Monday, April 25, 2011


        Here are photos of my friends' beautiful orchids. Click on the pictures to see a close-up view.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Glimpse at The Iguana - Mosaic

I have spent the last two weeks completing Prairie Sky and working on my commissioned piece (which is in its final stages).   In between I am quilting my mosaic reptile a few rows at a time.   I started by drawing a small picture of a lizard/iguana,  colouring it in with markers and dividing it into small squares.   I counted the number of squares on each side and decided to make each mosaic 'tile' one inch square.   Where there were two colours on a tile I further divided it into 2 triangles.    By doing it this way I didn't need to make an actual size pattern.   I just counted squares.    I chose fabric for each different colour of square, attached fusible to the back, and cut several one inch squares of each colour.   Sometimes I needed to audition several different fabrics if the one I had chosen did not fit with the rest of the piece.   I used a red transparent plastic 'viewer' to look at the whole design from time to time.   If one colour does not blend it will really stand out when you are looking at it through the red plastic.     I really enjoyed the process of fitting the pieces together and seeing my reptile appear.   The difficult part was placing them on the black background without ironing them down until all were placed and I was happy with the result.    I kept knocking them off and my cat seemed to have developed an interest on jumping up onto it at the most crucial moments.   Finally I was happy with it and I carefully pressed and fused each square into place.  I left the black background showing between the squares.  I decided it was prudent not to stitch each square by hand.  Instead I chose 4 colours of quilting thread which matched the colours in the piece and, after adding batting and backing, I quilted the whole thing in snaky lines across the piece.   I am not quite finished but here is a photo of my drawing and my piece before starting to quilt.  I'm not sure if I will call it an Iguana or Lizard.  Any ideas for a name for this colourful creature?

I started with this small (5 x 7") drawing.

Here is the piece just after fusing and before starting to quilt (it's a little curvy because I placed it over the back of my sofa to photograph it).   When it is finished I'll post another photo of the end result.  The finished size should be about 24" x 16".

For my next mosaic I would like to tackle a human face......but first to finish this one.  I'll probably just add a narrow black binding after quilting.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Painting Fabric

After borrowing Mickey Lawler's book - Skydyes - from our Fibre Arts Group Library in February, I got inspired and  I decided to dye some fabric with Setacolours.   I had some motivation (besides playing) since I am starting a mermaid piece and wanted to use hand dyed skies and water.   Of course it required first purchasing more colours of dye and some good white cotton fabric.   A couple of weeks ago, I sat down and started painting.   I have done some dyeing before but tried to approach this as an experiment.   Over the week,  I had several sessions with the paints trying different brushes and colour combinations.  I dampened the fabric and used sponge brushes for broad strokes and some watercolour brushes for finer details.   I used coarse salt on some of them to create movement (sometimes got more than I bargained for).   One thing I learned is to keep the colours clean or the whole piece will end up looking muddy (this happened to me before!).  I loved the way colours ran into each other - as long as I was careful about which colours to place next to each other.    I think ML discusses this in her book.   BTW, I think ML's book is well worth purchasing.   I found it very informative with lots of practical suggestions.    Sometimes just looking and the beautiful results of someone's work can motivate us.

I hope to use one of these as a one-piece background for my mermaid.  Who knows where the others will turn up.  I tried experimenting with some darker colours for rocks as well with interesting results but haven't photographed them yet.