Sunday, April 25, 2010

Question answering Sunday

I've gotten several comments on the last few blog entries I've made so I thought I would do a, "here's the answers to your questions", session.
I do sell my work but don't like posting prices online, so if anyone is seriously interested in something I am doing please inquire by phone at 502-244-8812 or by e-mail at
The reds Karoda was asking about were achieved with watercolor paints, a new technique I am really in love with because it lets me partake of two things that make me happy; painting and quilting.
Over the years beginning almost immediately when I first started to make quilts, the pieces I sewed together got larger and larger, so making a quilt for me wasn't about the piecing, and after a time the scale of my appliqued pieces grew too, not that they were every small as in the Baltimore album sense to begin with. Hence my large scale flowers.
I, the person who thinks bigger is better is sitting here now as I am writing, looking at my print/paint surface thinking, "how can I make it larger and keep it portable". You see I want to be able to move it to the window area, but put it away when not in use so it can't be too large. (no place to store it). You know a king size bed could hid a multitude of ... which I do have, if it wasn't for the center support legs. :( . So I think my paint surface will max out at 4' x 6'

Back on subject. The pin into surface I have now is 4 feet by 4 feet and made with two, 1" thick pieces of blue insulation foam board, it is cover with one layer of black acrylic craft felt and right now a much laundered piece of cotton duck canvas.

Not only do I have a width limitation of 4 feet with the painting surface, I also have a width limitations with the fabrics I choose to use which at the moment is silk broadcloth (expensive I think) and Roc-lon bleached white muslin from Joann's (as cheap as it gets). But my happiest discovery in this process was finding "Tidy Pins". I use them instead of 'T" pins, less frustrating when you are removing them after you are done painting. Tidy pins are a Dritz notion and I get them at Joann's, but wait for a 50% off notion sale.

Do I get to Chicago? I've been there twice to teach. There's nothing on my schedule for that neck of the wood at this time, but I will go anywhere a plane flies or I can drive to teach so if you want me to come, let me know. We'll talk fees and other arrangement kind of stuff off-line.
As a side thought; I've had some request too arrange a retreat in the Orlando area in Feb. or Mar., 2011 so if you would like to be on the receiving end of this information when it is finalized, let me know.
And now about the quilting. I started out as a hand quilter and I was a right good one at that IMHO and one who was proud of the way my quilt stitch looked front and back. I never was a stick to one color of thread quilter just so the back would look good kind of gal and I carried this philosophy with me into machine quilting. I did try to choose a backing fabric that helped camouflage all the thread color changes but in the beginning I was more concerned about minimizing my stops and starts. All of this fell away to non-importance once I stopped entering judged/juried quilt shows to concentrate on making work in quantity for exhibitions in galleries and museums where no one looked at or cared about what the back of an art quilt looked like. (Who looks at the back of a painting). But I cared so I made my backs neat by doing all of the quilting and thread painting without a backing fabric and added the backing fabric at the end.
On some of my earlier large pieces some additional stitching was required to keep the backing fabric from sagging. I did this for a time until I discovered I could adhere the backing fabric "just nicely, thank you" with WonderUnder. No more sagging, no added stitching required.
But now back to the present and the situation I find myself in now. And that is; the back of the piece I want to submit to the Bernina competition has to have stitching through all the layers visible and neat and since these are the rules and I want to play I have got to do it their way. Therefore I have selected a fabric that has all the colors that I plan to quilt the top with just in case the top tension is not quite right and a top stitch dares show itself on the back, which was what was happening on the first piece. IN MY EXPERIENCE, which is the same as IMHO, and carries the same amount of weight is, it is rare when the tension is right that the bobbin thread shows on the top so I never think about keeping the bottom thread and the top thread the same, plus it is too much trouble to keep changing color in the bobbin ever time I change the top thread color. Besides those vertical bobbins give me the fits. They did before my Janome with the drop in bobbin and they still do I discovered while quilting on the Bernina with the vertical bobbin especially when it is in a cabinet. A small flash light WILL be in my sewing box when I go back to Kissimmee tomorrow, so I can shine a little more light in the bobbin area when I have to refill and replace the thing.
Someone inquired about the paint brushes I use. I love the Royal brand soft grip variety, just for the comfort and I can generally get them at Michael's and I was pleased to learn that the art supply store near me in Winter Park carries them, but just two day ago I discovered while in Michael's Robert Simmons brand of paint brushes, the one I picked up has a long handle but I found I like the weight of it and the balance was right so I brought one to try. I like it and will buy a few more in different sizes. Michael's in their reorganization now sells three varieties of art supplies in their paint "fine art" department, craft/ academic or student and/artist or professional grades which are priced accordingly, I saw that the Royal soft grips are considered a middle grade whereas the Robert Simmons I picked up was a professional grade brush. Despite the fact that I am using water color paints (profession artist) grade Grumbacher or my favorite brand, Daniel Smith or procion dyes in some cases thickened with alginate, I use a brush that can take the roughness of fabric so I use an all purpose brush boars hairs or synthetic bristle designed for acrylics. Water color brushes are much too soft and Round brushes are not at all suitable for my style of painting so I use only "brights" which are a Flat brush with a shorter bristle. I also use slants or flat angles and have them in three sizes1/4, 1/2 and 3/8. the bright range in sizes from 4 to 12 but I use most often the bush size that is about 1/2 inch wide.
Hope this answers all the questions put to me if not comment again.
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Carol said...

Wouldn't you just know it, I have another question. You mentioned watercolor paints. Is this regular water colors in tubes?

Deanna said...

Thank you so much for all the information!! I am going to seriously give this a try. I appreciate the time you took to write this all down. I will email you to get information about your teaching... I would love to forward it to the guild I belong to and would like more information about your Orlando rereat. Good luck with your quilting on the Bernina! You are determined to get this right :)