Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Stitching, stitching....

 This post is linked to Needle and Thread Network - WIP Wednesdays
Take a look at what other Canadians fibre artists are doing this week.

I spent the last two weeks stitching every evening on this little piece.  It's just 5" x 7".  I didn't count while I stitched but there must be thousands of stitches.   I started off by drawing a clump of pitcher plants on white fabric and painting it with caran d'ache pencils.  Then I fused it to a brownish patterned batik and handstitched - first the plant - then every space around it.  Sometimes I don't know why I do this but once I start I just keep on stitching. I just enjoy the process.  I used a combination of  floss, silk ribbon, and heavy silk threads.

Hand stitched pitcher plant
Here's a close up view

The original photo inspiration was one that I took either in Newfoundland or Cape Breton Island.  Unfortunately I can seem to find the origin so that I could post an electronic copy of it.

We had some serious rain here last week and my lilacs really started to droop over my patio.

Covering my tiny patio with blooms

A bit waterlogged but still beautiful!
Alas this week they are starting to fade away.....I so love lilacs!!

PS - Found it!  Here is the inspiration for my stitched pitcher plant.  Great foliage surrounding it!
Pitcher Plant - See how they start to turn grey as they age:)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Reflections at Fishing Cove

A couple of years ago I took a photograph of the sun shining through shallow water, spreading a yellow glow and  leaving prisms on the rocks.  I love this photo and wanted to turn it into fibre art.
See the lovely reflections and rainbows on the rocks
 So that was my inspiration for this piece.  I originally wanted to complete it in time to enter it into Threadworks whose theme this year was 'Water'.  However it didn't get finished in time.  I appliqued colourful 'rocks' onto a black background, hand stitched underwater flora and added some dyed cheesecloth here and there.  I free motion stitched each rock with a variety of threads.
Measure carefully and hope for the best!
When I was happy with the results I covered the whole piece with a fine yellow orange tulle.  Then I stitched over the whole piece with yellow 'ripples'.   I trimmed the edges, attached the piece to a larger black background and zigzagged it down.   Then I wrapped the black edges around a 12" x 12"stretched canvas and stapled them on.

Et voila!
Here is a close up view.
The tulle gives it a golden glow which doesn't show up very well here
So there it is.  I liked the way the ripples give it some motion.  It's too bad I was too late for the juried show but I like the results. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hand Dyes, Backyard Blooms, and Life

I can't believe it's been over a week since I posted on my blog.  After attending a quilt show last weekend and purchasing some lovely hand dyes, my week started out well with a fibre art play date which was so fun.  Things went downhill from there - trying to get estimates for home repairs, more physio and exercises for my aching neck, and trying not to overdo things.   It was all put into perspective later in the week when we had a medical emergency in the family.   Even though it all ended well, we got quite a scare.   It reminded me of what is really important.

After catching up on my sleep this morning I took my camera out to my wild backyard to try to unwind and photograph wildflowers and weeds and other things that grow...Grass refuses to grow very well in my yard but wildflowers have taken over (and some weeds too) and I have planted some ground cover like sedums and periwinkle.   So every spring I let the flowers bloom and turn my yard into a meadow.   After they are finished blooming I mow the lawn.  I was worried about what the neighbours might think until my next door neighbour leaned over the fence and said how much they love my backyard - maybe I'll start a trend - grass is so overrated.
lots of forget me nots and some pesky dandelions ( I'll pull them by hand)

Mmm...I love lilacs

Even my apple tree is blooming

I think these purple ones are weeds but they are pretty

does anyone recognize them?

What a mixture!

A young maple which might need to go:(

Even the lowly dandelion is quite beautiful

A young grape leaf

Hostas are starting to unfurl

Looking Up

My ash - treated last year and doing well so far

Looking up again through the trees
 I am always thinking of making art and my focus lately has been on foliage and a leaning towards trying a more impressionistic style.  These photos are inspiring me.

And what else is inspiring me?    These beautiful hand dyes by Elaine Quehl  that I purchased last weekend at the quilt show.   Each one by itself is a work of art

When I look at this one it feels like I am looking up through the foliage to the sky -  just like my photos.

Aren't they beautiful!!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

More on Using Strips of Fabric

I was asked if I teach the method I used in the piece I posted on Tuesday.  I had laid down strips of fabric and stitched the heck out of them.  The fact is, it's the first time I have ever done anything like this and I learned as I went along.  Looking at my inspiration photo with all its horizontal lines I just came up with an idea to do some kind of linear piece.   I'd seen fibre art done in cut strips and even felted landscapes done in a linear fashion as well.   I needed that effect.  Tearing the strips makes it a little less rigid looking for the reflections and I remembered seeing torn strips used somewhere so decided to try it.  I needed something to work on at our quilt retreat, so quickly laid the strips on fabric covered in fusible web and stitched away at them adding hand stitching at the end.
original photo
I still couldn't remember where I saw torn strips used in a quilt so today I googled it.   Well, if you want to see someone who knows what she is doing with torn fabric landscapes you need to see Heather Lair's work!!   It is fabulous! I believe she teaches workshops as well.  I see that she leaves her edges loose to give a softer more 3D effect.  Take a look!
 Heather Lair Designs - Torn Fabric Quilts

 A feast for your eyes!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Torn Fabric Piece Completed

I finished up my torn fabric piece by adding a backing, zigzagging the edges and mounting on a painted stretched canvas.  I didn't want a fancy border because the piece is busy enough.

Backing fabric

Painting the Canvas

Reflections in a Swamp - complete!

Close up

It's a real departure for me and a learning curve.  I have already started another one which is meant to have water lilies on it......we'll see.

I also finished a little hand stitched piece.  It's 4 x 4" and made up of tiny flowers, fields and trees on my favourite background fabric.   It took hours of stitching.   The flowers in the foreground are mostly silk ribbon with floss for the background ones.

Fields of Flowers

Framed under glass but the glass can easily be removed
I framed it under glass because some customers prefer the added protection but I think I like it better without the glass so you can see the texture of the flowers.  It is easily removed though (I have a pile of frame glass that I have removed from other pieces.   Someday I'll find a use for them - perhaps).

I will be linking this post to WIP Wednesdays over at the Needle and Thread Network.  Take a look.
WIP Wednesdays

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Show and Tell at Quilting Gallery and CQA Trend Tex Challenge

Just a little reminder to hop over to Quilting Gallery before 6pm on Monday to view this week's pieces for Show and Tell.   There is some lovely Appliqued work.  You get to vote and if you leave a comment you can win a prize.Quilters' Gallery Show and Tell - Applique
On the Rocks - my entry for show and tell
I also noticed that The Trend Tex Challenge quilts are now on display Trend Tex Challenge    The theme is Sunshine and Vines.   It is interesting to see how different quilters used the 5 fabrics (we were allowed to add a couple more).   This was my entry.

Happiness is a Walk in the Sunshine

Friday, May 3, 2013

Change of Plans -Ribbon Embroidery

A few posts ago I showed some of my latest ribbon embroideries.
This one is on a 4 x 4 background though I showed it in a 3 x 5 mat.   When I was auditioning a fabric for the back it looked so good against the purple that I decided to turn it into a little wall hanging instead.  I started by turning it upside down so the leaf design on the background showed up better.
This purple leafy fabric is too nice to be on the back of a framed piece

 Then I machine stitched tiny leaves around the green to anchor it to the purple.  I was surprised and pleased that my machine obeyed and the stitching worked out - with only a few glitches.
Leaf stitch around the green background

Close up of leaf design
However the free motion quilting was another story.   I added batting and backed it with another piece of purple.   Then I spent 2 frustrating hours this afternoon trying to machine quilt.   No matter what I did, my threads did terrible things on the back, the machine seized up, the air was blue!!!   I followed instructions in quilting books to the letter (and tried all the suggestions given to me by my machine quilting friends).  I threaded and re threaded.  I changed tensions.   I changed needles.  I lay the thread horizonally.  I stood it up vertically.....By the end I was getting pretty fed up with all the 'happy talk' in the quilting books:(  One piece of advice I did finally take - stop and have a cup of tea - which I did).  I think I needed something stronger than tea though!  

And I have a confession to make.   Though I am determined to learn how to machine quilt after years of hand quilting,  I have to confess I don't love my machine!!   After a few tries which end up with clunking, broken threads, nests on the back and the machine finally seizing up I am ready to pull out a canvas and paint.   I'm beginning to think that machines are like animals.  They can sense my fear.   After years of being soothed and satisfied by hand stitching,  I know that is my thing.  It's what I love to do.   I am going outside now to sit  in the sun and I am going to hand quilt this piece.   Maybe I'll try again another day.....

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Another Look at "On the Rocks: Sometimes You Just Need to Get Away"

I have written about this piece before when it was brand new.   The reason I'm  posting about it again is because I have entered it in this week's Quilting Gallery Show and Tell.   The theme is applique and this piece is all about applique -  the mermaid, her hair, penguin, octopus, rocks, waves, boat, book, sunglasses weeds. starfish - all are appliqued by hand to a hand painted background then hand quilted.  The piece is 24.5" x 19.5".  I guess I was thinking back to my busy years spent raising children and dreaming of the perfect getaway.   I was also influenced by a song called Wanderlust written by Connie Kaldor.    Every once in a while we all need to get away from it all.

Every week there is a different theme.  If you want to enter a piece or find out more information  go to Quilting Gallery - Quilters' Show and Tell    On Friday you can visit to view the entries and vote for your favourites.   And there are prizes!

I'm linked up to the  Needle and Thread Network - WIP Wednesdays   Check out what other Canadian fibre artists are up to this week.