Monday, June 12, 2017

Design Steps for an Art Quilt

  This is the inspiration photo for one of my recent art quilts. I am making a series of art quilts of people showing "attitude", and this photo grabbed my attention immediately. I love the posture that she has, the way her eyes look at the camera, and of course her wonderful sense of fashion. She is very sure of herself!

For this series I am doing some pieces in a portrait fashion, and others on a whole cloth where I paint the image and the background on one piece of fabric. Portrait pieces have the image mounted on a separate background. For this one, I decided a portrait style was more suitable.  My plan is to create the image of the girl separately and then place it on a background that serves as a frame for the image.

My first step is to make a line drawing of the girl. I traced over the photo and got the major shapes and lines. Then I enlarged it to a full size print out at my local FedEx Office. They have a large format printer in their self service area. I have become good friends with that printer and know how to get my enlargements done without waiting for someone to help me. What a time saver!!!

This image is about 2' x 3 '.

I use the enlarged drawing as a template for the parts of the piece. By parts I mean individual clothing pieces and body parts.  I used to cut out freezer paper templates for the various parts, but not any more. I simply place the enlarged drawing on my light pad, place the fabric over the drawing, and pencil in the outline of the part on the fabric. Then I cut out the piece and paint on it to modify as needed.

I trace the outline of the image on a piece of muslin too. I mount the various parts on the muslin as I complete them. Here is the muslin I used for this piece:

The muslin serves as a connector to keep all the parts together, and it helps to prevent the background colors from being seen through the image. I use a muslin that has a tea stained color, light brownish. That color is good at preventing background color from coming through, and it add a bit of warmth to the top colors.

I'll show the making of the clothing next. It was fun finding the crazy color combinations that she was wearing in the photo.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Another Great Attitude!

I have been working on a series of art quilts depicting people showing "attitude". I'm always on the look out for people standing in a pose that says something about confidence, sassiness, or "I've got something on my mind".  I try to get a picture if I can right then and there.

Another one of my sources for photos of people with attitude is from friends and family.  I spotted the photo shown below on a friends Facebook page.  The friend is the Mother of the little girl shown. I love the combination of clothes and confidence shown by the little girl in her "look". I got permission from my friend to use her photo, and I have made an art quilt inspired by it.  I'm going to show the making of this art quilt in my next few posts. For today, however, I'm just going to show the photo that inspired me.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Flying Geese Quilt Show - This Weekend!!!

The Flying Geese Quilt Show is this weekend! I belong to this guild and am always proud to have my quilts displayed at it. They have many fun things at the show, like vendors, auctions, raffles, and of course, quilts.  One of my favorites is the boutique. It is a wonderful little place to buy one of a kind items. They are high quality hand crafted items. You will find great gifts for your loved ones, and for you too!  This year I made some note cards for the boutique.  I show one of them below.

The show is Saturday June 3rd, 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday June 4th, 10 am to 3:30pm.
The show is at Soka University (1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo, CA).  $10 entry for both days. Free parking.

 I hope you have a chance to make it to the show! I really think you'll enjoy it!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Covering Hangars

In my last post I showed you how I used a piece of trim on an art quilt. Today I'm going to show you another use for trim. I happen to have a great deal of lace and other trims as a result of inheriting my Mom's collection. Mom was a very creative person and had plenty of supplies for her various hobbies and clothes making. I am always looking for ways to use some of this supply.

One of my pet peeves is when my clothes slip off the hangar. I have purchased some hangars that are coated to prevent that, but why not make my own?

I found that if I wrapped lace around wire or plastic hangars the lace did a fantastic job holding the clothes on the hangars.

Here is some of the lace I used.

To the right you see the finished hangars. I just did a tight wrap, starting at the base of the hook. I went around the body of the hangar and then up around the hook and back to the base. I put a dab of glue at the end point, and tied on a piece of ribbon.

These are very useful in my closet, keeping my clothes off the floor! They look cute to me, as well. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Bird of the Night - Trim

  The upper and lower parts of this art quilt are separated by a piece of trim. It is the long series of circles you see above the leaves. This pieces was originally white, and I painted it to match my design. I'm going to show you how I changed the color on that trim.

This is the way the top looked before the trim was put on.

I didn't care for the way the stem of the flower just ended. I needed an element to fix that. I pulled out my various trims and found one that was essentially a string of circles stitched together.

This  is the trim, all piled up. It is next to a piece of yarn that is a pale yellow green color. I wanted to make the trim the same color as the yarn. I pulled out my inks and other paints, mixed a few colors and found something that would get me to my desired color. These are the colors I used:

Here is a photo of the test painting process:

I painted the trim on top of a "white on white" fabric, figuring I'd get a painted fabric out of the process as well. That turned out to be a good idea because I always have leftover paint.

Here is the trim drying:

I was very happy with the color I got. I stitched the trim to the top using a clear, monopoly thread. I used a basting glue to hold it in place while I stitched so it didn't shift around.

I cut the trim in a couple of places to leave a gap where the leaves popped up above it. I was careful to completely cover the end of the flower stem.

Overall I'm happy with the way that turned out.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Come to see me at the Beyond the Edge reception!

Beyond the Edge Fiber Artist's "Expressions in Fiber Art" reception is this Friday. I hope you can be there!  Here are the vitals: Center Gallery - 250 East Center Street, Anaheim, CA. 5 - 6:30 pm. 714-765-4311.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Stitching the Background

I'm going to use this post to show how I quilted the background on my Bird of the Night piece. This is a detail that shows a little bit of the stitching that I used near the interface of the lower leaf area and the upper flower head area. I used horizontal lines around the leaves and switched to stitches in different directions above the leaves. I wanted a separation between the two areas and used directional change to help with that.

I did the parallel lines using free-motion stitches. They are not perfectly aligned and straight, but that did not make a difference in the overall look I was going for.

Since I used a black fabric, it's difficult to see the stitches.  I used my photo editing software and lightened/increased contrast on a couple of photos to help with the visibility of the stitching. Here are some other background stitching areas that are a little easier to see:

     I'm not sure if you can tell, but I used a dark blue thread instead of black. It still reads as black on the fabric, but when you are stitching, that slight amount of color difference allowed me to see what I was doing a little more easily.

I parallel stitched in varying directions all over the background. I avoided any horizontal parallel lines in the flower area because that stitch direction was used on the bottom only.

That's all I have to say about that! Next time I'll talk about the trim I used between the leaves and flower.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Quilting in Progress - Bird of the Night

Today I'm going to show some of my choices for free motion quilting. Before I did the free motion quilting I had pin basted the three layers (top, batting and back), couched the major shapes and straight stitched inside the major shapes to divide the area up. Below you see it with the pin basting done and couching in progress.

After this step was done it's time for creative free motion quilting!

Thread color choices:

A few years ago I bought some Superior Super Bright threads. They almost have a fluorescent appearance and I love them for areas that need to stand out.  These are what I used almost exclusively on this piece. The bright color against the black background was necessary for the image to been seen from a distance.  I found many other light and medium values did not stand out enough when I looked at it from a few feet away.

I had created a color plan and intended to use this as a guide for my stitching. I tested out two choices and preferred the one on the left, below. I deviated from this plan because I found that lavender and other purple colors did not stand out enough on the black background.

Below I show my criteria for free motion quilting stitch choices:

1) Choose a design that fits in the space well or adds a direction for eye movement:

I did this on the leaves. I wanted them to read like leaves, so I stitched directionally away from the center leaf vein. It also helped to give shape to the leaf.

2) Choose some designs because they are tighter and add more color:

Stitch patterns in the flower petals were done in a more dense fashion to make sure the color showed from a distance. I chose stitch patterns that are good fillers.

3) Choose some because they are fun!

I really like the alfalfa sprout-like stitch that I used on the head and on the front most petal. That is just a fun shape to me!

I'll be showing the background stitching in an upcoming post. Meanwhile, thanks for visiting my blog!

Thursday, April 13, 2017


I'm doing some posts to show the process I used to make my "Bird of the Night" art quilt. This is a detail of part of it. If you look closely at this photo you can see that the bird head and major petals have a piece of yarn stitched around them. The process of sewing down this yarn is called "couching". For me couching is basically using a Zig-Zag stitch over the yarn to stitch it down

I do the couching before I machine quilt inside the flower. It is my boundary line for stitching. I use a wide Zig-Zag stitch for the couching to make sure I cover the yarn.

I used blue yarn and orange yarn, depending on the part of the flower. It makes a nice outline, thicker than machine quilting thread. I also did some straight stitching (multiple passes) over the major dividing lines inside the flower head and petals. Here is an action shot of this work!

I defined the leaves on the bottom the same way. In this area I couched green and yellow yarn. I like this technique to make sure the shapes stand out from the background.

I think I will talk about the machine quilting stitches in my next post. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Upcoming Gallery Show - Expressions in Fiber Art

I love being a member of Beyond the Edge Fiber Artists! We have another exhibit beginning May 1st at the Anaheim Center Gallery.  My work and fiber art created by 7 other wonderful artists will be on display.

There will be an artist's reception on Friday, May 5th from 5 to 6:30 pm.  I would love it if you could be there!

The City of Anaheim will generously provide food and drink at the reception too!  The brochure is shown below, but just in case you can't read the address it is:

250 East Center Street, Anaheim, CA. Put it in your GPS and come to see us!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bird of the Night - Design

I thought I'd show the process I used to come up with the design for this art quilt. My first step was gathering photos of bird of paradise flowers that I had taken over the years:

I liked the appearance of this one in particular, and made a sketch based on this flowers appearance:

I was making this art quilt for an exhibit that requires a 40" x 40" finished size. To accommodate this size I needed a design element above or below the flower to make a square. I chose the leaf shapes below the flower head because they suggest the flower is rising above the plants greenery.

Once I was satisfied with my sketch I took it to my local copy service and enlarged it to a 40" x 40" size:

A while ago I had done a doodle of a bird of paradise and put a wide variety of shapes in different areas of the flower.

 That doodle gave me the idea to do this piece with thread stitching. The lines inside the flower head and petals will be my guide for different machine quilting stitches. I have some very bright threads that I wanted to use, so I chose a black fabric for the background. I'll show more of this in upcoming posts.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"Bird Of The Night"

I decided to make a second fiber art piece for Beyond the Edge Fiber Artist's  "Put A Bird On It!" exhibit.

This is that second piece, and I call it "Bird of the Night". It measures 40" x 40". I'll show in my upcoming posts how I made this piece. It is currently on display at the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe Gallery in Vista, California, along with over 30 other fiber art pieces.

Here is information about the exhibit:

Textile Translations
A new exhibit from Beyond the Edge Fiber Artists

Textile Translations will be shown from March 7 through April 3, 2017 at the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe Gallery (Rancho Buena Vista).  The Gallery is located at 640 Alta Vista Drive, Vista, California. Phone (760) 639-6164. The gallery is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 10 am to 3 pm.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Favorite "White" Markers

Linda Friedman, of  Linda's Art Quilts  fame, recently asked what marker I use on a dark fabric. I understand her question because I've had a hard time finding a good marker for dark fabrics myself. Many of the markers do not come off easily, or they are too hard to see or they don't last long enough to be of use. So for this post I'm going to show you my three favorite methods for marking on a dark fabric.

This first photo shows many of the markers I have for dark fabrics that I have tried and found wanting for one reason or another:

As you can see, I have tried many. Here is one of my favorite markers if I need a thin white line:

This is a mechanical pencil filled with BOHIN white pencil lead. The lead is strong enough to not break easily, and its' line has lasted for a few months on a piece I was handling a lot. By the time I got done quilting an area the lines were mostly gone. A little wet towel removed the residual. You can buy this lead at a quilting store or on line. BOHIN also sells mechanical pencils if you don't already have one.

My next favorite white marker is a General's White Charcoal Pencil, shown here:

The line made with this pencil is a little thicker, but it is easily removed with a damp cloth and seems to last long enough for machine quilting.

But this is my favorite white marker, and it's very cost effective:

You are looking at a sliver of Irish Spring soap. I like to use them for washing until they are very thin, especially on an edge. I let them dry out completely, and then they are great markers. Their marks come off easily with a damp cloth and their line lasts. If they get too blunt, I pull out a new one. I never seem to run out of them.

So there you have some choices for dark fabric markers. Thanks for asking Linda! As always, thanks for visiting my blog!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Textile Translations Exhibit at the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe Art Gallery

I am a proud member of Beyond the Edge Fiber Artists. Our group has an exhibit entitled "Textile Translations" at the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe Art Gallery. The exhibit runs from March 9 through April 3, 2017. The Adobe is a historical site, with old buildings, gardens and an art gallery. It's a fun place to visit.

I've posted a few photos from our set up day at the gallery.

 I hope you have a chance to see the exhibit. Here is more information::

Textile Translations
A new exhibit from Beyond the Edge Fiber Artists
Textile Translations will be shown from March 7 through April 3, 2017 at the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe Gallery (Rancho Buena Vista).  The Gallery is located at 640 Alta Vista Drive, Vista, California. Phone (760) 639-6164. The gallery is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 10 am to 3 pm.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tough Old Bird Final Details

Here are some last images for this piece before I move on to another project:

I used a blue horizontal and vertical strip to anchor the Tough Old Bird on the background.

I used bias tape and straight stitched it on.

Face stitches:

shirt stitches:

hat stitches:

Thanks for visiting my blog!