Thursday, June 19, 2008

Playing With Roses

At last!!!!
My roses are bursting forth in the late arriving but most welcome sunshine. I wanted to capture them in their first flush of bloom...

...and I also want to thank you all, the readers of this blog who bring such happiness to my life with your wonderful comments and are from all over the world and that thrills me no end!

So I offer these images for you to use as you will...print them on fabric or paper and just have fun with them. I intend to use the frame in my Block of the Issue for next month's CQMagOnline....

I plan on printing this on cotton sateen and then doing some waste canvas lettering in the center. "A + R", of course... ;-) What would you do with this?

Or maybe you'd rather have a full heart, so to speak. This could be fun as the base for some threadpainting.

Then there is the idea of just printing an overall and random arrangement to use like any other printed fabric: cut it up and piece it into quilt blocks! Or trim the cuffs of a jacket with it, or.....

I'm going to be taking a break from blogging til the end of the month, because I have a bunch of homework to do for CQMagOnline. Plus there is a major girl party in San Diego next week-end with my Seester...I'll still be keeping up with everyone's blogs and tuning in to Stitchin' Fingers, too...but I have to get cracking to meet my deadlines, so farewell until July!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Home in the Garden...A Finishing Technique

It was a little embarrassing that the picture of my quilt, "The Home in the Garden", was published in a few newsletters when it really wasn't done yet. It still hadn't been backed, the edges finished, the sleeve and label put on...I had just cropped the edges for the photo when I sent it off in an email to the Alliance's executive director to show her what I was up to.

But I need to get this quilt sent off to the Alliance for American Quilts contest and fundraiser, so I finished it for real yesterday and this morning.
Here is how I did it...
If you notice the corner triangles have that fused craft batting on them...I used this to stabilize the silk charmeuse of the triangles and give myself a good base for embroidering my leaves and stems.

I had to add equal weight to the center portion of the quilt so that it wouldn't look baggy on the front. Here I have used a little spray adhesive on some batting cut to size for the interior square, and smoothed it into place.

Next I did the same thing with an overall piece of batting, cut to the exact size of the finished quilt and spray/smoothed into place. I planned on using the "envelope" technique to attach the backing to the front/batting layer, and did not want that batting in my seam allowance.
Disaster nearly struck at this point, though.
I foolishly used my spray adhesive to spray the back of the quilt, not the batting. My aerosol can malfuctioned and a whole lot of the propellent came fizzing out, and soaked through to the front of my quilt, leaving some circular stains on the silk charmeuse. I know from experience that those stains can't be removed either.
Many panicked expletives will see how I solved this.

But first, here is a shot of the trimmed corners after the back has been sewn to the front. You can just make out the seamline along the edge of the batting.

And here is the opening being whipstitched closed after the quilt has been turned right side out.

And here is the finished quilt.
See those butterflies?.....
Enlarge the picture with a click and you'll be able to tell the fabric behind most of them is a little discolored.
But I really like how they look, the random scattering of them on top of the totally symmetrical corners. And I never would have thought of putting them on there if I hadn't had to fix my disaster. So, hey!
I think the edge is finished pretty nicely for this little 15" X 15" quilt.

Here is the back...

I decided to use 4" wide lace for the sleeve, because I like how it looks and also because I am sick to death of making quilt sleeves. What can I say, it is the truth!

Now I have to create a 75 word "artist's statement" which I will mercifully spare you. Then I will send this all off to North Carolina....
It's not too late to create a quilt for this great cause. I loved making'd enjoy making yours, too. Here are the contest rules...have a look....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Spring CQ....Rosebuds

This is the Compassion rose that climbs up along the corner of my house. I love those buds against the blue sky.
My interpretation of this was an experiment, as I had to figure out from scratch what to do....

These actually took awhile; it was fairly fussy work. But I think the concept has potential, and I will be writing about the process for the next issue of CQMagOnline, which will come out at the end of July.

Here is how they look in the context of the whole quilt....

Well, the sun is still out, so I am off to do some real gardening!
Happy Father's Day to all....

Friday, June 13, 2008


Dancing for joy this morning, the sun is out!!!!
I ventured forth to take some pictures and whom did I find?

The enemy.
Such a sweet, innocent little enemy. Here he is munching on a wild rose, which is o.k., it's all his...but everything else is off limits!
And I have finally found a really good way to defend against this aggressor, besides the deer fence of course....

I keep this in a sprayer for the unfenced front border by my house. This little deer would have nipped off every bud there but for this stuff, which smells like mint. I am paranoid and spray my plants about every 4 or 5 days and by golly it works.
If you are desperately locked into combat with deer, this concentrate could help you out.

Moving along to the garden....

Yes, those are shadows you see, caused by sunshine.

Yes, that is blue sky. These giant allium continually make me laugh.

And here is the object of my next quest and desire for the Spring CQ....

My roses have been on hold in the bud stage for weeks, due to this "Junuary" I want to capture them in the bud on my quilt.
Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Spring CQ...Golden Chain Tree

It's also called Laburnum.
Ours bloomed about three weeks ago...such a magical tree! I had to include, I needed some hangy yellow flowers...

I am using that thick unspun Soie Noppe from Kreinik in a cast on stitch. (The link takes you to Sharon B's excellent Stitch Dictionary.)

For the leaves, I got out the Babylock Embellisher.

This time I felted wool and silk roving on to hand dyed dupioni silk. It made for a nice, soft, floppyish fabric.

For the veins in the leaves, I felted on some novelty yarn that Freda Butler just sent to me. It blended right in there. Freda, you doll!

I went outside and picked a few leaves off my Laburnum to act as a model for my leaves.

I attached them with a beaded buttonhole stitch. Wish I could remember the wonderful blog where I saw this idea....

And there they hang.
Next up, roses...for real. I don't know why they intimidate me but they do!

*.......and special love to our friends in the Midwest who are having such a rough time with the weather....*

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Spring CQ...Buddleia Black Knight

This one was so simple after those hours of stitching on the Osteospermum!

My Buddleia is shown here where it normally shades my garden bench. Today it is catching raindrops, though.

But when it flowers it looks just like this:

My version is kind of a caricature of this bloom here.
I started with a leaf....

I liked the shape and the veining.

Once the stitching was on, I fused the leaf to this felty-type crafty stuff. I think people use it to back fabric postcards and ATC's. It is a little bit stiff, and has fusible web on one side.
I thought it would give my leaf some body and dimension.

Which it did!
I am couching it in place with a thicker version of the silk thread I used for the veining. The thin stuff is Silk Bella, the thicker is Silk Serica, both by Kreinik. Yummy to stitch with.

And here is my little Buddleia Black Knight.
Those are vintage lucite flower beads. Spendy little blighters; I got them at the bead show in April. You can find similar lucite flower beads here.
I like the extra variety of texture that the lucite adds to the mix.

*A Fun Note*
My quilt for the Alliance for American Quilts contest, "My Quilts/Our History" was featured in Alex Anderson and Ricky Timm's Quilt Show Newsletter, Volume 2 No. 24
for June 10, 2008.
It is not too late to join in this contest and support the Alliance, a most worthy organization that has documented literally thousands of quilts. Read about them here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Spring CQ...Osteospermum

Osterospermum, or Afraican Daisy, comes in many shapes and colors.

This picture is from the Thompson and Morgan seed catalog...not my garden. That is because it is not warm enough yet for them to look like this.
Alas, when I look out the window, this is what I see!

That is 55 degree rain.
Ah well! We carry on with the indoor garden....My Osteospermum kept me occupied over the week-end (and we did have a sun break yesterday afternoon).

I started by gluing button backs and threaded buttons onto the backs of some dichroic glass rounds that I picked up at the bead show last April for 50 cents apiece. I just knew they would be flower centers one day.

My leaves had to go on first. I used the repositionable adhesive spray to smooth them into place until I could buttonhole them down. This works great, and avoids the dreaded fusible web. Those yummy Riversilks ribbons on the left there will be my petals.

Here are the leaves in place, ready to be sewn down. Those little pins are marking where I think the flowers are going to go. The leaf fabric is hand dyed by Stacey Michell.

I don't know what you call this round plastic gizmo. The lovely Lisa Caryl handed them out to all of us students at the John Campbell school a few years ago...she said it is from the auto parts store. It is invaluable for marking circles.

Well, this is a fast forward, many hours and a few hundred petals later, not to mention the stems and all those little gold beads around each flower center.

And here's the larger view. Friendly little flowers, aren't they?
I am psyching up to do some roses next, I think....

Friday, June 6, 2008

Spring CQ....Inner Section Stitching

The inner section "square" of warm colored blocks got its first stitching on it this week. I am keeping my thread and stitch choices simple and consistent to help achieve an overall harmony amongst all the techniques and materials used in this quilt.
Chaos and control are duking it out! Just like in a garden...just like in a life... ;-)

That center muslin shape is strictly as a visual boundary for now....

Meanwhile, the orange Osteospermum that I often plant has "germinated" in my imagination and will be this afternoon's rainy day project. At least the weather is enabling me to get lots done on this quilt...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Spring CQ...Perennial Blue Flax

I LOVE this flower.
This picture is off of Google plant in the garden, alas, is shivering in the 50 degree rain, and is not ready to bloom yet.
But still, it was time to put the Blue Flax, (or Linum Perenne) on to my quilt.

Time to break out the angelina fibers...

I got mine from Embellishment Village. After arranging the fibers onto a surface they won't stick to--this is kitchen parchment paper--you place more parchment paper over it and give it a quick tap of heat from the iron. This fuses the fibers together. Too much heat and they lose their sparkle, though.

Here is my fused "sheet" of angelina.

Chad took this picture and we both think it is pretty funny.
I had no flowers to draw from, so I just hopped over to Google Images, found a picture of the Blue Flax that I liked, and traced right off my computer screen.
(Gardener's hands, I know.)

Before cutting out my shapes, I fused my angelina sheet to some lightweight blue silk habotai using Misty Fuse.

Fast forward here....aren't these fun?

Here is a larger view of them.
I'm not sure "who" will go on next. I have many seams to cover as I am making up my mind...I don't have this planned out beforehand!

*A quick heads up!* Debra Spincic has just finished and posted pictures of her wonderful masterpiece quilt "Tropical Tree of Life". Do go see've never seen anything like it. Totally fantastic work, Debra!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Spring CQ...Primula and Calibrachoa

It was briefly sunny yesterday, and we so enjoyed using up our ration of nice weather for the week. I went outside and took a few pictures.

Here's a corner of the garden with my Giant Allium in the center left of the picture. I love those things, my "Dr. Suess" flowers.

But really, it's mostly been pouring and 55 degrees Fahrenheit so I've stayed inside, cooked curry, and sewn some more flowers on to my quilt.

These are again of the "inspired by variety", not botanically in any way accurate.
Primula, or "Primrose", and Calibrachoa, or "Million Bells" have both appeared in my garden over the years, so they qualify for this quilt, which is turning out to be a visual/horticultural memoir of sorts.
I needed the bright yellow shapes of the Primrose and the trailing habit of the Million Bells.

These oya from my friend Rengin in Istanbul were the perfect shape, but not yellow/orange enough, so I tried my trusty Tsukineko inks. The thread that these needlelace flowers are made from didn't absorb the color well enough though.

So I brought out the big gun...a Marvy Fabric Marker! Big bright yellow, real fast...

Those leaves are done with the Kreinik Soie Noppee silk thread I mentioned yesterday.

Here's the whole spray.....

...and there it is in a larger view.

This is really so much fun....makes up for all the rain.....almost!