Archive for May, 2006

I learned a lesson this weekend. I learned to always follow the advice I give to people about not printing with freezer paper-backed fabric.

After fiddling with photos and figuring out which ones to print on fabric and play with, formatting them and figuring out what to do with the printed pieces, I thoroughly ironed my fabric to freezer paper, lined the front edge with clear tape, to keep the paper and fabric from separating and fed it through the printer.

snafu with freezer paper.jpg
ARG! It has been so long since I worked with printed images that I've forgotten how much "fun" freezer paper can be. Six jams later, I gave up and reminded myself that I had only been using freezer paper because I was attempting to save money by not doing what I should have done in the first place; buying full-sized 8.5 x 11 label sheets.

label sheets.jpg

Had I used up more ink and fabric attempting to do things the cheap way? Yes. Was my sanity creeping steadily towards the yawning chasm of technology smashing? Yep. Did I run, not walk to Staples for the sheets. You betcha. Cost for 32 sheets $15. Fifty cents a sheet. I almost won a printer-hurling contest for a lousy fifty cents a sheet.

Whenever I talk to people about printing on fabric, I enthuse about how much easier it is to print on fabric using label sheets. You iron the fabric, stick on the sheet carefully, trim the fabric edges with a rotary cutter to the edge of the label, set your printer to print a photo, set the paper setting to envelope or heavy-weight paper, depending on your machine, check the size settings and colour settings and let 'er rip.

I must say, the Epson C-88 does a bee-youtiful job:

on fabric with label sticker.jpg
It's been so long since I last used freezer paper for printing that I'd completely forgotten how annoying it can be. Lesson learned. The pennies saved with freezer paper are lost on psychiatric bills.

The results of my printing foray:


Now we're ready to roll!


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BlackheadTo forestall possible speculation that I'm not actually working or making anything original….

I'm currently working on a series of series of small pieces (yes, you read that right), designed to be hung as groups. The basic theme is The East Coast Trail and the foundations of the pieces are going to be my own photography, which I will over-stitch, paint and embellish as necessary.

I've been meaning to work on this for some time now, but have never had the full concept gel the way it did last night. It's interesting how that happens sometimes. I was idly daydreaming about which hikes would be fun to do this summer and how I could incorporate our experiences into smaller, more spontaneous pieces that could then be marketed to other hikers and enthusiasts of the trail. My aim was to make original, attractive and evocative pieces that wouldn't be prohibitively expensive or drive me crazy with repetition. Also, they would have to be small and lightweight, so that travellers could transport them without difficulty.

I popped out the trail maps and guides and made an inventory of highlights of the trail as we had see them and aspects of each section of trail that we've particularly like. I noted weather, season and time of day as factors that could be used to make pieces different or enhance atmosphere. I then did a quick survey of my photos and made notes of which ones I still need and which I have.

The next step is to print out a set of four pictures and play with them.

And go hiking. We have to get out on the trail again soon – I need more shots of Motion Head (near Petty Harbour).

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Finished off the repairs on the baby quilt last night. The quilt as it was initially presented to me is below and below that is a photo of the repaired quilt. I added a new binding (over the old – nothing was removed), stiched down the sashing, repaired a couple of major tears in the fabric and reinforced a couple of worn spots with a cotton backing from inside before darning them closed.

whole quilt 2 resized.jpg

repaired quilt

Everything was done by hand because the original was entirely hand stitched and I wanted the seam integrity an feel to be similar. Also, hand-stitched antique quilts are very irregular and sewing irregular seams through fragile fabric is a lot easier by hand than by machine. It's easier to compensate for waves and bends when hand sewing. So the binding is appliquéd over the original. The corners are butted rather than mitred, to reflect the sashing seams in the quilt, which were butted.
Here you can see the edge before….

edge 1 resized.jpg

… and after.

repaired edge

My basic premise was to remove nothing, change little and preserve the original quilt.  Where that required adding fabric, I stuck with the idea of preserving a feel for the original. 

It was definitely an interesting project. Rather spooky, truth to tell.

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Occasionally a project comes along that is more of a nod to my quilting abilities than my artistry. I don't actually make "quilts" all that often anymore. Most of my friends and family already have a bed-covering of my making and besides, my head and heart are generally elsewhere.

That said, Katherine has been hinting (in anvil, Katherine-like style) that she needs a bigger quilt for her bed, so I may have to regress at some point and make her one.

But I'm digressing. Again. I seem prone to that.

The quilt below was made in the early 1800s and is a form of redwork. It's in pretty hard shape, having been used by several generations, and I was contacted by its owner to help keep it from deteriorating any further and tidy it up a bit. They're not concerned with its monetary value, rather they want to keep it alive and in the family for generations to come (and apparently another generation is due to come this summer).

whole quilt 3

So my job is to change as little as possible of the front, reinforce (from inside)  the panels that are tearing and attach a new binding and border over the old. They were also interested in whatever information I could give them about the quilt and its probable historical context.

edge 1
It's not a big job, but it's one that I feel somewhat hesitant in doing, simply by virtue of the quilt being so old. Needless to say, I won't be using any fusibles or anything but cotton fabrics and threads. I managed to find a fairly good match to the original pink fabric. The quilt has faded variably and it's not realistic to try to match all of the different pinks. The owner knows this and is happy with the binding being the original colour, which you can see below.

fabric match 3
The individual panels are of different animals. Below are a giraffe, sheep, elephant, cow camel and (possibly) a duck. The embroidery is in rough shape, but repairing it would be time consuming and destroy the story of the wear of the quilt. Making a replica of the piece might be an interesting project, should any of the family ever be interested.




The text in the centre panel reads:

then we kiss our baby
And hug it very tight,
And put it in its
little bed
And leave it for the


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k paints 1
Often after I finish a largish project, I find myself at a loss as to where to go next. There was a time when this would upset me. Now I look upon it as an opportunity to explore new ideas or paths; a liberation from the constraints of being in the final phases of a project that is largely mapped out and just needs finishing. 

k paints 2

Fabric painting is one of those things that can be quite freeing and inspiring. My intention was to paint a few small pieces of fabric that could be used in an abstract or intuitive piece. The plan was to just paint and not think. I started with primary colours, three pieces of stretched fabric and had everything laid out.

k paints 3
Then Katherine found out what I was up to and the jig was up.

She took over and did all the work/fun.
These are HER artist, freeing, emotionally-driven, inspiring pieces that I can honestly say are borne of an outer child. Weirdly enough, they may be exactly what I would have wanted to have painted, had I put any thought into it.

Now all I have to do is work them into some abstract pieces. Does she get credit? Nah. She didn't do the clean-up! 😉

The first one looks to me like a bird flying into a sunset wave…..

The great thing about fabric painting with kids is that it's the one form of their artwork that generally doesn't end up being chucked. let face it, you can't keep all that paper. I save about 5% of what she does and the rest gets scrapped. The fabric, though, always gets use somehow.


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I spent this morning putting the finishing touches on the most recent book…

Primary construction is cotton fabrics and assorted threads. The pages are stabilised with Pellon heavy-weight stabiliser (not super heavy weight, just plaint heavy) and the covers are stabilised additionally with the pages from an old kids' board book. I found the cover on the last book flopped too much when used with a Coptic binding. 

This tome is wrapped in an organza book cloth, which I think adds a nice touch. The tassel is silk, hand-dyed embroidery thread and the bead is glass.

book in book cloth

The front cover features a panel made with foam, glue and paint, the combined effect of which is a metallic, embossed surface, without the weight and corrosion problems that can go with metals.


It's bound with a Coptic binding and the holes are reinforced with rivets this time. Bought a scrap-booking riveting tool and really like the effect. I also made leather clasps:


The clasps fasten like buttons, using glass beads: 

cover detail

The edging on the front and back covers looks quite red in these photos, but it's really more of a wine-magenta mixture. These pieces were added both to enlarge the cover so that it extended past the pages and to accentuate the clasps.

And here's the inside! Page one and the inside cover:

inside front cover, pg 1

Pages 2 & 3:

pg 2

Pages 4 & 5:  

pg 3

Pages 6 & 7: 

pg 4

Pages 8 & 9:

pg 5

Pages 10 & 11:

pg 6

Pages 12 & 13:

pg 7

Pages 14 & 15:

pg 8

Pages 16 & 17:

pg 9

Pages 18 & 19: 

pg 10
Page 20 and inside back cover:

pg 11

Back cover: 

back cover 2
back cover

Apologies for the pictures. I realise they're not the greatest, but my tripod is elsewhere and I wanted to get the book up and on the blog. 🙂

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