Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Terrific Tutorial Tuesday!--Displaying/Hanging a Quilt

Well, it is "Tutorial Tuesday" again. Each Tuesday I'll be posting tutorials I have found that I really want to be able to find again. I have decided to do this "Tutorial Tuesday" post, because I want to be able to refer back to the tutorials I really like; I want them all in one place. This week, the focus is on displaying/hanging a quilt. I've looked at a lot of tutorials (and there are A LOT) and have come up with a list of posts I personally would refer back to. (Just an FYI...some time in October I'll begin posting some tutorials on making gifts using some of the surface designed fabrics we all have stashed away. SO...if you are interested in making some gifts for Christmas (for example)...stay tuned!)

After finishing a quilted piece, my next focus is how to display the quilt. Generally, I want to put on a hanging sleeve. Susan Brubaker Knapp has a really nice PDF that clearly shows how to make and attach a hanging sleeve. I have a tutorial on this too, but her illustrations are a bit clearer than mine. My tutorial does have something Susan's does not (in Step 6 on my tutorial). I always add a line of basting (which is removed later) into my sleeve to allow for the bulk of the hanging rod. I find that if I don't add this line of basting I have more trouble leaving the room for the rod. I will be using the combination of the two tutorials the next time I make a hanging sleeve for one of my quilts.

The previous instructions are great for hanging a square or rectangular quilt, but what do you do if you have an "odd-shaped" quilt? I found an answer on Daphne Greig's blog. She has a nice tutorial explaining how she figures out where to attach the sleeve so the quilt will hang at the angle she thinks is best. She also has a section at the end on how she makes her hanging sleeves. Again, she doesn't include that line of basting that I find useful. (Both she and Susan allow a bit of extra room for the rod, but I think my method makes it easier to attach the sleeve to the quilt accurately in the end.)

If you are interested in a "gallery hanging" method, take a look at this post on Judys Fiber Art blog. She explains a couple of ways to attach a quilt to foam board as a way to display the quilt. At the end, she also shows how she frames a piece for display. I warn you, this is a LONG post, and the method seems really tedious to me. However, I think I'd like to be able to find the info again should I ever need an alternative to a sleeve. I might use it for a piece that is heavily embellished or a piece that didn't "show" well hanging from a sleeve. I also found her instructions for framing a piece very helpful. Beth Berman over at Sew Sew Art has a great framing tutorial, again, for more of a "gallery hanging" method. She uses Styrofoam insulation board to stabilize the piece. It is a very interesting method that keeps the piece (regardless of size) very light. It is definitely one you should check out.

Now, if you have a small piece or you just want an alternative hanging method (rather than using a sleeve), you need to check out Stitch This! (a Martingale blog). Here you can find a multitude of different methods for hanging a quilt from using fiber tabs to soda pop tabs. This post refers you to several different sites to view these tutorials. There are lots of good ideas here.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Try at Dye Painting

Over on the Fire blog, the resident artists are painting with thickened dyes. Check it out to see what everyone is doing. Since I'm a resident artist on that site I gave it a try too.

First, let me say that it takes a lot of "stuff" to paint with thickened dyes, and I found that I had less control with the dyes than I have with fabric paint. However, I do like the depth of color I got with the dyes, and I really like that the hand of the fabric isn't changed by adding color. Will I try it again? Hmmm...I don't know.

Before I show you my piece, you should know (and it will become VERY clear) that I can't draw; and I'm not very good at painting. (The other artists on the Fire blog are VERY good. Be sure to check out their work so you can get a true feel for what can be done with this technique.) Here is my piece.
I was inspired by pictures of Chihuly glass. I love the flow of the molten glass, and tried to capture that in this piece. I'm hoping with some quilting and thread painting it will be something I will actually want to finish.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Terrific Tutorial Tuesday!--Burying Thread Ends

I have decided that on Tuesdays I will be posting some of the tutorials I have found to be very helpful to me. Today, I'm listing tutorials on burying thread ends.

First, let me say that I am a "lazy" hand quilter. I HATE to end my line of quilting, so I push it as far as I can. The problem with doing that is that sometimes I end up with hardly enough thread to tie a knot and pull it through to the middle layers. I think what I learned from these methods will definitely help me with this problem. Each of these methods could be used for hand or machine quilting.

I first found this tutorial on Art with a Needle (a blog written by Kathy Loomis). Kathy shows the method she uses and the method Robbie Joy Eklow uses. Both methods make quick work of efficiently burying your threads. A YouTube video by K. Grace Howes (Red Barn Studios) of Robbie's method is on Serendipity and the Art of the Quilt.

If you think you'll find these tutorials useful, let me know by leaving a comment. If you have a tutorial that you find really helpful, share it with me in a comment. I'll check it out, and you may see it featured on a Tutorial Tuesday.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Off the Wall Friday

I FINALLY have the facings on both of my "bird" quilts! Yeah!!!! I still want to do some beading on the "snow" of the second quilt. I AM looking for some help in naming these quilts; I'm terrible at that, and they both need names. The story of the quilts may help. If you didn't read the story behind the making of these quilts, here it is. (If you read that already in a previous post, skip the next paragraph.) Pictures of both quilts are underneath the story.

I'm trying to get two or three pieces finished in time for entry into a SAQA exhibit--"The View from Here: Quilts of the Ohio River Valley. SAQA members from Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio." The theme is "What the artists think of and see when they view their home and surroundings." Pieces must be "quilts" and may be representational or abstract. The work should relate to our local environment or what we see from where we live, our home, backyard, city, or town. I have given this a lot of thought and have come to the conclusion that one of my favorite things to do when I'm home (besides working on my artwork) is looking at the view out my window into my backyard to watch the birds at my bird feeder. I particularly like to watch the birds in the wintertime when there is a nice sheet of snow on the ground. I like the stark contrast between the whiteness of the snow and the color of the birds. One particular winter day, ALL the birds on the ground were "those ugly" blackbirds EXCEPT for one beautiful red cardinal. I was really aggravated that the "ugly" blackbirds were dominating the bird feeders, eating up all my seed, and weren't even pretty to look at. After I had ranted and raved, I got to feeling bad about maligning the blackbirds. I realized that they need to eat too, and they can't help the fact that they aren't "pretty." That revelation led me to think about this on a larger scale. People who aren't considered "pretty" by society often have needs that aren't met--simply because of their appearance. We all can't be pretty.

Be sure to click on the pictures to get a closer look. I think you'll be able to see the beads if you click on the detail picture of Quilt 1.

Quilt 1
 Detail of Quilt 1
 Quilt 2
 Detail of Quilt 2
If you have any name suggestions, please leave them in a comment or email me privately. (I DO LOVE comments!)

I have made a little progress on my hexagon English paper piecing project.
Last week's picture
This week's update
It is harder now to see the progress, because each "round" takes more hexagons! Last week (in a comment) I had someone ask me what size this piece measures. Well, at its longest point it now measures 18". Whew, this will be a LONG process. At least, for now, I'm still enjoying it.

Be sure to check out all the other updates to Off the Wall Friday on Nina-Marie's blog. You can click on the "Off the Wall" badge on the right-hand side of this page to get to that site.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Purchase and Internet Company Recommendation

I recently purchased an old fashioned clothes drying rack from a great old hardware store in town. I use this rack in my studio for a variety of things. Here you can see it holding some strips of fabric I have cut for a facing (and don't want to lose) and some silk sari strips that I'm hoping will inspire me.
I also use it to hold painted and/or dyed fabrics that need to dry, strips for strip piecing and binding, and wet soda ash soaked fabric that needs to dry. I REALLY have found this to be a very handy tool for my studio.

As for the recommendation, I think it is hard to know which companies on the Internet are good companies to order from. I write letters/emails when my service hasn't been great, so I also like to pass the word along when I have had GREAT service. I have to mention a company that has been WONDERFUL to me. The company name is Red Panda Beads owned by Betsy Ramsey. I recently made an order for a few beads and some FireLine braided bead thread. Right away, Betsy emailed me to tell me that because of the recent holiday (Labor Day) it might take a little longer than usual to receive my package. (I might add here...I have always received my orders from Red Panda in a very timely manner.) I emailed right back and told her I was in a rush because of an entry deadline. Betsy immediately emailed me back thanking me for the info and arranging to rush my order to me by priority mail (with no additional shipping charge). WOW, and thank you Betsy! Red Panda Beads is one of those GOOD Internet companies. She has a wide variety of quality products at good prices, and her customer service is top notch. If you are in the market for ANY beading supplies, check out her website at Red Panda Beads. (I have not been enticed, in any way, to endorse this website. I'm just one happy customer.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Wonderful, Wonderful Fiber Arts Day

I had the most wonderful experience this past week--I got to attend the opening reception for an exhibit of a friend of mine, and I got to meet a fiber artist I have admired for a long time. If you live near Louisville, you can check out my friend's exhibit too. It is being held at the Wayside Expressions Gallery at the Wayside Christian Mission in Louisville. Works of Art by Siblings, Karen "Karoda" Davis and Ronald "Upfromsumdirt" Davis, "Unfamiliar Familial" Exhibition will be on display through October 2, 2012. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. through 1:30 p.m. or by appointment. The gallery is located at Hotel Louisville, 120 West Broadway in Louisville. Here is a picture of me with Karen "Karoda" Davis at her opening reception. I asked her to pose with me in front of her favorite quilt. She said, "CURRENTLY, this is my favorite quilt." (Don't we all have trouble choosing a favorite? It is like being asked to choose a favorite child.) This quilt is intricately painted, densely stamped, and hand stitched--really interesting.
While I was at the exhibit, Karen was talking about how she came to create this quilt. I LOVE quilts with good stories. I asked Karen to send me the "story" of the quilt. I found this one really interesting; I hope you do too. Karen had this to say about the quilt.

"These are the boats carrying us up to heaven" is the full name of the quilt. It began the day after I watched Amy Goodman on FSTV cover the protest against the execution of Troy Davis by the state of Georgia. I had been following the story for a few years as his sister had been working for his defense for many many years all while battling cancer (she died shortly after his execution). I was glued to the TV for five hours hoping for the execution to be lifted at the last minute. Sadly it wasn't. The next morning I awoke early to head to the studio with the intentions of doing something else (I can't recall what now), but while clearing off my print table I heard the phrase "these are the boats carrying us up to heaven" (I call this hearing with the poet's ear). It made me pause, waiting for meaning...but nothing more...so my thinking was it had to be related to Troy Davis, and I wanted to explore it with the hopes that more would be revealed to me as I worked on it. Pair this with me turning to my box of found objects I use for stamping and there is the photo stand in the shape of the boat." Karen ended up using the photo stand as a stamp to make the boat shape. It is a lovely quilt. At her exhibit, you will have the opportunity to view several of her quilts along with some mixed media pieces by her brother.

The artist I have admired for a long time and finally got to meet is Penny Sisto. She was kind enough to invite me to her home/studio. She was so generous to share her time and techniques with me. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with her. If you are not familiar with her work, you can check it out here. You can see some of her work in person now through October 7, 2012, at the Artisan Center in Corydon, Indiana. For more info on that exhibit, click here. She also told me she has eight new pieces at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville and that the exhibit is up through the end of September. Penny also had a picture taken with Karoda and her quilt.
I'm hoping for many, many more of these wonderful fiber arts days!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Off The Wall Friday

It doesn't look like I have much to show this week, but I worked a lot of hours on my English paper piecing. Over Labor Day, my husband and I drove almost 10 hours (one way) to visit our son. I took my little, portable paper piecing project with me and worked on it practically the whole time in the car.
Here is the project BEFORE the new work.
Here is the project AFTER the trip.
The hexagons I added represent approximately 15 hours of work. I have a lot more work to go; I'm beginning to think this will be one of those "lifetime" projects! It IS a great take-along project, and I AM on the go a lot of the time, so I might be surprised. I'm thinking of doing an English paper piecing tutorial. Anyone interested?

I have also been working on my bird pieces. I have been frantically beading the snow on this piece. It is hard to see the beads, but I really only wanted a "glisten" on the snow. I didn't want it to "read" heavily beaded. I put the beads as far apart as I could--the length of my needle. That put them a little closer together than I had originally planned, but I like the effect the beads are giving the snow. I took a picture of the whole quilt, and you couldn't see the beads at all; so this is just a close up. You will probably have to click the picture to get a closer look to even see the beads.
I thought I'd have the other bird quilt squared up by this post, but the beading on the quilt above took a bit longer than I had expected. I am hoping to get some beading done on the background of this piece too, but I'm not sure I can get the beading done with the deadline for photography looming (before September 30). Here is a cropped picture of the quilt without the beads.
Be sure to check out work from other artists on the "Off the Wall Friday" post at Nina-Marie's blog by clicking on the "Off the Wall Friday" icon to the right of this post.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New On-line Classes Available

Before you read this blog post, I want to let you know that I have no affiliation with Craftsy, and I'm receiving no compensation from the site. I am just a satisfied customer, and I like to share things I really like.

I recently have found a really exciting site--Craftsy. This site offers on-line classes on a variety of topics. One of the new classes is Jane Dunnewold's "The Art of Cloth Dyeing." I had previously purchased "Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine" with Ann Petersen.

The price is reasonable and there is a wide variety of classes available including making jewelry, knitting, paper crafts, quilting, sewing, spinning, weaving, and more. The price for most classes ranges from FREE to $39.99 You have access "forever," there is a printable supply list, there is a place to take video notes, you can ask questions as you are watching the video (There is space underneath the video to type in a question. The teacher and other students answer questions.), there are printable tip sheets for most classes, there is a resource list, and most classes have a printable instruction sheet. I'm very impressed by the quality of the video and the depth of the classes. I think one of the biggest advantages to this format is the ability to view it whenever I want to "forever."

If you are interested in checking it out, go to the Craftsy site. Let me know what you think.