Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Inspiration - Tile Quilting

I came across this book recently and discovered a whole new type of quilting I'd never heard of!  The Tile Quilt Revival was written by Carol Gilham Jones and Bobbi Finley and gives the history of this late 19th century art form and many current examples and patterns.  Tile quilting reminds of one of my favorite types of art, mosaics!  I can see great possibilities for this!

Both authors also have blogs where they show and talk about what they're currently working on and list their upcoming classes - yes!  They teach lots of workshops!

Jungle Beauty

Bobbi's website can be found here.  To the left s one of her more recent quilts, Jungle Beauty, and ....

Birds in a Cherry Tree

... to the right is another, Birds in a Cherry Tree.

Carlos and Some of His Favorite Things

Carol's website is here.  I love her tile quilt Carlos and Some of His Favorite Things and the way she included photos on it.  I really do need to get printable fabric into more of mine!

You can look inside the book on Amazon and see much more!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday Sewing - Thread Sketched Basket

Here's my latest creation from the pile of ice dyed fabric I made!  These are so versatile, I may have to make a few more.

*fat quarter of fabric - cut into one 19 by 13 inch piece and two circles from pattern (found here)
*fusible felt - one 18 by 6 inch piece and one circle cut from pattern
*assorted colors of sewing thread

1.  Fuse felt rectangle to the 19 by 13 inch piece, leaving 1/2 inch on each side and the bottom.

2.  Press side edges of 19 by 13 piece in.

3.  Fold top of fabric down and press.  Baste side edges together.  Fuse felt circle to one of the fabric circles.  Put the other fabric circle on top and baste edges together.

4.  I printed off some flower petals for inspiration and worked out my thread sketching designs on the circle.  See this past post for a similar technique of thread sketching.

5.  For the body of the basket, I started with the fuchsia thread, ...

6. ... added in the purple thread, ...

7.  ... added in the gray thread, ...

8. ... the green leaves, ...

9. ... and a bit of silver for sparkle.

10.  After the thread sketching is finished, remove the basting stitches from both pieces.  Pin the ends of the basket together so that they are just touching.

11.  Hand sew the two edges together.  Turn inside out and repeat with the inside edges.

12.  Pin the bottom to the basket - have the wrong side facing up and pull back the seam allowance on the wrong side so that it does not get sewn yet.

13.  Sew in a half inch seam.

14.  Trim seam to about 1/4 inch.  Fold the loose seam allowance under 1/4 inch and pin over the machine sewn seam.  Hand sew in place.

Turn right side out and you have your basket!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Monday, August 27, 2012

Backstitch, Printable Organza, and Looking for Layers!

You might remember this ice dyed piece I started embroidering a while back ... quite a while back!  I could see dandelions in it - big and full of seeds, just waiting to be blown on.  That is, I could see it in my mind, but nothing I did brought it to life on the cloth.  So after embroidering, taking out the embroidery, embroidering, taking out the embroidery, ... I put it away.

I came across it last week and it suddenly hit me.  I was imagining this 3-D dandelion head and was embroidering a one-dimensional rendering of it.  I needed layers!  So out came the printable organza I've been wanting to try - I bought it on Amazon.  I printed a photo of a dandelion onto it and it turned out gorgeous!  

I pinned and then basted it onto my cloth ...

... and began embroidering along the lines and seeds with one strand of silk embroidery floss.  Usually I use an outline stitch to make lines, but in this case it looked too bulky against the gossamer organza, so I tried a backstitch - perfect!  

A backstitch is a really easy embroidery stitch - it's good for lines, curves, two-sided projects (where the back will also be seen), and is commonly used in redwork and blackwork.  Bring your needle up through the fabric.  Reinsert the needle behind where you first came up and bring it back up an equal distance in front of where you first came up.  

Repeat for the next stitch ...

... and so on until your line is complete.

This is more what I had in mind!  At some point I'm going to need to decide where to cut portions of the organza away, but I have awhile to ponder that.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Inspiration - Jo Hamilton's Crochet Art

I recently ran across some photos of Jo Hamilton's work and about had my socks blown off!  To say her crocheted art work is amazing somehow falls short.  The Portland, Oregon artist was originally taught to crochet by her grandmother and then re-learned as a teenager.  In an interview (which I highly recommend reading) she says she "crafted" with crochet for many years before beginning to incorporate it into her art.
Now she "paints" with thread, creating wonderfully lifelike and colorful portraits and landscapes.  To see a close-up of the piece to the right, click here.

I love the way she captured the spirit of the city in I Crochet Portland, with its bridges, eclectic  architecture, and rolling hills. 

I Crochet Portland, 63" x 109", 2006-2009

And this portrait of Portland mural artist Joe Cotter, who passed on earlier this year, is great!  His eyes are full of life and you can almost see him planning his next project.  A very fitting tribute.

Joe Cotter and the Original Outside In Mural, 43" x 45", 2011

I found a video showing one of her portraits being created  - it doesn't show her actually working on it, but shows how she works in different areas until it begins to come together.  And she doesn't work with pre-drawn out plans or graphs!

'Arthur Animated' by Jo Hamilton Art from Jo Hamilton Art on Vimeo.

I've been working on a crochet project where I need to follow a graph - and have been working on the same three rows for two days now trying to get it right .... Jo's method is looking good!  Be sure to take a look at her website - there's a lot more there!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday Sewing - Halloween Costumes!

There are two holidays that you have to start thinking about way ahead of time and they happen to be my two favorite - Christmas and Halloween!  I've been looking around the net for costume ideas and thought you might like to see what I've found.

Simplicity has their Halloween costume patterns online - no more having the size you need gone from the stores' inventory!  I hadn't seen this one before - an apron costume.  Having spent many years dressing our kids for trick-or-treating in Montana, I can see how this might be a good solution to the "how to show your costume when you have to wear a heavy coat" problem.

I also found this great adult Alice in Wonderland pattern there.  I'd sew one of these for me if I were going to a costume party!

McCall/Butterick patterns are also on-line.  McCalls has put out an on-line Halloween costume idea book that's definitely worth taking a look at.

And Butterick has a line of historical patterns I hadn't seen before - I don't think they're listed in the store catalogs.  Quite a few historical eras are featured, often with accessories like these hats.

If you're thinking of a historical era costume or one from another culture, be sure to look at the Folkwear Patterns website.  And they have quite a few children's patterns also, like this one from Japan.

These patterns for a flamenco dress and a belly-dancing outfit looked fun!  And more authentic than the regular pattern company versions.  Of course that probably means more complicated to sew, also!

There are even some fun crochet patterns!  And the pieces are small enough that you won't go completely crazy trying to get them done before the end of October.  This lacy mask is gorgeous!  It's a free pattern on Craftdisasters.

And how cute is this Hungry Caterpillar baby costume!  I'm definitely making this for the next baby in the family!  There isn't a pattern, but Patrice on Lemon Tree Creations walks through how she made it.

I'd never thought of it before, but some of those cute crocheted kids hats could be the great start for a costume.  And they'd also work for those cold climate Halloween nights.  This Viking bearded hat is great!  There are quite a few patterns out there for Viking hats, but this one from Craftown (designed by Ester Leavitt) was one of the few free ones I could find.

Same with this Angry Birds hat pattern by Amy.

Last I heard, little c was thinking of being a doctor this year.  Which is originally what I went on-line to look at when I got side tracked.  Back to the search engines!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ne-maki Shibori

Another simple shibori tie is ne-maki.  For this you need something roundish - marbles, pebbles, ...

As with kumo, I like to do this tie with artificial sinew.  The waxy coating helps keep the thread tight, and you want tight thread so it acts as a resist and keeps the indigo from touching that part of the cloth.

First, cover a marble with your cloth and pinch the fabric underneath it.

Wrap the artificial sinew very, very tightly just underneath the marble.  Really pull hard!

You can either tie a knot and trim the ends ....

... or you can go to the next marble without tying, wrap it tightly, go to the next marble, etc. ...

... and then tie the end when you finish the final marble.  Some fabric holds the waxed artificial sinew well even without knots - this makes it much,  much easier (and quicker) to remove the sinew after dying.  Some fabric, like silk, doesn't seem to hold it well for me, so I end up tying each marble in separately.  And cutting each marble's sinew off separately!

When I use pebbles, I tie each one off separately.  They don't seem to hold otherwise.

Here's the finished sampler ready to dye ... hmmm.  Looks like someone's cat has been sleeping on my photo background again!

And just out of the dye vat.

I let most of the dye drain off in a pan and then take the sinew off so air can get to all parts of the cloth.  The circles on the bottom are from the marbles and those on top are from the pebbles.

It's fun to combine methods!

You might've noticed that my sample piece dyed a little lighter and greyer than normal.  And you might think that means the indigo is being used up - probably not at this point.  When this happens it might mean you need to refresh the vat with more reducing agents.  

This is what my indigo vat currently looks like.  Not good!  Normally I check this each time before I dye, but I got lazy this time since I was just dying a sample.  The blue-green color tells me it's time for more reducer.  I added a tablespoon more thiox and 1 1/2 tablespoons of soda ash (dissolve the soda ash in a little water first), stirred it up, covered it, and came back in a couple of hours.  

Now my vat is more of the yellow-green I want to see.  It actually could be a little more yellow.  That means using a little more of the thiox and soda ash - and I'll do that before I dye my next pieces.

I was also busy this week making matching shibori shirts for little c and me - yes, I am a very dorky Nana!

See this previous post for beginning indigo dying.

Happy Creating!  Deborah