Sunday, April 27, 2014

Being very productive

I have been tackling my steep learning curve with my new embroidery machine and am finding that it is quite easy to do two things at once!
This morning I spent a long time playing with drawing my own designs from scratch and after much hair pulling I have produced a very simple quilting outline (which is so simple, I am not going to show you), but I think I am now much more confident to go on producing my own, more complex ones.
This afternoon, whilst increasing the number of leaf blocks in my growing collection,  I have been doing a little hand applique.  At the quilt convention, a few weeks ago, I bought some 'Applique paper' (here,  scroll down to see the product below). Basically, it is a semi soluble, fusible interfacing which you can leave in, but allows you to turn the edges of your fabric with a gluestick.  Using it has speeded up my applique no end as I can put together the pieces whilst the embroidery machine is working away.
This is one of my completed blocks.  It is a Quilt Show block of the month from a few years ago and is something I pull out in winter to do on cold nights.
This is my current block, number seven (so you can see I have actually done a fair bit).  Whilst I embroidered one leaf, I finished turning lots of leaves.
All of these paler ones!  OOps, when I laid them out, I realised I had one missing.  I spent an hour looking for some of the same fabric unsuccessfully, then had to look through the rubbish and actually found the missing one.  Lucky the rubbish had not gone out!
You can see one unturned leaf at the top, so you can see I have ironed the applique paper on to a piece of fabric, then it is easy to turn the edges to the back with a glue stick.
Whilst I was embroidering another leaf this evening, I got all twelve darker leaves sewn down.
So my new toy is actually helping me to get more done - and I get to play with lots of glorious colours of thread!

Happy Creating!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Digital Drawing day and Ooops. I forgot!

I have been so busy the last few posts, that I forgot a major milestone!  I have passed 500 posts!  wow.  I never thought I'd get this far, especially with all the stops and starts last year, but I have finally got here.
Wonder where I'll be when I hit 1000?  Mind you, I do have a friend who has been blogging for over ten years, so she beats me there!
If you saw my post yesterday, you know I have been playing with a new toy.  I have a brand spanking new embroidery machine and have been playing with the commercial designs that come with it.  But since today is Digital Drawing Day, hosted by Terry.  (She and Joan will post Sunday U.S. time), I thought it was the perfect opportunity to do two things at once.
Terry's prompt for this week is 'put a bird on it', so I drew a blue wren with my digital tablet.
I didn't put a background, or anything for the poor bird to stand on because I had something special in mind for my image.  And I didn't use the pastel tool for this, I used the watercolour brush because I wanted clear solid colours.
I took my image and digitised it into an embroidery design on my computer.  I thought it would be difficult, but it wasn't.  What will be difficult will be all the tweaking I need to do now that I have stitched it out, because there were problems with the stitching,  but here it is!
As you can see it is far from perfect, but I think that this will be a great tool to use in my work.  Imagine being able to stitch out my own designs into my pieces!  Any way I think it will be - when I have tweaked it a bit.

Happy Creating!

Friday, April 25, 2014

A new addition to the studio

When I was away at the quilt convention, I made a rather large purchase, which my hubby and I finally picked up yesterday.  It has necessitated quite a few changes to the arrangement of my room and also a few frustrating hair pulls as I put it to use.
OMG!  It's an embroidery machine!  I have wanted one of these for many years and this year, I decided that it was time, now, because the prices were getting ridiculous!  I managed to get a great price on this one at the show.
As I said, I have wanted one for ages, but not to make lots of stuff with commercial designs.  I wanted to be able to digitize my own work and sew it out and to make lace-of course.
The last day and a half, after getting it home, I have been on a steep learning curve and have finally got it doing commercial designs correctly.  I have made just about every mistake I could make and finally feel comfortable with it.
This was the first design I did, which was a tutorial that took me through all the steps, but it was just one colour and very simple, so although it was a useful exercise, I wanted something more complicated!
So, of course, I chose a leaf.  This was my first attempt.  I can't remember what the problem was, but the computer told me to stop and then I couldn't get it started at the same place!
This was my next attempt, getting a little further along, but after it threw up another error, I got it started, but at the wrong place!
Aha!  third time lucky! I finally worked out all the little problems!  This one still had a little tension problem at the start, but it was passable.
I now have three of these worked on different fabrics with different colours.  I have had these blocks lying around for a while and I thought this would be a great way to practice, and end up with a quilt as well!

So my new toy is up and running.  Now I have to tackle an even steeper learning curve of digitzing my own drawings and getting them to stitch out the way I want.  The great thing about this is that I can be doing two things at once.  As I am right now - blogging whilst the machine sews away next to me!

Happy Creating!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Print mania

during the last week or so since coming home from the quilt convention, I have been doing a lot of printing. Mostly I use my silicone plate, which is like a gelatin plate, but permanent, which my hubby made for me and usually, I am printing....leaves.  any one who knows me knows I am obsessed with leaves!
Mostly I do two or three layers.
The one above has two layers.  The coloured layer is lots of paint on the plate lifted off onto the paper.   The black layer is what happens when you lay black paint down the the leaves on to of that, then lift a print.  You can find more detailed instructions for my method here.
These prints are OK, but I really love what happens when you take the leaves off after this print-
the paint under the leaves prints out with the veins of the leaves defined.  I really love this!

These are just a few of the many, many prints I have done over the last week.  Or should I say 'mania'?  When I am feeling a little out of sorts, it is so gratifying to do some mindless printing!  Of course, then I need to find somewhere to put them all!  I think I need to make some more fabric ones and put them together for a wall hanging!
Hope you enjoyed the eye candy.

Happy Creating!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Another T Page

finally back blogging after a little break, which was unintended, but welcome.  Today I am joining Elizabeth for T for Tuesday on her bEARTHday.
Today I am sharing a page I hope I have not shared before.  This one used stencils.  The background was done by painting matte medium through a stencil, then painting watercolour over when dry.  The teapot was done by putting a mask of the teapot down whilst the background was painted, then replacing the mask with the stencil of the teapot and adding a second stencil over the top to fill the teapot with pattern.  The pot(s) on the left are printouts of a digital drawing on tracing paper, which are different colours and translucent, so you can see the other layers through them (but this is not visible in the photo)
Hope you enjoy.

Happy creating!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Digital Drawing Day - The worries in your head

If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you will know that this topic, from Terry and Joan over at andsewitgoes (Terry will not post until sunday U.S. time) for this weeks digital drawing, is particularly apt as I am trying (vainly) to get myself organised for the Australasian Quilt Convention this week.
The biggest worry in my head, has been getting landscapes suitable for my workshop with Gloria Loughman, drawn up and ready.  Usually, in my photographs, I am looking for foreground detail, but for this course, I need lots of hills in the background!  So I have gone back through my old photos (actual prints, they are so old) and found a few that I might be able to use. I had to exaggerate the background in a lot of them, and also, I needed colour to decide me what to do with them.
I have narrowed it down to two.
This first picture was taken in the high plains of New South Wales at Cabramurra.  There were lupins growing wild all over and I took lots of photos.
As you can see, I have exaggerated the background mountains and the number of lupins, and then.
I altered where the tree was.  The tree was just a quick scribble as my hands were beginning to ache!
This was taken on the Snowy River, just inside the Victorian border, but south of Thredbo.
And this is where I got with that one.  I left out the large pile of rocks and wood at the centre right as I knew it would be too fiddly for a workshop.

I have finally got the hang of using layers.  And it did make things so much easier!  As usual, I used the pastel tool in artrage as I was in a hurry, but now I have my landscapes worked out.  I won't bore you with the line diagrams, but they are done and all I have to do is print them out!  Yes!

But of course, I still have a ton to do, including two assignments due before I leave home and only two days to go!
I will not be able to post a digital drawing next sunday, but I will try and post during the week.

Happy creating!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Trip looming

I have been absent for the last few days and at the moment my studio is all upside down.  I am preparing to go to the Australasian Quilt convention next week and trying to find all the things I have to take with me.
It has been a few years since I have been away from home for more than a night or two and I had forgotten how complicated it all is!  And of course there is a lot of things I need to do to before I attend the two workshops I am doing as well.
I have lists
and more lists
I have a pile of fabric (which is all cotton and that is sometimes hard to find in my home lol) and now have to choose the threads to take as I can't take all of it!
I have a pile of photos, from which I have to choose some likely culprits and then make enalrged line diagrams.
I also have a ton of homework to do in my two courses.  This is a sample thread painting (which will probably not be finished until I return, now) for the working in a series class.
So things are already a bit of a turmoil, and add to that we have been without a washing machine for a month and after picking one up yesterday, I have done six loads of washing today - and I'm not finished, but there is no hanging space left until it all dries.
tomorrow is  our local quilt group get together and I haven't even thought about what to take!

I feel a deep need for some ART!

Happy Creating!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tea time

Joining Elizabeth for T for tuesday, here.
This was a monoprint on a piece of acetate and the text was a rubbing using cardboard letters.

Happy creating!