Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'm a cover girl!

Wow, my first cover! This is the issue that has the first of a two part project on making these houses. This article explains the painting process for making the collaged and painted fabric. I love how they added the birds and nests for the photo, so cute!

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Artful Use of Tea Bags

This is my method for drawing on a tea bag.

1. After steeping your tea, set tea bag on the counter to dry and enjoy that fabulous warm cuppa tea with a dash of cream.

2. When tea bag is completely dry (not damp) carefully remove the staple, unfold top of bag and shake out the dried tea leaves into the trash. Unless you have thought of some way to incorporate these into your art. So far it has not occurred to me, but give me time....

3. Gently, pull seam apart down the length of the bag and fold out flat, brushing away any leaves that may be clinging to the paper.

4. Draw a design on a piece of sketch paper with a black marker to use as a guide and place tea bag on top of design. You should be able to faintly see the drawing through the tea bag. Trace your design onto the tea bag with a permanent ink marker, and fill in the details.

5. Now you can use this tea bag to collage onto paper or fabric using acrylic gel or matte medium.

6. Using acrylic medium, paint the fabric where you will be putting the tea bag a tad larger than the size of the tea bag paper.

7. Press the tea bag onto the wet medium and brush more medium over the top of the tea bag sealing it to your fabric.

8. After the medium dries you can glaze the drawing with layers of transparent paint, use colored pencils, or leave it as is in all its tea stained glory.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rice Pillow

Going through the blog roll last night I came across a quick project that appealed to my senses right away. A rice pillow that you can put in the microwave a couple minutes and drape over your neck, great for those sore neck muscles after hours at the sewing machine! I had made one of these years ago and had forgotten how great something so simple can be.

Go check out Wisecraft to get the directions to whip one of these up for yourself.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Coming to a show near you...

Several of my big quilts will be going to a few quilt shows this year as part of a special exhibit with the Chicago School of Fusing. The first show Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival XIX is coming up this week, February 21 – 24, followed by an exhibit at Denver National Quilt Festival III May 1-4, 2008.

Pressing Matters II - Chicago School of Fusing
The Faculty of the Chicago School of Fusing returns with new, exciting compositions featuring the work of Frieda Anderson, Ann Fahl, Melody Johnson, Anne Lullie, Emily Parson, Judy Coates Perez and Laura Wasilowski. Each artist dyes her own fabrics, and has created her original designs using fusing as the construction technique. In addition to creating beautiful quilts and teaching at the Chicago School of Fusing, the faculty has also participated in challenging sporting events as members of The Iron Maidens. Press On, Chicago Fuse!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mixed Media Paper Quilt #3

I started this one by collaging a nine patch of colored papers to fabric. I played around with a few options for layering other papers on it but didn't like anything that I tried, but I did like the way some white rice paper looked when I put it on top.

Using a fine point Sharpie, I drew this bird guy on the rice paper, I like to think of him/her as a kind of shaman. I cut out the figure from the paper and used gel medium to glue it to the background. Even though the colored papers were beautiful, they looked too strong for a background and competed with the image so I painted over them with pearl white textile paint.

The metallic paints have a transparent base which lets a little bit of color from the papers below show through, which I like. I cut out some leaves from colored papers and glued them down with the gel medium and painted the bird figure with washes of textile paint. Then stitched everything and fused it to a piece of Peltex.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mixed Media Paper Quilt #2

Last night I made this paper/fabric quilt. I used some decorative paper for the flowers, pages from an old book for the leaves, inkjet prints of my little paintings (egg, sprout & bee), a dress pattern, a collaged xeroxed piece of fabric (root) and textile paint. This piece was stitched first and then fused to peltex. I painted some fabric with gold, cut it with pinking shears and fused it on for a binding. Sewing the buttons on the flowers are so unlike me, but I thought they needed a little extra something and these lime shell buttons seemed like just the thing.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Knitted Hand Warmers

For when it is not completely freezing outside or when your kind of cold inside.
Nina always has cold hands inside, especially when she is sitting at the computer too long. I made her these hand warmers out of Knitpicks Shine Worsted. They are soft pima cotton, she always feels itchy with wool, even merino. She also did not want any thumb so it would be more comfortable to hold a pen or pencil when drawing.
I made my hand warmers from Knitpicks Swish DK.

I don't use a pattern for the hand warmers any more I just figure out my gauge for the yarn and start knitting. This of course leads to lots of trial and error single hand warmers until I get it right, but they knit up fairly quickly so it's not such a big deal.

Tired? get your B12 checked

Who knew a little B12 could make a person feel so good. I found out recently that I have really low B12 levels categorized as anemia. I thought my low energy was because of my thyroid (Hashimotos disease). It is odd since I am not a vegetarian, evidently it has taken years for my B12 levels to get this low. I think it must have been such a gradual decline that it was hard to realize that it was happening. The hematologist still do not know why my body is not absorbing it from my food, but at least Pernicious Anemia has been ruled out. The important thing to know is low B12 can lead to depression, nerve damage and cause some really bad health problems if not taken care of. I want to encourage anyone who has very low energy to get their B12 checked.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mixed Media Paper Quilt- Finished?

I was torn with how I should quilt this since the over all look began to feel like an aged document. I thought if I quilted around the elements like my first inclination would be, that it would be too predictable a thing to do, so I decided to take a risk and do quilting that was totally unrelated to the design of the piece but related to the aesthetic of the piece.

I found a gothic tile design that I modified into a pattern that could be stitched. After quilting the design I used a copper paint stick and shaded in some of the pattern. Then the bird and butterfly started to feel lost in the design so I pulled out some colored pencils and added a little color. Working with colored pencils is so fun. Once I started adding a little color here and there I found myself touching up little areas all over. Now I think it is done.

The total list of materials and techniques is:
white cotton fabric, teabags drawn on with permanent ink pen, tea labels, dry cleaning tags, sewing pattern, fabric with xeroxed imagery, textile paint, rubber stamps, Tsukineko inks, Shiva paint sticks, colored pencils, machine quilted on wool felt.

If I have time this week I might be tempted to start another. I'll see how I feel after I get my first B12 shot. Heck I might feel good enough to pull out the vacuum cleaner.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mixed Media Paper Quilt- part 2

I added text and marks for background patterns with rubber stamps inked with Tsukineko Inks. Then I fused the fabric to a 12 inch square of wool felt. I folded the edges over and fused them to the back of the felt. This makes a nice flat and flexible piece for stitching.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Mixed Media Paper Quilt

I thought I would play around with making a mixed media paper quilt. I painted a piece of fabric to use as a base. The drawings were done on tea bags. I drink a lot of tea, and I love the patina that used tea bags get from the tanins as they dry. So I let a few bags dry out and carefully opened them up, pouring out the used tea. I drew on the bags with a fine tip permanent marker and used liquid matte medium to collage them on the fabric. I added a couple tags from the tea and those tags that come stapled to your dry cleaning. There is also some fabric that I had printed on with a xerox machine several years ago and a piece of a sewing pattern.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Silver Belle

I finally finished! All I need is some fabulous buttons. This was really interesting to knit, it went together in three pieces. The bottom panel and the two sleeves came up to make the front and back. The seaming is practically invisible. I think I started this in September, it took me a long time but I have been very busy. At least I will have some time to wear it before it gets warm. At the rate we are going we may not see summer until August.

This pattern is free on the Vogue Knitting website. When I knit my swatch, I found I had to go down two needle sizes from an 8 to a 6 to get gauge. So I decided I would cast on the bottom for size small but knit it with size 8 needles and then switch to the size 6 needles and knit the top half in size medium. This saved me casting on about 50 stitches. I knit the sleeves 3/4 of the way with size 6 needles and then switched to size 7 for the shoulder and bodice. I knit this in Knitpicks Andean silk (alpaca, silk and merino) in the color slate. I used 18 skeins.

I think I might have made my Grammie proud with this one.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Tsukineko Ink Workshop

This weekend I taught a class on Tsukineko Inks for a group of textile artists in the suburbs of Chicago. We had the use of a wonderful classroom in the fashion department at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL.

These inks take a little getting used to, before long everyone seemed to get the hang of them. I love seeing the way everyone handles them a little differently, a great range of effects.

There's the peanut gallery waving in the back,

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Happy Birthday Nina!

Eighteen years ago today, the best thing in the world happened to me, I became the mother of a beautiful girl.

I remember holding this little bundle in my arms and being amazed that I had given birth to her, it seemed completely miraculous. Those big brown eyes would gaze up at me and I wanted to know everything about her. Who was she?

Now eighteen years later, I know who she is and I am thrilled. I am proud to be the mother of such an artistically talented, independent thinking, intelligent young woman. I feel truly blessed to have her in my life.

I still think it is unbelievable that I could possibly have an eighteen year old child!


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