Sunday, March 29, 2009

Going Bananas

Last month, after I finished my hummingbird quilt, I wrote that my small art group would be switching themes from birds to food. We're working through the Art Quilt Workbook, by Jane Davila and Elin Waterston and this month's assignment was to make a project based on chapter 6 - paint effects.

I did a pretty good job of obtaining the supplies relatively early on. After some difficulty in figuring out where to obtain fabric paints (I wasn't sure about RIT, which was all I could seem to see at Jo-Ann's that didn't look like puffy paint for other kinds of artistry), I discovered that
Artist and Display carries Dye-na-Flow paints, and I also purchased some Polished Pigments by LuminArte (ground pigments mixed with micas, which give it some shimmer) from Quilting Arts magazine's web store, and I purchased some plain white fabric (I forget which brand) from the LQS.

But then it the supplies just sat there. Because I was afraid to start. I knew what I wanted to paint - I had to have an idea so I knew what colors of paints to purchase. I'd settled on bananas from the time of our last meeting. But I waited until the night before our meeting to actually attempt painting as I suspected I'd do something remarkably horrible. Painting's similar to drawing, right? And I can't draw ...

While I have not yet turned these into completed projects, here are my results.

First, the Dye-na-flow paints:

And the Polished Pigments, for comparison:

As you can see, I'm not great with control; I don't know if I needed a thinner brush (I was using a "1") or if I used too much paint, or what. The paints were quite thin, so the paint definitely "wicked" across the fabric. Thank goodness I had thought to purchase some resist! I do think that I can turn these into something interesting with a bit of thread-painting, and I'm glad I tried both brands of paints because I think I could use each of them in different kinds of ways (the Dye-na-Flow colors are stronger, but the others have a very nice shimmer to them).

Earlier in the post I mentioned that I wasn't certain about RIT. One of the others in the group followed an article in the December/January issue of Quilting Arts to dye fabrics with the RIT dyes, and it looked pretty good. So I purchase a few packets at Jo-Ann's yesterday and look forward to giving those a shot as I hadn't yet had a chance to peruse the article (and I 've been carrying it around in my "Mary Poppins" bag). I'll definitely post results!

No, it's not Valentine's Day, but ...

This is the year I'm dedicated to working on projects already in my stash. Amongst the stack are a good number of small tops that I'm convinced I can quilt myself and don't need to send out to complete. As I mentioned in another post recently, I've been motivated to do some actual quilting rather than piecing, even if the tops I'm working on aren't exactly seasonally relevant.

All of that is preface for this small panel that I quilted in literally half an hour.

I'd spray-basted it BEFORE Valentine's Day and then couldn't motivate to actually quilt it. So when inspiration strikes, go with it, right? Now I've got another cute little project ready for next February. And to be honest, I find it difficult to finish Valentine's projects in time because it comes so close after Christmas, at least in terms of sewing timelines.

Nothing complicated about this one, but at least it's off the pile! Another check off the list!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

House Painting

We've finally gotten around to painting the downstairs area of our house, something we've talked about doing since we bought the house and moved in 4 years ago. And it's only getting done now because we opted to pay someone else to do it! We spent last weekend moving pretty much everything either out to the garage, to the spare bedroom, or down to the basement and the only things currently remaining in the rooms are the sofa, love seat, and oversized chair. After one attempt at getting the love seat out the front door, we decided to leave it sit.

The painters started on Tuesday and will be back this week. I guess I never really asked how long it would take, but assumed the week from some other comments the gentleman had made. While we're anxious to get back into the rooms - especially the dining room as we have been eating at either the desks in our office/sewing room or from a third chair sitting in the kitchen. Fun times!

So here are some in-progress photos for the dining room, entry hall, and living room. We really are loving the colors and I spent a good deal of yesterday looking for a new rug for the living room and curtains that will both match the paint but also fit stylistically with the rug. This is no easy task, apparently!

Living room before:

Living room now:
View from dining to living before:

View from dining to living now:

Dining room before:

Dining room now:

We're loving the colors and can't wait to move back into the space. Hallways into the upstairs space will be painted as well as the risers, handrails, and spindles, so it really is a good amount of work. I'll keep you updated on the progress!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hot Flash!

No, I'm not experiencing hot flashes. Not old enough for that yet! But I did make some progress on a quilt called "Hot Flash" this weekend. I showed you a few of the blocks a couple of weeks ago in this post. The pattern is from from Brenda Henning's book, Strip Therapy and I used a Mint Chip Bali Pop.

As I finished the blocks, I wasn't quite sure how much I liked the quilt. And for some reason, my blocks were very different sizes. It could be that some of the strips from the Bali pops clearly were not straight (in some ways it's nice to know that even the machine-cut fabric has issues, but then... aren't I paying for it to be "perfect"?). It could also be that I didn't use the suggested template to cut out my triangles and opted instead to simply use the 45-degree angle on my ruler and my cutting board's lines to make my cuts. At any rate, I cut all of the blocks down slightly so that they fit together right (just don't pay attention to how the angled seams come together at the corners!). I like it much better now that it is finished and think it makes a nice complement to the Native Rainbow top I pieced earlier this year. Now I need to get them both quilted!

Speaking of quilting, this week I will be devoting my sewing time to machine quilting some of the many smallish tops I've had hanging around for some time. I'm inspired, so I'd best act before the moment passes and I'm back to piecing away.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Suffragette Completed!

I am very excited to report that I finally completed the Suffragette quilt that I previously posted about here and here. I really love this quilt and am happy that I'll be able to use it this summer for the patriotic decorating. The photo isn't the greatest, but Ben was a willing quilt "hanger" for me as we had horrible weather all weekend long and thus terrible lighting and no where to really get a great photo. This was the best I could do, given the circumstances.

The pattern is by Heartspun Quilts and the fabric is mostly Minick and Simpson's Prairie Paisley line. While a lot of piecing, I love the scrappiness of this quilt and the colors (as evidenced by the fact that I also bought - repeatedly - multiple charm packs of this fabric line).

Sandi quilted it for me and did a wonderful job. The central part of the quilt features an all-over pattern with stars and curvy banner-like details:

and I had her put feathers in the border, which I love, love love.

It certainly feels like winter today, but this quilt has me thinking summer!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

4-Layer Cake

Last fall, while I was taking a course at MATC, I didn't have a lot of time for sewing. However, I was able to piece very quickly in December - right before heading to Cape Cod - this lovely quilt at right.

The quilt is made with one layer cake of the Winter fabric line by Minick and Simpson. I loved this line a lot - it's definitely for Christmas (wonderful poinsettias and candy canes!), but doesn't necessarily scream Christmas. And the blue is one of my favorite colors.

The pattern is called 4-Layer Cake, by Legacy Patterns, and finishes at approximately 57x75. It whips up really quickly and could be a very nice option if you're in a pinch for a gift, want to make something quick for a charity quilt, or want to use larger-scale focus fabrics.

Sandi quilted it for me and I love the little Christmas presents (at least I think of them as Christmas presents!) that are in the quilting design I selected.

This now makes two Christmas-themed quilts that I've finished since Christmas (read about the other one here) and can look forward to using later this year!