Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

Painting on Silk – An Experiment

August 7, 2019

Betty Busby teaches how to paint on silk with any kind of acrylic paint. As long as it is liquidy enough, the results are fabulous. The experiments I’ve made with scarf-weight silks have all been great fun. Here is one I did recently. The blue and pinky-purple paints were very watery; the green paint was thick, almost straight from the bottle.

This week I experimented with raw silk. I like the heft, and the effect I get with applique or embroidery. Here is the first piece, my own study in (nearly) scarlet.

My last experiment was both painted and dyed. I spotted the silk with yellow dye first, then scrunched it and poured on the remaining red paint. When that was nearly dry, I add some spots of pink. As with the green in the first piece, I added very little water to the pink paint.

I think all of these experiments will eventually end up as a base for embroidery, probably landscapes. If you have a few squares of silk and some leftover acrylic paint, make your own experiments. Be sure to send pictures – I would love to see the results!

Luck and wisdom!

Spreading the Joy of Quilting

May 1, 2019

100 kits in the boxes – we went through at least half

My guild was offered a booth at a local historical event – Sheep Shearing Days – and I volunteered to staff it. I knew we would be in the kids crafts section, so we brought kits of felt and cotton squares, with embroidery floss to stitch them together. I figured parents would haul their young ‘uns up and say, “Try this!” I was wrong. It was the kids who came up, eyes sparkling, waiting for me to ask, “Would you like to sew?” Not all of them knew how to keep the thread in the needle as they stitched, but all of them loved the feeling of fabric against their fingers. Will any of these children – boys and girls – become quilters in the future? Who can say. All I know is there are at least 50 families in the area that have a new appreciation for quilting. Not bad for an afternoon outreach event.

These blocks really drew in the visitors!

Luck and wisdom!

Story Boards and Story Scrolls

December 19, 2018

Here is a quick(ish) project for those of you who tell stories to young – or at least young at heart – audiences and want a different visual aid. Story boards can be made in minutes with scraps and glue. Story scrolls take a little longer, but use more scraps.

My friend and co-author Ann Anastasio and I made some Sunbonnet Sue story boards for a program we wrote ages ago. I recently unearthed the collection, which includes Sunbonnet Sue in the Odyssey (above), and Sunbonnet Sue on Safari (below). We cut simple shapes, glued them on poster board, embellished with puff paint and hot-glued binding strips around the edge.

For the last Challenge Group project, I made some scrolls from scraps. The assignment was to do something on the theme of A Winter Tale. I went more literal than Shakespearan, and made a set of scrolls. A long scrap of fabric within reach set the dimensions for the scroll. I layered batting and fabric scraps on the wrong side, machine-quilted everything together, and zig-zagged the raw edges. Leftover pieces of a dowel became the spindles, with flat buttons and a pyramid bead hot-glued on each end for finials. I looped one end of the scrolls around each completed dowel, sewed it in place, then attached a ribbon on the back.

I have no idea what sort of tale I might tell to fill a long winter evening, but it will definitely include space aliens.

Luck and wisdom!

Pour Art

September 26, 2018

I haven’t been able to do anything in the sewing room, what with a gimpy foot and all. Even handwork is out of the question since I have to keep the puffy little thing elevated (at the moment it looks like a watermelon), which keeps me at an odd angle on the couch, which means more beads fall on the floor than get captured by my needle. The only thing I have to look at is older work, such as this small canvas.

My art critique group held a play date where we all made two pieces by pouring paint over canvas. For once, I choose a restrained color scheme, and the results were much better than anything I’ve ever tried with paint.

The small canvas looks like an architectural detail to me, while the piece above reminds me of a satellite image, or perhaps a riverscape. I’m not sure what I will do with either canvas. For the moment, I’m reveling in the knowledge that less really can be more.

Luck and wisdom!

Felt Patches with Buttons

April 25, 2018

I unearthed more felt in my studio. I have no idea when – or why – I bought it. Still, it’s in my possession so I figure I should turn it into a project. My other felt patches worked pretty well, so I decided to go smaller and use up some of my button collection with this latest experiment.

This is a great project to sew while watching TV. If you have a bunch of precut squares and leftover floss, you can keep your fingers occupied through many a binge-watching session. I had a supply of 2” strips, so I cut the first felt square 2 ½ inches, the second 3 inches.

These little patches can be attached to tote bags, pillows, quilts, dog collars, baseball hats, whatever you have around that cries out for embellishment. If you decide to make some, send me a picture of where they end up. We could start our little journey of the traveling patches.

Luck and wisdom!

Leftovers

March 7, 2018

I had some green felt left over from the project with ribbon roses, and some hand-dyed purple cotton thread, so I decided to resurrect my purplework project. Purplework is like redwork, just in purple. I thought I had sketched some patterns a long time ago, but I couldn’t find them. “Self,” I said, “wing it.”

Target or alien spaceship?

To be honest, I did use Helen Stubbings’ Simply Redwork for inspiration. The motif in the picture above is the whole reason I bought the book.

These flowers are from her book too. Once I finished them, I took out some other embroidery books and played.

Sea creature or alien spaceship?

I’m not sure what I was thinking with this one. I might add beads, or I might turn the pointy motif into a tiny sea creature by adding legs and antennae.

This last piece definitely needs more beads. I started with a paisley motif, but stopped partway through because I liked the idea of hanging flowers. Now I’m not so sure. The great thing about this project is everything was left over, so even if I’m not entirely pleased with the result I’ve learned something for the next time.

Luck and wisdom!

Beading Projects, Holiday Miracles, and Me

December 6, 2017

The first of the holiday miracles occurred this week. I finished the beading-projects-in-progress. The shy little orange piece finally told me what it wanted.

I considered making more tassels, but then I saw some other large beads and knew that less would be more with something that measures only 4″ x 6″.

The less is more school of beading worked for the green stripe piece too. I added a few extra lines of embroidery after I did the running stitch around the edge and called it good.

The piece begged for minimalist embroidery. I used a turquoise silk ribbon. This is my first foray into silk ribbon embroidery, but definitely won’t be the last.

This piece really kept its wishes hidden. I put on the two small gold beads, waited a day, beaded the lines with the large wooden blue beads, waited a day, and attached the bronze rectangle. By that time I was done listening to the piece. A double row of running stitches seemed sufficient.

My holiday wish for you is that all your projects go well throughout the season.

Luck and wisdom!

When You Inherit Fabric

November 29, 2017

Being a quilter is a little bit like being a crazy cat lady. There’s always one more cutie that needs a good home, so you open the door and say, “Come on in! We’ll find a corner for you someplace.” The problem is when you go to that Great Fabric Store In The Sky someone else has to find a new home for your treasures. I’ve inherited a little bit of fabric from relatives, but a lot more from other people’s relatives. I don’t feel bound to finish someone else’s project, but I do enjoy seeing if I can be inspired by it.

My friend Sue Waldron gave me a small bag of fabric cut and ready to make pins. I actually intended to make a few, but when I looked through the bag some of the pieces whispered, “Say, wouldn’t we make great miniature beading pieces instead?” So that’s what they’re becoming.

Pretty fabric, beads, and black felt – what could be easier?

This turquoise one wanted to be minimalist. A disc and a few beads and snap! We’re done.

How fortunate to have beads that match the green stripe!

This one begged for a little loop. It might be begging for a fringe or a tassel, but I’m not sure. It could be the extra piece of chocolate-cherry trifle I ate talking and not the art piece.

Still in progress

This one is a little shy. I used a variegated thread to attach the silk to the black felt, then put down a squiggle of beads. It needs another squiggle or two, but after that, who knows. I’ll have to listen a little more carefully, and avoid overindulging in cherry-chocolate trifle.

Luck and wisdom!

Heat: A Whine

September 6, 2017

We had ourselves a doozy of a heat wave last weekend. We were hosting visitors, and we knew that the forecast high at our house was 114 degrees. We decided to go into San Francisco, where the high was supposed to be 88. The forecasters were wrong. The all-time city record was broken as temperatures downtown reached 106.

We melted along with the city, then melted a little more when we arrived home and discovered the forecasters were all too accurate in their estimation of the heat in our area. Unfortunately, they were also accurate in the forecast for the rest of the weekend. Oh, yes, the heat abated degree by degree. On the day our company left it was a relatively mild 97.

I made us all badges to celebrate surviving the Great Heat Wave of 2017.

The sun’s flames felt a little too close

Luck and wisdom!

Gifts of the Sun (sort of)

August 30, 2017

The Great American Eclipse didn’t go over my house. We had 75% coverage, which was enough for the sky to darken a little and beautiful crescent suns to appear on the patio under the leaf-covered pergola. I wanted to make an art quilt to commemorate this gift from the sun (and moon), and used the American Quilter’s Society free pattern “Luna” as a starting point. The pattern represents a lunar eclipse. I turned my version into a solar eclipse with embroidery and a well-placed button.

The eclipse in felt and thread

The base is a piece of hand-dyed wool felt that fiber artist Gail Sims made. She used leaves she collected from her yard. I liked the idea of showing the progress of the eclipse on the ground, which is the way I watched it.

The well-placed button

The next gifts come from a land of midnight sun. My friend and sister quilter Margaret Misegades was on a cruise to Norway. Knowing my fondness for antlered animals, she found something reindeer at each port of call.

This is adorable

I plan to use my little pitcher for cream once the temperature drops enough that I can drink hot tea again.

Such a grand addition to my fridge magnet collection

The reindeer magnet is remarkably strong as well as just so darn cute. Even my grocery coupons look cool underneath it.

These pencils are wonderful, and I still use pencils a lot, but to be honest I’m thinking about using them as part of a table display for Christmas with flowers – fresh or silk – and maybe one of my birds.

Luck and wisdom!