Learning to make fire – 2016.05.05

I’ve been auditioning fabrics for my newest Tree quilt.  The theme is a forest fire.  I’ve long wanted to make a quilt featuring fire, and I’m working on a Tree series, so it made sense to put the two together.

Wildfire fabricsMy intent is an abstract interpretation of a forest fire, but with the impression of fire and flames – hot and glowing.  My fabric choices will be important to achieve the effect I want.  These are some of the fabrics I started with.  I’ve been looking at images of fire and I’m drawn to the ones with some dark pink in the flames, along with orange and yellow.  I picked the gray-green for the smoky sky behind the fire.

As you will see below, almost immediately, I changed my mind about most of my initial fabric picks.

 

FP pressed to back of tree fabricOne main tree, and possibly some background tree trunks will be in black fabrics.  I cut the main tree shape from freezer paper and pressed it to the back of a black print fabric.  I trimmed the fabric close to the edge of the freezer paper.  I left a little extra around the edges because I’m not sure if I’m going to fuse, glue it, or just stitch it to the background.

 

 

I pinned the tree to the design wall, then auditioned various background fabrics by slipping them behind the tree.  I remembered that I had set aside some fabrics a few months ago just for this project, so tried a few of them.   I cut brighter fabrics into flame shapes and positioned them around the trees.

auditioning fabric 1  auditioning fabric 2  auditioning fabric 2a  auditioning fabric 3 

 

The background fabrics all seemed too dark and too red.  A little research on the internet shows that fire is actually more yellow than red.

Wikipedia says: ‘The dominant color in a flame changes with temperature. . . . . Near the ground, where most burning is occurring, the fire is white, the hottest color possible for organic material in general, or yellow. Above the yellow region, the color changes to orange, which is cooler, then red, which is cooler still. Above the red region, combustion no longer occurs, and the uncombusted carbon particles are visible as black smoke.’

Then I remember all my fabrics with metallic accents.  (When I was making this quilt a couple of years ago, I pulled all the metallic fabrics out of my stash and put them in a separate drawer.   I haven’t touched them since.)  But it occurred to me they would be great for fire.  This seems closer to what the impression I want.

auditioning fabric 4

 

And this is what my cutting table looked like during this process.  But I’m having fun!

pile of fabrics 2  pile of fabrics

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Today, I’m linking up with these blogs – click on the links below, where you’ll find many other creative projects to inspire you.

   Esther’s Blog   Sew Fresh Quilts

 

 

Send to Kindle
Posted in Art quilts, On my design wall, WiP Wednesday | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Another change in direction – 2016.05.04

I hate it when I forget to follow my own advice!

In all my workshop handouts, the final section is about Selecting fabrics.  This is what it says:

  • Value is more important than color – if all your fabrics are the same value, from a distance your design will be almost invisible.  You need a wide range of light to dark fabrics for an effective design – unless you’re going for a low volume look, in which case you want similar values.
  • Pin your fabrics to a design wall and view them from a distance to ensure you have good value differences
  • Optional – take a photo of your fabrics on the design wall, and convert it to black & white.  This will show the difference in your values.
  • Use the design wall to evaluate your decisions re value, color, composition
  • Make all design decisions before starting construction [Now is the time to experiment with different fabric choices; it’s much easier to change a fabric now than after you have started fusing and/or sewing.] 

I’m not sure why, but with my two recent attempts with the Riley Blake solids, I totally forgot to pay attention to value.

TV test pattern 1Not enough value

Jessica made a great suggestion on my last post, which I will definitely consider. “Maybe the problem is that they’re just too thin after sewing, so the graphic effect of the black & white is getting lost? What would happen if you used somewhat wider strips, and maybe sewed some of them together, but offset to break apart the original pattern? Would that go somewhere interesting?”

But I’m putting this whole project away for now.  I’ll let my subconscious work on it, and maybe I’ll come up with a workable concept before the May 31 deadline.

 

Right now, I’m going to start a new project with lots of value contrast.  It will be the fourth quilt in my current Tree Series.   The theme is a forest fire.  (The timing seems a little weird given the Fort McMurray wildfire, but it’s a theme I’ve been planning for at least a year.)

Here are some of the fabrics I’ve picked out.  I think I have enough value contrast, but you can bet I’ll be following all of my own advice as I put this one together!

Wildfire fabrics    Wildfire fabrics value

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Today, I’m linking up with these blogs – click on the links below, where you’ll find many other creative projects to inspire you.

   Esther’s Blog   Sew Fresh Quilts

 

Send to Kindle
Posted in Art quilts, Inspiration, Tutorial, WiP Wednesday | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

A change in direction – 2016.05.01

I started working on my improv idea for the MQG challenge but I’m not happy with the results.  I had this idea about cutting the black & white sashing fabric into thin strips, off-grain, to diminish the very linear, geometric lines and make them look more abstract.

RB SS and solids  strips

 

I inserted the skinny strips between wider pieces of the solid colors.  I sewed a few pieces together, but I just wasn’t satisfied with the results.   I’m not sure if I tried to use too many colors – perhaps a more restricted palette?  Or maybe I don’t have enough contrast – I could try adding some very light fabrics, or perhaps some black?  I tried putting them on my dark gray design wall, and then on my light gray design wall.

design wall 1 design wall 2 design wall 3

 

In any case, the whole process was starting to feel forced, rather than creative.  So now I’m going in a completely different direction.  A design loosely based on an old-fashioned TV test pattern, like this one.

 

Here’s where it is so far.  It’s just pinned to the dark gray design wall.  I still need to add the background with some more bars of color, and perhaps a TV screen shape as a border.

TV test pattern 1

 

And I now think I see what the problem is – not enough value contrast in the fat quarter package of Riley Blake fabrics that I bought online.  But since the rules require that only Riley Blake solids can be used with the feature fabric, I’m limited in my options.  I did order some solid black from another online source, which may help.  I’m going to set this aside until the black arrives, and then re-assess.

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Today, I’m linking up with these blogs – click on the links below, where you’ll find many other creative and inspirational projects.

Creations by Nina-Marie    Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Send to Kindle
Posted in Modern quilts | Tagged | 1 Comment

In the mood for Improv – 2016.04.27

In December, the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG) announced a new fabric challenge.  I signed up for the free black & white Sashing Stash fabric, which I received in March.  The rules require that only Riley Blake solids can be used with the feature fabric.  I didn’t know exactly what I was going to for this challenge, but I wanted to get a variety of colors in the solid fabrics.  It was a little challenging to find a good selection of Riley Blake solids, but eventually I found a fat quarter pack at Cotton Capers Online.  Here’s my fabric, waiting for me to be inspired.

RB SS and solids

Because the Sashing Stash fabric is so geometrical, my first thought was to make a quilt with lots of straight lines.  But I found that just wasn’t appealing to me – I was in the mood for Improv.   I have a couple of ideas and I’m going to start experimenting – working without a pattern, because that the nature of improv!

 

But first, I warmed up my improv skills by making some blocks for this month’s Vancouver MQG block lotto challenge The block is called ‘X Marks the Improv’ and was designed by Debbie of A Quilters’ Table.   It’s a fun and quick block to make – the last one took less than 15 minutes – and a great way to use up all the scraps I’ve been saving.

X marks the Improv

I’ve made 4 blocks so far, and may make more, but right now I want to start working on my ideas for the Riley Blake challenge.  Check back soon to see what I come up with.

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Today, I’m linking up with these blogs – click on the links below, where you’ll find many other creative projects to inspire you.

   Esther’s Blog   Sew Fresh Quilts

 

Send to Kindle
Posted in Modern quilts, WiP Wednesday | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

‘Casper’ the cat is finished – 2016.04.24

The thread-sketched portrait of Casper is finished and has been shipped to my customer, Maureen.  I didn’t finish the edges, because Maureen is going to incorporate Casper’s portrait into a pillow for her granddaughter.

When I last posted about this portrait, the thread-sketching was almost complete.  Last week, I finished thread-sketching the chest area, added some details around the eyes and ears, and added a chin line and a few white whiskers.

Casper-almost done  Casper - chin & some whiskers 2  Casper - back

 

As I was stitching, I pulled my threads to the back and left tails of about 1″, but I didn’t tie them off.  When I was finished all the thread-sketching, I fused a layer of Presto Sheer stabilizer to the back.  It’s a very light-weight stabilizer and anchors all the threads, and adds just a bit of stability to the hand of the fabric.  You can see in the above photo what the back looked like before I fused the stabilizer.

 

Below are two photos of the finished portrait, in different lighting conditions.  You can see the thread-sketching better in the first one.

Casper - chin & some whiskers 1  Casper - chin & some whiskers 2

 

By the way, most of my portrait quilts are fused applique, with some stitching or thread-sketching.  But for this portrait of Casper, I printed a photo on fabric, then added the thread-sketching.  Because the thread-sketching is on a photo printed on fabric, the photo shows through.  The thread adds more color, and texture.  While it’s important to use the correct value (light, medium, dark), it’s more important to stitch in the right direction to simulate the fur.

As long as you have a good photo as a base, this process is certainly quicker than creating a portrait from scratch with fused fabrics.

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Today, I’m linking up with these blogs – click on the links below, where you’ll find many other creative and inspirational projects.

Creations by Nina-Marie    Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Send to Kindle
Posted in Art quilts, Portrait quilts | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Cat portrait in progress – 2016.04.13

I’ve been working on a cat portrait, using the same techniques I used a couple of years ago for the portrait of ‘Baby’.

In February, I received an email from Maureen, which said “My 9-year-old granddaughter asked me to help her make a throw blanket with the image of her beloved cat, Casper, on it.  . . . I used Google to search for cat quilts and saw your commissioned piece on your web page . . .  Not only is your work beautiful, but Baby looks a lot like Casper!  I have attached a recent Facebook photo of Casper.  He is a rag doll breed and a lilac point color.  He has the same beautiful blue eyes and a medium length coat of creamy white fur.  I’m wondering if I could commission you to create a quilt piece similar to Baby’s (8×8”, face only) and applique the “enhanced by thread-sketching” photo-on-fabric to a fabric piece I provide.  From this, I would make a round decorative pillow for her bed.”

Maureen sent me several photos of Casper, and after looking at several options, we decided on a photo and background fabric. I cropped the photo and printed it on prepared fabric, then selected the threads I would use to sketch on the printed photo.

IMG_4213  printed on fabric, with thread colors

I fused Misty Fuse to the back of the fabric photo, then cut around the edge of the cat’s head, and fused it to the fabric background.   I used a black Sharpie to enlarge his pupils, and a white gel pen for the highlights.

Casper-ready to be fused-001  

 

Then I started thread-sketching.  I printed a ‘posterized’ version of the photo on paper and made notes of thread colors on it.  I find this is very useful if I need to go back later and add thread to an area.

  posterized photo, with notes

 

The thread-sketching is almost complete.   I had to stop because I was finding it hard to focus on light thread on light fabric.  Another couple of hours and it should be finished.

Casper-almost done

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Today, I’m linking up with these blogs – click on the links below, where you’ll find many other creative projects to inspire you.

   Esther’s Blog   Sew Fresh Quilts

 

Send to Kindle
Posted in Art quilts, On my design wall, Portrait quilts, WiP Wednesday | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

The Edge of the Pond – 2016.03.31

For the last few days, I’ve been working on the art quilt that I started designing in February.  The online submission deadline is tomorrow, and today I finished it, took photos, wrote my artist’s statement, decided on a title, and submitted it.

I called it ‘The Edge of the Pond’.  It measures 18 x 41 inches.

aske_terry_the_edge_of_the_pond

 

This art quilt is for a Fibre Art Network (FAN) exhibition called ‘Ekphrastic’.

The word ‘Ekphrasis’ means a rhetorical device whereby one medium of art is created to relate to another medium of art.  Usually Ekphrastic poetry is created to respond to a piece of art.  FAN put a distinctive spin on this process by inviting twelve well known Canadian poets to each contribute a poem of their choosing.  Each of the twelve poems will be interpreted by four FAN members in a wide range of styles.  In total FAN members will create 48 pieces of fibre art, both two-dimensional and three-dimensional pieces.  The two-dimensional works will all be 18 inches wide and will vary in length.  The only restriction for the 3-D pieces is that they have to fit into a medium-sized Canada Post box for shipping.

The exhibit will debut at the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum in La Conner, Washington in October 2016, and then will travel to other locations until the end of 2019.

The poem I am responding to was written by Lorna Crozier, who lives on Vancouver Island.  It will be very interesting to see how three other FAN members interpret Lorna’s poem, and to hear what she thinks of our artworks.

 

To create the illusion that the fish are underwater, I constructed the quilt in the following order:

  • fuse the fish and reflections to the background fabric
  • quilt the water ripples
  • fuse the lily pads slightly overlapping the fish and reflections
  • quilt the lily pads
  • fuse the foreground irises and calla lily, then quilt them.

Of course, it wasn’t quite that simple, as I needed to figure where the lily pads would be before fusing the fish and the reflections – so there was a lot of temporary positioning, removing some elements, fusing others, quilting, adding more elements, positioning, fusing, quilting, and so on.  I started at the top of the quilt and worked my way down, finishing with the irises and calla lily in the foreground.

Here are some of my in-progress photos from the last 10 days.

Terry Aske - starting point  lily pads positioned

final lily pads positioning positioning flowers

 

The background fabric is a tonal, almost-solid fabric in a dark green – the exact color of many Koi ponds.  I wanted some reflections on the water, and I had a small piece of this beautiful watery fabric.  I applied fusible web to the back and drew wavy lines, then cut the fabric apart and strategically positioned my ‘reflections’.

fabric for reflections  cutting lines for reflections

I quilted the ripple lines with variegated rayon thread.  It makes it look like the sun is sparkling on the water.  At the top of the quilt I used a teal variegated thread, and at the bottom I added some blue variegated.

I kept most of the quilting quite simple – just outline-stitched most elements – and let the fabrics do the work.

 

I’m very happy with the calla lily.  I used a light green pencil crayon to draw the elegant curved edges of the petal and the slightly darker throat of the flower.

Terry Aske - calla lily and irises

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Today, I’m linking up with these blogs – click on the links below, where you’ll find many other creative and inspirational projects.

Creations by Nina-Marie    Confessions of a Fabric Addict

 

Send to Kindle
Posted in Art quilts, Friday finishes | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments