Saturday, October 26, 2013

I never thought it would happen to me

but I've caught a really bad case of "Hexagon-itis".
     WHAT?  Hexagons.  They are everywhere.
     When I first started going to the Friday quilt group I noticed that a  few of the ladies were busy stitching pieces of fabric to hexagon paper shapes that I learned later they had order in quantity from an online store.  I knew "English Paper Piecing" was what they were doing.   In the very early days of my quilt making I tried  my hand at this.  Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts in 1930 colors is a favorite of mine and if I were into making bed quilts I would more than likely in all these years made at least one along with maybe one or two Wedding Rings.  But while I loved looking at them as well as most traditional quilts I  never fell in love with the process of making them.  I think more than anything I found sewing fabric to paper, one piece after the other, or many, many small patches together boring.
    So as the weeks of me going to the Friday group turned into months, Spring into Summer and now Fall, I have watched these ladies continue on determinedly.  But I was sure that the bug that make you want to produce a zillion little patches measuring 3/4" on each  side was not going to infect me.
     Yesterday I was back with the ladies, but as on most Friday, with me having my own hand work to do I could look and not get infected, but on this Friday I had not hand work of my own to do,  I did not escape. 
     I came into the room and greeted everyone and all was well until I sat down at a table with one of the ladies and watched as she made one patch after the next as we chatted.  I think it was the charm of the fabrics that she was using that got me  and the itch to touch some cloth, but I asked if I could try my hand at making one or two of them for her since I did not bring anything to work on and she cheerfully smiled and handed me a threaded needle, a scrap of fabric and a hexagon shaped piece of paper and said, " have at it." or something similar.
     I think by the time we broke for lunch  an hour or so later I had made a dozen of the little patches and was itching to do more.
   On the way home I stopped at the Quilt Shop in Lake Mary to see if they had any of the foundation paper hexagon shapes.  They didn't.  I was not disappointed.  I thought the bug would be short lived. 
     When I finally got home after picking my daughter up at the Airport, I went on line at first to order some of those paper shapes and then went in search for ones that could be downloaded.  I found them.  I  selected the 1" on a side ones and ran out three sheets of them, 45 hexagons in all. 
     My case of 'Hexagon-itis" had me wake late into the wee hours of this morning.  I watched some programs I had saved to DVD and searched for fabric in my meager stash of commercial fabric for fabrics in the red color family.  Will these shapes ever grow into a quilt?   I don't know.  Maybe I'll be like the other ladies who bring theirs to Friday group and keep making one after the other, after the other as  I haven't seem a quilt top from one of them either yet.
I have a piece of silk stretched on the design wall with a drawing ready to paint.  I'm going to try completing it before  the Dec 2 entry deadline for the Mancuso World Quilt Show Florida IV. 
I'm sure I will not be painting.  Right now I have to go make some more hexagons.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I did not like this piece as it was

with the corded edge finish so I looked for an option and found it with this piece of fabric that I quilted then stitched the small piece to.  My original thought when it was done that it would serve as a class sample and I still think that that will most likely still be its fate.  The pink in the fabric looks a little jarring, but in person not so.  The other four were faced.  Every one has a sleeve put need labels. Since I finished all of the hand work yesterday and today I not sure what I will take to tomorrow to work on during the Friday group meeting.  I'll take my thimble just in case someone wants some help with some handwork, like binding. 

The iron that steams like crazy is a Euro Steam, got it at a quilt show about two years ago. 

The Soy milk made from scratch from dry soy beans does not smell, well it does in a way.  It smells somewhat like fresh mowed grass but once the silk is soaked and air dried  the smell goes away.  The smell comes back when the dried fabric is ironed but over a period of a couple of weeks it dissipates entirely.  Or it might be that my nose gets used to the smell..  Once the painting is dry you do not wash the top which is why I like using this technique so much.  Paint, press, sandwich and quilt.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dyeing done

but more importantly so is the ironing  and folding of these 52 yards of cloth.
I much prefer the process of dyeing  to the chore of ironing the dyed cloth.  However I must say that ironing this batch wasn't so bad  A couple of hours last night and  a couple this morning and it was all done. Instead of depending on the iron to produce enough steam to soften the wrinkles, I resorted to an old technique my Mom used in the old day.  Sprinkle the cloth, put in a plastic bag to set for a spell.   Much credit also goes to finally finding an iron that gets hot enough to press cotton cloth.    I won't say this iron made it easy, just more like easier than the other irons three irons I have and tried to use for this task. Two I brought recently after my Rowenta  stopped heating and one I've  had for a couple of years and brought because it  makes steam like a locomotive which I love using to block  my finished pieces but dislike using to press my clothes.  Since I live in jeans, from shorts to ankle length and t-shirts there isn't a lot of clothes pressing required as far as my wardrobe is concerned but  I do have a few shirts that need touching up when they come out of the dryer for those occasions when a t-shirt is too casual.
While a load of the dyed fabric was washing yesterday I sat down at the sewing machine and tried my hand at finishing the edge of one of the five pieces pictured in the previous post.  This corded edge is  a new to me finishing technique.  My finish of choice for many years has been a facing.  I  decided that this edge treatment  it is not for me.  I won't redo this one.  I have decided to let it be and it will become  my class sample rather than a piece to sell. 
With the dyeing done, I will spend the next day or so putting facings, sleeves and labels on the others.
To answer your question... I use watercolor pigments to paint my images on silk that is first soaked in soy milk then air dried.  I also use soy milk to dilute the watercolors instead of water. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Five pieces

that average about 10-13" x 19-21".  I started out testing different colors for a larger piece I have planned, so I guess you could say they are  practice pieces or color studies in prep for that  larger piece .  The line drawing is done and waiting, but I need to soak and dry a length of silk first.  It is 82 degrees with a little breeze, so drying time should be rather short. 
These pieces need facing and sleeves, but first  I think I will do  dye some fabric today.  The sky is a little overcast as well  so working in the garage should not be that uncomfortable.

Only three of the ladies in the Art group I meet with on the third Wednesday of even months had their artist card completed  and three of them were not present so I will wait until our next meeting in December to assemble them and show them to you. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Five pieces, really little to much bigger and all done with yellow

     So you would have a sense of scale I grouped all the pieces  together on the design wall that I have completed since the first of the month. 
     The block, upper left top is  done on a paper foundation and will, to finish at 6-1/2".  I made it to be part of a quilt the Friday group is making for a member as a goodbye gift because she is moving to Kentucky to be closer to family.   
      The smallest piece is an artist card.  One of 10 I made to exchange with the members of the group I meet with every other month on the third Wednesday at Panera for dinner, chatting and show and tell.
      The other small piece was used to demo how I face my quilts.   When I got home from Coral Springs I couldn't leave it unfinished... done.  That small piece and my artist card are painted on a piece of my hand dyed cotton.  I  liked the orange and yellow combo so well that I thought I try making something a little larger, again using my hand dyed cotton.  For those pieces pieces I did not pre soak the fabric in soy milk, I simply used the soy milk to dilute the water color paint.  Because I wasn't sure how well this would hold up I painted over the flowers and the stem with a diluted coat of Golden GAC 900 Fabric Painting Medium which did not change the hand of the fabric or the quilting.
     Oh, the tray dying I did a few days ago came out okay.  Five of the ten pieces I had to over dyed because there was way too much white spaces left when it was washed out.
     I will be vending at several quilt show in Florida.  The first one of which will be in a couple of weeks.  The last one I committed to is in March of next year. I am going to be a little busy until then with a few teaching engagements schedule during the same time frame as well, so at every opportunity I will be making some work , replenishing my inventory of quilts .  Here is a look at the  largest piece I did this week.  Just finished quilting, blocking and cropping it this evening.  Will get to the facing tomorrow and save the sleeves for hand work to do when I go to my Friday group.   It seems the sleeves go on a little faster when I am engaged in conversation with others and not home alone humming to myself.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

October. Really!!!

Last Friday  I drove about 4 hours down Interstate 95 to Coral Springs to speak to a quilt guild and conduct a one day workshop.  I remembered my camera but if you are the driver of the car, you can't be a photographer so I have no pictures of what I saw getting to and fro from that very nice part of the State of Florida. 
     I was however up close and personal with a Palm tree.  They still fascinate me and at the hotel where I stayed one was growing within arms reach of my second floor room which had a balcony with two chairs and a bistro size table.  All of which  would have been great if I'd had time to sit and sip a cup of coffee on Saturday morning before I went to teach the class.

Here are some candid shots of the ladies in the class

I promised you a look at the fabric I dyed and ironed before I left last Friday morning so here it is all nicely stacked and ready to use.
I tried my hand at tray dyeing yesterday and layer dyeing.  I can't tell you how successful that was right now since the yardage is still in the dryer. So my day is laid out.  Iron  until the  dry soy beans which are soaking are ready to use,  then spend some time painting.