Friday 25 May 2018

Got My Spiral On

Hello ladies, just thought I say hi and that I have picked out my plans/thoughts on this quarters theme.
While I'm not as artistic like some of you, it will be different.  I really like seeing the different thoughts this blog group produces.  Enjoy your holiday weekend and be safe.

                                                    Blessing to you and yours

Wrapping up

It struck me recently that this blog could be a good place to share information on techniques that we come across in the course of creating our quilts.  I know that there are several techniques that my fellow Endeavourers have used that I would love to know more about!

Today on my blog I have shared my first attempt at creating a machine wrapped cord and it seemed like that might be something that could easily be incorporated into a spiral themed quilt, so I thought that I would share the technique here too.

My original introduction to the technique was at an embroidery workshop I attended in February when we were trying our hands at quilting with paper. This example of a tree bark inspired piece showcased the use of the machine wrapped cords very effectively.

To create my own machine wrapped cord I started off with this length of cord that was either a bag handle in a former life or was the leftovers from some piping!

I used a turquoise thread in the bobbin throughout this experiment but alternated between the three threads above to create a variegated effect for my cord.

With the machine set to a standard zigzag stitch I dropped the feed dogs and pulled the cord through the machine whilst stitching. At times when the cord was more difficult to pull through each thread colour would bunch up but for me that only added to the overall effect.

As you can see after a few passes through the sewing machine I ended up with a tightly wrapped and variously coloured cord. Although this actual cord is intended for another beach themed embroidery I am sure that you can see how it might work very well on a spiral-themed piece :)

Thursday 10 May 2018

Thinking Time

Time to get the thinking caps on now that our next theme has been revealed.

Shall we look to nature for our inspiration again?

Mother Nature produces some stunning spirals doesn't she?

Or how about some man-made inspiration, like this Tudor style Knot Garden

or the engineering brilliance of an Archimedes' Screw, this one is at Cragside in Northumberland.

Decisions, decisions !!!

Looking forward to seeing where my fellow Endeavourers find their inspiration!

Friday 4 May 2018

New Theme Announcement

Thanks to everyone who posted a 'Transformation/Change' quilt - it was fascinating reading about the ideas behind the imagery.

Now for the next theme.  Still in the hat, we have:
  1. the sea
  2. a walk in the park
  3. texture
  4. memories
  5. improv
  6. a quilt inspired by a newspaper headline
  7. emotions feelings
  8. opposites attract
  9. colour theory
  10. dreams
  11. wishes
  12. a scene from a book
  13. spiral
  14. raindrops keep falling on my head
and Mr Random has chosen

So our new theme is Spiral, and the reveal is at 0700 GM on 1 August.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Unfinished Changes - Barbara

I am afraid I missed the 1st May "Reveal" date for The Endeavourers. 

I had a plan, but my back has been playing up and I've not slept properly for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately this meant I have been so tired I haven't felt like sewing (or standing painting) and this was the week I’d anticipated finishing my quilt! 

Even though I haven't a "finish" to share I thought I'd explain what the title suggested to me:

When I made my first quilt for The Endeavourers I struggled to mix the colours I wanted, and I realised then that a colour chart would have helped so much! My first thought when I read "Change" was that of how paints change when they are mixed, so I decided to paint a quilt colour chart.

I am using calico, and have washed and ironed the fabric a few times before starting to paint, so that hopefully my "mini quilt to be" won't shrink in future washes. I pencilled a grid, and using a fabric pen wrote the paint colours across the top, and again down the left hand side.

Each colour in the left column is then mixed with each of those across the top of the chart in turn.
The outer border is just my practising.

DH put me off my stroke a little when he asked how I was measuring the paint mix! Oops, I hadn't thought too much about that ..... I thought it would be just a dab here and there!

My quilt will end at the pencil line around the colour names. The colours round the outside are where I was using up some of the paint I’d mixed.

Once I finish painting I am intending to machine quilt grid lines and add binding. 

My mini quilt will finish at 16" square.

To summarise, maybe this wasn’t the best time to learn how to use a colour pen, or how to mix paints, but I did have fun experimenting, although it was far more time consuming than I originally thought ..... therefore it could be some time before its finished!

Barbara xx

Transformation/Change Quilt

Change Quilt

Transformation Quilt

Transformation Quilt

Sorry about the late post... I had lots of technical difficulties.
I love the theme of this quilt: Transformation/Change. Change is always wonderful specially when it that change leads to wonderful things.
Thus for this quilt the concept that I tried to work was that moment when we go from darkness to clarity. When we are on a difficult place things seem dark and obscure, but as we find resolutions and bring change about things start to look a lot clearer and lighter until we find ourselves in happy place. Then things looks rosy and wonderful again.


Tuesday 1 May 2018

Change/Transformation and Artist's Alchemy

This theme provided such a wide expanse of ideas!

Early on I decided I would look at the idea of the changes and transformations that artists perform, as they turn fleeting images into more permanent form, and as they use humble materials to spark ideas.
From this...

... to this.  "Artist's Alchemy," a textile sketchbook page of art quilt ideas.

I wanted to capture the possibilities and decisions that a quilt artist might work through to capture any simple image -- what fibers and fabrics to use?  What threads?  What techniques?  How much embellishment?  How realistic or abstract?  What scale?  Which composition?  What kind of borders?

A quilt artist's palette of threads and fabrics.

The photograph printed on cotton, and couched with boucle threads.

The web done in beads.

As an artist, when do you stick with the tried and true?  When do you step further from your comfort zone onto a new path?  How does your art transform the way you see yourself?

I was trying to portray an artist's sketchbook or bulletin board for a project, with 3-D items and mini-quilts, melded into one giant page.  I could happily continue work on my piece for weeks.  You can read more about how I put it together here.

I am really enjoying looking at how everyone else interpreted this theme, and the choices they made in portraying Change/Transformation. 

Change or Transformation: The Endeavourers

Id. Ego. Super Ego.

This month's prompt for the Endeavourer's art quilt group is 
Change or Transformation. 

How do you interpret change or transformation with cloth and thread? 

Art is meant to appeal to your past experience, emotion, and senses. An art quilt is simply art made with fiber transformed into cloth and thread, and a batting sandwiched between the layers. How does one convey meaning of something so abstract as change or transformation through fiber?

The Endeavourers ‘Change/Transformation'

I am late posting this morning. Couldn’t find my camera. Found camera. Took one photo and the battery gave up. Got more batteries. Camera comes on and goes off again. Found rechargeables that I charged a couple of weeks ago. Put in camera. They are flat. Is charger broken? Use tablet instead. Save photos. Can’t find them. Add to ‘creation’ new folder. Can’t find them. Go back and ‘save as’. I found them!!!!!
TE Spring fish 1
Too late to remove random bits of fluff from these not very good photos of my interpretation of Change/Transformation
The ocean changes according to the weather on the surface but below the surface there is greater change in its inhabitants. The scary looking deep sea fish fascinated me as a child and still do.
TE Spring fish 6
I had been looking at them recently and it struck me how much fish change according to the depth of the region in which they live. Of course they vary depending on the region of the ocean and the temperature but not in such an extreme way as depth.
TE Spring fish 5
They were all created by decolourising with bleach. It’s interesting to see how differently the blues decolour as they are made up of different dyes.
A little tidying up was done with a permanent blue marker and a little white inktense pencil was added to the white areas on the two deep sea fish.
Lines of zig-zag and straight stitch add a little movement to the scene, with more lines on the upper layers to contrast with the more sluggish currents in the deep. Lighter blue thread changes to darker blues until it finishes with black thread. The last piece of fabric is actually darker than it appears in the photo.
I particularly like the way the dyes decoloured differently adding to the texture of the fish fins in this fish and the one below it
TE Spring fish 3
So my interpretation is not very philosophical although the subject could easily have been deep and meaningful. The only deep thing here is the sea!

Work unguessed before!

Happy Beltane, May Day or what you will!

This is my offering for today's reveal on the theme of  'Change/Transformation' and I hope it captures a little of the spirit of topsy-turvy celebration and carnival :)  

I actually thought I started this challenge in good time but it took so much longer than I expected I came perilously close to missing today's deadline. So I will just give an outline of my thinking here and put a more detailed post on myblog when I am not so short of time.

My quilt involves three variations on the idea of change.

1. Content - a change to a Nursery Rhyme 

I based my quilt on this on this rhyme:

Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
I’ve been to London to visit the Queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair.

I continually changed my mind about what to make for this challenge and I eventually settled upon using a silly rhyme, that popped into my head when the Trial and Error cats were rummaging in the vintage linens, in which the last line of the Nursery Rhyme, Pussy cat, pussy cat where have you been? changed to I found a trunk full of fine gowns to wear.  I am hoping that the original rhyme is so well known the change will stand out for anyone reading it. 

2. Materials - and another rhyme! 

Pondering the idea of 'change' kept bringing to my mind some lines from 'The Jervis Bay' by Michael Thwaites:

"So many a ship of peaceful purpose was called to the tasks of war,
Was manned and armed and made anew for work unguessed before,
Came quietly into the dockyard and, converted, slipped away,
Yacht, trawler, ferry, liner, tramp. So came the Jervis Bay." 

So, focussing particularly on 'made anew for work unguessed before', I decided to make this quilt using textiles that were originally designed and made for other purposes. 

These included part of a small quilt I made some years ago and never found a use for, a vintage tray cloth, scraps from old clothes, the corner of a handkerchief and embroidered pansies from a torn and much stained vintage table cloth.

3. Technique. 

I wanted to make a piece that was reminiscent of the hand drawn illustrations in vintage Nursery Rhyme books and my go-to techniques for these types of quilt are applique and some straight line machine quilting or a little had stitching, which function to hold all the layers together but don't have much to do with the subject of the quilt. So, for a complete change, I thought I would try to use the quilting as an integral part of the picture. 

I wildly underestimated the density of stitching that would be necessary to make the picture show up properly and I ended up stitching over stitches and filling gaps with straight stitches to the extent that it barely looks like stitching, let alone quilting, but, apart from the verse, all the stitches go through all the layers and are literally (and excessively) quilting the piece together. This did nothing for the stitches themselves and I think if I do something like this again I will embroider first and quilt selectively. And, perhaps I'll also use a single layer of batting, rather than patchwork/batting/backing/linen...

Ideally, I would have liked to have a neater finish but, were it not for the deadline, I'm sure I would have given up on this and the end result certainly looks a lot better than any of the individual areas did whilst it was in progress so I'm glad I persevered. I also have lots of ideas for incorporating elements of this into future projects - though probably not all together! And I have a new found joy in the thought of embroidering on a single piece of fabric :)

(BTW, sorry I have just realised I am late as we are now in BST not GMT)

I'm very much looking forward to seeing what everyone else has made.

Janine :)

Getting lost down the Rabbit Hole - Change

Sometimes when you get a theme as big and open to so many possibilities as a theme like "Change", it can be a tad overwhelming in deciding what to make.  I seemed to have had a different problem and got stuck on one idea and kept on following it down the rabbit hole and forgot to come back!

My mum was throwing away some lamp shades and I had an idea of changing them up with some embroidery so hung onto them and ended up making this first test piece.  It wasn't smooth sailing!  (To read more about how I went about it see it my blog Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner). 

I had a lot of fun sketching different flower outlines and playing with bloom shapes.  In the end I settled on one large flower for the lampshade.  In the making of it I kept wondering what it would look like with simplified colour and somehow got the idea of trying the flower design in white on blue.  Marking on the dark blue was tricky and I ended up using a dressmakers pencil to give me an outline.

 I used a very simple chain stitch for all the lines with some french knots for the dots in the drawing.
I quilted  a version of the flower bloom  and a variation of it with an allover vine design and got lucky in my stash with a flower print from Ikea that matched up perfectly for the back!

I liked the idea of a quilted version and an embroidered version in the same block and even though this one got turned into a cushion I think the basic idea has possibilities and is a little bit different from quilts I've seen with embroidered motifs on Pinterest.

I started a second block but haven't gotten it finished in time.  A tree this time with maybe an overlay on top of it quilted in the same vine design?  Maybe a gentle green over the white embroidered tree? 

I really enjoyed the whole process of this even though the output is just a simple quilted cushion.  Drawing my own designs, testing them in fabric and thread and seeing the many ways this could go (birdhouse in the garden maybe?) has been a lot of fun and very satisfying. 

I feel like I've cheated a bit as I'm not sure this fulfills the brief of a Change inspired quilted item but sometimes change comes in small movements, each one linked to the one before.  Without the theme challenge I might not have had the idea to upcycle mum's lampshade and end up with lots of sketches and ideas!

Life Is A Continuing Cycle - Change/Transformation

It seems that I start out with generic ideas when think about how to depict the theme for this group.  I started out with a good one.  But I procrastinated starting after I figured out the design and fabric to use.  A second one came to mind then flitted away.

Sometimes the direction my life takes is determined by events that happen in the family.  This piece was designed after one of those events.  You can read what is behind this design if you visit this post on my blog.

Basically I believe that life is really a spiral.  When we complete one round of the spiral we just continue on, sliding to the next level, learning whatever the Universe is waiting to show us.  Sometimes we don't learn very well and are given a Do Over on some future round. But each round transforms us.  Sometimes the transformation is noticeable, sometimes it's just an ort, but there is always transformation.

I applied the bird and arrows using the Freezer Paper Applique Method.  It's the first time I have done it.  I need more practice, but I am sure that I will be using this method again.  The pieces are hand stitched to the background.

Song of Zadar

Even although I was one of the members of this group who suggested Transformation/Change as a theme for our work I dithered for many weeks over what to make!

Finally, a chance encounter with a holiday photograph gave me my eureka moment.

I have called this mini quilt Song of Zadar, and the full post over at Celtic Thistle Stitches will explain why and just how it fits the theme of Transformation.

Can't wait to see how my fellow Endeavourers have interpreted this theme.

# 2 Transformation/Change - "Cycles"

I enjoyed thinking about this quarter's theme, Change/Transformation, very much!  My quilt is about cyclical change - neither positive nor negative but part of the flow of life and I chose to represent this as the seasons passing in the life of a tree.

As the seasons pass the sun moves across the sky and sinks lower in the horizon.  The leaves on the trees change colour and finally fall and blow away, turning into birds who fly away in the winter, only to return again in the spring and begin the cycle of change again.

Shot cotton, silk
Curved piecing with dense quilting
Fused and hand-sewn turned applique
Hand and machine embroidery
17 x 22.5 inches

You can read more about my quilt here

Color Change

My Challenge Quilt for The Endeavourers was made to show the color change when two transparent colors, such as tissue paper or plastic pieces, overlap one another.

I used fabric pieces that showed 3 different colors.
I marked the stitching lines and shapes with an erasable fabric marking pen. Layered the backing, 2 pieces of polyester batting and the top and stitched on the lines.

The finished quilt measures 16" x 17" and can actually hang from any of the edges. 

You can read some more of my work on this quilt 
the transformation project I started but set aside for a better idea 
on my blog