched the values of the two loosely horizontal lines. I had worked with the one showing the lower line dark and the top one very light. But now, looking at what was currently in my sketch book, I thought the other (top) version was definitely better. Could such a subtle thing make that much difference? Well, in my mind it clearly did.
So, I decided to make some changes. In addition to the value shift I wanted to really play up the red as the primary motif color and to make the lines fatter and more irregular. (Again, more like the sketch.) I took all the motif pieces off and started again on the plain background. (Two steps back.)
My redo was much easier than my first attempt, probably because I had a clearer idea of what I wanted to achieve. “Play up the red” was my first priority.
Bam! As soon as I put this up I liked it SO much better! There was the drama I had been missing! After auditioning some red fabrics, I came up with this.
Yes! A definite improvement. From here my goal was to add interest without detracting from these strong red lines. Which meant that most of the lines would be low contrast. Like the aqua lines I was adding below.
Auditioning green for the lower line: I was liking it better than the previous yellow. Of course, it needs to tuck under at least some of those lines to avoid getting too much attention. Did you notice that I tweaked the red “horizontal” line?
But, should I add some yellow somewhere? I was still fiddling at this point, but getting very close to finalizing everything.
There you have it: 3 steps forward in my previous post and 2 steps backward in this one. But, I don’t let that bother me, especially since I eventually moved forward I figured out what was wrong and corrected it. There’s often some trial and error in art making and I don’t let it discourage me. In fact, sometimes I think I just have to get that wrong thing out of my head before I can properly entertain something better. Does anyone else have that experience?
After completing the background of my abstract quilt, I was ready to tackle the primary motif. I used my sketch as the idea.
Next, I had to choose colors. I thought some red might be dynamic.
I used photo editing software to audition several different color options.
I wanted to play up the red (above) but the yellow provided so much contrast that I decided I needed to work with it in my planned focal point. Maybe this:
Or maybe I should drop the red altogether.
I decided to forge ahead with this arrangement.
Which meant auditioning red and yellow fabrics.
And eventually I got this.
Hmm. I liked it but it didn’t have the drama I expected. Did the shapes need to be wider? More experimentation would be needed.
As I worked on the abstract quilt, I continued to take clues and inspiration from the original fabric. Since it was very angular, I wanted my pattern to be the same. Can you see how the shapes and lines of the side fabrics are extensions of the central fabric lines?
Same for the quilting. First, I stitched parallel lines on the two sides and in the middle I stitched around each little line.
Then, I decided to stitch parallel lines in this central area. Oh my! WHAT was I thinking? It was WAY too much starting and stopping for me and I gave up after the few lines shown above.
Plan B: concentric lines. It worked pretty well, except for the fact that my variegated thread gave too much contrast in some of my messy spots. I have a bit of redoing ahead of me.
Next, it was time to think about the main design elements to be placed in the foreground of this piece. Again, I wanted something angular, but when I checked, my sketchbooks I didn’t have anything like that.
So, I turned, once again, to the fabric itself. I took close up shots of several of the fabric shapes and found one I liked. (Although I edited it quite a bit.)
And, so here is the plan for the final motif.
I’m liking it a lot. Next will be determining what color to make the motif. Light or dark versions of the colors already present would be an obvious choice. But, I think I want to do something a little unexpected. We’ll see. Red maybe???
It’s been really fun to let the fabric inspire so many choices.
Have you ever done something inspired by a particular piece of fabric?
Back in July I bought this beautiful painted piece of fabric from Pat Pauly.
Isn’t it gorgeous? I knew it could be the start of something wonderful. The only problem is that the scale of this fabric is much larger than I normally use. Which meant that I didn’t have other similarly scaled fabrics to work with. Still, I thought I could feature this inspiration fabric and add simpler fabrics to it.
First, I had to figure out how much of this fabric to use and a rough idea of the size of the quilt. I decided to use half of the fabric.
Then, I auditioned how I might cut it and reassemble it. Folding helped me visualize the new shape of the fabric.
So, I did this. The piece on the right has been turned 180 degrees.
Next, I began to audition other fabrics. I thought these looked pretty good.
At every turn, I used the starting fabric to help me make decisions. Such as the angles for the side pieces. I wanted them to enhance the angular nature of the starting fabric’s pattern. See what I mean?
Here’s the left side completed. (That is, pinned.)
And here’s the entire background when I THOUGHT it was finished.
I decided that one of the yellow fabrics on the right showed up too much, so I had to address that. Trial and error!
Thus far, I’ve shown you only the background. But I was also working on an idea for a foreground motif. I’ll show you that next time.
What would you do?