Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bitten By the GS Bug

As soon as I get up each morning, I try to jump on the computer and check the recent posts from people on my blog list.  I'm so inspired by their posts and enjoy seeing the pictures of their projects.  Last weekend, Paulette, of Sweet Pea Quilting, chatted about her Garage Sale experiences.  I never think of looking for fabric and books at Garage Sales, so her post prompted me into action.  This weekend, there was one listed in our area.  I arrived right at 9:00, and soon 2 other quilters joined me at the table filled with boxes of fabric and magazines.  The seller is still quilting, so the items were all things that were extras to her.  I found one small box filled with ziplock bags of sorted fabrics. 
Once I arrived home, I went through each bag to find out how much was included in each fabric.  Most are about the size of a FQ but some are half meter cuts.  Some pieces had small portions cut out of them, probably for applique projects.  That's what I think I'll use the material for as well.  Each bag contained about 1 and 1/2 meters and each was $1.00.  The white material is cheesecloth.  That should be fun to use with puff paint and gesso.
Did I need more magazines?  Not really, but I couldn't pass up the price.  These were 5 for 1$.  When I'm finished with them, I won't feel bad about passing them on to other quilters at our guild donation table.  I had hoped to find books, but as I arrived, a fellow was just counting up his 2 foot high stack of miscellaneous books that he had gleaned.  Some of them were quilt books and I really don't think he's a quilter.  I wonder what his markup will be?  All in all, I was quite pleased with what I found and I'm sure I'll be perusing the ads for future sales.  I think I'm hooked.

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Little More Free-Motion Quilting

It's the last day of the month in the evening.  How's that for leaving it to the last minute.  I love how swirls look when quilted.  I like the puff that the rounded areas create throughout a background.  I especially like it when it is done with a tighter pattern and small circles pop out here and there.  The Jester's Hat that Wendy Sheppard taught for this month's challenge hosted by SewCalGal has that kind of pattern.   Here are a couple of practice doodles I created using the Jester's Hat motif.
My earlier doodles included more swirls than hat tips.
I started getting the hang of the hat with leaves in the center.
I found it a little difficult to quilt evenly.  This will take a little more practice.
I really enjoy reading Wendy Sheppard's blog called Ivory Spring.  She has some great tutorials.  Thank you Wendy and SewCalGal for hosting these tutorials.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August FMQ Challenge

Wendy Sheppard of Ivory Spring is the tutor for the month of August in Sew Cal Gal's Free-Motion Quilting Challenge.  In this challenge, Wendy shows how to create a Jester's Hat design with a leaf icon added.  Here are a couple of practice doodles that I created a while ago.  Love how smooth this is to do.  It feels very natural.
I used this design for the background on my Billie Holiday piece and added some leaves and musical notes.  I used Coats and Clark Dual Duty for the top and bobbin so that I wouldn't get any pop up showing on the dark background fabric.  The thread colour is dark green.  I was going to use a dark grey or black to match the background but I thought that if it blends in too well, I won't be able to see where I am going as I stitch.
Jester's Hat with leaves and feathers added.
Can you spot the musical notes symbols?
This was so fun to stitch.  Since I completed this quilting a couple months before August, I won't be able to submit it for the challenge, but it fits in so well with the techniques that Wendy teaches and it's nice to see adaptations.  See what everyone else is doing for August at Sewcalgal.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Melt Down and Burn Out Workshop Day 2

I think I need to set aside an evening each week to play with ideas from this workshop.
We each had our own table.  It was so nice to spread out.
The wall is carpeted so class samples were pinned up around the perimeter of the room.
Silk screening with fabric paint.
Using a credit card to pull the paint across.
Ta Da!
Tyvek, puff paint and silk screen icon.
Painted fusible with paper left on.
Foil applied with a swirl of glue.
So many ideas, so little time.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Melt Down and Burn Out Workshop

Last weekend I participated in a fabric art workshop called Melt Down and Burn Out.  I found out that the presenter, Eileen Neill, will probably not be hosting this workshop again, but will be doing more with screen printing.  I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to learn from her in this final presentation.  She shared a wealth of knowledge and brought so many materials to play with.  She has worked with many of the leading fabric art icons in Great Britain and even though this workshop was over 2 days, I could have spent at least a week playing and learning.
Inspirational books.
Heating the puff paint.
Distressing Tyvek.
My work in progress ... painted Tyvek, Lutradur, and Puff paint.
This workshop required the participant to bring quite a few of her own materials as well.  I was amazed that all I needed to buy was the puff paint.  Over the years, I had collected all sorts of fabric sheers, netting, fabric paint, and brushes, knowing that one day I would start exploring this field.  I think seeing Margaret Beal's work in Quilting Arts magazines first 'sparked' my interest.  I love what she does with a soldering iron and sheers.  My projects from the workshop aren't quite finished yet, but with this style of art, who really knows what 'finished' is?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Crackers and Cheddar

 The half-square triangles I made with the light background just couldn't be worked in with the Jacob's Ladder blocks from the previous post.  So I played with the layout a little and came up with these two designs.  Now what do I do?  I like them both.  I think either would make a nice center for a 'Round Robin' style quilt.

This is going to be so tiny when the seams are added ... and so bulky.  I'm not sure how it will quilt.  I'm not good at quilting over bulk!!!  I may just have to make a bigger one after playing with this trial piece:-)

Head over to Patchwork Times to be inspired by what others are doing this week.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Half-Square Triangles and Charm Squares

I probably should have titled this post Cheddar Blocks since I've decided to try making blocks with a gold/orange background.  Many blogs recently featured cheddar blocks and they began to grow on me.  It's possible to get 8 half-square triangles from 2 charm squares right sides together.  I drew diagonal lines, sewed 1/4 inch away from the lines on both sides, and cut along the lines as well as across, side to side.  Since these are so tiny, I pressed the seams open.  I also made 4 patches using 1 and 1/2 inch strips from the charm squares.

I tried two layouts and took pictures.  Sometimes it's easier to make choices when viewing the blocks on the computer rather than on the table.  I went with the light centers, but I really like both options.  I believe one of the names for this block is Jacob's ladder.
Dark centers.
Light centers.
I decided to go with the light centers.
Pressing with a clockwise swirl in the center.
These will be very tiny blocks.
I wanted the seams of my second block to nest with the first, so I thought carefully about pressing.  If I had just created the second one exactly the same as the first, everything would have worked perfectly because when it gets turned 90 degrees, the seams nest.  I stitched it in its turned orientation.  I had to take the whole block apart.  I left it until the next night and tried again.  I knew what I had to do, but I made the same mistake again.  I had to take it apart a second time.  I wasn't sure the tiny pieces would hold up, but they did and it's finally fixed.  This was supposed to be playtime.  That's what I get for trying to think after 9pm.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Raptors

We took a short trip south, about an hour away, to visit The Pacific Northwest Raptors.  What a surprise to see Kookaburras at the entrance.  They are not true raptors, but are considered predatory and do hunt snakes and insects.  We were encouraged to make a high-pitched, rolled-r noise to entice the two birds to laugh.  We couldn't help but laugh back.  The pictures of the birds that were behind wire in pens didn't turn out well.  The camera focused on the wire rather than the birds.  Some show a little detail.
This raven side stepped right over to us for a little chat.
The birds perch outside their pens for a while each day for sun and a change of scenery.
The birds are also encouraged to fly "free" each day during demos and exercise times.
Since the day was quite warm, this eagle tired quickly.
This hawk is somewhat common in our area.
Turkey vultures can also be seen flying so gracefully above treetops in our area.
This great-horned owl was so silent when it flew.  She had it flying inches above our heads.
This falcon was amazing in flight. 
Here's where we sat to watch the demo.
You can see a perch off in the distance further back from the larger hut.  The birds would fly from that perch to the presenter's arm, up into trees and to additional perches set around the field.
The demo was so impressive.  Tina, the presenter, was obviously very passionate about her job and demonstrated such care and respect for these amazing birds.  All the people working and volunteering at the facility seemed committed to keeping the birds happy and healthy.  It was a great visit.