Thursday, May 31, 2018

Reveal: Thread Sketched Protea

Just a quick post to show you the end result of my first venture into thread sketching:

Thread sketching
All in all I'm very happy with this for a first attempt.

Thread sketching
Thread sketching Thread sketching

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A Venture into Thread Sketching

Protea Fabric Sketching
The reason I wanted to try printing on fabric was that I wanted to experiment with using thread to bring out the details in the image.
I purposely manipulated the photo to ensure that it did not look like an actual photo when printed.

What followed was a lot of research into thread sketching and thread painting. I started off trying to find instructions for thread painting techniques but quickly realized that this entailed covering the entire surface of the fabric in stitching. Not what I had in mind. I just wanted to enhance the image with quilting.

This is not a tutorial on thread sketching techniques. I have no idea what I'm doing. I just wanted to share the end result because I am quite happy with it.

I used only my old Coats & Clark threads left over from before I became a thread snob. Cost: $0.

There are things I would do differently next time but, all in all, not bad for a first try.

Off to quilt the borders and experiment more with achieving permanent images.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Experimentation Part I

If you read my last post, you know that I'm trying to bring some spontaneity (and creativity) back into my quilting. I've started by experimenting with printing on fabric.

I found that all the recipes for homemade "Bubble Jet Set" (the stuff that makes printed images permanent) are exactly the same. What you do next - that's a whole other ballgame.
Sooo...I gathered my supplies, mixed them according to the recipe, which you can find by searching online. I'm not sharing it right now because, well, read on...

I used a photo I took on a recent trip to South Africa, played around with it a bit in Photoshop, then printed it onto 100% cotton Moda Bella Solids 9900-97 PFD.
I did not rinse the fabric after applying the homemade mixture, just dried it in the dryer.

I added some borders, and then decided it needed a little spray of water to get it perfectly smooth. Oops! I guess it's not colorfast.
I stopped right here and decided that it's kind of a cool artistic touch. But this one is definitely not going to be washable. Since it was going to be an "art quilt" anyway, it's not a big deal.

Up next, I'll try my hand at thread sketching.
Then more experimenting with printing and colorfastness.

Friday, May 25, 2018


IMG_5138 (Edited)
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am not the most spontaneous person on this planet. I'm a planner.
Every so often though, I stumble across something I cannot resist.

An example: When I was at the Houston International Quilt Festival this past November and fell in love with Sue Spargo's Folk-Tails quilt. I've got 15 of the 30 blocks completed, by the way! (This is the one I'm currently working on.)

And when I went to the Winterset, IA "Airing of the Quilts" and saw the little KLM Delft houses in one of the homes open to the public.
I just had to have some and, before you knew it, I had 5 little houses in my possession. (These are my first three.)

I even used them as napkin "rings" when my quilty friends came over last week.

If you've made it this far, I'll get to what this post is really about.

This past Tuesday, Linda M. Poole was the speaker at our guild meeting. She's an amazing artist! As part of her lecture she presented a slide show of art quilts created by herself and other amazing quilters/artists using photos as inspiration.
Somewhere along the way she mentioned that you don't have to be an artist to create something like this. You could use a photo as your jumping off point. Suddenly I had an idea! What if I printed one of my photos on fabric and used some thread painting to embellish it?

My current printer does not have a rear tray and, try as I may, I haven't been able to successfully accomplish printing on fabric. On Wednesday I ran off to Best Buy and bought a new printer. Completely impulsively.

I also did some research on making your own Bubble Jet Set (the stuff that makes printing on fabric permanent and washable). And bought all the stuff to make some.

This post is getting way too long, so stay tuned for the next installment of my latest venture into spontaneity.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Pattern designer? Or not?

Garden Party Quilt
When I first started quilting, I made every quilt using a pattern. Down to the color choices. As I grew, I felt the need to create my own designs.
It was so much fun! Maybe I did have a creative bone in my body after all.

I posted photos of my original quilts on this blog and received a lot of positive response. Us quilters are such a supportive group. This, almost naturally, lead me to create tutorials, which led to writing patterns. I'd found a way to bring in a little extra income and have a good time doing it.

Then it happened. I started overthinking things. Feeling forced to come up with new designs that quilters will like and want to buy. It wasn't as much fun any more. Fewer patterns (and fewer quilts) were being created. I never really gave it a lot of thought other than feeling guilty about not coming up with anything new.

Fast forward to April 2018. Our guild retreat was coming up and I had no project to work on. Bonnie Hunter and her lovely scrappy quilts had just visited the guild in March. I decided that I would kill two birds with one stone - use up some scraps and have a project for retreat. Deep inside I felt a little guilty for making a quilt using someone else's pattern.

Oh my goodness, how much fun it was! I picked Bonnie's Garden Party pattern because it used 1.5" strips, which I had a lot of. (You can find it in the "Addicted to Scraps" book, if you're interested.)
Garden Party Quilt
I couldn't wait to finish this quilt when I got home from retreat.

Last Thursday a friend showed me the Pecking Order pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Company. I'd been wanting to make a quilt for our master bedroom for a long time but just couldn't come up with a good "design". This looked quick and easy, so I started this project. (Jenny has a video tutorial over here.)

Pecking Order Quilt
More fun and so relaxing!

I really hope letting go of my "need" to constantly think about creating new, original, "sellable" things, will bring the design mojo back.
For now I'm just going with the flow.

P.S. Did I mention that I met Jenny from MSQC at the Iowa Quilt Museum last month? She is so sweet!