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Auditioning Paintstiks

Well, I have been giving some thought to the ‘keeper’ fabric and came up with a decent way to audition Shiva Paintstiks. This illustration shows about the third iteration, and the first I like. The paint for now is temporary – I applied it to Glad Press ‘n Seal™ cling wrap – you can see it best around the top fan. Once the paint has dried thoroughly, I can remove and reposition it all I need. I like how the curvilinear shape of the fans echoes the bound spider webs. Hope you do too. I did test out some intense green, but that might be best in very small bead-sized doses. Thanks for looking!Lavender Discharge fabric with paintstick auditioning

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Can’t let this one go

Well, spent a lot of time yesterday doing discharge. That’s in the washer right now, but I wanted to post a picture of this fabric. It turned out really neat, and I’d like to do more with it. I could make a whole-cloth wall hanging out of it and it would be just cloth and stitching. Or I could add more layers of complexity in surface design, or add appliqué  – circles, probably. But I did hang it and placed some circles that are already made on it, and didn’t like it. So I’m posting this here, and sending a message to the Quilting Art and ComplexCloth folks. FYI – this started out as a dark purple mixed from Turquoise & Fuchsia, and was discharged in bleach (I’m pretty sure.)

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Early resolutions – getting all introspective

Well, inspired by the weekly notes from Morna Golletz of The Professional Quilter & International Association of Professional Quilters, I got the book ‘Your Best Year Yet!’ from the library today. I’ve never been a huge fan of self-improvement books, because they often seem like I’m kicking myself lower down. So far this book is really different. The two coolest things about it: the ‘how to use this book’ section in the front says ‘it’s ok to go ahead and start with the exercises in the back.’ The other is from the meat of the Values chapter – the two basic life pursuits models. One model is ‘What can I do to prove myself? To be good enough?’ The other is ‘What can I do with the gifts I have?’ Not going to spend a lot of time quoting from the book, but they are two very different approaches, the latter being focussed outward, not inward. (I confess I’m still surprised when people are impressed by something I do.)

Another book I borrowed from the library earlier this year was Chris Gardner’s ‘Start Where You Are’. He’s the author of ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ as well; the Will Smith movie of the same name was based on a portion of that book. And a couple years ago I borrowed ‘Getting Things Done’ by David Allen, after hearing a short bit about it on NPR. That one I now own, after the test-drive of the borrowed copy. All three books tend to have a lot of common sense in common. My goal for 2010 will be to make use of that sense and be more productive. That may sound somewhat silly for a ‘sweet little old ladies’ craft’ (SHRIEK!); if this can be my life’s work, I need to be treating it professionally!

One realization I’ve come to over the past year is that while quilting show and tell is wonderful, whether I’m showing a quilt, experiment or dyed fabric, it’s not the same as serious feedback. The Boyertown Guild was kind enough to commission a value scale of blue fabrics for the monthly raffle, and it was very gratifying to see the reaction. When the members saw me holding up the fabrics at the front of the room, a lot of them jumped up to buy their chances. And the guild made a bit of money, even though hand-dyes are normally twice the cost of commercial fabrics. (I did cut them a break on the price.) So the objective reporting – that the guild sold more chances – was good feedback for me. I hope to do more of the same by getting together to do some serious critiques with a friend. At any rate, I’ve learned to place more value on serious, considered review of my work. But I still enjoy the oohs & ahhs!
OK, enough for tonight. Tomorrow I will be putting the plan in motion!

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Book is now available!

The long-awaited day is finally here! Jane Townswick’s new book, Artful Applique II, is now in print, and for sale on my website. It’s very exciting to see my work in the book, including on the ‘Tools & Supplies’ page, plus the back cover. That’s because of Jane’s great design. All but one of the design chapters are illustrated with work by her students; my Crown Imperial happened to be the one chosen. But the shape of it is so neat that it appears in the other locations too! Here’s a link to Amazon’s ‘Zoom’ page; my block is the furthest to the right, on the top row; the one in the middle row on the right below. The background I dyed, and the stamens are discharged black overdyed with fuchsia; doubtless there are other fabrics in the block that I dyed. And finally, here’s a picture of my finished quilt:
Thanks for looking!

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Inspired by Daily Visuals

Took a look at Jane Dunnewold’s Daily Visuals blog again. There’s a picture of hostas on it that reminded me of a picture I took several years ago. Here’s the original picture, plus two cropped versions. The white bits are apple blossoms, mostly. What do you think? Thanks!



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Starving artist is starting to sound good . . .

Well, there have been no posts here for a month, due to the three week job interlude.

Yep, I made it three whole weeks – a new personal best, er, worst. You name it, it went wrong. So, now I am thinking of re-thinking the whole thing, which is just putting major stress on DH. However, I think he was more stressed in those three weeks than I was, so he might not think it’s so bad.

First, though, have to dye up some spring colors and get them into the two shops that have my fabrics on consignment. Then try another two local shops, but that won’t happen until after vacation. Signed up last August for the Elly Sienkiewicz applique academy, which begins in 1 week!!!!! Then back to reality plus charge card bills.

As a result of travel plans and job changes, I’ve been cooking. The last time I cut up leeks, I thought “how neat;” this time I got a photo:
Sorry, it looks a little dingy, but the colors and textures are neat. Now to translate them into fabric.

Have also had GOOD results using the double needle with machine quilting thread at long stitch length for gathering. Beats hand stitching, and, either way they get stitched I love pulling them apart again. The one good sample I have I overdyed — Black, which is a tribute to the job that didn’t last. Well, I’ll make another better one!

That’s it for tonight – thanks for looking!

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Snow hanging from the rafters

Wow – close to a month since my last post. Lots of good excuses – you know the story. So anyway, after the Christmas last minute projects were done, I got started on a piece of art cloth which I have entered in the ‘Never Static’ show. The juror is Jane Dunnewold — nothing like aiming high from the start.

At left is a picture of the cloth in progress. I think it’s attractive; anyway I like it a lot more than a lot of the art quilts I see. It isn’t going to challenge anyone, I suspect, but I like it. I feel rather like I should apologize for it, but I’m not gonna.

There’s a lot I’ve learned already in working on it — especially the importance of keeping the stencil clean, and marking the front of the fabric at the start. I discharged several of the snowflakes before stencilling on paint, and because the fabric was wet, I couldn’t tell which side was up. Naturally, the back has several discharge snowflakes on it.

The next thing I learned was about curing paint properly. Yes, it was pressed, just not long enough. So when I gave it another neutralizing rinse for the bleach, you know what happened.

The next picture shows it hanging from the rafters preparatory to taking pictures for the juried show. Some brilliant person on the Complex Cloth forum suggested using grey felt for the print table so it could be used as a photo backdrop as well. That works great! Just need a better camera sometime . . .

One good thing I tried on this cloth is the use of gel medium. The white snowflakes are a very small amount of white Jacquard paint mixed with about six times as much medium. I haven’t yet tried just white paint alone, but the mixture has a lot more density than the other paints do, both in terms of value and thickness / texture. It also globbed off on adjacent fabric the most because of not being cured properly. I probably won’t re-make the whole piece, but it has crossed my mind.

Enough for now – gotta find pleater needles to replace all the ones I broke. That piece of cloth has been pleated and dyed three times so far, and I probably have eight hours into it to date. Picture another time.

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Pleater – neat & neater

Sorry, just felt the need to rhyme. Anyhow, it’s amazing how much better the pleater works at 5 PM than 10 PM. Got the first scrap test done, and it is awesome. Heather might never get it back! (Thanks so much for the loan!) I do have it until the end of January – maybe I’ll have money and she’ll want to sell it then?

Enough for now – gotta go pleat something!

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Progress, I hope

Well, it’s now been two weeks since posting here. At least I have some dyed goods to show off. I also made some bead necklaces that my sister bought, but no pics of those.

The textiles include dyed broadcloth, cheesecloth (first picture) and muslin, painted sheers plus some green cheesecloth that is in the midst of an appliqué block under construction. The orange and blue (third picture) is for the commission – I hope they like it! The other items are for sale – I planned to deliver them to the appliqué classes at Ladyfingers on the 9th & 10th, but the weather and other problems interfered. I was also going to get alum in bulk to try marbling, since I found I have good fabric paints, but that shop (Echo Hill Country Store) was completely parked up on Saturday. The first experiments will end up with grocery store stuff.

Picked up more sheers to paint today – JoAnn has them half off this week! Just standard white and ivory fabric, not sparkly stuff like the blue. The detail (second picture) shows a couple starfish – they were printed with a Goyutaku rubber mold from Dick Blick – neat stuff, and not stinky like the not-so-recently dead creatures would be. When I got it, it had been handles so much that it was grey – they’re very tactile objects. Some dish soap and spray cleaner took care of the hand prints, and gave it surface tension again.

The green cheesecloth and detail is in the appliqué block – the reverse shows the all-over stitching I used to tack it down. If you try this at home, use a rubber eraser to manipulate the cheesecloth, and also do prepared edge appliqué on top, *not* needle-turn. I also made up a sample using machine stitching to hold down the cheesecloth, which will probably get used for foliage. Both work.

On the job front, had two offers I turned down – they both wanted someone for less money than I’d like (until I’m desperate) as well as starting tomorrow, which is tough when it’s two weeks before Christmas. Plus I have an interview for a ‘real’ job Wednesday afternoon, and I DON’T want to mess that up!

Here’s the cheesecloth in the appliqué under construction. The left picture shows the back side, and the right picture shows the front in detail.

Well, that’s it for tonight, but better than nothing! Let me know what you think – thanks!