Monday, February 27, 2012

"I will lift up mine eyes"

Well, here is my first offering to the International Quilt Challenge
The theme for this challenge is Architexture.
"I will lift up mine eyes".  Thread sketching on silk.  A3 size.

The quilt was constructed with a base of white homespun and cotton batting, covered with layers of white, cream and pastel strips of different weights and textures of 100% silk, from the stash for eco-dying.  You can see this underlying structure in the photograph above of the completed quilt, taken on top of the lightbox.

This then is the finished quilt as it will hang on the wall.
The image of the cathedral ceiling is sewn/sketched with black thread.  Running through my head was the mantra "anything I can draw, I can sew". (More of a prayer than a confident statement)
Having only joined this group within the last 2 weeks, I didn't have time to take my own photo, so the quilt is based on a photograph by Jan van der Crabben, accessed through Wikipedia, and covered by the "Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike 2.0 Generic Licence" which allows the sharing or adaptation of images with attribution.  (The resulting works, such as this quilt, are then covered by the same licence)

I like the raw edges of the quilt and didn't want to confine it with binding (how appropriate that word seems in this context!), so I  gave the "idea" of an edge with some gold embroidered trim in the top left hand corner, with lines of sewn gold thread extending along the top and left edges.

I finished the opposite corner with a lace truncated cross - again discovered amid the stash of silks.
The rose window was not in the original photo, and I emphasized it as the focal point by cutting some gold silk to roughly fit the shape, under the overlying strip of white silk. I hope it is like looking at a glorious dawn or sunset through the window.
Wonderful and thought-provoking theme.  I am looking forward to the next one with this group!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Special Guest

Before I introduce to you my special guest, I am very excited to announce that I have been accepted to join the International Quilt Challenge  !  A group of very accomplished and inspiring quilters, and I am sure I am going to really stretch my creativity in their company.  My first challenge as part of the group is due this Friday - to say it is a tight turnaround is an understatement!  Nonetheless, I have been turning ideas over, and the A3 quilt is now pinned awaiting stitching.  The theme is Architexture - which has triggered off lots of ideas and possibilities, but one which has really stood out consistently and persistently.

This past week, I have also made a birthday present for my 22yo nephew.  This is the first of a line that I am developing of "upgraded" plain Tshirts:
My husband modeled the T shirt before I posted it to my nephew.

Last Friday I was up way too early to join in a Handiquilter webinar on Threads, Needles and Tension.  Well worth the 5am (Melbourne time) start: full of useful tips and practical information, and not just for the Handiquilter, but for machine quilting in general.

So, now to my special guest.  Let me introduce you to my daughter, Brigetta, who had a very creative break over the summer holidays, and would like to share with you some examples of her ideas and work.  Melways is an iconic street directory for Melbourne and its suburbs.  With people turning to GPS, Melways can be found in op shops, and Brigetta had the fabulous idea to use them for decoupage:

cloud plates

tea tray

stretched canvas with stencil

Gotta love it when creative ideas just bounce off each other, and come to fruition through play and experimentation!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Journal Cover

Last week was the first P&Q class for the year, and I thought I would start by encouraging the group members to keep a journal: to jot down and further develop inspirational ideas; to keep tips, class notes, pictures and magazine articles all together, and to keep a record of their work and workings.  I presented them all with a new journal, and suggested that they make a cover for it - to personalise it and claim it as their own.  I have always loved the fresh possibilities of new stationery at the start of the school year!

I made a class sample, with some ideas they might like to include or extend.  The wonderful Rita from Red Pepper Quilts had donated a lot of generous fabric off cuts to the group, which we had fun distributing, and I also used some of this to make the class sample, along with additions from my stash.  All the materials are scraps (including the zipper).

 Some of the techniques included in this cover are:
  • design for function and aesthetics
  • string piecing
  • free-motion rotary cutting (no rulers!)
  • curved piecing
  • simple free-motion quilting
  • measurement vs fitting
  • inserting a zip
  • embellishments
While not a detailed tutorial, I thought I would walk you through the steps to make this journal cover / carry all, which includes a pocket for magazines and a built in pencil case.

The cover could be made of a single piece of fabric, or pieced fabric in any design that pleases your eye. Measure your journal in height, and the length of the measuring tape wrapped twice around the width.  I used a plain A4 visual art diary.

In my sample the strip pieced patterned fabric was 2/3 of the eventual height.  I then curve pieced a strip of unbleached linen on the bottom, using a merged Rosalie Dace / Ricky Timms technique, of overlapping the fabric right sides up, and free-motion rotary cutting in gentle curves.
I tend to leave my ruler on the fabric, but out of the way of the cutting, to provide a bit of weight and stabilise the fabric.  When the discarded edges are removed the curve is revealed.  Keeping the edges together mark the abutting edges being careful not to shift anything.
With right sides together pin at each of the matched markings.  The more markings, the more pins, the smoother the curve.

 The finished curve:

Using a scrap of batting I free-motion quilted the 2 layers together, with simple curves punctuated with occasional zig zags.  I also used this to try some of the new quilting threads I received in Superior Threads "Thread of the Month" Club.  Love the fluorescent orange!
I then trimmed the fabric to fit the journal.  The left-hand side / front cover would be a standard fit, but the right hand side was extended to wrap around the journal to include all the extra features.
To minimise any ridges and bumps in the fabric which would get in the way of drawing or writing, the flaps to hold in the journal covers are a single piece of fabric folded in half and extending almost to the spine of the book.  There are no hems and the raw edges are included in the seams of the cover.  In the photo below the journal has slipped a bit to the right, as there needs to be enough extra fabric to go around the spine when the book is closed.  Behind the book there is a lining fabric extending seam to seam and under the flaps.
With the book closed, the cover extends out to the right for twice the width of the book.  The first section includes a pocket for magazines/cuttings/loose pieces of paper.  The top and bottom edges of the pocket are again included in the seams of cover.  A side opening keeps all the papers in the cover when it is closed completely.

On the right of the picture above you can see a covered wide piece of elastic which is the closure for the journal cover when it is completely wrapped closed.
In the last section is a lined pencil case, with a zipper opening in the seam.  As this can get bulky, it sits on the very outside of the journal cover.
I then stamped a title on the linen, but really any embellishment could be used as long as it will stand up to your journal being carted around with you for whenever inspiration strikes!  Let me know in the comments section if you would like further explanation of any of the steps.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Organic Onion

I put in a heavy days work yesterday and sorted through my studio. Can't say I threw a lot out, but it's amazing how much space there is just by putting everything back where it is supposed to go! This quilt has been on the design wall for at least a couple of years, waiting to be backed and "finished". The longer it's been there, the less "finishing" I think it needs. I like the edges as they are, and really think I will just put a backing fabric on it to hide the stitching. The quilt is the result of a workshop with Caroline Sharkey at AQC about 3 years ago. We had to take along a photo that we wanted to interpret in a quilt using her "fabric and thread painting" technique. Everybody else seemed to have gorgeous landscape photos of sunsets, beaches and rainforests. I sat next to an astronomer whose photo was of a fabulous nebula. I had an onion...

Organic Onion

And this is the result of my clean up:
Quilting corner

Craft Cupboard
My plan to keep myself tidy is to publish an updated photo once a month that will either chart the developing chaos or shame me into putting things away!