Quilt Testers In Action

Quilt Testers In Action


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Building And Adding Trees

Still working on that fall in New England quilt. I have been building and adding trees, and other foliage. I started with some small trees, ironing the trunks to parchment paper.

Using pinking shears, I cut leaves, and added them to the trunks, using several shades of fabric.

These were then peeled off the parchment, and ironed on to the quilt. You can see that I have also added grasses and flowers using my stamps and various fabric paints.

More foliage was added on the other side of the road. The purple is supposed to represent asters, a flower I look forward to every fall.

More small trees were added across the river, using this same technique.

Then I began to add large trees in the foreground. I built these directly on the quilt, a choice I would soon regret.

These are the large trees finished. I am not happy with them at all. I wanted the feeling of being on the road with the trees looming up beside the driver, and this does not come across. I also wanted the foliage to be much more lacy, showing more of the hills behind them. No matter how many times I peeled up the fusible and recut, and rearranged, I could not make the trees do this. They wanted to be thick. Maybe if I had gone with more branches and fewer leaves, the lacy effect would have been achieved. Finally, I think the pinking shears give the leaves too much of a kitschy look.

At this point, having procrastinated before starting, I am pretty much out of time for any more adjustments, and I need to step back, and finish this as is. I'm sure that someone else, not having my expectations, will enjoy this piece. And I have learned a lot that I can incorporate into future landscapes.    

Right now I am waiting for a little touch-up paint to dry. Then I will start stitching the parts that need to be sewn before the quilt is layered. This part should be fun. I love playing with threads!

Monday, September 27, 2010

What I Have Been Working On

The Leominster Art Center, where I display some of my quilts, is having a special show in October, featuring works with Autumn Colors, sort of an Autumn in New England theme. I didn't have anything appropriate to display, so I started something new. This is what I was dyeing some of those fabrics for, and last week I started constructing the quilt. Here is my initial drawing.

And  this is a scaled-up version with some sketches of details.

Then, I drew a simplified version on parchment, and started auditioning fabric.

Using fusible (the same roll that gave me so much trouble on this quilt), I began building the scene. Oddly enough, the fusible gave me no trouble this time. 

I continued to add more, including the hairpin turn in North Adams.

Then I carved some stamps, to add texture to some of the areas. These included several buildings, a couple grasses, and some stylized asters. I also attempted the Lions from Williamstown, Ma. What I have heard is that these lions were designed by the same woman who designed the Vietnam Memorial, but I don't know if that is true. They are gorgeous, though, and provide a very majestic entrance to a trailer park! My stamp did not do them justice.

Then I got brave, and stamped the buildings onto the fabric. I have never put paint on a piece of fabric after it was already in a quilt before. I was very nervous. It's not perfect, but it is good enough. Next time will be better. 

After that, I built and added gravestones, to represent one of the many old graveyards to be found travelling west on Route 2.

There is more to come, so stay tuned.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Someone Started The Weekend Early!

I looked out across the garden after lunch today, and saw the Neighborhood Lion starting his weekend partying early. He was really hitting the catmint hard.

I don't know how long he was out there before I saw him, but it was another 5 minutes before I got my camera.

He didn't even notice when I walked right up to him.

He just kept rolling and writhing.

Occasionally he paused to take a big sniff.

And he chinned the catmint,  so the other neighborhood cats would recognize his dominance.

Then he passed out.

He had a good long nap, before he got up and walked off like nothing had happened. I wonder what he has planned for the rest of the weekend! And, I hope you all have a great weekend also.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Rest Of The Story

You may be wondering how that cake from yesterday turned out. Well, after a lot more baking time, it still did not cook through, so it ended uop like this.

I have made some incredible cakes from this cookbook, but this was not one of them.

I'm thinking the problem may have been that Ms. Purdy's idea of a large carrot is very different from what a large carrot looks like around here.

"We don't want any stinking small carrots around here", says Ginny. 
"Unless there is a lot of them, that is", adds Weasley.

Anyway, I went off to the grocery to buy a cake, only to find none available. But they did have a box, a familiar red box, that said CARROT in large letters. In small letters it said it had real "carrot flavored pieces". Yikes! Not something that would usually fly around here, but we were getting desparate.

Luclily, the Girl was coming home late from band practice, so I was able to make and ice a cake from the box. The icing was made with real cream cheese and butter, so that part was OK.

After all that, the cake did a good job of holding the candles.


Wishes were made.


 If you look closely at the picture above, you will see that the Girl "helped" with the candles, and blew a card onto the cake!The birthday wishes must have included not burning up the card (or house), for which I am very grateful!

"It looks like a big waste of carrots to me, Ginny."
"You're actually right about something for once, Dad. I totally disapprove of this story!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Don't Tell Anyone, But...

So, The Man of the House requested carrot cake for his birthday. Normally, I'm a very good baker (that's why I use Ginny's picture in my profile), but I've never made carrot cake. After the required baking time, the toothpick came out clean. I let it rest, as the recipe said, and then turned it out onto the wire rack to continue cooling.  At which point, it began to OOZE through the rack.

And then, a large chunk SLITHERED off the counter onto the FLOOR!

What to do? What would you do? Normally the five second rule does not apply in this house, because of the buns, and because why do housework when you can create?

Don't tell anyone, but I scooped that lump of cake up of the floor with a spatula, and dumped it and the rest of the cake right back into the pan, and popped it back in the oven! They should be used to bunny hair around here, shouldn't they?

I've never done something like that before, and I'm feeling guilty. What if the oven doesn't kill all the germs?

Maybe I should go to the grocery for one of their carrot cakes? Of course, TMOTH doesn't read this blog.  Hmmmm.....

Monday, September 20, 2010

Daylilys On Quilts

I really admire the quilts and collages made by Connie Rose. So,  I decided to use some of my daylily photographs to make a couple of small quilts in the style of her Italy quilts. These are the finished pieces.

I learned that it is not as easy to work in this style as Connie Rose makes it look. It's very hard not to end up with awkward negative spaces. It was fun, however, and now I get to enjoy my photos in a quilt, not just on a computer screen.

As a result of this exercise, I have come to admire her work even more. Check out her work here, and  here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

(EDIT:  This was scheduled to post while I was away for the weekend, but for some reason it didn't. Maybe it was waiting till next September 18th? Anyway, here it is now. Hope you liked it. I'm off to try and catch up on everyone on my Reader.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rabbits Also Eat Guitar Chords

Luckily, the guitar teacher has a sense of humor about the charts having scalloped edges! Ginny kept running up, pulling a piece of music off the pile, and carrying it away. She did this a half dozen times, with the girl retrieving the music each time. Finally, the bunny gave up(!), and ran away flicking her feet.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Overdyeing Results

A couple of days ago, I was talking about how my dyed fabric was rinsing out to quite a faded look, and  was wondering why. You can see a piece I decided to try overdyeing on this post.

So here is the same piece 24 hours later, after sitting with dye on it, but before being rinsed.

This was almost exactly what I was after. Unfortunately.after rinsing it looked like this.

Much lighter than I wanted. We are on a well, and I need to do some research on how our well water is affecting this chemical reaction. I have an experiment planned, also, but it will have to wait awhile until I meet another deadline. It's been way too long since those college chemistry classes....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just Because It's Green, Doesn't Mean It's Lettuce

Weasley, trying to make sure this blog lives up to his name.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another Dyeing Day

Fun first or business? Well, on the principle of always eat dessert first, 'cause you never know, here's some fun. Today my fabric dyeing session was interrupted by the Neighborhood Lion. He found a creature he hadn't seen before.

Of course he had to attack it, he's an amazing predator.

A good bite, to do the creature in. Ginny also likes to chew these shoes, must be the plastic tastes good.

The creature is completely conquered.

And now, it's time to stretch out next to the conquered foe, and relax.

Or maybe have a bath. Soon after this, he accidentally rolled down the hill while trying to get the other side. There is never a video camera when you want one!

Amazingly he did not end up with dye on himself.

And now, the business. I have been dyeing fabric in several batches over the last couple of weeks. The colors are wonderful when the fabric comes straight from the dye bath. But after rinsing and washing, I am ending up with colors that are much more pale and dull than what I started with. Like this:

and this:

They are nice, but not what I thought I was getting. So I am wondering:
  1. Are my dye mixes not concentrated enough, or
  2. Are the minerals in my water affecting how well the dye attaches to the cloth?
Does anyone out there with dyeing experience have any hints for me?

Another problem that I am having is too much white on fabric that I pole wrap and dye (sort of shibori -type ).

This fabric is not as dark as it appears in the picture. I wanted it for dark water, reflecting yellow trees. So I added some dye this afternoon.

I'll show you the results tomorrow. Hopefully, it will be closer to the look I'm going for.

Have a great day, and watch out for those lions. You never know when they might attack your shoes!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This One Is For Katie

Have you ever seen a fuzzy trombone?

Ginny thinks this makes a very nice nest.

This is not a staged photo. She climbed in here on her own, and was ready to stay. Then the real trombone started making noise music.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's That Time, Again

Weasley here. I don't really see why Mom thought I needed a haircut.

I think I was very handsome. And the hay hanging off my backside and stuck in my fur? That was  just a snack for later. There aren't any pockets in this fur coat, you know. Now, I have no place to stash my stuff.

Haircuts are exhausting. It takes a lot of work to hold still all that time. Making the wiffling noise is hard work , too. And Mom doesn't realize the effort involved in not biting her.

Mom, if it's not dinner time, go away!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Almost Done!

Want to hear about what we've been up to?

Of course,  you do!  The bunnies and I have been prodding my Second Daughter to work on her platform project. We helped her make templates.

And we helped her paint. OK, the bunnies didn't help with that part. They make bad paintbrushes!

And then, I helped with outlining the shapes. Again, the bunnies were not too useful. The lack of opposable thumbs makes it difficult for them. But the job is almost done. We just need to add the protective coat with nonslip powder.

Later, I found a Push me-Pull you in the kitchen.

I hope you are all enjoying this late summer weekend. It's really feeling like autumn here.