Thursday, September 23, 2010

Autumn Leaves - the Beginning of Change

The maple out front started changing a bit ago...

Equinox + Full Moon

A day late, but better late than never...

Nasturtium Challenge Quilt - Update

Due to experiencing significant shoulder pain following the little bit of piecing and quilting involved in the sample piece, I've decided to make the sample my final challenge piece.

That required the addition of an appropriate border within the color palette. And the addition of a border after quilting has already been done is somewhat of a challenge. Here is the progress made thus far.

First, the quilting stitches at the edge of the piece needed to be removed so the border pieces could be attached. Good pinning is essential!

Second border piece added - without mitering the corners. That comes later...

Third border strip prepared and stitched.

The fourth and final strip is added.

Then comes the mitering of corners. One must make sure the corners of the border are stitched to within 1/4" of the end - so the mitering is accurate.

Then comes the pairing of two pieces of each corner by folding them onto one another and matching them perfectly.

Once they are matched, I fold them back to the front and press a crease where the seam line will be.

Each successive corner is approached in this manner and then sewn using the crease as a stitching guide.

A completed corner.

And now the nasturtium has a blue border - at least on top!

The border looked rather plain, so I'm experimenting around to see if I want to add a few more flowers while keeping it simple and clean.

The next challenge quilt enstallment will be a few weeks down the road as we leave for vacation tomorrow and I'm only bringing hand-sewing and drawing/painting supplies along!

Watch for fall foliage fotos...

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Sample/Practice Nasturtium Quiltlet

A detail of flower and quilting on my sample/practice project...
Below are all the printed nasturtium images for the Challenge Quilt, now affixed to Pellon Wonder-Under (Misty-Fuse can also be used) for easy transfer to the selected base/background material.

I've selected the fabric below for the back of the quilt.

With 505 Basting Spray on the Warm & Natural cotton batting, both the backing material and the background for the flower fabrics are temporarily adhered. This makes quilting so much easier - no pins to avoid, no hoop to work within, just the sandwiched stretched somewhat tautly as I quilt.

Below, the first stitching detailing on the nasturtium flower...

The completely stitched flower and some free-motion echo-type of quilting on the background...

Some potential fabric options for the outer border (which should have been selected & attached prior to the quilting, of course!

More options for the border...

Selecting one fabric background at a time to get a better look at what the end results might be...

And another...

And another...

Favorites anyone?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Next Step: Photographing, Editing + Printing the Nasturtiums on Fabric

Using Photoshop Elements, all backgrounds were removed to create fabric-printable images of the flowers for the art quilt. Then I made contact sheets in Photoshop to obtain the sized images needed for the quilt.

My preference for inkjet printing on fabric is a product by the Electric Quilt Company - EQ Printables: Inkjet Fabric Sheets. They have several different fabrics available - I chose the one in the orange package pictured below.

My reasons are pictured below. I ran out of EQ Printables so ran to Jo Ann Fabrics to pick up whatever looked best there. I chose the 2nd most expensive brand which cost a bit more than EQ's sheets but had one fewer in the package. While I had to pay for postage, it wasn't that much and the fabric arrived 3 days after I placed the order. I am more than willing to pay a few extra dollars for a superior product. Thus, reason one.

Reason two: the fabric from EQ took the ink much better than the other product.

Reason three: the printed fabric separated quickly and easily from the EQ product while the other was difficult to separate - as pictured below.

While I'm very grateful to have Jo Ann Fabrics in town for those emergency purchases, I prefer to shop from quilt shops - local or on-line. Quilt shops cater to our needs and offer so much by way of experience, products, and quality. I want to do my part to keep them open and available, especially during these financially challenging times.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Challenge Project - Step One: Dyeing

My supplies:
Pearl-Ex Powdered - dry powdered mica-based pigments; Lumiere-metallic fabric paint; Jacquard Textile Colors; and Setacolor Fabric Paint By Pebeo.
All the products above were purchased on-line at Dharma Trading Company. They also sell Prepared for Dyeing (PFD) fabrics. I use Kona Cotton PFD in either the 45" or the 60" width.

I also use natural sponges, brushes and a spray bottle in my dyeing. I spray the fabric to be dyed with water prior to adding any dye. It makes the dye spread more quickly, although it can also tone down the color if too much water is used.

The fabric in this sample has previously been rust-dyed, using old rusty items, white vinegar with some water added and the PDF fabric scrunched inside a zip-lock bag - not tightly closed, but somewhat sealed. The fabric set for a few days in my hot garage and the fabric absorbed the beautiful rust color.
Below is the beginning process of over-dyeing the rust-dyed fabric.

Here's the finished fabric.

Below is another rust-dyed piece that has been over-dyed with burnt sienna and dark red.

Since Setacolor paints must be set in the sunshine, I always wait for a warm sunny day (not too windy) so I can lay my fabric out to dry on the lawn in the sun. Here's our puppy, Spunky checking them out...

Here are the pieces I dyed specifically for the artquilt challenge: blue-violet and yellow-orange.

The orange did not show up nearly as well as I had hoped, but I've worked out a different solution for the oranges/yellows.

So here are the 2 potential base fabrics for my challenge quilt.

The piece below was dyed a few years ago using salt to create the tiny crystaline forms on the fabric.

This last piece is also above shown wet and rumpled. Because it was rumpled, the dye fell down into the crevaces and set on the high points of the fabric creating the unusual piece below.

I believe this will be the base fabric for my challenge quilt.