Batik Slab Tote Finished!

IMG_0635

Leading up to the big reveal of the quilt that goes inside this …

I put this together with leftovers from the quilt itself plus some other batiks and hand dyes.  It’s a little smaller than a pillowcase and plenty big enough to take a large nap quilt with room for a book or other small items that might be needed.

Now I realize I should have taken a photo of the other side too, oh well.  I constructed this by sewing the slab into a long rectangle, folding it in half and sewing up the two side seams.  The lizard tote was folded the other way and I had to sew across the bottom and up one side seam.  Because this will be a functioning tote as the quilt will be carried around, I took care to keep the lighter colours at the top of the bag as the darker colours can withstand being set down better.

The whole tote and the handles are stuffed with batting and quilted with trilobal variegated thread which has a beautiful sheen.

Hmm, I could see getting into more totes and the like, there’s something very satisfying about functional objects that you make yourself!  I’m still going to do art pieces but sometimes the gap between the inner vision and the ultimate object is so vast.

Advertisements

Book Bag Finished!

Before making a tote bag for a quilt, I thought practicing would be a good idea.

We all have particular mental blocks and challenges and I can easily get myself confused when it comes to sewing things properly.  I know I could easily sew something inside out with twisted handles, or somehow have the handles stuck inside the body of the bag.  And once confused it can be hard to get back on track.

IMG_0626IMG_0627Since this was to be for the use of younger people, I searched my stash for something with kid appeal that wasn’t too girly or babyish and that would not show every mark.  This fabric seemed to fit the bill and also the critters aren’t directional.

This bag has just one side seam, which means a directional fabric would actually have been okay.  The side seam in fact makes this a nice bag for books, it’s that bit easier to slide them in and out.  And the striped lining is cool.

All in all I’m quite pleased with this, even the handles are lined with batting and quilted.

It’s functional so in my book although the fabric is traditional, it’s modern because of the emphasis on “get ‘er done!” and “make something useful!”

REALLY looking: a serendipitous discovery

river004Michael James could be described as the first extreme quilter.  This book, which was published in 1998, is in many quilters’ libraries.

It just so happened that when I bought it at a Guild retreat, I also bought a basket of goodies which I discovered included a magnifier.  Anxious to see how well it worked I held it over the book cover (not something I would usually do) and was gobsmacked to see that Michael James did not use only solids in his work.  In the older pieces especially there are some pretty tame calicoes that today would likely be relegated to baby quilts or quilt backs, as they’re just not that dynamic.  For example follow the fourth orange stripe from the bottom left and see what it’s joined to when the colour change happens!

CHALLENGE – what do you think?  Is it harder to use colours you don’t like or prints you don’t like?

Making art every day

I subscribed to Lesley Riley’s 52 pick-up, which is a year of weekly creativity prompts to encourage more regular art and creativity.  Feeling accountable to a supportive group of other people is helping me to form better habits.

And every day I succeed in spending time creating, I get a star!

IMG_0107_crop

In real life the stars look better than they do in the photo, which often happens with glitter and metallics.  They’re foiled, a technique I’ve had a lot of fun with for years.  You can get the foils and special glue from Jones Tones.

But, breaking news!  and not good, although definitely a first world problem, Dharma Trading, the go-to source for all things fibre arty, posted that the foil is being discontinued and they (Dharma) are looking for a replacement.  In the month since they posted, the more conventional colours have been snapped up but they still have purple, green and blue.

I fused the square fabric onto the Disco Dots to have a little more body to stand up to the writing and foiling and free motion quilted along the lines.

Creepy before and after

Our new home has a backyard, greatly appreciated after so long in apartmentland.  The enthusiasm may wane when the grass starts to grow and needs to cut, we’ll see.

Only thing is, this is part of the deal …

IMG_0002AT LEAST it’s not facing the house, but it’s firmly settled in the ground and not for us to remove (rental).  Young Sprout did NOT like seeing this from the house, let alone playing near it.

First attempt was to place a garbage bag over the top.  That lasted a few days and then blew off into the bramble bushes.  The middle of the bramble bushes.

IMG_0003This is somewhat of an improvement.  From the house, seen in profile it rather looks as if it’s facing a firing squad, and apparently Young Sprout and Pirate Girl have used their rubber dart guns for target practice, although I’m positive they would not have ever seen a firing squad since they don’t watch a lot of movies.

I used some recycled Indonesian cotton that had been used as packing in an international move and is great for surface design, soy wax resist, etc.

Goodbye to the Seam Ripper!

how often has this happened to you?

photo(85)Well, thanks to modern quilting, this no longer means reverse sewing.  This is a modern disappearing 9-patch!

Just slice it into quarters and voila!

You’ll get this ….

photo 1

then comes the fun part, where you get to play around and come up with all kinds of designs!

photo 2

And yes, I do realize that eight blocks do not a quilt top make but these are for a Modern Quilt Guild block of the month drawing next month.

All from the simple recipe of five white squares plus two different colour prints in each of two colours, for a total of nine five-inch squares.

Really the one time where you might choose to take a seam ripper to it would be if you places four white squares like a four-patch, because then you’d end up with a seven-inch square of white fabric with seams across it, and why would you want to do that?

This is a fast way to make Andrea Balosky‘s Odd Couple blocks.  I know I have her book Transitions: Unlocking the Creative Quilter Within, and I have read and re-read it many times, but right now it’s nowhere to be found, alas!

You can see my first disappearing 9-patch here, which also has a link to a handy YouTube tutorial on how to make it turn out the way you want it to!

I have to wonder whether someone sat down and cudgeled their brains to think up a new block, or whether it was a frustrated quilter who just. didn’t. have. the. energy. to. rip. one. more. seam.

What do you think?

Modern Challenge, hmmm!

I picked up the challenge package in its plain brown wrapper from Satin Moon.

Everyone gets a fat quarter of a different solid fabric.

Mine is the top custardy yellow here:

photo(78)How frustrating that this does not at all do justice to the colour.

The rules are simple but a bit fiendish in that we are only allowed to use solid colour fabrics on the top of the quilt, no tone on tone, no batik, no prints.

I have an idea of what I’m going to do and in fact was back at the store a couple of hours later because although I believe in busting stash and using what I have, I’m not going to sacrifice my art because I refuse to go shopping.

photo(79)In this photo the yellow challenge fabric is on the lower right with the fat quarter I bought this afternoon folded up on top of it.  The yellow is closer to real life and the neutral fabric has somehow picked up a blue gray slate tinge (perhaps from the iPhone flash?)  that doesn’t do it justice.  Really it’s a deep beige.  I had quickly auditioned promising solids by bringing them to the store and trying several neutrals that I thought might do.

Now, I have no clue whether this will work or not, but click here to see these colours thanks to the wonders of Kuler.  

The yellow and light brown on the left of this colour scheme look close to these two solid fabrics.

Now, off you go to play on Kuler!  You know you want to ….

I love that staff at Satin Moon are so caring and supportive and will cut fat quarters of fabric upon request!  This is only the first or second time I’ve ever requested them to do this for me.

The quilt has to be ready by mid-October and the winner will be by viewers’ choice, awarded in mid-November.  After which I will reveal my process posts, which will stay as drafts until that time.