Thursday, December 24, 2015

When Is It Time To Switch From Sketching To Fabric?

     When you use a sketchbook to plan your art quilts, how do you know you are ready to to get out the fabric? I've been working on a series of sketches to prepare for a quilt about wildflowers using my niece as one of the focal points. In it, she represents a force in the Universe. In the series, she is always manipulating an ammonite fossil. This time she is spreading seeds with the fossil. In previous posts, I've shown some sketches. Here is how I've painted them in succession trying to see how I could interpret the image in my head into fabrics.
The Seed Bearer 1
In this one and the others, I was influenced by my trip to Croatia and used the image of a ruined window and aging walls and walkways. I like aspects of this one, but it definitely has a way to go.

Seed Bearer 2
In this one, I used shapes that I would cut out of various fabrics. I like it better, but it is out of balance. It made me notice that the first one didn't have enough of value contrast.

Seed Bearer 3
     In this version, I taped extra paper to the bottom of my sketch page. That's why there is a line there. I like this one the best, but there are changes that are still needed. I took this photo and put it into the Art Studio App and played with the hue of the blue green shape and made it more of an olive green. That seems to work better. Also I made the rust shape longer at the bottom. And I made the yellow orange shapes thinner. 
     Getting back to the original question, I think I need to paint up some fabrics and get to it. The textures and patterns on the fabrics will determine what is needed at this point. The requirement for the exhibit is that it is exactly 20 inches wide and at least 30 inches long. So after Christmas, I'll get out my Gelli plate and paints and see what I come up with. But the sketch has given me a good starting point. 
     Speaking of Christmas, I showed you the Christmas art quilt I planned to have printed into cards here. I'm very pleased with how they came out. I used a card template that came with my Mac. I put the image of my quilt on the first page. I put separate text boxes for each word and bordered them with dashes (so that it looks like stitches) on the third page and I put "Art by" on the fourth page. I put that on a flash drive and gave it to my local printing company. Here is the result:
Front Page
(the watermark is not on the card... I only put it on this photo for the blog)

Third page
Fourth Page
I hope you all have a Very Merry Christmas. Thank you so much for reading my blog. It means so much to me. When I look at my statistics and see followers from so many different countries, it makes me so very happy that I can reach you.  Peace, Everyone.
I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

To Boro Or Not To Boro?

     When is it appropriate to add the hand stitches that are characteristic of the Japanese patchwork known as Boro? I love the look of it. I'm no expert on Boro, but I've done some reading on it and I've browsed images of it on Google and on Pinterest. I've even created a Boro board on my Pinterest page of images that inspire me. If you aren't familiar with it, basically what I've learned is boro used to be from rags that were worn by Japanese peasants and were patched and repaired with stitching.  Often, they used fabric that was dyed using indigo, so usually you will see blue fabrics when you look up boro. Now, when you see boro fashions, you will see patched fashions with large stitch work. Some of it looks ragged and some of it looks very refined. If you want to see it on Pinterest, be very careful when you type "boro", because Pinterest keeps changing your word to "boho". You have to keep changing it back to "boro".  If you visit my Pinterest page you can see my board on boro.  Or you can Google "boro stitches" and go to images to see what it looks like.
     Anyway, I decided to experiment with boro and create some clothing for myself in this style, but in a little of the more refined way. My husband got to be the guinea pig for my first venture. He asked me to repair two holes in his khaki shorts. I used one of the tutorials I found on Pinterest as a guide.
1.) I trimmed the edges around the hole.
2.) I cut a patch of patterned cotton fabric a little larger than the hole.
3.) I placed the patch inside the hole and hand sewed a running stitch around the hole using a darker thread.
4.) I cut a patch of thicker cotton fabric larger than the patch and pinned it inside on top of the other patch.
5.) I hand stitched up and down a pattern of stitches all up and down the patch to reinforce and to decorate.
first patch from the outside
from the inside
second patch from the outside
If I had just done the patching normally, I would have used a khaki-colored thread that blended with the fabric and not done that pattern of stitching. And I would have used a khaki-colored patch. But this is boro. I made sure to tell him how special it was. :) 
     Then, I had the idea to make myself a boro Christmas scarf using leftover Christmas fabric scraps I have. I decided to model it after some of the images of scarfs from my Pinterest board. So I cut rectangles from my scraps and pieced them together until I had two large enough pieces and then put right sides together and sewed them, leaving an opening large enough to push the right sides back out.  Here's my scarf.
Christmas scarf
     The intention was to add large boro hand stitching to each section in contrasting thread to make it look more informal and worn. But now, I think I like it just as it is. So that's why the title "To boro or not to boro?" I think, in this case, I should not add stitching. Maybe, I'll piece a bunch of denim rectangles together and then hand stitch with green, red, and gold floss to boro another scarf for next year. Can boro even be used as a verb? I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, December 4, 2015

How To Soothe An Aching Heart?

     Have you ever needed to send a home made gift to someone quickly? My sister's dog of 17 years died yesterday and the whole family is hurting. Her kids, my two nieces and my nephew, are grown now. They are in their twenties, but they are very upset at losing their longtime friend. I wanted to send them something more than just a card and I wanted to send it quick while they need it.
     So I went through my stash of fabric and pulled out a multi-colored purple/pink cotton and cut out a heart shape for each of them. Then I chose a purple fabric for a background selecting a checkered one for my nephew thinking that was a little more masculine.  Here are the steps:

1.) Iron on fusible to the heart fabric.
2.) Cut out the heart.
3.) Iron on fusible to the background fabric. Cut out two of them for each heart.
4.) Cut out a piece of interfacing the same size as the background piece. I used one that has fusible on one side.
5.) Iron on one of the background pieces to the interfacing.
6.) Iron on the heart to the piece above.
7.) Embroider a narrow zig zag around the heart.
8.) Iron on the other background piece to the back of the piece with the heart. That way the back shows no stitching and is nice and neat.
9.) Embroider an edge stitch around the edge. I used a buttonhole stitch.
3 hearts with ruler
close up of heart for my nephew

     These were quick to sew up and I put them in separate cards and wrote "Keep this heart for whenever you feel the need for a hug."  And then I sent them off in the mail.
Afterwards, I thought I should have printed that message on the back of the heart squares.  Next time.  So I know I can't heal their aching hearts, but I can show I care and that holding a heart may help a little. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday  where you can find other art quilt blogs and Sew and Sow FarmPlease make comments on their posts to let the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.