Friday, July 30, 2010

More From My Class With Valerie White

This past weekend I got to take a class about monoprinting with quilt artist Valerie White. I took a few pictures of some of the students and their works in progress.
Comments about this student's work included people saying that it resembled a landscape.
This student's current art endeavors include oil painting. Today, she "painted" a picture and monoprinted it onto fabric. She came in after several layers and refined the details of the face. She is talking about the face in this shot.
Working on a monoprinted piece of fabric.

Fabrics were displayed for discussion and critique at the end of the class. Remember...these are works in progress.

Don't forget that you can click on any picture to get a close up. If you click a second time, it will be enlarged even more.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm Jumping into Monoprinting Feet First!

I had such a good time this past Sunday. I was lucky enough to get to take a class from Valerie White called "Creating Complex Cloth--Monoprinting." What an eye-opening experience! I can't wait to "play" some more; I have already placed an order to buy paints and extender.

I'm posting pictures of the pieces I worked on during the class. I think they all will be receiving some more layers and finishing touches, but I got a nice batch of interesting fabric started. Remember, you can click on the picture to get a closer view; another click will get even closer!

For this piece, I started layering with yellow and orange. I used stamps, bubble wrap, and a plastic "ring" to make most of the designs on this piece. To make the circles, I put the plastic "ring" under the fabric and used a small sponge roller to lightly roll over the fabric.
For the next piece, I started with red and yellow. I made some marks in the paint with some combs I brought to class. I did some writing in shorthand (only those of you who are my age or older will even know what shorthand is) on the piece. I figured it didn't matter that the shorthand would be backwards on the cloth. I just liked the "squiggles." I used torn masking tape in the center as a resist.
My next piece is a little further along than the first two and it was done a bit differently. I had a bit of paint left on the table, so before I placed my fabric down again, I spritzed the paint with a bit of water. This piece has all the layers the other ones have, but it has one more layer. I used a credit card to "scrape" paint onto the fabric. I started around the edges with a red and continued working toward the center. I added extender to lighten the red as I came away from the edges toward the center. In the center, I used quite a lot of extender with a bit of orange and yellow.
This piece, again, began with the lightest colors. I started with the yellow, added an orange layer, added some blue, added texture by putting paint on a piece of shelf liner and transferring that to the fabric, and added the circles last. I also used a stamp. I put it into the paint to lift some color off before monoprinting. I also used it again to stamp a brown image on the right-hand side.
This piece has also been "scraped" using a yellow/orange color. I got the bits of red/orange by rolling paint onto a plastic placemat with a brayer. I then placed the fabric over that placemat and rolled the fabric with a brayer to transfer the paint. This has a beginning yellow layer, then a blue layer (with swirl stamps in the paint), then the speckles, then the scraping. If you enlarge this one, you can see that the swirls almost look three dimensional.
This piece has the fewest layers. (I'm sure I didn't need to tell you that!) I thought (if you are as unfamiliar with monoprinting as I was) you might enjoy seeing a piece a little earlier in the process.
Again, I can't tell you how much fun this was or how much I learned in this class. When these pieces are finished, they can be used as whole cloth pieces or pieces can be cut and used that way. I think I'll be adding some writing to some of the pieces and maybe some stamping. They are just a whole lot of fun to play with. Like one of the students said, "You can't go wrong." At the worst, you could dye the piece black and still use it!"

This is Valerie. You can check out her website at Her work is fabulous (as you'll see if you visit her website).
If you'd like to see more from this class, I'll be posting pictures of some of the students and their work. Check back. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Maybe It's Just Me, But....

I thought I’d write an entry to let you see what I’ve been working on. First here is a bit of background information. Maybe it's just me, but I have a huge amount of scrap fabric—pieces left from other projects, strips taken from fabric when very little was left, weird florals or colors I wasn’t quite sure what to do with, and novelty/border prints. I had them all stuffed into a Longaberger basket. The basket was near to overflowing, so I thought I should find something to do with the scraps.

My first thought was to organize them. I ended up with stacks of red, purple, pink, yellow/gold, black, white/off-white, blue, orange, and green. I also had lots of scraps that didn’t fit into any of those categories; these I placed into a large (106 quart) plastic Sterilite container. When I finished separating all the pieces, I took a look around; there wasn't a single place to sit in my living room. Every possible seat was covered with "tubs-o-fabric!" It seems the scraps multiplied! How is it possible that scraps that originally fit into this...
(You can kind of tell what size it is in relation to my footstool.)

now take all these containers to hold?
(This covers my entire couch.)
(This takes up my big chair...and did I mention this is a 106 quart container!)

Anyway, I started sewing these scraps into "fabric" I think I might be able to use in some "art" quilts. I believe some people call this process making/using “crumbs.” I have really enjoyed sewing these, because they don’t take a lot of concentration. It is just very peaceful work for me (which I find I still need since Mom died). I put most of what I have done on my design wall (just to see how much progress I had made) and here is what that looks like. (I also have black pieces done, but I didn’t have room to put those up.)
I like the looks of these pieces. Many of them have to be made much larger before they will be usable; but I’m enjoying the process,…and hey, that is what it is all about for me right now!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I Can't Believe What I Found

This has been the "Year of the Robin" for me. In the early spring, I had robins nests outside my bedroom window, in my Japanese maple right outside my front door, and at the corner of my garage. All had eggs, and all had at least one baby survive. I thought robins nested and had babies only in the spring. Nope...some build nests and have babies in the middle of the summer! Look what I found outside my spare bedroom window last weekend--a weekend with weather in the upper 90s.
I was quite excited to find this "gift." There are actually four baby robins in this nest. How lucky am I to get to see this process again so soon!

Nate and I had to go to Tampa last Sunday for him to have some surgery done on his neck. (It was very successful, and all is well.) Look what I found when I got back...
The babies had grown up! One was gone already, one was on the other side of the windowsill, and these two were lingering by the nest.
I love the little tufts of feathers on each side of the baby's head.
I had to cut my picture taking short; the mother robin was frantically trying to get food to these guys. I sure feel blessed to get to see these little guys. I hope you enjoy them too.

Now...back to getting something quilty ready to work on at Dirty Monday tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Free Patterns for Small/Quick Quilting Projects--First Edition

Because the economy is so bad right now, many of my friends and I have drastically cut down on our magazine subscriptions. To fill the pattern void, I have been looking on-line for some cute patterns. I like instant gratification, so I quite often look for small/quick projects. Here are a few of my finds.

This site ( has the cutest Polka Dot baby quilt. Of course, I don't think I'd like to do the required curved piecing, so I would probably use fusible applique or the largest yo-yos I could find should I decide to make it.
The Polka Dot Quilt is by Jennifer Murphy and appears on her blog "and Other Silly Things."

This next quilt is from the "Moda Bake Shop." ( According to their website...The "Moda Bake Shop" is a division of Moda Fabrics that provides online "recipes" which you can use with the wide range of Moda Pre-cuts. All sizes and types of projects are featured from various designers and shops. Tutorials for various Moda projects sheets are illustrated with step by step pictures. Some techniques and products are also featured throughout, so you should check back often for what is "baking" at Moda Fabrics. This quilt is called "Random Reflections." It finishes to approximately 60" X 60".

Check out the Moda Bake Shop home page for other great patterns. (

At Amy Butler's site,, you can get lots of great free patterns. Each is a free, downloadable PDF file. I picked three to highlight here. The first  is called "Thea's Puzzle Quilt." It finishes to approximately 64" X 64".
The next pattern is called "Nora's Mid Mod 2 Quilt." It is hard to tell what the quilt really looks like from this picture, but it is cute and would be a quick quilt to make. The size is fairly large at 88" X 93" if you need something a bit larger.

The last pattern I picked finishes 60 1/2" X 76 1/2". It is called "Daisy Chain Strippy Quilt." It is made using the string piecing style.
I'll be checking out other sites with free patterns and will feature some I really like on my blog. Check back.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sweet Roll Baby Quilt

I finished this baby quilt top this morning. I think it's a sweet little quilt. Here is the picture. (You can't see it real well in this picture, but the colored border around the quilt is actually made of 1" finished squares--not strips of fabric. I think you might be able to see it a bit better if you click on the picture. Then click it again; the picture enlarges even more.)
It is made from a "roll" of fabric (1 1/2" strips). The store where I purchased it called it a "sweet roll." This is made from one "Sweet Roll" and a little extra fabric from my stash for the white borders. The fabric line is from Moda and is called "Soire's" (at least that is what was on the tag). I'll post instructions for this quilt when I get a chance. It will probably be in a week or so. This is a really fun, fast, and easy quilt to make. It really looks like I did a lot more work than I actually did. Check back for the pattern.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Quilting My Beth/Lyric Project "Closed Form" Piece

Since my Mom died in June, I've had real trouble focusing. I find that I am easily distracted; I'm not getting much done. I have, however, finished the thread sketching and quilting of my Beth/Lyric Project (from Lyric Kinard's "Art + Quilt" book) "Closed Form" piece. I drew this day lily from a picture I had taken in my garden (and I use that term loosely). I did a bit of thread work while I was quilting the piece. I'm pleased with the way it turned out. For now, I am adding it to my notebook of completed compositions from my Beth/Lyric Project. If you'd like to see the stitching a little closer, click on the picture. If you click again, you can see a larger version.
I am working on a stripped baby quilt. I have the center "panel" done and am working on the borders tonight. I'll post a picture when I get the top finished.

Monday, July 5, 2010

How Do I Make the "Buttonhole/Blanket" Stitch by Hand?

I have a friend, Betty, who is an "expert" at the "Buttonhole/Blanket" stitch commonly used to sew around applique pieces on quilts. Betty has a way of making this stitch so the stitches stay a bit neater. I have lots of people ask me about how to do this stitch--especially how to start it. A long while back, we (I actually think Robin Walston) took pictures of the steps it takes to do the stitch. I think they turned out pretty good. Here they are. I hope you find them useful.

Step 1--Bring the thread up from the back of the background fabric. (I usually use 2 strands of embroidery floss.)
Bring the thread up just outside the applique piece.
Step 2--About a quarter of an inch to the right (or however large you want your stitch to be) push the needle down into the background fabric. Bring it up into the applique fabric about a quarter of an inch from the edge (or however large you want your stitch to be) and....wait for the next step.
Step 3--(This is Betty's "trick" for making a neater stitch.) Take the thread from the eye-end of the needle and...
wrap it under the tip of the needle.
Step 4--Now, pull your thread to tighten the stitch.
Step 5--You are ready to make another stitch. Insert your needle the desired distance away from the first stitch and repeat the steps.
I hope you find this little tutorial useful. Let me know.