Monday, December 24, 2012

See you on Wednesday January 2 for a new year of fiber fun!

Update - it'll be  a few more days while I battle a particularly nasty stomach bug.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Inspiration - Happy Winter!

This is winter in Phoenix!  Yes, it sometimes includes ice!

I lived in Northern climates for so long, though, that when I think of winter I usually have visions of whites, blues, and grays.  I've been thinking about and sketching some ideas for winter fiber art and am inspired by these .... 

Blue Moon Fiber Arts' gorgeous Winter Solstice Merino/Silk blend.

Weird and Twisted's yarn that reminds me of newly fallen snow.  She has an Etsy shop here.


Obelisk Fiber Arts' woven table runner.

This fat quarter group of Hoffman batiks.

And these pearls and a piece of ice dyed fabric I have. 


Happy Creating and Happy Winter!  Deborah

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Renaissance Angel Ornaments

I love how angels were depicted in Renaissance art and have quite a collection of reproductions where they appear.  At that time, angels were viewed as being second in the universal hierarchy - behind God and above humans, animals, flora, and matter (in that order).  Some angels were seen as intermediaries between God and man - I think it's mainly this type of angel in the art I have.  The Renaissance artists captured their other worldliness along with the deep compassion and concern in their expressions. 

In working out how to use some of these images in ornaments, I first tried printing them onto ink jet fabric - the images looked good, but something was missing.  So I printed the images on transfer paper and ironed them onto wool felt.  Much better!  The felt gave some depth and also softened the edges - and the transfer cracked here and there giving the image an old look.

To make your own, use a search engine such as Google Images and pick the image with the highest resolution.  Copy the image into a Word document or PowerPoint presentation (I like to use this to manipulate images) and scale it to the size you want.  When you get a pageful, print them onto iron-on transfer paper.  Check and see if your printer has an option for iron-on transfers - this will print the images out in a higher quality.  Sometimes it also reverses the images.

Iron the images onto pieces of wool felt that are a little larger.  Trim the way you want - on one I trimmed to the edges of the angel and on one I used the whole artwork.  Cut another piece of wool felt and use a blanket stitch and size 12 perle cotton to attach the image to it.

Cut a short piece of ribbon and insert it into the top of the ornament between the image and the backing - just continue attaching the ornament right over the ribbon to secure it.  Trim around the image, leaving a small frame.  This angel is from Fra Angelico's Annuniciation, circa 1441 CE.

And this piece is Melozzo da Forli's Angel With a Lute, circa 1480 (part of a fresco in Vatican City).

For now, they're hanging in my tree ... when I have quite a few more finished I have other plans on how to display them!  Stay tuned next Christmas!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Monday, December 17, 2012

Last Minute Handmade Christmas Gifts

If you're like me and reaching the panic point in making Christmas gifts, don't despair!  There's still time to make some quick but nice presents.  Here's my list from 2010 and from last year.

And if you're new to the blog or just forgot (like me!) about what all has been on it, here's this year's review of ideas.

For around the house:

Recycled denim placemats.

Thread sketched appliqued placemats.

Leaf art coasters.

Sewing machine embroidered napkins.

Crazy quilt pot holders.

Pie potholders.

Easy knit dishcloths.

Other ideas:

Embroidery supply bundle.

Beaded felt pins.

Recycled denim wallet.

Ice dyed t-shirts and here.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Inspiration - Emerald!

If you haven't heard, Pantone has declared Emerald the color of the year for 2013.  Okay, you may be asking - what is Pantone and why do they come out with a color of the year?  Color is a tricky thing!  One person's navy is another's midnight blue - you've probably run into this problem when matching navys .... or blacks or creams .... So there are color standard and matching companies who set a criteria for what a color is.  Not everyone uses them, obviously, but it helps!  Pantone, headquartered in New Jersey, is pretty much the world authority on color standards and is used by designers of all types.  So every year they come out with color trend forecasts and what they feel will be the "hot" color of the year.  I personally am happy to think we'll be seeing more Emerald!  Last year's color was Tangerine Tango and I am not really someone who looks good in orange (think pumpkin person) and don't have many oranges in my home decor.  But Emerald ... green was my first favorite color and it's still one I use a lot!  

Some Emerald highlights:

Keira Knightley's satin dress in Atonement - warning: satin finds every curve and bump on your body and broadcasts it so, unless you look like Keira, if you make a gorgeous fairy godmother costume from satin you will probably not like how you look.  I speak from experience!

I love this Emerald shawl from Art Fire!  I think I need to find a similar pattern and make me one.

Marimekko's Unikko design comes in Emerald!  Textile Art carries it.

Black combined with Emerald in this vintage crocheted afghan is stunning!  The free pattern is here.

And even though it's not quite 2013, here's my first take on designing with Emerald green (with a few close relatives).  It's ice dyed with Procion dyes.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday Sewing - Winter Patchwork Table Mat

Here's an easy patchwork table mat that looks nice left out even after all the other Christmas decorations are put away.

*1 yard of fabric A (you'll be using this for the backing and the binding, if you make your own binding)
* fat quarter of fabric B, C, and D and snowflake fabric
*Steam-A-Seam II (Lite or regular)
*fusible felt or batting
*snowflake pattern found here

Cut the following pieces:
Fabric A (snowflake):  1 piece 8 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches
                 1 piece 8 1/4 x 4 1/2 inches
                 1 piece 4 1/4 x 4 1/2 inches
Fabric B (blue):  1 piece 8 1/4 x 4 1/2 inches
                 1 piece 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches
                 1 piece 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches
Fabric C(leaf):  4 pieces 4 1/4 x 4 1/2 inches
Fabric D (eyelet):  4 pieces 4 1/4 x 4 1/2 inches

Here's a chart showing where you'll be placing the pieces:

Use a 1/4 inch seam throughout.

1.  Sew the 8 1/4 x 4 1/4 inch Fabric A to a Fabric D.  Sew a Fabric C to the 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch Fabric B.

2.  Sew the two strips together as shown below.

3.  Sew a Fabric D, a 4 1/2 x 4 1/4 piece of Fabric A, and a Fabric C together.

4.  Sew strip to the other two you've sewn together as shown below.  You have your first square finished.

5.  Sew a Fabric C to the last Fabric A and a Fabric D to the last Fabric B.

6.  Sew the last pieces of Fabrics D, C, and B together as shown below.

7.  Sew the first two strips together as shown below.

8.  And sew the last strip on as shown below.  This is your second square.

9.  Sew the two squares together.

10.  Cut out the snowflake patterns and trace 2 large and 1 small onto a piece of Steam-A-Seam II.  Fuse onto the wrong side of the snowflake fabric.

11.  Cut out snowflakes, remove backing, and fuse onto the table mat front.

12.  Fuse the fusible felt onto the back of the backing fabric and pin together with the table mat top.

13.  Quilt by "stitching in the ditch" (stitch in the seam lines) and sewing around the snowflake edges with a very small zigzag stitch.

14.  I like to round my corners.

15.  Add bias tape seam binding.

Happy Creating!  Deborah