Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Latest Material Mavens Quilt--Honeycomb

Our theme for the Reveal which was on July 15th was "cell."  This theme was quite a challenge for me, and it took me awhile to decide what to do.  Somehow, some way, perhaps from reading dictionary definitions of the word or searching Google Images, it occurred to be to focus on the cells of a honeycomb.

I first tried to use a stencil a honeycomb design on some silk, but the paint bled through.  I tried to silk screen using the stencil, and the same thing happened.  In addition, the colors I used--yellow silk and orange paint--simply didn't look authentic.

Eventually the design began to evolve--a collage of "bee-related" images.  Thus the final quilt is just that.  For the essential honeycomb I used a copy-right free Google image of a real honeycomb, transferring it to fabric via TAP (Transfer Artist Paper).

At first I included some dimensional red flowers for my dimensional bees, but they dominated the quilt and the necessary honeycomb faded into the background.  Then I decided to use flower prints.  I had some white flowers on black fabric, but couldn't locate black flowers on white (and I was concerned to limit my color palette).  So I decided to hand-stamp with black paint on white fabric.  I made the stamps myself from craft foam, and the resulting hand-stamped fabric became one of my favorite parts of this quilt.

My other favorite aspect are the dimensional bees!  These were thread painted first on fabric backed with stabilizer.  The wing were made of organza, thread painted with gold thread. Then I cut them out and machine stitched them to the quilt.

Finally, I added a bee hive, which I embellished with embroidery stitching.  Embroidered seed stitches became my quilting, along with free motion quilting the black flowers on white fabric.
The background is a commercial fabric that is a subtle honeycomb print.

The back was fashioned from some of my "rejects" from the front.  I included the first verse of the Jimmie Rodger's song "Honeycomb" which ran maddeningly through my head while I was constructing this quilt!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Judy Steward = Machine Quilter Extraordinaire!

I just went down to Judy's studio to pick up the quilt that she quilted for me.  I must say she out-did herself this time!  She was happy to admit that many of the unique ways she quilted this quilt were ideas that she got from Rose Hughes' book, DREAM LANDSCAPES, which I had taken to her.

Pictures tell more than words, though, so I will let the photos speak for themselves.  I thought I would wait until the quilt was bound, but I just couldn't stand to wait to share this quilt!  (Incidentally, Rose included a way to face a quilt in her directions in the pattern I had bought; coincidentally, Judy had just watched a DVD about this method of finishing, and she was urging me to try this technique.)

Anyway, here are the photos.  Click to enlarge, and I think you'll see why I am so excited and delighted with Judy's work.  What a treasure she is!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Saguaro Quilt

Alice's quilt--I made this for my dear friend Marie,
for an "important" birthday she has just had.  Marie and I
share two grandchildren!

I have just completed this wall quilt top, and it is now being free motion quilted by my expert quilter friend Judy Steward.  Since I first met Judy in 1999, she has quilted numerous quilts for me, and I have never been disappointed!

This design is a Rose Hughes design.  Rose was teaching at Quilting Adventures several years ago, and I bought this pattern from her.  I've never before made an art quilt from a pattern.  I thought it would be easy and would go faster than those I dream up from scratch!  I had it in mind all along that it would be a gift for Marie.

No, it wasn't easy.  I've now decided that following another art quilter's design is harder than making one up from scratch!  (Isn't that strange?)  I started at the top and tried to change the sky a lot from the pattern.  Probably it would be helpful for me to attach a picture of Rose's quilt, from the pattern envelope:

Rose Hughes' quilt.  This quilt is photographed
against a black background.  It is NOT bordered in black!
Marie lives in Tucson, where these Saguaro cacti are a protected species of plant life!
I did modify the sky somewhat, chiefly by moving the sun!  Anyway, after "fiddling" for an entire day with trying to change the sky more dramatically, I gave up in disgust and fairly closely duplicated Rose's sky, in terms of the colors of the clouds.

I did well finding fabrics for the big mountain and the two foothills below it.  But then, again, I tried to be "creative" and changed up not only the colors of the hills and the foreground, but even added in two extra hills.  The result was that in doing this, the path just didn't look right, so I removed it.

Then, after all pieces had been cut out and pinned to my design wall, I was still dissatisfied, and so I made these changes:

1.  I cut out new cacti, in brighter greens--my first greens were too muted and got lost in the background.
2.  I eliminated the two extra hills.
3.  I bought two fat quarters batiks for the dark red hill and the red-violet one above it.
4.  I bought some gold batik that more closely replicated the colors in Rose's foreground.
5.  Most importantly, I restored the footpath, but I made the one at the bottom a bit narrower than Rose's pattern.

After the quilt is quilted, I will add some need white "dangles" for the flowers on the two cacti.  I might or might not add a bit of hand embroidery; Rose has much beading and embroidery on hers.  But perhaps Judy's quilting will be sufficient and I won't add anything.

Judy and I discussed how to bind the quilt.  She demonstrated a "facing" type binding, that interestingly, quilt designer Rose illustrated in the pattern.  Most definitely I will do this, since any other sort of binding would likely be distracting.  Incidentally, there are other directions on the web for how to face a quilt--this one was just the first one I found, and it most nearly duplicated what Rose demonstrated in her pattern directions.

When the quilt is quilted, I will add another photo to this post!