Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cherrywood Hand-Dyed Fabric: Lion KIng Challenge - "Feline Fashionista"

Cherrywood Hand-Dyed Fabrics, the company that sponsored the Wicked Challenge in 2014, has a new challenge about the Broadway play Lion King. The challenge began with three of their hand dyed fabrics in a beautiful gradation of yellow oranges. The finished size is 20" square. Any of their other hand dyed fabrics could be used as long as the focus fabrics dominated. The challenge is due in August-I created mine over the winter because that's my main sewing time. I was purposely NOT sharing my quilt but Cherrywood used it on their Facebook page and this first photo is from American Quilt Society which Cherrywood shared with me from Facebook. The point is my quilt called "Feline Fashionista" has gone viral!!

This is the full view of my quilt of the female lead character Nala. This is a promotional pose I found on Pinterest. When I drew up the design I was having trouble drawing the hand so I laid my own hand on the paper and this worked! This quilt has tons of embellishment-fabric paint, fabric markers, bouche yarn/metallic yarn (hair), nail polish, beads, sequins, metallic trim (collar), rhinestones and, a new embellishment for me, Derwent Intense colored pencils. 

I was intrigued by the painted dots on Nala's face as the starting point of this quilt. I used a red Pigma Micron pen and white paint after the quilting was complete to create the dots. Her eyes are very intense and draw you into her world. I used the Derwent colored pencils on the brow bone area of the eyes and to shade the dress.

i love the contrast of Nala's dark yet shimmery lips! As a hairdresser and mother to a grown daughter with ethnic hair, I love texture in Nala's hair!! I braided several strands of a black/brown bouche yarn with a metallic yarn/thread and hand tacked it to the quilt making sure it was "bumpy and full of texture." I had a blast creating Nala for the challenge and felt I was creating her costume/hair and make up. This is why I named it "Feline Fashionista." I hope it makes the cut after two social media photos of my quilt. The exhibit will travel across the USA this fall and in 2017. It will be at the 2016 Houston IQF Show so I can see it for the first time. Like the Wicked Challenge, it is very impressive to see hundreds of 20" square quilts all the same color on display!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

New Portrait Quilt: Raspberry Swirl

This is my newest portrait quilt. I was inspired by a cool hair color I discovered on Pinterest. I saved the photo and for the first time I used Microsoft Photoshop and posterized the image to separate the colors and values. I was playing around with Photoshop and thought I would see if it would help me out and save time. It did and I would use this feature again. I was also inspired by the color purple after Prince's passing and wanted to use it in the quilt. I used all but one fabric from the same line from Keep Me In Stitches in Appleton WI in the background. It is a tiny white square with different colored backgrounds-it looks like polka dots from a distance. 

This is a detailed view of the face and some of the hair. I went crazy with detail for this project. I had 7-8 pinks, magentas and purple batiks for the hair and 5-6 skin tone colors as well. I used many different colors of thread in the hair area to connect the applique pieces and give the appearance of strands of hair. The mouth gave me a problem-she looked as if she had an under bite. To fix this I took a purple fabric marker on the bottom lip and "canceled" the excess out. Then when I was machine quilting the upper lip I added a bit extra and it is to my satisfaction and balanced!

To create the swirly circular background I cut a piece of muslin as the foundation piece and fused the different colors in place keeping the area where the portrait will be fused open.

This is the finished quilt top only. I added the purple border to pick up more of the purple. I thought about a floral batik with the coordinating colors but it was too busy and took away from the portrait. I used it for the binding!

This is the finish quilt blocked and sewn with a sleeve and label. Could I be done? Yes but embellishments are so fun-it's like wearing a garment and not adding jewelry or hair accessories. It is acceptable but the jewelry or embellishments add that extra zing!!

This is detail view of the hair and the ear. Ears are hard to do because they always have lots of parts to get the realistic appearance. The finished quilt has a few large flower shaped sequins sewn to the outer border and one became an earring. I enhanced the eye with fabric paint. I used two hologram nail polishes in the swirly parts of the background to accentuate the movement of the background. I was influenced by Prince's song Raspberry Beret and used it in the title of this quilt called "Raspberry Swirl!" It sounds like a flavor of ice cream and that's okay too!! I will enter it in the Wisconsin Quilt Expo which has a June 30th deadline for a September show. Next on the list is my Prince quilt which will be interesting since I have never made a male portrait quilt!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Art Quilts Around The World Facebook Group Challenge: Kitsch

 My Facebook art quilt group "Art Quilts Around The World" has it's current challenge reveal today. It was my turn to select the topic and I chose "Kitsch!" This group has a Facebook group page and a few of the members seemed to have trouble with this one!! I LOVE kitsch and discovered the actual word in 2005 when I bought a book called Kitschy Christmas. I have been doing kitschy dress and decorating for years but had no idea there was a name for it. Kitsch is a description of styling things with excess, tacky on purpose, a busyness of prints/objects or over cutesie. Examples of kitschy are cute kittens, troll dolls, garden gnomes or pink flamingos and over sequined/rhinestoned garments/jewelry/quilts. I love to push the limit in the way I dress and wear things a bit "off" the norm to test people. I put a small amount of kitsch in many of my projects so this was a fun and easy project for me!! On Facebook I found a page called Kitschy Living which provides lots of ideas and plenty of laughs!
 I love cat eye glasses and have a board of such on Pinterest. I found a pin of a pair of glasses with an excessive amount of flowers and rhinestones and knew this was my topic for this challenge. I also love large amounts of plastic fruit and have some beads in bright colors but could not finds them when I was making this project. I did find them recently and will use them in another project a la Carmen Miranda! I then selected a rainbow color scheme with a wavy stripe and a large polka dot for the dress. I have a rainbow trim that has a pull thread to rusch it which I added to the dress neckline. I chose red hair because it was the most garish-I combined curly and straight hair for more kitschyness and  added glitter nail polish for highlights. I found the fantastic flower beads at Joann Fabrics to complete the crazy glasses plus a rainbow of rhinestones in a variety of sizes. I quit adding embellishments and kept the emphasis on the glasses and the mix of prints.
This is a close up view of the background and dress fabrics and the rusched trim. I also used variegated thread.
The next theme is "Vision Board" due July 31, 2016. I have an idea based on a hair color I wish I had. Being a hairdresser I see lots of images of new and innovative hair color!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Summer Flowers" Modern Quilt

I bought the book "Sister Sampler Quilts" by AnneMarie Chany with Christmas money. I had done one of AnneMarie's BOMs in 2015 using 9" blocks and I liked her designs and her instructions. This book has three BOMs and I chose to do the newest one called "Bonfire" in a 9" block. Her version had beige where I have the large floral and I thought that was way too boring so I selected the large floral and added the five recommented number of colors to make the quilt-red, peach/orange, yellow, grass green and turquiose. It now reminds me of summer flowers! It is a BOM which then displayed completed blocks on Instagram (which I'm not on) and on the Gen X Quilters Facebook page. I got to April's block and decided to just make the quilt!
The outside half square triangles, both piecing and quilting them, were rather boring but the blocks were a lot of fun. I hadn't sewed much with curved piecing or string piecing in a long time and both styles add to the quilt. It is machine quilted on my regular sewing machine with white, red and variegated thread.
 These are a few of my favorite blocks in which we made two of the same block but in different colorways.
 Some of the curved piecing.
String piecing using a rainbow color layout and it was a great idea using random strips!
I am now going to devote the next several quilt projects to ONLY portrait quilts. I have a few ideas drawn up and I am inspired to do a Prince portrait quilt. I have purchased the "unofficial" Purple Rain fabric from Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics, from Minnesota, for that project. I am playing around with photo manipulation to posterize and pixel pictures for a different technique. I'm never bored.....!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May 1994: A Blast From The Past

I was pulling quilts for an upcoming quilt guild lecture next week for a Portrait Quilt Trunk Show. I like to show a few of my first portrait quilts to explain to people that if the desire is there and the willingness to learn the technical and artistic aspects of portrait quilts anyone can do it. My first few attempts were not show stoppers!
In the early 1990s I wanted to make portrait quilts. I knew how to draw and I figured out with tissue paper to make the applique pieces. But there were a few setbacks. I needed to learn how to piece, cut with a rotary cutter, sandwich the quilt and quilt it, add a binding and then I only had hand applique. I wanted to put pictures/motifs on a background but I only knew about hand applique. 
This quilt is an example of my hand applique experience. The quilt is from May 1994 and is a "selfie" of myself and my daughter Jordana just before she was 8 years old. I actually was smart enough to put a quilt label on the back and I called it "Mother and Daughter." This is bittersweet since we just celebrated Mother's Day! It also has my old rotary phone number which I had forgotten!!
I didn't enjoy hand applique at all! I quit making portrait quilts and made traditional pieced quilts which taught me the technical ropes. In 2005 I had nearly given up on quilting because of traditional quilt boredom and unaware of the Internet's potential. I was in a local bead shop in Appleton Wisconsin when I ran into a quilter friend who was now embracing art quilts. She told me about fusible web and how I iron motifs to a background to create a picture. I was elated and made my first raw edged fused portrait quilt in late 2005 and haven't stopped since. I buy Wonder Under by the bolt now!!
Back to the quilt in the photo. I see some similarities to how I proceed now. Portrait quilts, scrappy fabric choices, radiating quilting lines from the back of the portrait, the curves lines in the neck and shoulder area, the shape of the nose, the bright colors, a label on the back and a hanging sleeve.
What is new and improved in 26 years-I machine quilt and I quilt heavily, I do not embroider the facial features but raw edge fuse applique them. I block my quilts for a better shape. I square up everything at every step so the end result is square. My bindings are narrower, the corners sharper and there is no space in the binding that the judges dislike. Even though a judge's comments can hurt one's feelings it is for the best to technically improve! I use batiks as much as possible and, in general, the fabrics available to us currently are so much greater than 26 years ago!!
I would have placed the colorful blocks on the bottom of the quilt and added more of them for visual balance but it is still a nice sentimental quilt. I also would have had less background/negative space and more fussy cut butterflies. And I learned to add embellishments to my quilts if they are hanging on the wall.
This project was my first attempt at the Hoffman Challenge! It did not make the cut (I see why now!) and I didn't enter again until 2010 which did make the cut. I have had five quilts in the Hoffman Challenge since 2010 and 2016s is made and has been submitted for judging.
It's fun to look at old quilts to see where we were artistically and technically and how our supplies have changed and advanced to make better quilts.
I hope you have some oldie but goodie quilts or if you are a new quilter to save you projects and label them with at least a date!!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

"Half Pint": Little House On The Prairie Quilt Along Project

I discovered Downton Abbey on PBS last fall then discovered Andover Fabrics Downton Abbey themed fabric and Ebony Love (a quilt pattern designer)had done several Quilt Alongs using their fabrics. Andover Fabrics, in late 2015, designed a line of fabric replicating the fabrics from the TV Show Little House on the Prairie and Ebony was ready with a new quilt along. It began in early January 2016 and each WEEK participants would receive a part of the quilt mystery. The fabric styles were divided into two families called "Dear Ma" (reds/browns) and "Dear Pa" (blues/light pink) or you could use your own fabrics. I purchased the "Dear Ma" collection from using my birthday $$. It was intense doing so much each week but it was winter and quilting and sewing is what I do! Ebony provided two outer border options-complicated with triangles or simple with basic three borders. Her finished size was 96" square which I knew was too big for my liking. I used 4" squares of all the fabrics but the cream (my least favorite of the bunch) and made a pieced border. I used the red print on the ends to balance the other end blocks. It was a happy accident the yellow squares in the outer border lined up with the yellow in the quilt! My finished quilt is 82" square. I really love the square layouts of Ebony's quilt along patterns and plan to start another one in June using my own fabrics in pinks. purples and whites. The purple was a choice before Prince died and now I'm a bit obsessed with purple.      
 This was the largest quilt I have ever quilted. I thought about sending it to a long arm quilter but I really don't like the all over stipple quilt look. I like to stitch in the ditch, cross hatch through squares and echo stitch. It took me two week to quilt it between my job and other responsibilities. I used only cream colored thread. The binding is red because it was my favorite color in the Dear Ma collection! It is a very heavy quilt.
Ebony gave everyone fabric requirements. I did not do the fancy triangle border and had lots of fabric left which I sewed together for the backing which I have never done before.
The quilt is so huge the only place to display the quilt is on my clothesline. It has been terribly windy so I couldn't take a photo until today.
I call it "Half Pint" because that was Pa's nickname for Laura Ingalls on the TV show and it is a favorite memory for me because my daughter and I used to watch the show all the time. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Let's Color Bella!! Markers or Pencils??

I have always loved to color and now it is cool for adults to have their own coloring books. Someone decided grown ups coloring in pictures was relaxing and a distraction from the real world or a problem. Everywhere I go I can purchase adult coloring books. My iPhone has several apps to color pictures-even for free!! When I was returning home last November from the IQF Houston Quilt Show my flight was canceled and I spent more time than I would have wished in the airport. My coloring app saved my mental state of mind and I made some pretty pictures. 
I decided to adapt my Bella pattern to a coloring book page. The first photo is colored in with Sharpie pens. I had no beiges and browns for skin tones so Bella is very pale!
In the second photo I used colored pencils which gave me more variety but less coverage. I had fun!! I am asking your opinion about my coloring page. Should I do more of this and adapt some of my other patterns as well? If I sold these as single pages what would you pay per page-$.50 or $1.00 or other? Thanks for the input!