Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dyeing Fabric with Procion Fiber Reactive Dyes from Dharma

On Friday, we dyed some fabric at Claudia's house and the goal for each of us was to make a gradation of one color.

 I picked Fushia.

Claudia picked Cayman blue

and Carollee and Chris picked Chartreuse and Yellow

We had to "dilute" the mixed dye again and again and ...again !

So we could have a fabric lighter and lighter and ...lighter !

Our 8 pieces of fabric were in different bags and we had to "massage" them several times and keep them in a cooler overnight, so they could stay at the same temperature

The next day .... Et voila !


Chartreuse by Carollee

Thanks to Claudia for showing us the process, it was fun but kind of too long for me and now... what the heck am I going to do with this gradation of Fushia fabric ...!?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"AFTER THE STORM", my latest quilt, story behind the frog ...

25,5 "x 23"

This is my latest quilt, kind of created because I didn't know where to put my frog on !

Frogs have a special meaning for me... that's how the British call  French people and a dear friend of mine keeps on reminding me about this fact, buying me all kind of different objects related to this charming animal...
In my native language, frogs make a weird sound : "croa-croa",  but I like the sound of the English speaking frog much better : "rippit-rippit" because I  know what this sound means !! I use my seam ripper a lot to undo those mistakes...

Another dear and famous friend of mine is also making fun of the French people and our accent ....He just sent me that ...

Maybe I should make a quilt featuring Pepe le Putois...

Anyway, a couple of month ago, I made Froggy using the "Thread Painting" technique, learned many years ago in a class with Nancy Prince and more recently with B.J Adams.
I love the 3D effect achieved with variegated threads.
You trace your design on a water soluble stabilizer and make a "sandwich"  using  2 layers of tulle and another layer of water soluble. You then use a hoop and start free motion "painting"with both, a straight and a zig-zag stitch.
Once finished, cut away the excess tulle and stabilizer and soak the piece into soapy hot water to dissolve the stabilizer. When dry, use a stencil cutter to burn the tulle around your design. You can now applique your creation with invisible thread onto the background. Et voila !

I have used this thread painting in my "Gray Dream" quilt a few years ago (the palm tree)

and also to create this door

or to make my fire tree

The cactus is made out of 3 layers of fabric, light to dark, and stitch at different places from top to bottom, then cut out open in between the stitches to let the underlayers of fabric show and fray (technique learned with Grace Errera)

Coming back to Froggy, she,  (because in French, it's a female ...) was jumping from one background to another and couldn't really find a cosy  place to rest,  until she landed next to my cactus...
My hubby kept on telling me that one can't find a frog next to a cactus next to water ...but in my fantasy world, you can !

I then added some silk flowers (torn from a bunch bought at Michael's years ago) with a bead in the center of each one.
I chose to make a facing instead of the traditional binding to give the quilt a more contemporary look.

First, you have to steam block the finished quilt and square it up evenly.
Cut 4 strips 2 1/2" wide, longer than the sides of the quilt.
Press under 1/4" on each strip.
Sew one strip on top and bottom and cut ends even with the quilt.

Press facing strips away from the quilt.
Sew an understitch on the front of the facing, including the seam allowance in the understitching

Add facing strips to the 4 sides, starting only at point of intersection, backstitching.
Press all the strips to the back of the quilt

It's now time to "fiddle" with your fabric on the back of your quilt and "press it to submission" as my friend would say ...
Hand stitch the facing to the back of your quilt and that's what I am going to do right now...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The class with Terry Waldron was really interesting and inspiring.
She is a wonderful artist who knows how to free you from your preconceived ideas about quilting.

She had us cut squares of batting and cover them with different fabrics (crazy quilting kind of way) to use as a background and then free hand cut a vase on freezer paper to use as a template for the fabric to be appliqued on this background.

You then have to add branches, flowers and leaves, everything cut out without a pattern, using whatever fabric inspire you.

Examples of her sample :

I am still piecing my background so no picture of my work right now, but it was for sure an eye opening class to create your own piece of art !

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So, tonight is my guild meeting and Terry Waldron ( is our speaker. As the workshop coordinator for the South Bay Quilters Guild, I will get to take her class tomorrow which is "An artful vase of flowers", using scraps of fabric and best of all, no pattern !
I can't wait to tell you and show you pictures !

I am currently finishing a facing (instead of a traditional binding) on a quilt. You can see a close up on the head board of this blog, with my thread painted frog. I will show you in a coming post the process behind thread painting.
I have also started a 3D box/shrine, using silk and am taking pictures as I go, to share with you very soon.
Stay with me !

Friday, September 11, 2009

RJR Visit

What an exciting day today ! My friends and I went for a tour of the famous RJR fabric company. It is located only 5 minutes from my home and Mr John Durnell, Vice President of RJR organised a very well documented visit of the plant.

RJR was created by Robert, the father, James and Richard, his sons in 1978 and John Durnell purchased his share of the company 18 years ago after James had retired.
Among many others, Robyn Pandolph, Jinny Beyer, Lynette Jensen and Susan Branch are designers working with RJR.

This is the room where they have the sample boards for marketing the collections.

A sneak peek of Susan Branch new baby line of fabric, which will be available at the end of the year.

We were like kids in a candy store ...!!! So much fabric in front of our eyes made us drool ...

Here, they put the kits and charm packs together

RJR sold 30 000 yards of the following fabric (Potatoes) in the last 3 years !
Everybody wanted to make this microwaveable potatoe bag and used this print !
How many lbs of potatoes were sold during the same period ...?
If you can answer this question ... good for you !

The fabric is mainly manufactured in Japan from premium grey goods Egyptian cotton.
It arrives from Japan on big rolls.

And then, the fabric is wrapped around the bolts

It is then shrink wrapped to get ready for shipping around the world

This is the little designer corner

And the icing on the cake for this great tour was when John gave to each one of us a
big charm pack !

What a great visit !!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"Archeology quilt challenge"

Enough of procrastinating... this will be my first post on my new blog. Welcome to all of you who will take sometime to read my scribblings.

A while ago, my art quilt group, "Quilts on the Wall", organised a challenge on an "Archeology" theme quilt. A lot of options came to my mind, but as I was digging into my small amount of fabric ... I re-discovered my husband's old vest he was wearing in the 80's... (no comment !) I had cut out the front of it as I liked the shiny blue fabric with Egyptian designs, guessing that one day, I will just need it.

Well, that day has come and it was the beginning of my journey into the past ...

I decided this vest needed a "head", so here I went and spent 2 hours at my local library to find books about Egypt, trying to find the right guy who would end up replacing my husband's face and chest... This was not an easy task, he is so handsome ... at least for me ... but I must say I discovered on the back of a page, the beautiful face of SETI I, son of RAMSES I and I knew he would be the one ! You will notice he has half of his brain left, but we are not asking him to talk...

Anyway, I then decided I would use a deconstructed screen printed fabric I had painted last year in a workshop with Kerr Grabowski, that looked appropriate to the theme, and following the advice of my "hubby" (always... well, almost always...) I sewed some ceramic Egyptian scarab beads on the vest, in place of the original buttons. I ordered them on line and they all look a bit different.

I used T-shirt transfer paper to applique the face on the background and used the same technique to applique the big scarab at the bottom of the quilt. I then used gold beads to sew around the scarab.

Did you know that the ancient Egyptians gave a lot of power to the sacred scarab, symbol of life, hope and regeneration ?

On each side of the vest, I appliqued some "gauze" fabric, that reminded me of the strips around the mummy ...

I finished this piece by quilting with metallic gold thread on the vest and off white and invisible thread on the sides.

This quilt will tour for 2 years in different places with my art quilt group and it was really an "out of the box" project for me, but I really enjoyed the process !