Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pieced 2" Pinwheels

Two inch Pinwheels!!! Okay this is so outside my realm that I am surprised I had so much fun sewing them today. It all started yesterday, with my friend Patty, when she gave me some one inch half square triangles and encouraged me to try sewing some together into pinwheels for adding into the mug rugs that I sew using my hand painted fabrics.
The Pinwheels I made today using the 1" half square triangles.

A pinwheel with the alternating lights and darks is 2 1/2" and finishes to 2"
This part was so much fun to do. Deciding which of the scrap, half square triangles, would go together for a pinwheel. Even though there are only 8 colours I was imagining all sorts of combinations.
 There is quite an intersection of seams in the center and next week at our quilt group Patty will show me how to position the seams so they lay flat.

Chaining pairs together. I can't wait to get dye painting fabric to go with these delightful pinwheels.

In the meantime I thought I would use some pinwheels in the 'mini quilts' I am making for my Quilt Group Challenge. Do you see the paint chip? These are the colours I am to use in a block that has a name that shares the same first letter as my name, Eileen. The two blocks I came up with on the internet were Economy block or Evergreen block.
Drat, can you see that I have sewn the wrong white squares onto the sides of the tree trunk on the Evergreen block on the right? Oh well, it was pretty easy to sew another one.
Click here To Julie Cefalu's site The Crafty Quilter where I got the free directions for the tree portion of this block.

To make the 1/2 square triangles, I cut 2" blocks of the light and dark material. Then laying them right sides together, I sewed them a 1/4" on either side of the diagonal center line. After that they were pressed, I trimmed them to 1 1/2".
Here is three of the Pinwheels sewn together of an accent strip. I will bind the piece in the dark blue.

Okay, here I have sewn the center square into a Pinwheel that had the lights and darks opposite to the other two blocks. Well I certainly learnt something there. I didn't even realize that was possible. I am actually glad it happened as it allowed me to place the three squares into a more complicated and unexpected arrangement. I will bind the piece in the brighter green.
 Well thanks to my fellow quilter Patty. You have inspired me to try something outside of my typical freeform piecing. I can't wait to make some mug rugs using the pinwheel strips and some of my hand painted fabric but first I have to get painting some cotton fabric with some dyes.  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Over-painting a Mono Print with Watercolour

On Friday after being away from painting for a bit, I found the need to warm up so I pulled out a mono print from my stack of watercolour papers and started adding watercolour paint. The printing of the original botanical print, in brown, was printed using acrylic paint. That layer then stays adhered to the paper and watercolour paint can be added at will. Because the acrylic paint was thinned with mat medium and was in a thin layer, the second layer with the watercolour paint seemed to adhere on top of it well.

For information on making the botanical mono print below, click here .

Mono printing with a Gelli Plate onto hard press 90 lb watercolour paper using acrylic paint as the print medium. This is the mono print I used.
If you would like to see gelli plate monoprinting onto fabric, click here .

I enjoyed the mixed media play time using a mono print to paint on with watercolour. Again, the Gelli Plate mono prints was made with acrylic as the printing medium. Glazing medium thinned the acrylic paint.

The pros I found were:
  • the first layer stayed put
  • lots of texture could easily be achieved with the monoprint
  • it was fun to negative paint around this texture and create new shapes

The cons I found were:
  • the piece was rather dark and I had no way of lightening it up without adding additional mediums such as gauche or acrylic paint
  • I had to work within the composition of the mono print

Here are sections of the over-painted mono print. I am in love with the texture on the leaves that were printed and the leaves that I created through negative painting. Little things like this can excite a painter well at least it does me.

The whole piece in its entirety. Note the glazing of cerulean blue across the top to suggest leaves in the background. There are likely lots of applications for this technique. What can you think up?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Faced with an Commission Challenge

If a purchaser of your work, likes it, they will often return for something else. Artists really like their repeat customers, as they get to built a relationship with them over time. It gives us a chance to learn what they might like.

Stitched Poppies on Hand Dyed Fabric
Thanks to the purchaser for sending this photo. Those colours do go well in the mug rug's new home!
This was the first mug rug a customer got in the summer and this fall the same customer asked if she could purchase another mug rug in similar colours. Well, I had the textile card below but as the motif was going for a man and he rather likes fishing, I decided those flowers wouldn't do.

Of the red, gold and light green fabric, I only had one piece left unstitched and I thought I would like to use it. But how, oh how was I going to make it into a fishing scene??? I looked at it often over a matter of weeks and finally an idea just came to me. Instead of making very realistic fish, I would stylize them swimming under water. Once I had the idea, what fun it was to stitch in one fish and then then another and then another... Before I knew it I was ready to add the pieced work. What do you think? Very different from the poppies but equally as nice I think.

Kootenay Lake Fish?

'Fox at the Farm' is off to a new home too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Buttons by Artists

Christmas craft fairs:
How delightful to attend our local Creston, Christmas Craft Fair. With it only being once a year we are left anticipating their arrival. What new artisans will be there? What new products will I see? Buttons! This year, I was surprised by two artisans making hand made buttons. One lady makes her buttons of clay and the other in glass. Lately in the early mornings, a time when I do my best free form thinking, I find myself exploring ideas for using these simply wonderful textile embellishments with my hand dye painted fabrics. And oh, what great gifts they make for the sewers on your list. Here are some gorgeous samples.
What might you use these one of a kind buttons on?

Monday, December 1, 2014

December. A month for Christmas Cards

Lots of card making this time of year. Do you make cards? How do you go about it? Below is a sample of how I go about my textile 'winter' cards.
Just a suggestion of a hill of snow and a tree outlined in the front with stitching competes this one. Simplicity can seem sophisticated don't you think?

Here is one of two panels of card tops I painted with dyes one day. Not all of them will be satisfactory to make into cards so I will use a view finder to make my selections.

Using a view finder to find a composition I like.

The vertical cards sell better, so I opt for this one.

Log  cabin in the woods - a personal favorite.

A horizon line and a few stitched weeds in the front lead the viewer's eye up the creek, well at least that was my intention.

Geese heading south. These were a first for me and a bit of a pain as the thread had to be broken at each bird but I think it was worth it.
'Skaters on Duck Lake'. Thank you to the locals who were sharing photos a week or so ago of skating on a nearby lake. I look forward to stitching more skating figures.
If you are in Creston, BC you can see a selection of these cards for sale at Creston Card and Stationery. Happy December!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Week in the Life of a Textile Artist

Textile cards for sale, a textile card received, an art meeting, and textile art photos in an email are all art related things that happened this week.
New winter related art cards created for sale at Creston Card and Stationery
Someone purchased one of my own cards to give to me this week! How very delightful and thoughtful that was.
Click here for more information about my 'Clotheline Series'. Are you a clothesline user? If you would like me to paint a watercolour painting of your clothesline, email me at

An art meeting at our new place. Of course as you can see it involves a lot of tea drinking and eating of treats. Fuel for the brain.
How terrifically excited I was to receive an email from Joan this week showing me what she did with two of her fabric pieces she painted at the 'Painting With Dyes Workshop'  at the Sunshine Coast this spring. Click here for a post about the workshop. 

Textile Art: 'Forest Scene'
Painted and embellished with hand stitching by Joan Baker of Sechelt, BC 
 This textile painting is so representational of the area where Joan lives. I love it.
Textile Art: 'Waterlilies'
Painted and detailed with stitching by Joan Baker of Sechelt, BC 
Do you see how Joan included the title of the piece and her signature in dyes right on the art work. This really lets you know how original this piece of fabric is. Thanks for the idea Joan.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Textile Art Travels

One of Three 'Mug Rugs' that were commissioned for Christmas Gifts.
The 4 photos below show auditioning fabrics to accompany the textile art. The textile art was created by first hand dyeing the fabric and then thread sketching details with a sewing machine.
Accompanying leaf print number one.

Accompanying leaf print number two. Yes, it better complements the artwork, I think.

The striped fabric was removed that I at first thought would be so good, but later realized looked washed out. The richly coloured brown print is pleasing.

Although I like the red strip, it was exchanged for a yellow strip to tie in the yellows in the art piece.

The complementary orange - blue colour combination on the left favors the blues in the strips of cloth. The one on the right is an analogous yellow, orange and red combination with the complementary blue showing up in the artwork of the sky only. The first one with the blue strips overwhelms the artwork so I chose the second combination with a change of one of the yellow strips to a less busy pattern for the final selection used in the completed piece below.

The shaded red (red with black) binding is chosen for the 'mug rug' I featured in the previous post 'Blog Hop Around the World', that you can see  here .
The customer purchasing the mug rug/mini quilts seemed pleased with the finished textile art pieces that were commissioned to be reminiscent of fall in our valley. These mug rugs are so easy to mail that they make perfect one of a kind gifts for sending away. These three are heading across the ocean!