This time of the year, is where my fiber world virtually stops, and my creative handmade world is in full swing. However, it doesn’t mean that my absence is permanent or forgotten. It’s just hibernating until January or February.
I managed to actually sit down at my sewing machine the other day and do something new and fun. I created a “Stitched Sketch” (although I’m sure there’s some proper titlement for it that I don’t know) for a Christmas Party gathering with the art group I am (or try to be) an active part in at Bridgeway Christian Church. We did an “art exchange”. It was fun!
So, here are a few photos of my sketch. The photos are not the greatest, but will do. Enjoy!
“Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise” Ritu Ghatourey
And, yes, that’s exactly what I’ve done for the past few weeks. Working hard in silence. That’s pretty much how I do my work too. It ebbs and flows like an ocean wave. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. Nope! I’ve been swamped; just not the kind of swamped I’d prefer to have.
I had plans to work on a new method of work (for me, not that it’s a “new never been done before” method just never done by me), but as life goes, that got pushed to the side. My apricot tree bloomed, so I had to quickly get to work on preserving those apricots and I think it was a bumper crop year too! I don’t even know how many pounds of apricots I picked, washed, pitted, and puree. I spent a solid week just cooking and canning jam; even when it was 100 degrees outside! I made some pretty awesome tasting jams! And I have jam and apricot butter for years…
Right behind that came Bridgeway Christian Church’s vacation bible school, which they call Camp Kidsway. It’s this incredible crazy, insanely fun and exhausting week full of worship, fun and scripture for kids and adults. It’s exhausting, but so worth it and I needed a full week’s recovery! Then Fourth of July came and went, and I’m still recuperating!
Though, I haven’t been writing or posting, instead I have been working hard in silence, doing background work. I’ve added some new features on the web. I closed my Etsy shop and am working on moving the handful of items I have left to Facebook and adding a new shop to my blog! I’ve also been working on some SEO (search engine optimization); boring stuff but it’s important none the less. And now, I feel it’s time; it’s time to dust off the sewing machine, the supplies and the fabrics. They’re calling to me. Okay, they’re screaming at me to get back to work! Before I know it, summer will be gone and I’ll be kicking myself that I didn’t squeeze that one piece in. I’ve got soap to make too! And a Turkish Spindle to learn, and photos to take! The list goes on…
Working hard in silence, let your success be your noise.
My stepson, Austin, graduated from high school on June 1. I had started a quilt for him several years ago, and like all good intentioned quilt tops, it sat in a drawer with the rest of the UFO’s. I decided that it was time to pull it out and finish it for this grand occasion.
God and Country started out the same as any other piece, except that I had no idea what I was to do. I signed up for a Live Painting session for May back in March, so naturally, I assumed I had all this time on my hands, right? Well, that time soon was consumed and before I knew it, it was two weeks before I needed to have something!
I had too many ideas; I was flooded with excitement, ideas, and visuals. I couldn’t keep focused on one topic, one vision. I really was stuck. Eventually, it struck me smack in the face, gut and heart. I saw an image that stood out. It was simple; it was perfect. An American flag waving in front of a cross with the sun shining brightly through.
Sometimes, we have to sit on our heels a bit and let the confusion disperse. Sometimes, we have to breathe and just trust that God will take the wheel. And when he does, I just turn my face up and say “Alright.” Sometimes, the hardest part is trusting that it will all come together.
I played with the image in Photoshop until it’s suitable for fabric. I call it “cartooning” because basically that’s what I do. I flattening colors,shades and hues, define shapes and lines. And when I’m done, I flip the image so it’s in reverse, like in a mirror, and either print or trace my pattern. And from there, the magic happens.
Once I have a pattern to work from, I use fusible web to trace a piece and iron on fabric. I then begin pinning everything to my background.
For my cross in the center, I used freezer paper as a template to work my fabric puzzle pieces around. Freezer paper has a slight waxy coating on one side that is great for ironing on fabric as templates for applique and it does not leave any residue.
Once I’m done, I then have to iron on smaller pieces of fabric to larger pieces, and dissemble it if I’m presenting during a live audience. Otherwise, I’ll just continue to iron everything done.
After the top is pressed and ironed, I make my standard “quilt sandwich” and begin sewing/quilting.
This piece utilizes a variety of cottons, batiks and artist hand-dyed fabrics; raw edge machine appliqued and machine quilted. .
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The last week, I’ve been working hard on several projects. I’ve got the piece I’ve assembled on May 31, 2015 at Bridgeway Christian Church, a graduation quilt and heavily been updating “behind the scenes” of my blog incorporating some pretty niffy plugins. I hope you poke around and notice the changes.
I’ve added an Instragram and Facebook feed, as well as a calendar. My goal is to make everything work more efficiently together and more options for people to follow along what I’ve been doing in “real time”.
Enjoy! I’ll be back later in a few days to update you on the God and Country piece!
Wow, has it been a busy few months! However, my hiatus is over and it’s time for my next “Live Fabric Painting” session. Come join us on Sunday, May 31st, at Bridgeway Christian Church’s 5th MVMNT event at 7pm.
We’re moving into the summer months with Memorial Day quickly approaching, Father’s Day in June and ending with patriotic Fourth of July. What better time to honor our military, reflect on our fathers and proudly display our patriotism to God and Country? I’ve got a piece planned that surely will make any patriotic Christian proud!
So how did I do it you might be wondering. This post will recap that process.
This piece was definitely a learning curve for me because my main purpose was to be able to create something in front of a live audience. Now, I have been quilting for quite a number of years, created a lot of different tops that are sitting in a drawer, but I’ve never created anything “live” before. So, I had to think “out of my box”.
I created a small portable design board out of a piece of press wood and wrapped it with several layers of batting. The idea was to make a sturdy flat surface that I could press a hot iron on and it’s perfect! It also fits on a large canvas easel. This new setup allows for mobility and it doesn’t take up a whole wall in my house! Bonus!
The next thing that I did was prep and print any reference material as any other artist would. I often like to find royalty free or public domain images or stain glass patterns that I can compile together and modify them in a photo graphic editor like Adobe Photoshop. I manipulate the images with different filters until I find a comfortable “template” I can work fabric with. (Filters like Paint Dubs, Mosaic or even Cartoon work best.) It’s not going to be perfect but it gives me a perception of depth, tone and shapes- the areas that pop out at you. Once I figure that out, I print a large poster size and tape it to a window. I trace pieces from this template.
In this piece, I used a single layer of muslin for my background that allowed all my pieces to adhere to because I was making this portable. Normally, I would only fuse onto any background fabric at the edges. I began with all the corners and I slowly worked my way around the piece adding pieces like a puzzle. I used a fusible web interface, in this case, Heat and Bond Lite, which is a sewable heat activated adhesive that provides a smooth edge-to-edge application for appliqués. It has a paper backing that I traced a reversed image of whatever piece I’m working. So, basically, I worked in a reverse image of the finished project.
This piece took about a month to complete simply because I worked sporadically, just a couple hours at a time; but all in all, it probably took about two weeks total.
Below are some time lapse photos as I worked the piece and some close up images of the quilted work. I hope you enjoy it as much as I loved creating it.
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