Archive for November, 2015

I am on a roll completing my monthly swatches, having already started December yesterday! Since starting in January, I will have completed eleven blocks, with one final block to do for December. Feeling much too impatient, I quickly made a collage of all eleven blocks to see how they would look if laid out in a quilt!

PicMonkey Collage

October was a fun block, free cutting circles and spirals and sewing them down with running stitches.


I enjoyed mixing up the color of thread and the free form look of the spirals. No compass used here!


November was an interesting swatch as there was no stencil design, only a blank canvas to embroider stars on.


I snuck in beads on a few of the stars. Very understated beading on this one!


And I passed the time imagining I was stitching the milky way across the fabric with the darker purple embroidery thread … A galaxy to get lost in!


I am pondering what to make with these (soon to be) twelve completed squares. Sew them all up into a quilt? Make each on into a pillow? What would you make with them?


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Sunday our Out of the Box quilt group gathered for a fun and creative workshop! A new member to our group, Pamela, is very talented and artistic. At a previous meeting she had shared with us about a new stencil technique with dye paints, and we enthusiastically asked if she would share with us.

Nela and Jan graciously hosted us in their sunlight filled patio. Pamela was an excellent teacher, slowly directing us through each step and sharing her love of the technique and creativity with us. I feel so inspired now, I can’t wait to apply what I learned to a new project.

To make the stencil, you first start with two pieces of fusible webbing. Draw your design you want to stencil, and cut it out with an exacto knife.

Then cut a piece of netting to go between the two layers. Fuse the sandwich together! I sketched a few leaves for my stencil.

Once fused, the stencil will be pretty stiff, but to make it even stiffer, paint both sides with regular indoor house paint. Let that dry and iron again to set! We then each had an excellent stencil that will be able to be reused many times.

Pamela provided us each with a board to work on. It was an inch think styrofoam, covered with fabric. After soaking cotton or silk in soda ash/citric acid respectively and letting it dry, we pinned the fabric to the foam board. Since we are painting with dye instead of soaking, the fabric should be all the way dry before using so the paint doesn’t run.
Pamela had prepared sodium alignate, which is a thickener for the fabric dye, so that it becomes a thick paint. We mixed just a tiny about of dye with a little bit of sodium alginate, and painted the stencil. The technique really isn’t painting, so that the design doesn’t smear and stays true to the stencil, you want to pounce the brush. Dab it instead of painting in strokes. It is hard to remember, so we kept shouting to each other, don’t forget to pounce!

I had brought a piece of cotton I had already dyed green, and chose to continue to use my stencil moving it around the piece of fabric. You could rinse between uses, but I chose to be okay with the happy accidents of color sharing between switches in color.
I think we were all subtly inspired by the beautiful fall colors in our valley right now, because we all tended towards using yellows, oranges and greens.

The afternoon flew by, and I loved the enjoyment from being creative with a group of friends. Pleasant conversation, sun streaming in through the window, playing with color … It was a wonderful afternoon!

What I am most excited about is the application this new technique has for me with my lupine series. My mind is humming with possibilities, and I can’t wait to try to make some of them a reality. I have been wanting to capture the effect of a field of lupines, but had been unsure of how I would do that with just fabric. Using paints though, I could capture the depth of field and density of flowers. I could play around with value, having lighter and darker lupines, play around with depth having some lupines blurrier than others, could paint many layers to make a dense patch… I can’t wait to explore. What would you use this technique on?

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