Friday, January 26, 2007

experiments in trapunto

For the last few years quilts in shows have become more and more heavily quilted. This seems to impress judges. With this quilt I want to do less quilting. (I still want to impress the judges, but this time with painting. I know that may require a small miracle, quilt judges are often not impressed with the skill of a paintbrush).

This small version of Arbol de Vida (16 inches square) was done a couple months ago to try out the painting technique. I was pleased with the results except that the rabbit looked like it needed more quilting. Or needed to be fatter. I do not want to quilt the animals and obsure the painting. I only want to quilt them enough to give the body definition. I think trapunto may solve this problem.

Remember this old thing, this was my experimental sample I made when I was trying to figure out how I wanted to make this quilt. It was the perfect thing to try out some trapunto on. Although this fish is larger than any of my animals on the quilt, it will give me a good idea of what two layers of wool batting will do when it is layered under an animal.

I want the animals to be fat and stuffed on a quilted black background. The two layers of wool batting really puffed up this big fish nicely but then I was worried about what would happen when there were skinny legs and tentacles on an animal as well as a smaller body. So the odd shapes resembling animal parts were my trial for that. It seems that wool flattens down so nicely when it is quilted closely that it will not be a problem.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Painting Done!

This is going to be my next quilt "Arbol de Vida", (tree of life in spanish). I was inspired by those beautiful wood carved painted animals that come from Oaxaca Mexico. This quilt will be aproximately five feet square. it is whole cloth painted (white) cotton.

Friday, January 19, 2007

We interrupt this painting to bring you Pottery

When I lived in Austin TX I spent many years taking pottery classes. I love pottery, wheel throwing and hand building, almost as much as I love to make art quilts.
It was a battle of the art forms for many years. I love them both, but there are not enough hours in a day to do both and still have a life. Finally I had to choose between the two. My love of quilts did come first and I was not going to invest in a kiln so gave up the pottery.

I really liked carving my pots, giving the surface a texture. I realize this is also what I like about quilting. The quilted stitch also can carve out a surface texture in a quilt.

It was during these pottery years that I made my quilt Graven Images. This is a quilt based on the designs I found on gravestones in new England.

I wanted to make a quilt from fabric that looked like it was carved out of stone.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Arm warmers

After 4 starts and stops I have finally made a fingerless glove arm warmer I am happy with. This comes up over Nina's elbow to keep her arm nice and toasty. Now I need to finish the other one in time for her birthday in two weeks.

I have been busy painting my new quilt and coming closer to the end. I think I have about 15-20 more hours of painting to do. As soon as I'm done I will upload lots of pictures.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sneak Peak

I have started my next big quilt. This one will be five feet square. I have been painting 8-10 hours a day for the last 5 days, half way through my third audio book. Now my schedule is getting a little busier and I am going to have less hours to paint for a while.

I am hesitant to show work in progress for a number of reasons, especially until I get pretty far along with it. I am about a third of the way through the painting, when I get done I will post a picture of the whole piece. I am having a lot of fun with this one so I thought I would share a sneak peak.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


The quest for just the right skeleton pattern. My daughters birthday is coming up next month and I am going to make her some fingerless glove arm warmers wih a skeleton design on the hand. Growing up in a warm climate has made it very difficult for her to understand that you wear long sleeve shirts during the winter in Chicago. I did a google search for skeleton knitting patterns and came up with these. The one Nina liked most was from a cute beanie pattern "We call them pirates"

I am kind of winging it on the pattern for the arm warmers and am making them out of an elasticized cotton yarn (wool bothers her). I realized after I knit in the thumb gusset that the placement was not good. It needs to go on the palm side. I assumed sinced your thumb is on the side of your hand that is where the thumb should go on a glove, but it pulls the design off center. So I will rip out and try again.

One more skeleton pattern. This one I tried out by making a sock for my new ipod. I will be listening to The Historian today while I paint.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Felted Hat

I have had a pattern for a felted hat by Fiber Trends for several years. The other day when I was looking at Jeri Riggs blog I saw the felted hats that she had just made and decided I needed to try one myself.
I used Lambs Pride bulky yarn which felted up almost furry. It must be from the mohair in the yarn. I knit in some contrasting yarn for the band. Two sport weight wools, one olive and one multicolored. This is the before picture. Pen is for a sense of scale.I was amazed at how quickly it felted up and shaped into a recognizable hat, less than a full wash cycle.


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