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Posts Tagged ‘fusible webbing’

Cathy and I met up this morning to work on our foreground. Things are a little simpler for me, as I am an edge piece, so I am mainly collaborating with Cathy on my piece.

IMG_7870We started by laying out what ideas and colors we had so far. My kitchen table was just wide and long enough for our two panels to lay out side by side. Cathy is going to have an iris field in the bottom of her panel. We talked about how it would look good if it extended into mine a bit.

IMG_7868I auditioned a few fabrics next to hers, to pick colors of similar values. Finally my ice dyed fabric has a place! The multi colored patterning on it matched with the effect well. I chose a green dominated color for the stem background, and a purple dominated color for the flowers.

IMG_7872I started cutting the fabrics into rough shapes to see how’d they look, and Cathy let me borrow one of her iris to get a feel. Aren’t her iris lovely?! I can’t wait to make a few of my own for the corner. I think I’ll make them slightly smaller, as my iris section is smaller. I turned on my iron, and we worked away cutting, fusing, and placing. Sometimes we’d chat, ask the other’s opinion, sometimes we’d work in silence, in our own little world. It felt companionable and pleasant. What a great new way to make a quilt!

IMG_7873Then we both started playing around with our background greens, auditioning different colors, talking about where the light to darker colors would look good, and how to not just have straight lines, but more natural looking lines. We looked at pictures of the valley, and it looks like different groupings of bushes and grasses make different colored sections across the valley. So I tried putting out a layered approach, of different greens, and then cut them to different shapes and sizes. I’m thinking my stitching on top can be where I put in detail of bushes and grass using different colored threads.

IMG_7879Here you can start to see my layers cut out and layed down. They are very plain, so I think that puts more emphasis on the stitching making the pattern and design. I am thinking I will practice some different designs that might work! Maybe sketch out a couple, think about how lines could make the impression of bushes.

IMG_7884Did you also notice the brown of my tree changed?! I kept looking at my first tree, and it just seemed too dark. I like the brown that Cathy chose for her tree branch, and decided I needed to lighten my tree color. I knew it was going to be one of those details, that if I left it in, it would continue to haunt me. So best to change it now. I didn’t have any brown colors on hand, but Cathy had a hand-dyed brown she generously gave me to use, so I cut out another tree! Don’t you think it looks better?

IMG_7878This time, I traced it onto the fusible webbing as one solid piece. The last tree I broke into smaller pieces, thinking I’d save on fabric, but I didn’t like how once laid down they weren’t one piece. This way today used up more fabric, but I think the tree being one piece looks better.

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Photo by Cathy

And our end layout for this session! Our tree branches are lined up, and our greens picked out and cut.

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Photo by Cathy

The last thing I did was take a piece of solvy (water soluble stabilizer), and very roughly trace the outline of our tree, both our branches together. My idea for the leaves is to cut fabric into a million little pieces, sandwich them between two pieces of solvy, and quilt the leaves roughly together. Then I will dissolve the solvy in water, and I’ll be left with a loose netting of leaves and string I can layer over our tree branches. I want to try this technique to mimic the way the background can be seen through the leaves. I don’t want to cut out solid chunks of fabric, I want the leaves to be varied in their thickness and have the background show through. We’ll see how it works! That will be next weekend’s project.

{This post is part of a series. To see other posts in this series, please click here}

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{This post is part of a series. To see additional posts on the same topic, click here.}

I am going to be unable to attend next week’s Monday art quilt work group meeting, and so with a few free days, I jumped right in to Chapter Three on my own.

image, n. A reproduction of the form of a person or object (from Latin imago, from the root of imitari: to imitate).

Chapter Three: Inspiration from Images chatted about the use of photography in quilt design, going into computer manipulation, using images as an inspiration, and how to draw/quilt from a photograph.

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The book walked through the steps to sketch a photograph, paying attention to value. Then, the exercise at the end was assembling a pear from different values. Catching on to the idea, I went searching for an image in my photo library to use as my mosaic block for the month.

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I chose a photo of a California poppy, that I took while an AmeriCorps intern at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Here, I deviated from the Art Quilt Workbook. I remembered an article in the Quilting Arts magazine, a year or so ago, on Portrait Quilts, from photo to fabric, by Lea McComas. I looked through my magazines and soon found the article I was looking for. Here, Lea talks about using photoshop to posterize the photo to group similar values, instead of hand sketching like the Art Quilt Workbook suggests.

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Printing out my posterized image, I traced around the major shapes of color in the poppy. I ended up with five values: dark orange, medium orange, orange, golden orange, and yellow. Taking fusible webbing, I traced each shape from the poppy to the fusible webbing, leaving space between each to cut out.

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I gave each shape a letter to mark which color it should be, and a number so I wouldn’t get shapes mixed up. Note: since I was intending this for a mosaic, each shape was independent. If I had wanted a more realistic shape like the pear, I would have had to allow for space for overlapping.

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I selected five fabrics to represent each value from my stash of dyed fabrics. I ironed the pieces of fusible webbing onto the fabrics, and then cut out each shape.

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This winter is particularly cold, and I reveled in the warm colors of the poppy. Then, following my original pattern, I started to lay out the pieces on a green background fabric.

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One interesting challenge I ran into was translating the layout of the shapes to a mosaic. I didn’t think of it to start with, but once I started laying out the pieces, the dilemma became clear. In a mosaic, there is space between each shape. My pieces of fabric were cut in shapes that were meant to be touching each other, as in the original photograph. As I lay out the mosaic, sections became larger and suddenly pieces didn’t fit. Some needed to be longer, some shorter. I fudged it and made it work by trimming pieces as needed. If I did another, I’d want to think about how to plan for this from the beginning. One idea would be to make the image larger than intended, then when tracing the shapes, making them smaller, to allow for the space in between.

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After I liked the layout of the poppy, I fused it in place, and then started on the background. In the original photo, all I saw was a jumble of green shapes and colors, and I wanted to imitate that in my mosaic. I selected a smattering of green scraps, trying to replicate the range of colors in the photo from light to dark.

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It is such a joy creating these mosaic tiles, I can hardly wait for next month to come around!

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A shout out to a few (not all) of the Cape Ivy ladies: Vanessa, me, Tanya, Melissa, and Catherine. Looking back, how lucky we were to spend our days outdoors, rain or shine, in the beauty of the coast.

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The February/March 2012 issue of Quilting Arts inspired today’s experiment: painting on fusible webbing. The article was called birds of a feather. The second I read it late one night last week, the neurons in my brain started firing. My mountain quilt! I’ve long wanted to put a Great Blue Heron in the sky, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. This might be just the thing. But before trying it on the mountain quilt, I needed to experiment.

For detailed instructions, refer to the Quilting Arts issue. You will need: acrylic paints, paintbrushes, containers and water, fusible webbing, a surface to cover your table, and an idea.

I wanted to play around with the Great Blue Heron, so I printed off a picture of one, lay it underneath my fusible webbing, and sketched/painted on top of it.

After letting the paint dry on the fusible webbing, I ironed it to a piece of practice sunset fabric. With great excitement I peeled off the fusible web backing paper, and . . . terrible! It looked terrible.

All blotchy and white and gross. Of course my boyfriend asks, did you read the directions carefully? Well, no. I’ve never used fusible webbing, just sort of knew how it works. And after reading the instructions, I found out you are supposed to let the webbing cool before peeling off. Of course.

So back to the drawing board, this time just a small square to give it a try and see if it would work.

And it did! I eagerly painted another Great Blue Heron, ironed it on another piece of sunset fabric, and sweet goodness, it looked lovely.

I quickly basted some batting onto the fabric, and quilted a few embellishments with my machine. I wanted to accent the beak and legs, and shape of the feathers. Then I thought I might make the sunset more dramatic with some yellow rays of sunshine.

I really love how it turned out! I think I will put a sleeve on the back to hang, and it will be a sweet little wall hanging. Here is a close up.

You might have noticed that I cut out the fusible webbing around the bird, after painting it and before fusing it. Because I wanted the bird to go on my sunset, I didn’t want the webbing around the bird to take away from the sunset. I really like the texture it comes out with, instead of painting on the bird to the fabric which might look flat, the fusible webbing gives it a textured rough look, almost like feathers!

Next, to do this again, but on the real mountain quilt!

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