Developing a Painting

The Bon Air Artists Annual Show is coming up this weekend! I’m one of the exhibiting artists, so I’ve been working these past few months on getting work together. I’d originally laid out the one shown above back in August, hoping to have it done for the Unitarian Gallery show in September. But I couldn’t get up the nerve to paint it – I was scared of the wires.

In February I gritted my teeth, and started. I was still worried about the telephone wires, which is what attracted me to this image in the first place, along with the reflection in the cobblestones. But how bad could it be? If it didn’t turn out, I have enough other work by then for the show.

I made good progress, as you can see from the progressive images above, up until time to do the wires. So I let it set for awhile, and took it to the Bon Air Artists critique in early March. By that time I’d penciled in the lines. Suggestions I received where: leave as is; use a pen; use a twig. I thought on it some more and decided I wanted to paint the lines, but was unsure of how even I could make them. Finally I pulled a thin bead of water with a small rigger brush, then touched the water with a water soluble pen. Ink shot in both directions! This is cool! So I kept going. I’m pleased with how it came out!

Hope you like it. If you’re in the Richmond, Virginia are, please join us for the show this Sunday – admission is free. See you there.

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Erie Bags for Trip to Ireland


My sister and I are going to Ireland the end of this Summer! I’m so excited! The challenge for our June postcard swap was ‘perchance to dream’ and I wanted to do Dreaming of Ireland based on sketches I did the end of last year. My first thought was a thatched cottage, but the more I thought about it the more complex it seemed to be. Perhaps a celtic cross? I tried sketching one and carving a stamp last October and had difficulty with the symmetry. This time I used a ruler and came closer; then scanned it in and adjusted with Powerpoint. Much better. Now I had a pattern and the postcard followed easily.

Maybe another attempt at a stamp? Yes! That worked well, so I moved on to copies of small celtic circle patterns – also acceptable. I’d been thinking of making several small lined bags to take with me on the trip to have on hand for simple gifts and the stamps were a good place to start. I did some discharge and acrylic printing with them on fabric, as I’d done in June of 2011 for the Stinkbug postcards (see blog post from that period, photo above, and youtube video of the process).  From the fabric prints and silk scraps I made lined bags using the pattern in my January 26, 2018 blog post.  All done!

Renwick: No Spectators: the Art of Burning Man

I enjoyed a bus trip yesterday to the National Gallery in Washington D.C., with a couple of side trips. My favorite was to the Renwick Gallery, near the White House, which has up an exhibit of sculptures from the Burning Man festival held each August in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Absolutely phenomenal. It will be up until January 2019. Put it on your schedule!!

Memorial Quilt – Gloves and Handkerchiefs


In April of 2016 my mother passed away, and two weeks later her next younger sister followed her. Last fall my cousin called and asked me if I would make a quilt from her mother’s gloves and handkerchiefs. Any size, any time. I was very fond of my Aunt, and my cousin, so I said, “sure!”, thinking it would be wall size and not take very long.

I thought about it for six months. Did some searches. Thought some more. Then started laying the gloves and handkerchiefs out in different patterns. You see above what I came up with! Thanks to inspiration from Susan Lenz’s Handed Down wall hanging, and design assistance from my husband. It’s 52″ x 65″ – almost twin size, and it took much longer than I had anticipated, but I’m very happy with it!

This is what I did: Layered a backing, batting, and sheet then placed the handkerchiefs on the sheet. Basted it all together and quilted. Transferred photos to fabric using T-shirt transfer material. Laid out the gloves and photos and pinned them down. Made two test pieces to decide on how to attach the gloves and photos.  Fused the photos, and hand stitched the gloves and tatting around each photo. Bound the quilt.

What I’d do differently if I ever do this again: Not use upholstery grade fabric for the backing – it was way too thick and precluded machine stitching the gloves and lace. Make it smaller, max of 24″x24″.

It was an interesting project, and I think my cousin will love it!

Quilted Jacket!


I finished my quilted jacket! See my last post for the pattern info and preliminary pattern prototype. I’m pleased with how it came out, and looking forward to wearing it to the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, Virginia this coming Thursday! If the weather forecast is correct, it may be a bit warm for a jacket, which would be OK. However, this one has flannel between the fabric layers, rather than batting, so it will work with milder temps than the prototype.

Happy Quilting!!

 

Hidden Wells

I’ve been wanting a quilted jacket, that fits – emphasis on “fits”. I’ve made several in the past and there’s always something off – too short, too long, too tight. I found a jacket pattern I liked and decided on the quilt block: Hidden Wells. This is the same one I used for my first quilt in 1992 – Hidden Wells by Mary Ellen Hopkins. Not finding it in the Suitcase of Curious Patterns, I looked online and came across an excellent tutorial by Alena Diamon. From her description of the original 1989 ‘folder’, I remembered where I’d stored mine! In the Binder of Eventually Useful Ideas!

Using Alena’s shortcuts and Mary Ellen’s tips, I made a test unit of Hidden Wells. It worked. (This is where I got sidetracked on the bag patterns in the two most recent posts, as I also made a lined bag out of the first test unit.) After some tweaks to fabric selections and an evaluation of how many units I need, I bought fabric and started on blocks for the jacket.

Meanwhile, to address ‘fit’, I made a prototype from an old quilt. It worked well despite the bulk and I identified one alteration – cut sleeves shorter. I finished the seams on the inside and the next one might be reversible… Off to finish the Hidden Wells units!

 

 

Lined Bag Pattern

Here’s the pattern for a lined bag! I’d forgotten exactly how I did this, so now I’ve got it written down! If you have questions, leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Step numbers correspond to the photos shown above.

  1. Cut two pieces of fabric, each 6”x17”, and a third piece 6”x3”. These are the bag, the lining for the bag, and the casing, respectively.
  2. On the short sides of the casing piece, fold ¼” to the wrong side, and stitch.
  3. Cut the casing piece in half, lengthwise. This gives you the two casings.
  4. Fold the casings in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press.
  5. Matching raw edges, place a casing at each of the short ends of the bag fabric. Lay the lining piece on top of the bag and the casings as shown in the photo. Stitch both ends, thru lining, casing, and bag outside.
  6. Match seams with bag on one side and lining on the other.
  7. Stitch side seams of bag with a ¼” seam, leaving a 3” gap in one of the seams of the lining. Be careful not to catch the casings in the seams.
  8. Turn the bag thru the opening in the lining.
  9. Tuck the lining inside the bag.
  10. Cut a piece of ribbon long enough for both ties. Slip a safety pin to the middle of the ribbon and thread the ribbon thru both casings. Snip the ribbon at the safety pin and set the pin aside. Pull one of the ribbons to identify the other end that ribbon and then knot them together. Repeat with the second ribbon. Slip one of the knots thru the casing until it’s on the other side of the bag.

Enjoy!