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Archive for October, 2017

The most perfect season. Beautiful warm days and cool dark nights. Time to play outside and time to be cozy inside. We are still adventuring in the mountains but also find myself being drawn to my knitting and evenings at my sewing machine.

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October’s Pressed Seam fabrics blew me away with their blue beauty. So many gorgeous shades of blue. Meanwhile, our mountains and valley trees are turning a golden yellow orange.

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When I wasn’t playing in the mountains, October found me quilting improv baby quilts. I find myself pulling from my stash of fabrics, now enhanced by my Pressed Seam fabrics. I look forward to showing more photos of the quilts as I finish them.

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So many beautiful colors in my stash and in the natural world around me. How lucky are we to be surrounded by nature and color.

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I’m stuck in concrete jungle land for work this week, and my spirit longs for open skies and quiet vistas. I miss blowing wind and crisp air.

 

 

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So I’ll leave you with the setting sun on the aspen leaves, shimmering with their changing colors. This season disappears so quickly, thank goodness for photographs and memories.

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Get to the mountains before the color is gone!

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September’s assignment for the Master Class was focused on edges. Hard and soft edges. Lost edges. I had never learned about edges before, but once I started looking, you can find them everywhere. This is perhaps the most magical of illusions in art. Basically, lost edges are shapes or places that you don’t see. They could merge softly into the background, or be of similar value so you don’t see the difference between them.

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I also had a separate project with our local quilt guild to make a fall colors quilt for an upcoming art show. So I decided to merge the two projects into one, finding this inspiration photo in our library of a close-up of aspen leaves in the fall.

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For my first sketch, I thought I could make the leaves towards the front the hard edges, and the leaves in the back the soft edges. I thought to use lighter value fabrics in the background to blur their edges together.

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I started with a fabric pull, without judgement, pulling out all the colors and fabrics I thought I might want to use. I had decided I wanted to focus my colors on a split complementary scheme, with blue and yellow-orange, orange, and red-orange.

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Using my phone to take pictures and turn the fabric to grayscale, I then sorted by value. The two rows of the lightest value fabrics on the right would be my background.

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I pinned up all the fabrics on my design board to test them out. I think they look pretty good!

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It was exciting to see it come together. Piece by piece I cut and pinned and cut and pinned.

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This is how to quilt looked when I turned it in for our blocked assignment. Elizabeth’s suggestions for modification included some shifting of the leaf arrangements, making sure the two stars of the show didn’t sit right on top of each other in a vertical line, and to adjust the background leaves so they weren’t too evenly spaced out. She also recommended changing the main leaves, their solid color doesn’t capture the beauty and interest of their natural variation.

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I wholeheartedly agreed, so back to the drawing board I went (or rather, the dyeing board!). I traced the approximate leaf shape onto white fabric, and after soaking in soda ash, spread it out on the table like I was going to paint it. I then sort of dapped/painted various shades of orange (red-orange, orange, and yellow-orange!) onto the leaf.

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I made two versions of each leaf for four leaves, as I wasn’t sure how my technique would work. For one set I made the shift between colors more gradual, and for the other set, I made the dabs more distinct. I also shifted the colors a bit in case one worked better than the other. Once I cut them out and hung them on the quilt, the gradual color change leaves stole the show.

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At this point, I was getting pretty excited. There was a bit of work taking all the leaves off, piecing the background, and then putting the leaves back on, and gluing it all down.

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To encourage the soft edges of the background, I decided on an all over quilting pattern that mimicked the leaf shape. I hoped it would help blur the edges and provide texture to the background.

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It came out beautifully and was a pleasure to quilt! Then I glued on the stars of the show, the two aspen leaves.

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Taking inspiration from the photo, I mimicked the leaf vein lines for the quilting on the large leaves. I used a lighter variegated yellow-orange thread. I was super pleased when I saw the final effect, it was more than I could have hoped for and wanted it to be. The leaves fairly sparkled with color and light. Yahoo!

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Here’s the finished quilt, binding using the art facing method. 21″x28″. All fabrics hand dyed by yours truly. Raw edge applique and free motion quilted. Glue basting instead of fusible webbing.

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It will be on display at the Mountain Rambler Brewery, as part of a Fall Colors collection through our local quilt guild, participating in the Chocolate Art Walk on October 28. I can’t wait to see all the other fall color quilts!

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