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!”

Still designing Modern Quilt Guild Banner Block …

mqg test banner block001

Decided to go with the repeated diamond shapes in the background fabric.

What do you think?

Not wanting to use up all the Kona Cottons I went with the palette I’ve chosen for the next workshop I’m taking, which is Mile-a-Minute, coming up soon, as the supply list says it’s okay to bring orphan blocks.  I’m curious to see how similar the method is to building slabs, which I’m still doing.

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.

Palette for still life study

I’m part of a recently formed design exploration group.  Our intent is to study aspects of design as they relate to quilting in particular, in a systematic fashion.  In preparation for our first really focused exercise I looked through my solid fabrics and chose the colours most reflective of the still life I had set up.

Part of the directions involve observing highlights and shadows.  I’m coming to realize that my drawing is basically more symbolic like visual note taking.  For example if I want to suggest flowers I might stamp using a cross-section of a pool noodle which has five petal-shaped lobes and a hollow middle.  If I’m drawing a cat, I want to convey the concept of “cat” so it’ll have two pointy ears, eyes with vertical pupils, and whiskers.

This has occasionally led to friction with art teachers and leaders of craft workshops. I think part of the issue stems from the workshop setup where you get one kick at the can.  You can make one ceramic tile or one clay bowl or transform one sweatshirt into an elegant jacket with roses painted up and down the front opening.  So my personal feeling was always “Let’s do something I’ll be reasonably satisfied with rather than fail in the attempt to do a more formal, realistic drawing on an object that I would like to feel somewhat proud of.”

As I write this I know I still feel this way.  However for what it’s worth I’m resolved to do the exercises we pick as a group and see where they take me.  At least for making fibre art I do have all the supplies (ahem!) so experiments can be just that and need never see the light of day if truly horrible!

Palette for still life study

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.

Improvised design wall for lastest baby slab quilt

Okay, okay, it’s my bad, I should have hung up my design wall as soon as I moved in to my new home BUT instead I procrastinated although I was convinced I had all the necessary hardware.

This morning since my design study group is meeting tomorrow I decided I really must do something about the design wall.  Out comes the industrial gray felt with the hanging tabs, out comes my box of hardware, out comes the rubbing alcohol to clean the wall.

The wall is cleaned, the felt is smoothed out all ready to hang.

IMG_0020

OBSTACLE!  what I thought was removable strips for the plastic hooks turns out to be a pack of Velcro removable strips to go directly on the back of a picture frame.  I need the kind with adhesive on both sides to stick to the back of the hooks.

Pause to kick myself (because I did a mega-shop yesterday and could certainly have bought the right product had I realized) and to wonder also why they package three of these Velcro doohickeys when the illustration on the back shows putting two on the back of the picture frame?  Why do I wonder, it’s so they can make everyone buy two packs in order to hang two pictures, and then have two left over.

Don’t let me rant about this way of packaging that forces you to buy more than you need or can use.  Our dustbin lid went missing recently.  New dustbin but will anyone sell you a lid?

Anyway back to the drawing board, er, I mean design wall, and back to a supply I can’t do without, i.e. masking tape!  It’s not pretty but for now it will do.

The two columns on the left are sewn together and the other three columns are still under design.  I’ll let it percolate for a bit and probably move things around.

The colour palette is analagous, which was the design exercise we had set for ourselves at our first meeting.  It was interesting to see what others made of this, because I was the only person to use a neutral in my design.

IMG_0023

It’s good to have feedback from supportive friends who ‘get it’ because originally the bottom corner looked like this (more or less, excuse the masking tape!)  I had focused on the fact that the structure of that block makes it a good corner block, but five fresh sets of eyes noted that the weight/volume is much too light.

After some reverse sewing I was ready to replace the offending block.  Set-in seam strikes fear into my heart, but I found a terrific YouTube tutorial by Kaye Wood which I watched several times and followed, and I’m quite pleased with the result:

IMG_0021

Here’s a close up of the set in corner.  Kaye’s method is very simple.

My only regret is that I got confused and the part which I planned to have on the outside corner isn’t.  However I think with a new to me technique and all the seams it’s better to quit while I’m ahead.  Am I being a wuss, what do you think?  You can tell me, I can take it!

All the tutorials online show how to do y-seams as part of a block like Bright Hopes, Tumbling Blocks or Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  No one has posted a tutorial on “sewing round corners when you need to fix a design flub.”  Hmm, an unmet need.