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Archive for the ‘Quilts’ Category

Some time ago I promised to try out the effect of pyrotechnics on textiles. My intention was to grab a few samples of my work and set them ablaze. Since then, I’ve wussed out repeatedly on burning up things I’ve made. I couldn’t even come up with a “hit list” of designated ignition targets. It has become apparent to me, however, that I really ought to just bite the bullet and do this as the information/satisfaction/notoriety would be worth it in the end.

The purpose of setting my quilts/textile art ablaze is to do the following:

  • check to see how close my work is to passing Health Canada’s standards
  • come to some sort of understands of exactly how flammable my house is, given the number of quilts, wall hangings and piles of fabric therein
  • have a blast torching the heck out of things
  • make the neighbours seriously question their choice of neighbourhood
  • scare the dogs
  • thrill the kid
  • get rid of some old duds of projects that I won’t allow to be sold, yet cannot throw out. At least this way they could serve a purpose.

So I’m accumulating a nice collection of stuff. As soon as I get a clear day with minimal wind, I’ll have a go at it. Thus far it is my intention to burn the following (plus some basic pieces of cotton fabric and cotton batting, some with stabiliser, some without, some with fusible, some without, etc.):

burn-bergs.jpg burn-sunrise.jpg

Here’s your chance. If there’s anything burn-wise and quilt/artquilt-related about which you are curious, let me know and, if possible, I’ll char something for you personally. I’ll post the results, too. I can’t say that I’ll mail you the item afterwards, you understand. I’m not sure what Canada Post would say. But I will happily do such things as test the relative ignition properties of cotton versus wool batting or how quickly flame spreads on cotton versus poly-cotton thread, if you like.

It’ll probably be a week or so before I get to this. I’m thinking that this is another one of those things (like dealing with 220 electrical outlets or changing light bulbs on a ladder balanced halfway up the stairs) that I probably should do when another adult is around to put out flames and provide emergency hospital transport. So it’ll be the weekend, at least.

Taking requests……

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Just got word that my workshop (details below) for Quilt Canada 2008 has been approved! Yay! Another proposal pans out!
If you’re interested in taking it, it’ll be on June 4, 2008 at Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland.

For more information, you can check with the folks at the Canadian Quilters’ Association (although they haven’t got the workshop info for 2008 up yet).

I’ll be teaching this class locally at least twice over the summer and fall as well, so if you’d like to be on the list for an earlier class, drop me a line.

I’m contemplating an on-line version at a later date.

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A Feel for the Land: Creating Texture in the Canadian Landscape
Workshop proposal – Quilt Canada 2008

by Vicky Taylor-Hood

Class description:

Students will work on a myriad of techniques that can be used to given dimension and texture to textile landscape art. Special attention will be paid to achieving effects that illustrate the Newfoundland environment. These will include (but are not limited to):

  • creating icebergs through layered, fused materials as well as through the use of stitched layers of sheer fabrics
  • depicting realistic rocks by using fused snippets, painted and hand-detailed fabric and painted spun polyester (a.k.a. used dryer sheets)
  • illustrating spume and surf through the use of machine lace and Angelina fibers
  • using painted cheesecloth, tulle, organza, metallic foil and thread to accentuate light and shadows within a landscape
  • creating foliage through painted dryer sheets
  • aspects of house construction

All of these techniques will be demonstrated and students will have the opportunity to create samples. Some students will simply wish to take their ideas, samples and the materials provided home with them to work on their own. Those who feel sufficiently confident to leap from observing a demonstration to creating a finished product on the spot will have the materials available and the opportunity to do so. There is no set finished project for this workshop. It is rather an acquisition of tools with which to embellish the students’ own landscape designs. Students will take home with them the samples they have made and any unused materials that were in their kits.

Level of expertise: This session is geared towards intermediate to advanced quilters. Beginner quilters are welcome, but may find they need to supplement what they learn with more general quilting skills.
Length of class: six hours

Class size: minimum of 8, maximum of 15

Fees: registration for this class will be handled by Quilt Canada. There will be an additional $20 materials fee.

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paints.jpg

Ah, I love having an chance to play with some new products. Recently I wandered through Kent Hardware store (Kent are the spawn of Irving, a New Brunswick company) and discovered that they are ceasing to carry the Pebeo line of art supplies. The remainder of the paints were seriously discounted (I paid $1.30 CDN for a $7 bottle) and included some of the silver glitter finish and the expandable paints. Score!

The silver glitter finish isn’t bad at all. It’s basically glitter in some sort of acrylic medium suitable for use on fabric. You can paint it on already painted and dried fabric and the base dries clear. You can also mix it in with the other acrylic-based paints. Opaque paints will obscure the glitter a good bit (unless the glitter happens to be on top of the paint), but the transparent paints mix well with it and the transparency of the paint allows the glitter to shine through, although the sparkle is somewhat diminished.

The glitter hold on well during a wash (I didn’t machine dry it) and is fine after being ironed with a pressing cloth (ironing the fabric from the back would likely achieve the same effect). It seems to rub off a bit when you rub it hard, so it’d probably be better for things that got minimal abrasion and washing.

The sparkle of this isn’t overpowering, also, so it’d be reasonable to use moderately in landscape quilts (snow in moonlight, for instance, or water shimmering). Heat setting makes a definite difference to how well the glitter adheres, btw.

The expandable paint was also rather niffy. I’d read about it a bit in Quilting Arts (issue 24, winter 2006 – Linda Schmidt) and was therefore rather keen to add it to my repertoire of techniques and tools. Finding it on sale was an added bonus!

I tried it several different ways. Firstly, painted on parchment paper rather thickly, allowed to dry, ironed and then peeled off. This gives me the option of creating pieces that could be sewn or glued as layers in a work. The resulting pieces were rather brittle, however, so care needs to be used in peeling them off and handling them. They painted nicely, though:

rocks1.jpg

The expandable paint was wonderfully easy to work with, although I think a squeeze bottle with a fine applicator tip would be excellent for very detailed work. As it expands in all directions after heating, you need to start with rather fine lines for such things as tree branches:

tree.jpg

But I like the effect. It’s white and dries white, so tinting it before using is helpful. After it has dried and then been heated, you can rather easily paint right over it as I did with the tree above. A keeper as far as materials go!

Finally, I ‘ve been playing with the Sprinklettes (not a girl group from the fifties), purchased at Michaels.
glitter.jpg

Basically, it’s iridescent glitter that can be mixed with paint and used on fabric. You can also stick it on with fabric glue. I’ve only played with this a little, but I have found the following:

  • it needs to be mixed with its adhesive, not just sprinkled on top
  • if just sprinkled on top, much of it will wash or rub off
  • a fine coat of thinned fabric glue over top of it really helps to keep it on
  • it mixes well with fabric paints, especially transparent ones
  • it’s quite visually powerful and easily overdone
  • it is attracted to everything via static electricity
  • it gets everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Places that will astonish and thrill your husband kind of everywhere.

Here’s what colours come in the bottle:glitter_bottom.jpg

Now that I’ve got the sparklies out of my system (and underwear), I’m off to do some preliminary sketches for another series.

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“We’ll have to start to sew.” (with sincerest apologies to fans of The Muppet Show)

This project was started with the best of intentions a little over five years ago. It’s a wedding quilt for my sister and her husband who are (fortuitously) still happily married. I worked frantically at it for some time and then simply burned out. Finding the impetus to finish it just didn’t happen. I dug it out the other week and looked at it long and hard, only to realise that there’s really not much left to do. So I’m knuckling down and finishing it.

It measures 100″ square. I must be nuts. Pictures of the final thing to be posted when it’s done and when I can find a wall big enough to hold the sucker.

Any other insane folks out there finishing too many last-minute hand-made gifts? We should form a club….

I swore I’d never do this again, but I suspect I’ll be stitching furiously on Christmas eve.

Insanity

Centre of Knotwork

knots macro

to the point

Corner

a quickr pickr post

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I’m more or less signing off on work and work-related blogging for the next two weeks.

I have a few Christmas gifts to finish up by Sunday night, one of the most elaborate of which is the quilt below. Katherine asked for a new quilt for her bed made with my own dyed fabrics and has been asking me for almost three months straight on a semi-daily basis. I figure that dedication like her should be rewarded and am contriving this log cabin quilt for her enjoyment. Hopefully it’ll be suitable right through her teens, as my tendancy to make traditional quilts has declined substantially. (Making this quilt, though, has been an excellent way to get to know the temperament of my new machine. Good excuse, right?)

Katherine's Christmas present

It’s been a while since I did one of these….

Incidentally, the machine? Fabulous. Beyond fabulous. I didn’t realise how nice that dual-feed system would be for even ordinary piecing, but it makes a substantial difference.

Now, off to work!

a quickr pickr post

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Much of my smaller work involves cutting squares, rectangles and strips of fabric, some of which is attached to stabiliser and some of which is not. I also produce my own tags, business cards and custom-fold and trim my brochures. Doing those things by hand, with a rotary cutter and straight edge is not difficult, just time-consuming and ultimately hard on the wrists.

The other day I picked up this little gem:

cutter

It’s a Fiskars paper trimmer. It takes the same rotary blades as my larger rotary cutter and works for fabric as well as for paper, card-stock, stabiliser and other flat things. I use it primarily for squaring off my rectangular pieces and cutting the backings. It’s saving me buckets of time and is by far easier on my hands and wrists as I no longer have to put pressure on a ruler or worry about the straight edge slipping. It also works in such a way that my hands are well clear of the blade and there’s no chance of my “missing” the edge of the ruler and slicing my fingers (haven’t done this yet, but have come darned close).

In short, it’s marvelous. The surface area is 13.5″ long (in the direction that the cutter travels) and 12″ wide, which means that I can rough-cut a super-long strip of stabilised 5.5″ fabric and slice it easily into 9″ lengths, the rough-cut sides of which can then be trimmed and tidied without spending endless hours lining things up with the ruler.

The only modification that would be nice is a lock of some sort that could be attached when not in use to keep little fingers away.

If only the Fiskars circle-cutters for paper worked on cottons reinforced with stabiliser. Anyone tried these?

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It’s a logical assumption that, when you make a pieces of artwork, you will account for how to display it. In fact, if you’re at all canny, you keep this element firmly in mind and construct the piece with an eye to its eventual installation.

One of the parts of designing my smaller, lower-priced quilts and wallhangings that constantly evades me is how to hang pieces elegantly and well, without breaking the bank in terms of materials or time. Let’s face it, if you’re making a 35$ product, there is no sense in spending more time on getting it to hang properly than on creating the visual impact within the composition of the piece. Also, a $50 frame is probably going to cut a goodly bit out of your profit margin.

So I’m always on the lookout for ways that will allow me to streamline the two most proportionately time-consuming parts of constructing small pieces – hand binding and attaching the hanging sleeve.

Wandering around today, I found this marvelous page by Ami Simms, which discusses a myriad of ways of displaying small quilted pieces. The one that caught my eye in particular was the use of fast finish triangles. For small to medium-sized rectangular pieces that are quilted using a traditional top-batting-backing formula, it looks like just the ticket for streamlining the hanging sleeve portion of the process. No hand-sewing required (the stitching is integrated into seams already sewn), stable, doesn’t distort the piece and easy. What could be better?

The originator of the idea is Terry Chilko, who kindly provides further instructions for her triangular tip on her tips page. There’s a link to a pdf of the pattern & instructions on that page.

So that takes care of hanging one portion of my work. Thanks, Terry! I needed a quicker way of going about a traditional hanging sleeve!

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