Bloggers Quilt Festival Fall 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival - AmysCreativeSide.com

It’s that exciting time of the year again!

For those who can’t go to Houston we have the Bloggers Fall Quilt Festival, and here is my entry to the art quilt category …

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This piece evokes the Grand Canyon where you can gaze down at millions of years of rock layers carved by the Colorado River, then up at the big Western sky.

I  made this in late spring using a variety of techniques, creating strata which I pieced like bargello for the rocks at the bottom, which I then ice-dyed (soaked the piece in soda ash solution, then placed it flat on a rack in a large pan, covered it with ice cubes and sprinkled various procion dye powders over the top).

I used a similar ice-dyeing technique for the sky at the top, making several attempts before I was satisfied.

The river is a synthetic fibre.  I made several trial blocks to get the curving effect.

It’s 17 inches wide and 22 inches high, and was my entry into our Guild retreat’s challenge.  Our theme was the Wild, Wild West and really nothing is wilder than the Grand Canyon.

First featured here

with process posts here, and here, here, and here

.. and now I’m off to check out everyone else’s entries!  Yay!

P.S.  For the first time, I’ve entered a second quilt in the festival, in Baby Quilts

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Improvised piece

Inspired by Rayna Gillman’s book Create your own free-form quilts: a stress-free journey to original design

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What’s great about this book is that the author is into surface design as well as quilting and so has suggestions for the questions that plague me:

  • What to do with the ugly commercial fabrics?
  • What to do with the muddy/unfortunate/bizarre results of dyeing and surface design experiments?
  • What to do with the amazing fabric that is just too lovely to cut?  Sometimes this comes from a store and sometimes it’s the result of good things happening in the dye tub

Our guild is blessed with an extensive library and resource centre, where I found this book.  After reading it several times I really REALLY  wanted to experiment with the method, but given the other projects I have on the go, I had an argument with myself.  I won and the left-brained disciplinarian lost (as usual).

This piece measures 10-1/2 by 26 inches and contains

  • ugly commercial fabric (the brown and green print)
  • less successful surface design (the navy horizontal strips)
  • amazing pink and green deconstructed screen printing (in the vertical strips that are woven through from top to bottom, towards the middle)

Lessons learned:

  • It’s good to just play from time to time without having a precise vision in mind
  • Letting go of all the design rules about coordinating colours and how to choose fabrics can be a big challenge
  • This method is very conducive to Working In A Series because there is just so much to explore.  There will be more of these!

In honour of having taken the process pledge, here are some process pix:

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This is the navy (see why it was a problem child?) with yellow print attached to two of the strips.

 

photo(67)Here’s the strata that ended up being sliced between the horizontal areas.  This shows much more clearly the beautiful pink and green deconstructed screen print.  The pale green fan print is one I’ve used in many different pieces, although I’m not really a fan of 30’s reproductions, which is what this looks like.  But I love being able to mix up such disparate fabrics as these, the green and black batik and the green and pink/purple/burgundy stripe at the top.

The Challenge Piece that was never revealed …

I was just browsing through old posts and realized that the photo of my Grand Canyon piece was all scrunched up so all my thoughts about the design process and which fabrics I liked best would have been completely meaningless to anyone reading.  Talk about embarrassing!

That is now fixed, at least if preview changes is to be believed.

Challenge Piece – the home stretch and big reveal

This time I didn’t try to ice-dye fabric for the binding.  Instead I auditioned from my stash and picked out this batik.

river002Lesson Learned:

  • From now on, make binding wider than two inches!  This piece is quite thick in some places (the stretch corduroy) and then the sky is thinner since it’s one piece of ice-dyed cotton.

And here we have the finished piece!

I’m pleased that:

  • I experimented with the sky and the river fabric instead of persevering with something that wasn’t the best choice.
  • I tweaked the method taught in Ana Buzzalino’s workshop by ice dyeing the land and the sky in two separate sessions
  • I was brave enough to free motion quilt using my beloved Valdani variegated cottons
  • I got it finished in time for the retreat — need I add I was sewing on binding the day before it started!
  • This piece actually looks better from a distance.  This became apparent at the retreat when it was displayed in the dining room of the college.  At home the farthest I can get from my design wall is only about 12 feet.   If you have any ideas of how to show that in a photo online, speak up, don’t be shy!
  • My favorite fabric is the shiny, glittery strip towards the bottom below the darker strip.  This is one of Hoffman California’s Bliss Blenders and it overdyed stunningly, which was what I hoped would happen.

 

 

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The Challenge Piece – 5 : Quick & Painless Piecing

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Does this scream RIVER!!!!

Having found better fabric for the river at the Fabricland in Duncan I decided to make a paper mockup and note my steps, so I don’t paint myself into another corner.  I now have less than a week to do this and other responsibilities still have to be taken care of …

The new fabric is a poly/rayon blend so won’t absorb much dye.  In fact I could try piecing all the strata, piecing in the river and then ice dyeing.  But I want to be happy with the results so I probably will piece the river in afterwards and perhaps try ice dyeing a small offcut of the river fabric just to see what happens.  I bought half a metre and it’s 54″ wide so will go far.  I can see this may be one of those fabrics that I will later wish I had more of.  Oh well.

In this photo the green is the stand in for blue river and blue sky, as I had no blue paper to hand and wanted to get on with this project.

Of course the piece will be trimmed and the fabric I’ve earmarked for sky is not the same as the river fabric.photo(18)I made the strata by making striped paper using E-Z Tints scrapbooking daubers.  They’re not pens, they look like bingo daubers, and I’ve only seen them in scrapbooking stores.  I think mine are actually discontinued.  Then then cut the paper into vertical strips and pasted them slightly offset onto another sheet of sketchbook paper (65 pound).  Then I cut that apart to insert the river.  The bend in the river is important to me.

Challenge Process 4, Previewing Possibilities

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If the sky were deeper it might look more like the big skies of the southwestern desert.

Of course there is a maximum size of 24 inches for both height and width so adding sky (how much) means chopping down below by at least an equal amount.

Trying to make sure I`m happy with the end result, that it will seem to be in proportion and say what I want it to say.

This is just an audition.  If I go this route I will be dyeing some yummy cotton-linen fabric from Satin Moon Quilted Garden which I used in the strata just above the black fabric with the dots.  There`s still time to think about this, especially in light of the fact that I should build up my supplies of ice before doing any more dyeing.

(written May 14)

Challenge piece – still trying to find my way

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Here is the piece as it is today (written May 14)

I succeeded in doing curved piecing so both shores of the river undulate.

But I`m not satisfied with this as it stands.  It doesn`t convey the impression I want it to and actually conveys an unintended impression of something quite different.

This may mean starting over working in a series!  Working in a series!

and will almost certainly involve more ice dyeing.  A tough job, but someone`s gotta do it, right!