Sophie Standing Workshop: March 2019: Kookaburra

18 03 2019

I had the privilege of attending another 4-day workshop with textile artist, Sophie Standing. Last time (2017) we did a shell; this time, it was a kookaburra. I enjoyed the kookaburra more, as we could inject quite a lot of personality into its face (especially the eye) and body. Although some people used some pretty ‘out there’ fabrics, I always intended my kookaburra to be fairly realistic in its colours. So I chose fabrics that emulated its natural colours, as far as possible.

We all had quite a bit of prep to do before the workshop—in my case, that meant painting the background (leaves, flowers, branches, and a background wash over the blue duck fabric I used [note to anyone else doing something similar: check if the fabric is waterproof/water resistant! Mine was, so I had a hard time getting the background wash to take hold; the branches etc. I did with acrylics with a dry brush and no water in the mix, and they worked out much better). This was a residential workshop, so we could work as much as we wanted outside class time too. We stayed at Avalon Homestead about 5km outside Toodyay, Western Australia, which has two purpose-built crafting rooms, and 16 en suite bedrooms. Three yummy meals a day were part of the workshop fee too.

The photos below (click on an individual photo to see the detail) are just a selection of the ones I took showing the progress of my kookaburra—the full set is in this Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/albums/72157707423447255

The original photo of the kookaburra (permission was obtained from the photographer to use it)

The original photo of the kookaburra (permission was obtained from the photographer to use it)

My initial fabric choices; these changed a bit over the four days

My initial fabric choices; these changed a bit over the four days

Initial cutting, pinning, and placing fabric onto the background and drawing

Initial cutting, pinning, and placing fabric onto the background and drawing

We started stitching the beak by the end of Day 1

We started stitching the beak by the end of Day 1

Stitching the eye was the first task on Day 2

Stitching the eye was the first task on Day 2

Next came the head feathers and shading detail

Next came the head feathers and shading detail

Stitched tail feathers

Stitched tail feathers

Bird is all stitched, but the line between dark and light on the body was too harsh so I added large cream flowers to soften it

Bird is all stitched, but the line between dark and light on the body was too harsh so I added large cream flowers to soften it

The claws were fun to do, and, to place the bird properly on the branch, I did quite a lot of black stitching on the branch to blend the joins

The claws were fun to do, and, to place the bird properly on the branch, I did quite a lot of black stitching on the branch to blend the joins

The kookaburra is finished! Notice that the yellow flower fabric on the neck is now gone. I added a small cream and apricot Liberty print to cover it and stitched over it to blend it in. The shiny blue fabric was some lycra I picked up in the dance fabrics section

The kookaburra is finished! Notice that the yellow flower fabric on the neck is now gone. I added a small cream and apricot Liberty print to cover it and stitched over it to blend it in. The shiny blue fabric was some lycra I picked up in the dance fabrics section

I stitched the outlines and central veins of the painted leaves, the flowers, and the small branches

I stitched the outlines and central veins of the painted leaves, the flowers, and the small branches

End of Day 4. A flock of kookaburras!

End of Day 4. A flock of kookaburras!

I had a bit of time left on Day 4, so decided to try stitching a large eye. I chose a cat's eye and used about 20 different coloured threads to create this eye, which is about 2 inches high and 3 inches wide.

I had a bit of time left on Day 4, so decided to try stitching a large eye. I chose a cat’s eye and used about 20 different coloured threads to create this eye, which is about 2 inches high and 3 inches wide.

I had heaps of fun doing this class, and it reinforced how much I like thread painting. I really should do more of it.





Community Quilts 445 to 452

3 03 2019

Here’s the latest batch of quilts I quilted for the West Australian Quilters Association’s Community Quilts program. The first three are from quilt tops I made in January, all from scraps, many of which came from offcuts of previous Community Quilts.

(Click on a photo to view it larger)

Community Quilt 445

Community Quilt 446

 

 

Community Quilt 447

 

Community Quilt 448

 

Community Quilt 449

Community Quilt 450

 

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Community Quilt 451

 

Community Quilt 452

Photos of all the Community Quilts I’ve quilted are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/sets/72157630291250200/





Retreat with friends

20 01 2019

Early in January, I went on a 4-day quilting/sewing retreat with some friends. During that time I made a jelly roll rug (my first ever!), and four quilt tops. The jelly roll colours were much more vibrant than the photo shows. The jelly roll fabric was from the ‘Pastiche’ range by Jason Yenter, In The Beginning Fabrics (http://www.inthebeginningfabrics.com/ and http://www.inthebeginningfabrics.com/shop/c/p/Pastiche-Strip-Rolls-x28221827.htm).

The jelly roll instructions I used/modified are here: http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2018/06/jelly-roll-rug-tips-and-tutorial.html, with an accompanying 22-minute YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8xblarkuBg

 

Three of the quilt tops are simple — each took me about 4 hours from scrap fabric to a finished top, with borders. Each cut piece is 6.5 x 3.5 inches.

The other (pink one) was a scrappy improv quilt, where I take bits of sort of matching fabric scraps and sew them together, until I end up with other pieces of fabric that I can cut into blocks—in this case, 12.5 inch blocks. Then I added sashing strips and a border. This sort of improv quilt takes much longer than the simple scrappy ones, but it’s a good way to use up smaller scraps.

We all worked on our own projects, in that comfortable silence that good friends have. These retreats are good for my soul!

Look at this amazing wolf Jo made from a Violet Craft pattern!

And Carol has decided that usual sized hexies just aren’t enough (I can’t even do those!), so she does miniature ones! I think she’s mad!!

 





Community Quilts 432 to 444

10 01 2019

Here’s the latest batch of quilts I quilted for the West Australian Quilters Association’s Community Quilts program.

(Click on a photo to view it larger)

Community Quilt 432

Community Quilt 433

 

Community Quilt 434

Community Quilt 435

 

Community Quilt 436

Community Quilt 437

 

Community Quilt 438

Community Quilt 439

Community Quilt 440

Community Quilt 441

Community Quilt 442

Community Quilt 443

Community Quilt 444

 

Photos of all the Community Quilts I’ve quilted are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/sets/72157630291250200/





Community Quilts 423 to 431

5 12 2018

Another batch, most of which were done when I returned from my US trip. However, when I took photos of them, one of the settings on my camera must’ve been off as the photos came out very bleached. I’ve adjusted the brightness/contrast in my photo manipulation software, but the colours really don’t reflect the actual colours of the quilts. (I haven’t added this set to my Flickr page as I’m disappointed in the quality of the photos, and no longer have the quilts to retake photos from.)

(Click on a photo to view it larger)

Community Quilt 423

Community Quilt 424

Community Quilt 425

Community Quilt 426

Community Quilt 427

Community Quilt 428

Community Quilt 429

Community Quilt 430

Community Quilt 431

 





QV2018: Day 20: Houston Quilt Festival

13 11 2018

A very lazy day today. First task of the day was to pack my second suitcase.

Then I had brunch at Poitin with some Houston friends (I worked with Jason in Perth, some 10+ years ago; he and his wife Natalia have been living here for much of the intervening time). It was good to catch up with them again, and brunch was amazing, as were the two cocktails I had — yes, before noon!

This afternoon I wandered back to the exhibition and vendor mall — both were pretty quiet and the mania of the crowds on Thursday had gone. Memo to my future self: Unless there’s something specific you want to buy, wait until Sunday to check out the vendor area! I stopped in at the booth run by my friend Kim’s mom, and caught up with her for a while. Then as a group we convened near Michelle’s second prize entry, and she talked about how she and Sophie made it. Next stop were Helen’s two quilts, where Helen explained how she had made them.

For our last night, I had dinner with Michelle, Helen, Carol, and Lyn, and a ring-in Carol from New Zealand. And then it was all over.

Tomorrow some head off for other destinations, and I head off earlier than the others to IAH for my flight to DFW. Most of us are on the same DFW-SYD flight, though some will be in different classes and different parts of the plane. Once in Sydney (Wednesday), we lose the Tasmanians, the Canberran, and the Sydneysider, and I fly back to Perth on a later flight than those that remain.

And that’s it for another QuiltVenture. We don’t know yet if there’ll be another in two years’ time, and if so, where it will go. But travelling with a group of similar women and the friendships that ensue, can’t be underestimated. Many thanks to Michelle, especially, for being our fearless leader, and for organising yet another AMAZING trip. There’s an enormous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to make it all seem so easy, and Michelle is responsible for all that. Thank you, my friend.





QV2018: Envelope finish for art quilts

11 11 2018

In Grace Errea’s class at Houston, she gave us detailed instructions for finishing art quilts with an envelope (or pillowcase) finish, and then we created our own. Here are my notes from that class — hopefully I’ll be able to make sense of them next time I need to do this sort of finish:

  1. Pre-wash ALL fabrics before you start making the quilt — you’ll be wetting the quilt later when you block it (and you MUST block it), so you don’t want to ruin your work with fabrics that will run.
  2. Make the quilt top.
  3. Before you start quilting the art quilt, decide on the finish you want. If an envelope finish, then ONLY quilt two layers — the top and the batting. Do not add a backing fabric.
  4. Quilt as normal.
  5. Block the quilt.
    • Stretch the quilt onto a design wall, foam core board, or something solid.
    • Pin (using large T-pins) every two inches.
    • Pin the top edge first (from the middle out to the sides), then pull down and stretch the quilt and pin the bottom edge (also from the middle out). Repeat for the sides. (Note: Cindy Needham also does this, but she also marks a straight line on the top and right side [squared correctly, of course] to guide her when stretching and pinning her quilts.)
  6. Soak the quilt using a water sprayer until completely wet.
  7. Let dry — this could take hours in a hot climate, or days in a cooler climate. It must be completely dry before the next step.
  8. Once dry, unpin the quilt. Grace assured us it will never hang wonky again!
  9. Square the quilt and trim.
    • Cut one side, then use that cut side to mark the opposite side (typically in three places; use a square ruler or T-square if possible).
    • Cut the opposite side in the same way, following the marks.
    • If you’re not sure you’ll get it correct, then cut a little larger (each 1 inch all round), check the squareness, then cut again as necessary.
  10. Cut a backing piece a little larger than the trimmed quilt.
    • Cut 3″ off the top of the backing fabric.
    • Sew the 3″ piece back onto the backing fabric, using a long (or basting) stitch. Yes, this seems strange, but you’ll see why later…
    • Press the seam up towards the top of the backing fabric piece.
    • The final size of the backing piece should be the same as the trimmed quilt — if it’s too big, trim it to size.
  11. Place the right side of the backing fabric onto the front of the quilt (i.e. right sides together) and pin into place all around.
  12. Mark with a dot the 1/4″ vertical/horizontal position in each corner.
  13. Stitch with a 1/4″ seam down one side and STOP when you are ONE stitch from the 1/4″ mark.
  14. Backstitch for 3 stitches.
  15. Go forward three stitches, then pivot the piece diagonally.
  16. Stitch diagonally (usually one stitch, but might need two) to where you will start stitching your next side. This diagonal stitch should be just below the 1/4″ mark at the corner. It’s this diagonal stitch and trimming away the bulk (step 21) that gives the corners a sharp crisp finish.
  17. Pivot so you are ready to stitch the next side.
  18. Stitch 3 stitches, then backstitch 3 stitches.
  19. Continue stitching down this side.
  20. Repeat steps 12 to 19 for ALL sides. You will be fully enclosing the ‘envelope’.
  21. Trim all corners without cutting any stitches.
    • Trim the diagonal ‘ear’ off.
    • Then taper trim for about a half inch into the 1/4″ seam area.
    • You’re taking all the bulk out of the corner.
  22. Unpick the seam you basted earlier on the backing fabric.
  23. Turn the quilt out through the opening on the back, gently poking out the corners with a ROUNDED tool (e.g. chopstick, end of an artists’ brush etc.). Be careful not to poke all the way through!
  24. Finger turn and finger press the edges to make sure none of the backing fabric shows on the front and vice versa.
  25. Steam iron (or spritz) the edges to make then sharp and flat. Keep checking none of the fabric shows on the other side.
  26. You’ll need to do some more quilting (MINIMAL) to make sure you don’t have a loose and floppy back.
    • Turn the quilt so the back is facing up.
    • From the bottom, gently push any loose fabric into the gap in the backing fabric.
    • Go all around the quilt doing this.
    • Using straight pins, pin as you go after pushing any fullness in the gap. Start pinning from the edges.
    • Keep pushing excess looseness into the gap, and pinning as you do so.
    • When you’ve finished the main part of the quilt, do the same from the top of the quilt, pushing the looseness out of the fabric in the top 3 inches. Pin.
    • Turn the quilt over, and if you using basting pins, re-pin the quilt from the front side matching the straight pins on the back.
    • Once pinned, turn the quilt back and remove the straight pins from the back. (Grace uses straight tailors’ pins with very tiny heads and says she doesn’t bother with this step and the quilting goes over the top of those pins without a problem — she then removes them after quilting.)
    • Quilt minimally, using clear or smoke nylon thread (e.g. Madeira) top and bottom to match the quilt. The aim is to hold the layers together, not to quilt the death out of it — you’ve already done that, and any dense quilting now will only distort the quilt. Typically, you’d just quilt around the major elements of the quilt.
  27. Add a hanging sleeve — yes, this is another reason why you did that 3″ join earlier! Any puckers at that seam from the final quilting will be covered by the hanging sleeve.