Monday, August 15, 2016

Backing, Batting and Stitch

This quilt has been a completed top for a number of months now.
The first obstacle to getting on with the process was my batting. You see, the quilt measures 106" x 92" roll of batting is only 63" wide.
So I rolled out 2 twelve foot long pieces and carefully joined them together

for the backing, I used a duvet cover I found in a clearance bin ..... it washed and dried at $10, this 100% cotton duvet was "re-engineered" and turned into a perfect backing piece  ( in order to achieve the necessary size, I needed to deconstruct and incorporate the pillow sham as well)

here are the 3 layers ready to be combined.....trouble is, I do not have a large enough space anywhere in my home to fully lay this thing out. Luckily, I did have the opportunity to use a room in a church basement

Batting  (this piece is roughly 12' x 13')

the backing ......would you have guessed it was a transformed duvet and pillow sham?
once the layers were all assembled, trimmed and basted, I next wanted to create clean edges for the large amount of handling that will happen as I work on this project

This was done by turning the backing edge over, folded to the front to create a sort of wide "temporary" binding

rolled once
rolled twice
pinned and ready to long baste

Yeah, this does take a little extra time, BUT, it encases the batting and gives me a nice clean working edge......since I am hand quilting this thing I don't want to be constantly dealing with stuff sticking to the exposed batting and vice versa

here it is all ready for the the left of this set up I have a TV, DVD and Media box.....I can binge watch some shows as I stitch along

Since my goal in making this quilt was to try to use supplies I already had, I am stitching with the 12 wt variegated Aurifil thread I won a few years ago. It is perfect for doing this "Big Stitch" quilting.

An earlier post about this particular project can be found here

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

National Colouring Book Day?

Apparently (according to the Internet) it is National Colouring Book Day.....who knew?  So I thought I would join in by sharing this as a free colouring page
If you would like to colour this image, you can grab the printable PDF file here 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Making a Stencil with Window film

My most recent post talked about using technology in my process, using my iPad and an app called Concepts, I had created an image that I wanted to turn into a stencil that would allow me to print in a variety of ways.

First, let me show you some of what I did.......then I will show you the simple method I used to make a durable, re-usable stencil......or just skip ahead  :-)

Once I made my stencil, I got out my screen printing supplies. (they had been sitting unused for a very long time)

I flooded the screen with ink and then set it down on my stencil which allowed it (the stencil) to "stick" to the underside of the screen. Here is a sampling of the images I pulled. Several are on plain black cotton and the rest on a variety of hand dyed fabrics.

Now, you might say....why would you want a bunch of white prints like that?.....well, the answer is that I can go in now and add colour......a little or a lot.
this is an example of one of the white on black prints that I added some colour to using Tsukineko inks and Aloe gel.....subtle blues and greens

But one could go crazy and add some wild colour too........ this one below, was a "test" of a bunch of different things, paints, markers, inktense pencils, dye sticks and what ever else I got my hands on just to "see" what would happen.....the result is pretty jarring but it was a good way to learn what works and what doesn't while only ruining one print ( something like this could work well if you want a stained glass effect)

I also used the stencil stencil.  I laid it on top of this commercial fabric and "stenciled" with Seta-Color fabric paint......after being heat set, it is nice and soft and perfect for the addition of hand stitches

As you can see I used this stencil in a variety of ways....and had to clean it several times. When I used the silk screen, I forgot to remove it before I went to rinse my screen so it got a real scrubbing. I was a bit concerned as this is how it looked after that initial cleaning

Yikes!.....but no worries, I placed it between some paper towels and left it to dry weighted with a heavy book dried flat and I have continued using it with no problems.

Dry and ready to use again and again
as you can see.....I have used it many, many times and it is still holding up well. to make your own stencils? unlike using freezer paper or cardboard (that are often only single use), this method gives you a stencil you can clean and reuse. The bonus is that you can make it pretty much any size you want.
Here is what you need.....your image (I just printed my design on regular printer paper), a sharp pair of small scissors (or craft knife if you prefer), an awl, and window film.....yup...window film, that clear, sticky plastic stuff that comes on a roll applied to windows for privacy, available at home improvement stores among other places.

cut 2 sheets of the window film, allow a couple of inches all around the image you will be cutting. You are going to be trapping the image between these 2 sheets

Take the 1st sheet and carefully peel back the release paper enough to place your image on the sticky side

then place the next sheet, sticky side to sticky side and slowly, carefully, peel the release paper away....(sorry I really could not do this and take photos at the same time....hopefully you get the idea.) the end result should be your image trapped between these two layers of clear window film. You want to take care that you have a smooth flat surface with no bubbles.  I also used a roller/brayer to make sure I had a very tight seal.

now comes the fun cutting part.....just like with my method of paper cutting.....I take the time to determine which areas to cut first, I poke some tiny holes with an awl to allow my scissors access

I generally cut the smaller more difficult areas first

and continue working my way through the entire design, bit by bit.

and there you have it......a flexible, durable, re-usable stencil. 

Even if you did not want to make prints.....this would be a great way to make quilting stencils that could be used with chalk, pencils, or Pounce pads to transfer the design.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Technology and creativity

My regular readers know that I love to doodle, and if you have been visiting here lately you also know that I have begun using technology more and more in my creative process.  I recently realized that since I discovered digital drawing on my iPad mini (specifically using an app called "Concepts"), I have not touched paper.

Because I doodle a lot, I always have a good selection of my own original artwork to play with when an idea pops into my head. This week I wanted to see if I could use my new found digital drawing skills to design some stencils.

on my iPad mini, within the Concepts app, I altered one of my doodles to make it usable for a stencil.
this is what it looked like on screen.

I sent it to my PC, inverted the image and printed it in black and white. Next, I traced it onto freezer paper and cut it out

in this exercise I was using discharge paste....the trouble is that when you are using this stuff, you never know for sure what the end result will be.

The stencil worked is the paste, applied and waiting to dry

once dry, it was heat/steam activated with an iron

after rinsing out.....this is what I got (....btw....his wing span is 15")

So.....for a one time shot at a print, this worked okay......but what if I want to do several? what if I want a specific colour?.....guess who is bringing out her screen printing supplies. More on that in my next post.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Fun find

Recently, I came across these short videos where someone can be seen  demonstrating a couple of  "lessons" from my pages in the book The Art of Fashion Tangling 40 prompts,patterns & projects for fashion forward tangling artists and doodlers. I absolutely LOVE watching her as she creates her own versions.

The whole idea behind creating doodle patterns using the alphabet is to show that if you begin with something you are already familiar and comfortable with, (forming letters) you can quickly see that anyone can enjoy experimenting with line and shape.

My "section" in this book covers pages 82 thru 103 where in addition to easy to follow step by step instructions and tips, you will find finished drawings as inspiration along with templates for use in creating your own versions. There is the Corset and Dress-form you see below as well as a variety of Hats, Shoes, Boots and Handbags to play with.  (and that is just my chapter, remember, there are 6 other artists who have made fabulous and unique contributions to this book)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Another iPad Drawing

Several years ago, I became involved with a project of Jaye's over at the Artquiltmaker blog. Jaye called it the Creative Prompt Project with the idea that each week she would provide a word prompt. Those of us who wanted to participate could interpret the word in any creative manner we chose and then post it.  This really was what got me posting my doodles, the early ones were done as quickly as possible and posted before I lost my nerve.  I have to credit Jaye and this initiative with getting me to actually "show" my work
Unfortunately, at some point, I sort of drifted away from doing the prompts, Recently, Jaye announced that she is going to be bringing the project to a close when she hits 365 of them.......currently, the CPP is at #364

Well.......when I saw what she posted for #364, I knew I had to respond....after-all, what better word to have for someone like myself who is most comfortable working in greyscale

#364 is Zebra.......this fella was drawn on my may notice that these days I tend to obsess over every line...the beauty of my iPad is that I can erase and redraw as much as I like and not run out of ink or put a hole in my work  :-)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Doodling on a Spring afternoon

Seems like I have been neglecting this blog as of late.....just not much "textile" stuff in the works right now.

I have been playing and drawing on my iPad though......a beautiful spring afternoon inspired this one

Friday, April 15, 2016

Cathedral the round?

A number of years ago, I saw a finished quilt that was a two sided appeared to be done using a modified version of a Cathedral Windows block...unfortunately, I never did learn the maker of the quilt or what the technique was called.....but.....back then, I did set out to figure out how it had been created, I posted my experimental resulting blocks  here
Over the years, I have received many requests for a tutorial on this technique. is my attempt to show you what I did ....Warning! this is a long and photo laden post.

Like most quilts, it starts with templates and or patterns.....In this post, I will walk you through the general steps to creating the separate blocks and for those who want to give it a go, you will find a link to a PDF containing printable templates here
You will be cutting a variety of bits and pieces and circles to assemble into blocks....the more you make, the more variety you make, the more patterns you will be able to create with them when you stitch them all together.  This is a "quilt as you go" type of project.....AND while there is some machine work, the bulk of it is done by hand.

you will start by making a set of templates (thin cereal box cardboard works great for the "pressing" templates)

If you want to try a few different looks, cut several 6" circles, 2" squares, 3.5" squares as well as some 2" x 3.5" pieces (I also include a pattern to create that "split"circle)

in the photo above, you see the cut pieces ready to assemble (seam allowances are included in the pattern) and in the photo below....the machine piecing is done, the bits pressed flat

The goal is to end up with a variety of 3.5" squares and 6" circles (pieced and solid)
then we can begin the pressing, folding and stitching process

take one of the circles, (wrong side facing) knot the thread and then do a running stitch just in from the edge, once you get all the way around and back to the knot you are ready for the next step

 Place the cardboard template (5.5" circle) from the needle end, gently tug on the thread to pull in the circle...evenly distributing the fullness

It is time to go to the this well and remove the cardboard should look like this

now you want to press those rounded edges in toward the center to give you a place for your 3.5" square (remember, to make this cardboard pressing template 3.75" square as the pattern file shows you)

Once again we head to the iron

can you see where you are headed? remove the cardboard template and in this cavity, place a 3.5" square of thin batting (I actually used flannel instead, it is that solid white you are seeing under the 4 patch) so you have 3 layers happening...the folded circle, a piece of batt or flannel and a 3.5" square (solid or pieced)

those "flaps" will be hand stitched in place. I chose to use small applique stitches, but you could just as easily use big Sashiko stitching or possibly a blanket stitch for an even more interesting look.

here is another combination of circle - square layering (this time using a split circle)

Every time you change the circle - square combination, you will have a "different" looking block....the combination of different blocks will create a large variety of larger patterns.

below, is a close up look at my stitching, when you have made a number of blocks and determined a layout you want to make into a quilt, simply place the blocks right sides together and ladder or whip stitch just as one would with English Paper Pieced Hexagons

so....that is the you can see below, there is quite the variety you can make with just a few pattern pieces, let your imagination roam free and see what you can come up with.

keep in mind that the whole thing is reversible too.....depending on which way you assemble the completed blocks you will have two different looking quilts, front and back.

If you are like me, you need to get the fabric in your hands and manipulate it to fully understand the process......hopefully I have shown and explained it well enough to get you started.  I would LOVE to see what you create!

the nice weather is finally arriving, this would make a great project to have on hand for sitting and stitching out on the porch or perhaps for on those shop hop road trips  :-)

Copyright Jill Buckley