Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Truly, Horrifyingly, Scary Halloween Quilt

A few years ago, I bought the Hocuspocusville pattern by Crabapple Hill. It's one of the embroidery quilts they designed for Halloween - twelve black floss on white background embroidered haunted houses/shops with a none-patch on point pieced center. Very cute. Lots of work. Like 2 years worth of embroidery and flame-ups of carpal tunnel syndrome from too much work.

I finally finished the quilt - just in time for Halloween! - just needed to block, bind, sleeve and label. Put it into my washer on gentle on cold, threw in a few color catchers (just in case). Opened the washer when it was done and, much to my horror, the black floss had bled, badly, all over the entire quilt. All of the previously white areas were now a dingy grey and because I had used a different fabric for the background for two of the blocks, it wasn't even the same dingy grey.

I've never fainted in my life, but I came very, very close this time.

So, I tried Synthrapol. Took out some, but still ugly. I tried Retayne. Also, took out some, but still ugly. I tried everything I could think of short of a bleach pen. Very nice people in my life told me, "It's okay." and "No, really, I kind of like it. It looks spooky."

Yeah. Spooky ugly. Especially since two of the twelve blocks reacted well to the washing - nearly reverting back to white. Had they all done this, I would have been satisfied. Not happy, but okay, but since the rest were still so dark, I had to do something!

After related my tale of woe to Lisa Jenni (art quilter extraordinaire), she suggest trying some discharge paste. Discharge paste isn't toxic to the fiber the way bleach is and it's thick enough to 'paint' on. So I tried it. First, on one block, where I went around everything. It took so long to do, I didn't bother trying to discharge the interior of the images. I was too afraid the floss would discharge and then it would be a total disaster.
Then I used a large brush and discharged the larger areas around the remaining 9 blocks.
So, it was better, but I couldn't leave it all that grey around each house. I kind of liked the interiors of the images the grey tint. The more I looked at it, and the more I showed it to friends, the more I grew to like this idea. So, I discharged the rest of the images.

But those top 2 center blocks still needed help. I had to figure out how to color them in so that they would blend with the rest of the blocks. Before coloring:

After coloring. I used a clear crayon then used 3 different colors to blend with the rest of the quilt images.

And, here's the 'finished' quilt:


Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Zion Collection

I finally got around to posting photos of the Zion Collection, a collection of 8 quilts I created using water colors created by fine artist Suze Woolf. She created her watercolors while serving as artist in residence at Zion National Park. I printed out the watercolors in different sizes and scales onto fabric and turned them into quilts. If you'd like to see them, visit my website.

Next up, I tell the epic story of the "Truly Horrifically Scary Halloween Quilt."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sun Goddess - What to do with a boring quilt

I made a convergence quilt top a couple of years ago. The technique, shown in a book by Ricky Tims, is to take 2 pieces of fabric, cut them in varying widths of strips, sew them together, and repeat. It creates an interesting illusion, but not even interest for my taste. After mulling what to do, and getting great input from my buddies in my small quilt group, I decided to paint it. I almost just threw it away, so I had nothing to lose.

I found inspiration in the Sun Goddess that hangs on the wall on the back of the house. I took a digital photo of it, traced it, scanned the trace, printed it onto a transparency, projected it onto my design wall and copied it to a large pieced freezer paper for a template. I carefully cut out the design, separating the 2 halves of the sunbeams, and gently dabbed paint onto the surface of the quilt top. I was very careful to make sure that the paint wasn't wet or it would run.

I love the effect! This quilt, that I very nearly tossed into the garbage on more than one occaision now has personality. I cannot wait to stitch it!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Let's try one more

At the excellent suggestion of a friend, I've added one more piece to the value study - light trees, dark background. My trio has become a quartet.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Quilt 6 - Into the Woods

Into the Woods - 2012

This quilt was started on Day 6 of my quilting challenge in October 2009. It is a value study. It started as simple shapes but came to life as trees. I stitched the limbs of the trees on my Bernina home machine and quilted it also on that machine. The edges were zig zagged rather than a traditional binding.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Quilt 5 - Fierce!

Originally entitled "Oscar the Ostrich," I thought Fierce! was a much more apt name. This quilt was begun at the Empty Spools workshop in Asilomar, CA, in 2010, given by Hollis Chatelain. I started with a photograph taken by Denise Larsen at the Ostrich Farm in Aruba. The fabric was dye painted then thread painted and quilted. Angelika fibers were added to the background clouds to give them shimmer.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fourth Quilt - Going With the Flow

Going With the Flow

I began this quilt on Day 5 - Actual Texture, creating texture with fabric and embellishment. If you go to the original work, you won't see the extensive beading. I also added a face to the center of the sun. This bead was made from an original glass bead. I made a mold and the fashioned this one out of clay and painted it. The Victorian lace beadwork on the bottom was all done by hand using a technique I learned from Larkin Jean van Horn's book "Beading on Fabric."

I promise this is the last blog post today.