Saturday, August 28, 2010

Don't toss that out!!!!

A little recycling finishes the Row Robin quilt. A short time ago, a friend called me to say that while helping her daughter move they had discovered this huge roll of Thinsulate Insulation hidden away and forgotten up in the attic (you know the stuff that goes into coats, gloves, and so on) She could not take it and her daughter did not want it........If I had no use for it .....well it would be heading to the landfill. So this baby is living at my house.
I knew it would be great for free motion quilting practice and maybe some small pieces but what about an actual quilt? I decided the Row Robin quilt was a good one to "test" this stuff on.
It has been machine quilted on my domestic machine and been through the washer and dryer. It came out great, you would never know that this is not expensive batting. It kept it's shape, no stretching, no bearding, no distortion and it is uniform in thickness. In case this experiment did not have a happy ending I did not want to waste expensive fabric on the backing so I purchased a 100% cotton sheet at the thrift store for that purpose.
Something else I had wanted to try, was using a water soluble thread trick, you see, normally I spend a good long time thread basting by hand my quilts to prepare them for the free motion work, mainly because I hate using pins. But not this time! I pin basted the sandwich and then with regular thread in the bobbin and the wash away stuff in the needle I stitched in the ditch (sort of) to anchor the whole sandwich together then removed the pins, now I was ready to do the FMQAfter the quilting was complete I took an artist paint brush, dipped in water and ran it down the water soluble thread stitching lines. The basting thread on the quilt front dissolved which made the thread on the back simply release completely. TOO easy!!! Here is a close up look at how this was quilted.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Still Playing with Paint.

No brushes this time though. I decided to do a little over-dyeing (but with paint of course). Pulled some pieces from my pile of black and whites. Mixed up several different colours and made sure the paint was evenly distributed through each piece, (used that technical technique of sopping up the paint and squishing it a few times) the pieces were left to dry and then heat set. These are for a small project I want to start soon.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Painting Workshop on DVD

Recently, I purchased the DVD "Painting Fabric for Wholecloth Quilts" taught by artist and instructor Judy Coates Perez. Her work is completely amazing so when it arrived in the mail I could not wait to give it a try.
I have been playing with textile paints for a little while and really enjoy the process, but thought it was time for a lesson.
Along with the instructional video, you also receive a download of an image that can be used in this project. Once I had the outlines traced, I painted in the background.Next, I worked on the foliage, flowers and little flying creatures.
Here is the finished piece. (These photos were taken under different light conditions. The finished piece is most close to the true colours.)

I choose to work with different colours than what was on the sample. I thought I might learn more by not simply copying Judy's work exactly. The piece you see here measures a mere 7.5" square. I definitely want to attempt this on a larger scale.
Earlier this summer I took an on-line colour theory workshop offered by Judy and was delighted to find that I was able to apply what I learned from that in completing this exercise.

This was just so much fun! I may leave this one alone and do another that I will quilt.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Am I Going to Go ........Straight to Hell????

Quilter's Hell? I am not sure if I have committed a horrible offense. Here is what I have done.
This past January our guild decided to have a "row robin". I have never participated in such an endeavour before but here is what we did. We broke into several groups of 5, we were each to create a row to pass about the group. You could also include instructions, likes and dislikes, scraps, and so on. I simply said that I really would like a "scrappy" look, do not care much for blues, and provided some "background" fabric so no matter what, the finished piece would be cohesive. (my row is far right)
Each month, each of us would then add a row to one group member's quilt and pass it on to the next. At the end we got our own row back along with 4 others that we could then turn into a quilt.
Above, are the rows I received. I arranged and rearranged but could not quite make it work.
There were a few problems.........the most challenging being that none of the rows were the same length and some seam allowance issues.
What was my solution?..........What was my offense? Well, in an attempt to get a more pleasing balance, I took two of the rows and CUT them right down the middle. Gasp!!!! Yup I actually did that. Took another quilter's work and sliced it in half. I also added a number of strategically placed diamonds...........shhhhhhhh!
Here is the "flimsy" ready to back and plan is to finish it with a colourful scrappy binding.....I sure hope my row robin teammates will still be speaking to me when they see it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

How to Paint your own Gradated Fabrics......The Basics

In case you thought it was a difficult process and that I was kidding when I say it's simple to do, I thought I'd just take you through it step by step.
First of all, don't worry if you don't have the same sophisticated equipment I use......I am sure you have something that will work.
You will need to round up a container to actually mix the paint in ( here I used the "lid" from a store bought cake ) but any plastic container that gives you lots of room to splash will work, gather up some paper towels, an old raggedy towel to protect your work surface, some rubber gloves, a container of water, something to measure with (I used one of those little cups that come with cough medicine), a sheet of plastic ( I used a clear leaf bag cut open), stir sticks or Popsicle sticks to scoop out the paint from your measuring cup(don't want to waste a drop), coarse salt ( optional) and of course some white pre-washed cotton fabric.
Okay, so after you have eaten the cake and Popsicles you are ready to begin.
This time, I actually measured everything (I normally just eyeball it)
For this session my fabric pieces are essentially fat eights, each measuring 9 x 22 inches but of course once you get the hang of it, you can easily increase the amount of paint/water mixture to accommodate larger pieces of fabric.I measured 12.5 ml ( 1 Tablespoon) of pure paint and into the bowl it went followed by 7.5ml of water. Swirl it around to mix it all up and throw in your first piece of fabric. This will be your darkest most saturated piece. Sop up the paint mixture and squeeze out the excess ( back into the bowl of course) do this a few times to be sure you have good colour throughout your fabric. Again, be sure to really squeeze out the excess, you don't want to waste anything and you won't want to wait forever for your fabric to dry. Now take this piece and lay it out flat on your plastic sheet. ( I lay my plastic on a piece of Styrofoam so it is easy to pick up and move should I need to)
You are now ready to create the next shade, add another 7.5ml of water ( or just a wee bit less) to your paint mixture, swirl it around to mix well and toss in your next piece of fabric. Repeat as before, sopping up paint and squeezing out the excess.

Just keep repeating this same process with each consecutive piece of fabric, adding that extra water each time to continue to dilute the mixture. See how my last bit of paint looked......very weak but just right for my lightest shade.Once you have laid all of your pieces of painted fabric out to dry, you can decide if you want add some salt. Sprinkling a bit of coarse salt (pickling salt) onto your damp fabric will cause some interesting effects. The salt will "draw" the paint and move it about, a little goes a long way.......and you never really know what you will end up with or you can just leave it be as a "solid" and skip the salt altogether.
That's it, just clean up your little mess ( I rinse everything thoroughly with warm water in the laundry sink and re-use it time after time)
Okay, now you have to wait for the fabric to dry so you might as well go see if there is any of that cake left.
Once your fabrics are dry, you will need to "Heat Set" them to make them permanent. Simply press for a few minutes with a hot iron. ( if you used the salt, you may need to scrape/pick off the dried crystal that remain before heat setting")
Sometimes, ( okay, most times) I get a little carried away with the salt and will need to rinse my fabric after heat setting to get all of the salt completely out.
Here is the result of this paint session that created these gradated oranges.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Painted fabric with a dyed look

I have a project in mind that will require little bits of lots of different colours. I came across this Bali Bonbons (top of the photo) which is comprised of 24 ....2.5"strips. I thought that this was great as there were lots of shades but did not even notice until I got home that there were no blues or oranges. So I set about to augment this group by making some gradated blues that could blend in.
It is a very simple process. Start with your darkest shade, which in this case is a Cobalt Setacolor transparent fabric paint diluted a little with water. I took slightly dampened fabric and just kept squishing it in the paint till it was completely saturated with colour, squeezed out the excess and put it aside to dry. Add a little more water to the paint/water mixture to "lighten" it and repeat the process. I continued doing this until I had these gradated shades of the same blue. While they were laid out to dry, I threw some coarse salt on to get the mottled effects.
Once heat set these are colourfast..........unlike those commercial dyes I purchased..... I tested them and they all bled, so I had to pre-wash and set the dyes before I can begin my project.
Plan to make a few oranges next.
Copyright Jill Buckley