Sunday, September 30, 2012

DESIGN: Incandescence

It is during our darkest moments 
that we must focus on the light.....

It is the end of the second quarter for our Up for a Challenge 12 x 12 Art Quilt creations. The challenge topic is Incandescence.  This topic, at first, stumped me; after some thought, I turned to quotes which turned things around for me.  My final piece is below:

I started with white fabric and dyed it in stages from yellow to orange to red to violet.  I then used Fabric Etch to create long rays emitting from the center.  I placed black felted wool behind the fabric and begin hand-embroidering and continued hand-embroidering.  I have been to the doctor's office and hand-embroidered, then to the dentist's office and hand-embroidered, onto Panera's and hand-embroidered.  Literally, for the past few weeks, this project has gone everywhere with me and, you guessed it, I hand-embroidered it.  I hand-painted the quote and ended the top by placing a beveled piece of glass at the center of the yellow section (and, yes, it is securely attached). Finally, it is edged with a velvet border.

I enjoyed creating this piece and am looking forward to the next topic being announced tomorrow! Enjoy!

See the rest of the challenge quilts for Incandescence at our joint blog:

Friday, August 3, 2012

LEARN: Alabama Chanin Vest

“I don’t even consider that I wrote it when I got done…. The song was there before me, before I came along. I just sorta came down and just sorta took it down with a pencil, but it was all there before I came around.”- Bob Dylan

A few years ago, I was watching the nightly news, saw a piece on Project Alabama (now known as Alabama Chanin) and have been in love ever since.  Here is the video from that newscast:

I love the thought of having an artsy outfit that is made of knit fabric; check out the fabulous clothing here on Alabama Chanin's website.  The bad news is that the finished clothing Alabama Chanin sells is a bit out of my league, like the beautiful dress here.  The good news is that a couple of years ago, Ms. Chanin took a leap that few designers take.....she began a separate part of the business that targets the DIYer's.  She has written three wonderful books and sells supplies on her website.  This is where my second problem came in.......

I have been working on a Chanin knock-off for a year, but (as you can imagine) it is highly labor intensive.  Here is a view of the swing jacket that I dream about completing and wearing religiously:

The above piece is reverse appliqued and all hand-stitched.  I am thinking of placing hand-dyed velvet in the centers of the big flowers.

With my school-girl impatience, I decided to make a mega-cheater Alabama Chanin vest by using my sewing machine (Don't tell Ms. Chanin!).  Here is my piece:

I used fabric from Alabama Chanin and as you can see below, I have painted circles with a different shade of red.  The lighter tan circles are reverse applique and then I added simple black-lined circles with machine sewing.  The buttons were in my vintage button stash (cool!). It has already become a summer favorite for me.  

AND thanks to Ms. Chanin for inspiring so many of us.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

LEARN. . . Dying Fabric

Just don't give up ! 
Dream your goals and then live them! 

I have always wanted to learn how to dye fabric; the biggest reason is being able to control my colors. Instead of looking for fabric that would fit with my inspiration, I would be able to design, knowing I could get the right fabric.

For my birthday this year, my husband had a utility sink installed in our basement. I read a couple of books and acquired my supplies.

 I was still a bit nervous to see if I could actually make fabric that I would use in my projects. The answer is, "yes!" I used about 15 different dyes and came up with the stash below.

Now, my mind is whirling with all of the possibilities. If I only could stretch each day to 30 hours....

Sunday, July 29, 2012

DESIGN.....Finishing Large Coin Purse

Last week, I talked about my design process for creating a large coin purse.  You can read the post here.  I finished the purse and am using it.  Here is what I did....

I drew my flower design on plain white fabric and painted it.

 I also want to add some depth to the base of the purse, so I used a circle template with a dry brush and layered circles on the front and back pieces.
 I decided to quilt the front and back with a simple linear pattern; I marked the pattern on the fabric with  chalk.
Finally came the assembly.  This is the first time that I made a purse with a purse frame; there is definitely a knack to it and can be cumbersome.

 Here is everything fits into it!

Though it was a bit tough getting the purse into the frame- I would do it again in a minute!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DESIGN. . . Do Over

Have you ever had a do-over? You know, started to make something that you thought would be fabulous, spent lots of time making it, eventually reaching a point of no-return the piece is just awful and find no need to continue?

Yes, you have guessed it...I have such a piece. A year ago, our quilt guild had a challenge to make a quilt with the theme Harvest. My vision was to create a vintage tractor in the field at harvest time beginning with only white fabric of differing textures.

I began with the drawing of the quilt.
I transferred the drawing on varying textured fabric, fussy-cut it, and adhered the layers to my background (sorry this is tough to see).

My next step (this is when trouble came a-brewing) was to color the quilt using colored pencils, paint and dye. Did you hear that crash? My vision and technique had a head-on collision resulting in the quilt below. I debated if I should throw it out; at one point, I believe it was in the trash can. Even my dear husband told me that "not all my creations can be successful" (trust me, these pics make it look much, much better than it is in real life).

Now a year later, I have honed my skills and started using Golden paints (these paints are the platinum of paint). I fished the piece out of storage and am painting my heart out. Stay tuned for the finished piece (hopefully no collisions on the road ahead). Stay tuned for its final destination.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

DESIGN...Planning a Large Coin Purse

I am taking a fun on-line class with Alisa Burke.  If you are unfamiliar with Alisa Burke, here is her website and her blog.  

Here is the design process for an over-sized coin purse that I am making.

I started with a couple of photos from Design Seeds that are my inspiration [If you are unfamiliar with  Design Seeds, see my post here]. I took the inspiration photos and did water-color drawings in my sketchbook to test drive which one I would use.  I decided that the first (lotus flower) would be the outside of my purse.

 Here is the double pouch purse frame that I am going to use.

 Plans for inner pockets...

And my color scheme using hand-dyed fabrics and Golden Paints.

Stayed tuned for completion of the project.

Monday, July 2, 2012

CHALLENGE: Up for a Challenge

A few months ago, I was invited to be part of a challenge group called Up for a Challenge with 12 members that create 12" x 12" quilts based on a quarterly challenge.  Our first challenge was 'Island'.  Below is my creation.  To see all of the members' works, hop over to our collective blog:

— n
1.a figure or surface generated by successive subdivisions of asimpler polygon or 
polyhedron, according to some iterative process

I have been intrigued with fractals for a long time. When looking at fractals, I envision islands, thus my creation Fractal Island.
The main fractal portion is covered in a fine wire mesh.That I embroidered, painted and sewed through.

There is a cluster of seed beads that follow the spiral.   Lastly, trumpunto was used to give the piece 3-dimension.

This has been a fun challenge!

Kathy Kerstetter
Kalamazoo, MI

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Inspirational Wednesday (Portugal 3)

“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” 
– Samuel Johnson

I loved all the cement work in Portugal.