Sunday, November 29, 2009

Quilted hills

I quilted the hills with a simple contour quilting line. I chose to use that design for several reasons; one because I want the hills to be a simpler pattern than the foreground imagery, also if I quilt the grass area vertically I like the contrast of the horizontal line and lastly with time being an issue, I didn't want to do anything too complex.

For the sky I am quilting between the scroll work, filling in the white space with a contour design. I think it gives a sense of movement to the sky, I am about 1/3 of the way done with it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Getting ready for turkey day...

This afternoon, I made cranberry sauce with zinfandel, white and brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, clove, allspice and orange peel, then a pumpkin pie and Nina made the cranberry pie, only this time with apples. She added 3 chopped up granny smith apples and an extra half cup sugar to the recipe and baked it in a large deep pie dish I made several years ago when I lived in Texas and was making pottery. I will let you know how it tastes with the apple.

Now the brine is cooling for the turkey. I have a 5 gallon paint bucket I bought at the hardware store years ago specifically for brining turkey in. I will put the turkey in it with a bunch of ice and put it out on the balcony overnight, it is supposed to be 29° tonight with the possibility of flurries in the morning. I hope we do get a little dusting of snow, that sure would put things in the holiday spirit.

Quilting details

To quilt the details on the plants I am drawing them on with my Bohin marking pencil. I have put in a pink lead to give a little more contrast than the white since some of the leaves are a bit light.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quilted trees

I have finished quilting the trees, I did not want to obscure the lines of painted images so I am opting to quilt slightly outside the painted image lines. I want it to retain its painting quality. I often have a tendency to quilt over my lines, so it becomes harder to tell if it is painted.

I am outlining all the plants in the grass with green thread, then I will add quilted details to the larger leaves.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Technical difficulties

I started the quilting by outlining the deer and tree trunks to stabilize the fabric and the batting. I always try to work around the quilt covering some broad areas very simply and then slowly work in more detailed quilting, working evenly across the quilt. The reason for that is to avoid having areas with really dense quilting that pulls the fabric in, shrinking its surface area, making big poofy open spots that are harder to quilt evenly without getting puckers or creases in the quilted fabric.

I started to outline quilt the scroll work in the sky with gold metallic thread. I put Bottom Line in the bobbin and metallic thread on top, and started quilting. I was very unhappy with the way the thread was bunching up on my starts and stops, then the thread started skipping stitches and breaking fairly often. I changed the needle to a titanium 90/14 which should handle the metallic thread even better than the standard 90/14, but the thread still shredded and broke. My Janome 6600 is very finicky when it comes to thread not matching in the bobbin and top, so that may have been the biggest problem. Since I did not want to put metallic thread in the bobbin, it was going to be a nightmare to quilt the way things were going.

I figured my best course of action at this point was going to be to switch machines. I pulled out my old Pfaff Creative 1475 (17 years young), which has always handled a variety of threads wonderfully, reacquainted myself with it, threaded it up with the gold thread and it quilted like a dream.

I have decided to stick with the Pfaff for now since it is doing so well and have moved on to regular thread again quilting the leaves on one of the trees.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Nina loves cranberries, she eats raw cranberries all the time, so she did a Google search for desert recipes with cranberries and found a recipe for cranberry pie!

She made it last night and it came out so good, nicely tart and such a pretty color. We were also thinking it would be really good to make a pie that combines apples and cranberries using this recipe.

Now I have Posole bubbling away in the slow cooker, perfect for a cold rainy day and to warm us up after I pick up my sister Deb at airport this evening. We have talked about having Thanksgiving together for years, so this year we are doing it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Batting a thousand

I have spent the last few days catching up with life; cleaning the house, going to the bank, getting groceries, doing laundry...and trying to figure out how to tackle the quilting.

Usually I like my quilting to create a certain amount of depth and texture as well as interesting thread work. With this quilt I want to create a flatter, more like a painting or tapestry quilt. So I have been in a quandary about what to use for batting.

Personally, I prefer wool batting over other types because it is light weight, does not retain creases if the quilt has been folded, has a nice loft when the quilting is further apart and gets flat and thin when the quilting is heavy which creates really nice quilting texture.

Cotton batting is flat, but it is heavy, bulky when pushing the quilt under the sewing machine and holds creases and folds forever.

I have used wool blend felt for small mixed media pieces and really like the way it quilts and how it holds its shape. So I thought about using 100% wool felt which I happened to find at Joannes for $17.99 a yard. This seemed like a great option, it’s a little squishy and thicker than wool blend felt. I quilted a small sample and really liked it, so I fused my quilt top to the wool with Mistyfuse, which does not stiffen the fabric like some of the other fusible webs.

When finished, I really liked the flat sturdiness of the fused top, but when I picked up the quilt top it felt heavy and pretty stiff, this was worrisome. I put the whole thing on my sewing machine and brought the needle to the center of the quilt to slide it around following some of the shapes as though I were quilting it. Then I knew I had a problem, it was hard to manipulate the top smoothly, because of its bulk, I could just imagine how hard it would be to keep my stitching lines fluid and smooth. I was already envisioning the knots in my neck and shoulders forming while wrestling the top under the needle.

I put the top back on my pressing board and with Nina’s help ran the hot iron over the surface in sections to warm the fusible web and peeled the painted top off the felt.

I remember from previous experiments that if I put Mistyfuse on the top and back fabric and fused it to wool batting, the batting would loose some of its loft. Now I have refused the top to wool batting and fused the backing fabric as well to the batting. It is still a little puffy, but I know it will be much easier to maneuver under the arm of the machine. Next is the scary part, starting!

stay tuned...

Friday, November 13, 2009

My first book!

I just self published this little portfolio of my art quilts and mixed media work using Blurb. I have seen several people write about using Blurb on their blogs and thought I would try it out myself. You can preview the book here.

The book is 7 inches square, 40 pages long, printed on premium paper and can be ordered with a soft or hard cover. One of the nicest things is that I can reorder any quantity of books whenever I need them without having to pay a whole bunch of money upfront.

I am very happy with the quality of the finished book. I love the size; small enough to fit in my purse, but big enough to get a good look at the work.

It certainly is not like making a book with a big publisher for distribution and all, one of these days I will get around to trying that too, but for now this was a fun baby-step into that experience.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hey West Coasters, Mark your calendars

I just got my paperwork from the IQA that I will be teaching in Long Beach at International Quilt Festival July 22-25!

I will have three classes: Thursday (all day)- Mixed Media Painted Fabric, Friday night (6-9)- Ornamental Fiesta and Saturday (all day)- Wholecloth Painted Fabric.

Mark your calendars so we can make some art together!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Painting- done I think

I think after eleven hours of painting yesterday it is done. There is always the possibility I will tweak thinks here and there. I had to force myself to stop last night at midnight, I was touching up lights and darks on the leaves on the tree on the right to give them a little more contrast. I probably could have spent another hour touching them up here and there.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A little blue

I only had a short amount of time to paint yesterday so I didn't get as far as I would have liked. Hopefully today I will get the rest of the flowers painted and begin the grass.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The flowers are starting to bloom

I have finished painting the greenery and am now painting the flowers. I am only using red, yellow, white and blue for the flowers since that is the limits of the flower colors in the hunting paintings. I have chosen to make the white flowers tinted a little pink just so they are not a stark white. So far I have worked through red and yellow, next I will start on blue.

After I finish the flowers I will start painting in the grass.

Ricë Freeman-Zachery featured Nina and another talented girl named Sarah, about the same age, on her blog over the weekend.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

SOFA and Ellen

Friday morning I went to two wonderful textile themed lectures at SOFA. The first one Fiber Art: Expressions & Aesthetics, Part I: fiber artists Marcia Docter, C. Pazia Mannella, Carol B. Shinn and Barbara Lee Smith share their ideas and inspirations.

Barbara Lee Smith

Carol Shinn

The second was Fiber Art: Expressions and Aesthetics, Part II: Fiber artists Jon Eric Riis, Geoffrey Gorman, Marilyn Pappas and Kate Cusack share their ideas and inspirations.

Both Lectures were wonderful, seeing each artist's work, hearing about their process and inspirations was fascinating.

Here's Geoffrey Gorman in Jane Sauer's booth with his fabulous found object sculptures. I love how animated his animals seem, I feel like they could get up and run away.

There is always so much to see, I wish I could list all the amazing art and artists to see at this show. A few pieces that caught my eye were the stitched sculptures by Anne Lemanski and these glass orbs with stitched filaments and glass tendrils by Cathy Strokowsky. I only had my iphone with me which does not take great pictures in low light, so I didn't take many photos.

After coming home from SOFA I took Abby out for a walk.  Being a nice day,  I was anxious to get her out to enjoy it before the cold sets in and it is too cold for her to go out on walks. As I turned the corner I saw a crowd on the sidewalk across from an SUV that said the Ellen Degeneres Show on the side hooked up to a trailer with a magazine stand on top. I hung out a few minutes to see what was going on and started up a conversation with a production designer named Larry who told me he built the magazine stand and gave me the low down on what was supposed to happen.

This is Ellen driving away with the magazine stand full of the latest O magazine that she is featured in.

Abby started to get cold standing outside as the wind kicked up in the shade, so I popped her in my coat to keep her warm. Luckily she stayed quiet and didn't start barking at anything.

Here's Ellen getting out of the SUV after going around the block.

Nina called me on the phone, so I looked up and she was looking over the balcony. The photo on the right is her view of me standing on the street below, while Abby gets some attention from a bystander.

Nina got this shot of Ellen from up on the balcony.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Not much different and I'm going to SOFA

It doesn't look much different and I won't have chance to paint because I am going to SOFA today. I love this show, it is always so inspiring. This morning I am going to two textile lectures, I'll tell ya more later, my ride is on the way.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

This is my kind of gardening

The only green on my thumbs is from paint. I love plants, I am just not very good at keeping them alive. Except for cacti and succulents, I do really well with those, but unfortunately I don't live in California anymore.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A little touch of gold

I outlined the yellow scroll design with metallic gold paint, to give it that classic gilded touch.

Now I begin the plants, it will probably take me a few days to paint all the flowers and grasses. The plants will be in a variety of greens from the green I have painted first to strong yellow greens like in the leaves of the trees.

The plants I have started painting first are made with emerald green and white. It looks really blue  against the bright yellow-green background, but that color is true to the hunting paintings.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Getting there

I painted hairs on the deer to look more like the deer in the hunting paintings, it also has the benefit of looking stylistically more different from the smooth painting style of the little deer. I also darkened up the shade side of the antlers to give them a little more definition.

When I work I usually leave my paper cartoon under my fabric and slide plastic underneath the fabric to create a barrier to the paper. Dry cleaning bags work great because they are thin soft plastic, easily smoothed out and less like likely to show creases.

The filigree scroll pattern was painted with an ocher brown transparent paint diluted with a lot of textile medium (colorless extender) that made a nice soft creamy yellow color.

It probably looks like I am getting close to being finished but I still have a lot of painting to do. I need to add gold to the scroll work to give it definition and I still have all the flowers and grasses to paint on the ground.

Monday, November 02, 2009

60's deer painted

I painted the little deer using opaque paints with white because I wanted him to feel more like a solid object, since those figurines were always made of glass or plastic. I also wanted it to have a brighter cheerier look than the more serious painting referenced background so it is painted using a warmer more colorful brown.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Base painting for large deer

Saturday night I managed to get the big deer painted. I used a transparent brown textile paint and used varying amounts of textile medium (Jacquard; colorless extender) to lighten the color. I plan on painting brush stroke hairs over the majority of the deer similar to the way the animals are painted in the hunting paintings, but I will probably tackle the little deer first and come back to details after.


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