Archive for the ‘how I work – auditioning’ Category

Sample Making Satisfaction

Friday, November 13th, 2020

I have in mind something about 2m wide by about 95cm high, which is largish for me, and with the hand stitching that’s on my mind just now, I’ve been thinking of how to apply large areas of colour – well there’s paint of course …

I’m always inclined to set personal challenges to somehow use stuff already in the house, much of which I bought years ago on some whim or faded intention.  A few years ago I bought several metres of slightly dusty white cheesecloth in an old downtown store – I’ve asked myself a few times since what on earth I was thinking.  The other day from somewhere came the idea that I could paint or spray it, and thought it would go well with what I have in mind (see previous post)  I just happened to have a new can of gold spray paint, it was a nice day, so I cut off 3m x ~50cm, took it outside, and emptied the whole can on it.  Outside, with the fabric folded over so spray passing through the holes would get picked up as it moved through, with re-folding periodically, I regard that as a successful move… though I forgot about an aprin so njow have a new painting shirt, and managed to get some drips on my foot amazingly missing my sandle, and a few drops on the ceramic patio tiles, which didn’t cause any angst anywhere.

Gold gauze and a sandy coloured waxed string machine appliqued with invisible nylon thread to secure the edge, which was then hand stitched with one of my many gold threads.

I suppose I fiddled around for at least an hour, ironing the gauze, and trying several ways to stitch it down, none of which I was happy with until this combo,  so it ticks all the boxes –

  • I can invisible machine applique large sections of this gold gauze, and the edge will not fray and become unstable as I stitch and handle the rest of the piece
  • The effect of this gold gauze is earthy, not brassy – very pleasing.
  • In addition to the horizontal strips I at first tagged it for, I now know I can use it for other shapes that would fray even more on handling if not fo my technical breakthrough.
  • I have a lot of this colour gold thread, but as it’s just the edge being oversewn, it will be much more economical with the feature thread than the oversewn strips on Pandemic Pattern (which did fray, and that was a chosen option, so AOK)



Facing irregular shaped quilts

Friday, June 15th, 2007

I have made quite a few irregular shaped pieces in the years since around 1992-3, many of which can be found in the gallery pages of my website,
In the past couple of days, on the Quiltart list there have been questions about doing this, and various answers given, and since I sent the original questioner this jpg, I thought I should post my version for anyone else who is interested in trying irregular shapes but intimidated by the finishing.
There are lots of ways any shape can be finished, and even look ‘unfinished’ if that goes with the integrity of the work, but irregular shapes can be tricky if you are looking for a really neat ‘properly finished’ edge, as many who are currently entering pieces in the experimental areas of quilt shows are feeling they need to achieve. (the Quilt Police loom large here) If the outline of the quilt is not too convoluted a binding will probably work OK. But if you have lots of pointy bits this one really works well. Granted a bagged back is popular, and probably perfect for small things, but I have noticed that bag-backed large quilts are often just that – ‘baggy’. This method always works for me, and despite the several diagrams is not at all difficult; if you can face an armhole or neckline of a garment, you can do this easily. Note point #8 – faced pointy bits do tend to curl a little allowing the facing to roll forward and be seen from the front, even other less shaped areas will tend to do this too. Even if you use some of the same fabric as used on the front, this looks sloppy and incompetent. So use the instructions in point #7 around the whole, and #8 where you get to a tricky point shape. Then complete by sewing the edge of the facing down.
I teach workshops taking this all further, including how to get some seriously non-straight shaping along the top edge. Some steps need to be taken in the pre-quilting construction stages to ensure these hang easily and conventionally, also that they fold for transportation, if these things are an issue with your work. To me it sometimes feels disappointing to see exciting shapes along the sides and bottom of a quilt hanging from a straight edge along the top. I think that if that person had known how, he/she might have chosen to make the top shaped, too. .. or maybe not, of course.

Anatomy of a Commission – Day 1

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

The client commissioning this piece had chosen bright colours, mentioning bright sunsets viewed in Mexico, and wanting something landscapey and mentioned in particular her love of marshlands. She concluded that she’d prefer a horizontally oriented piece, and I think she made a wise choice. So what with her colour choice being also my own, I am looking forward to this project.

Day one, the actual start of the piece, was monday of this week, 6 days ago or a week tomorrow.

Here the fabrics are being all set out in order of expected use. Necessary auxilliary equipment includes a supply of meaningful cds, some I haven’t listened to in a while. My goodness , Neil Diamond wrote some wonderful stuff, I had remembered the music but when I came to this collection of 60 of his greatest hits, I was astounded at some of the lyrics that had not registered with me when we first became fans decades ago – around the Hot August Night album time – full water spray bottles for ironing as we go – some of this fabric has been wrinkled up in my fabric stash bags for years…. my mobile phone’s on the table (not everyone uses it but people who reeeaaally need to get in touch with me do – like DH for example., and anyone else can and will leave a message on the phone downstairs) The final piece of equipment you can’t see – it is the camera I’m usingto snap progress at intervals.

Interesting is that in this fabric collection are several pieces which although I had put them in when auditioning, during the subsequent construction just did not have a positive impact, or were wrong in some unexpected way, and so they are not in the final piece. This is as a result of cutting and sewing as I go, one piece at a time.

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Auditioning Fabrics !!!

Friday, January 26th, 2007

… What a fun job to start the new year – IMHO one of the best, most exciting parts of designing and making a piece.

Late last year I received an inquiry from a prospective buyer, J, interested in a quilt that had already sold. However she is prepared to consider a commission, and following some dicusssions via email, J sent fabric swatches to me just before Christmas. The contents of her package divided into some very bright strong colours and some more rather subdued almost japanese prints and stripes, which IMHO would not go in the same colour scheme. So I have sent her two colour suggestions represented by
these two different collections of fabric.

In the upper photo, upon the right hand top side are several strips of prints containing colours she really likes, as they make her feel happy. Very bright saturated colours, they would look great set into some of the hand dyeds I have here by a couple of dyers, Janet Jo Smith and Dijanne Cevaal. They’d be dramatic set into charcoal grey or black, also lovely set into something pale like cream or pale grey…. I’m thinking irregular horizontal ‘wisps’ in line with our discussions on concepts of landscape as a theme.

In the lower photo, more subdued fabrics from my stash suggested by the colours of the other group of snippets. Bearing in mind the principle there should always be at least a tiny bit of yellow somewhere in a colour scheme, the bold blue/yellow/green segment in the middle of this photo would do that – with our without some support from other values of yellow. But this piece of fabric is also important as being one the client herself hand dyed, and she’d love a small piece included and the rest returned. This would be possible and marvellous in either colour scheme and would make the final design just a bit more special to her.

So the info is on its way to J, and regardless of whether she accepts the commission proposals or not, I have a couple of quilt plans that I will probably make up, anyway, taking into account upcoming exhibition deadlines and the need for some fresh new works to show.

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Friday, January 26th, 2007

Of course, in each case, the proportions of each colour or print will not be the same in the actual piece as it is in these auditioning lineups. It never is, in my experience, but this is how I make a selection of fabrics for any one piece. As I go along, there will be snippets or other pieces in my stash which will suggest themselves ( ” please, oh please miss, pick me?”) and other choices, once I am actually working with them will be disappointing in some way and will have to drop out of the final production. It’s not at all unlike producing a stage show.

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