A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I am blown away

by all the fabulous work that is coming from the group.  And not one looks like anybody else's! Wow!!
After a break for almost a week for entertaining houseguests here from out of town (the last one left today) I haven't had time till today to work on the two center sections of the block I cut up.

Remember these?
Here they are after quite a few cut-paste-recut-etc.  I think it needs more of something. All I wanted to do was get rid of the swastika and I have succeeded.  But...
This is just one section of the blocks I sewed together to show what you can do.  But you've done much more interesting and beautiful work, so  I don't think you need any more instructions!  I'm glad we had a chance to play together and Iove seeing what you're doing!  Thanks for inviting me!

Monday, January 30, 2012

I Finished One Too!

"Sit Down -- I Think I Love You"
30" by 36"
Yeah -- I stole the title from an old song.  I "accidentally" made a block that kind of looked like a chair and so I went with it and made some more.  And then I found some chair fabric in my stash, so I added some of that too.  The block in the middle came from the tiny stash of "finished" blocks that have been inhabiting my wall since I last posted.  It's probably my favorite.

These are the ones left over.  I think they need some friends.

I did some pretty basic quilting -- usually when I'm making something, I'm thinking about the quilting as I make it.  Not so with this.  Maybe because it's new?  But fancy schmancy feathers or loop-dee-loops didn't really lend themselves to this kind of piecing. I want to experiment some more with that.

 I used strips cut from a strata of dark hand-dyes for the binding.  I notice that most of these quilts don't have traditional binding on them -- I'll have to experiment more with that too.


When I talked to you last, I had what would normally be a finished quilt top; but had decided to do more - so I slashed through the top, and added some inserts to make "Shattered" which would be of a piece with my burgeoning "fractured" series. 

I was pleased that it fit in so naturally, and pleased too, to try something out of my comfort zone.  

This was a really fun exercise - thanks very much to Rayna and Judith (for introducing us to Rayna's technique) - a great start to a new year. 


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Free-form Quilt--Quilter Beth

I've been playing with making an actual quilt from the larger free-form piece I have made. The last couple of days I have made some black "blocks" for the borders. Each block is made of lots and lots of pieces of black fabric. At this point, it is up on my design wall in the "thinking" stage.
Today, I think I'll experiment with adding strips of the striped fabric around all the sides of the center piece. I want to lighten up the border a bit too, so I'll also add a bit of the striped fabric in the border (to make it look like the stripe is trying to escape from the center). I'm planning on adding a striped binding to it when it is finished. Of course, everything is just speculation right now. We'll see...

Friday, January 27, 2012

UFO tutorial - day 2

Here's where I started.

 Tonight I took out the rotary cutter and went to work. While I was deciding how to slice them, I wondered what would happen if I fan-folded them and cut through three layers at once. So I tried it.
Here I am, fan-folding the fabric.

 Now all three layers are together and it's time to put a slice through them.

                                   When I open it, here's what it looks like.
Three uneven cuts in one fell swoop and four sections. Later, I will cut it up again but in the meantime I will start with the two narrow sections in the middle and insert a strip between them.
 But then I think I'll flip one side top-to-bottom before I insert anything. 
 A strip of lime green batik that is lying around seems like a cheerful way to start.

 Since these blocks are different sizes (the reason they may never have been made into a quilt top)
 I decide to trim off the excess and put it aside.  Maybe I'll use it later for something else. Yes, I used a ruler, but really only when I trim. 

I don't know what I will do next but these blocks have a long way to go before I can make the swastikas disappear. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Free-form Blocks--Quilter Beth

I finally had a chance to cut into the remaining portion of this quilt top. I removed the outside blocks and cut into those first. (I posted those results earlier.) I left these nine blocks together, because I wanted to see how different the results would be if I worked on a larger unit. These are the nine blocks I left together.
I went from the above nine blocks to this...
I liked this better than what I started with, but I didn't like the big white strip in the middle.
The strip was really too narrow to cut apart, so I used a fabric dye stick to put a blue "strip" down the middle. I liked it better but was still underwhelmed.
Then, I did some more cutting and added some black and white striped fabric along with two of the blocks I had previously transformed. I think this is something I can work with.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My first kick at the can...

You may remember that I started with an odd assortment of blocks that were given to me as part of a birthday block exchange.  I decided to first cut them into equal strips.

And then chose some additions from my scrap stash in the same two inch widths.

I fussed with the layout until I found something I was happy with...

And then sewed them all together.

Normally, I would stop here; this is my comfort zone and what pleases me aesthetically: a limited palette and not a lot of pattern in my fabrics - but since were "what if"-ing - I didn't!

Stay tuned...

UFO Tutorial - day 1

I have a box full of random, un-used, leftover, odd-sized, ugly, new and old blocks.  Some of them I have already improved.
 And a couple have even become small quilts.  This one was snapped up as soon as I finished it and is now hanging in a young teenager's bedroom.

So how do you turn an ugly duckling into a swan?

These six blocks were in a bag of vintage blocks I bought, sight unseen, at a flea market years ago; they have been in my trunk for ages.  As I look at them now I know I would never have bought them if I had seen them. I don't know what the pattern is called but they are clearly swastikas to me. I estimate that they were made in the 1940's, but some of the fabrics look like 1910-20 vintage, as well.

I decided that cutting these individually would be too much work, so I sewed them together and will cut them as though they were a whole top.  They are hand-pieced and I was happy to see that they were not all the same size and that a lot of the seams were 1/8".  This is true of many old blocks; who came up with the "you must have a 1/4" seam" idea?? 

As I cut this thing up and re-sew it, you will be along with me to see what works and what doesn't because I never know in advance what I will be doing.  I'll take pictures as I go along and will be happy to answer questions.  It may not turn out to be a masterpiece but for sure, it will be better than THIS!
Stay tuned.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Peek at the Third Piece

Rayna will be posting her tutorial this week but till then I thought I would give you a  peek at my third piece from Rayna's book.  Here is the 3 x 4 foot top that I started with.  It is an intermediate piece from my first Nancy Crow workshop.
I cut it into 12 blocks which are roughly 12 inch squares and then started slicing and dicing the blocks.  Here is where I am at now.

I think it is 5 or 6 blocks on the design wall so far.  I make no guarantee that the arrangement will stay the same for the finished piece. We'll see what the rest of the blocks have to add to the composition.  But so far, so good!  --Judith

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More Free-form Blocks--Quilter Beth

I had a chance to work on more blocks yesterday. I put them on the design wall with the first two blocks. This completes all the single blocks I separated from the original quilt top. Next, I'll be working on the portion of the quilt top I left intact. (I left nine of the blocks together--like a big nine-patch block.)

It was nice to work on these bright colors yesterday, because we had another one of those DREARY, gray days. These colors make me happy--they remind me of stained glass windows.
Working on the blocks is addictive. I understand, now, what Rayna means when she talks about "What if?" in the book. As I worked on these blocks, I said things like, "What if I slice into the border around the block?, What if I use a strip set as an insert in the block?, What if I shift each section of the block up and add pieces to the tops and bottoms of each section?, What if I use a slice from a strip set as a part of the block border?, etc." This is TOO MUCH FUN!

Once I play with slicing and dicing the remaining portion of the quilt top, I'll have to decide how I'll put the pieces together. Will they become one quilt top, two, or more? How will I put the pieces together? Hmmmmm, I don't know, but it will be fun to see.

A fellow traveler

One of the many Dutch quilt artists I follow is a woman named Nienke. I read her blog daily and noticed she was working on a quilt as she followed our blog. These are some of he blocks she has been working on and this is what she made with it. Beautiful colors and patterns. Her blog is worth checking out.
p.s. Use the Google translator on the right of her blog

step one and a half

Since washing didn't improve this fabric, I decided to overdye it to get rid of that white.  White is really hard to use because that's where you eye goes first when you look at a piece of art (or anything else). If there is anything you do not want your eye to go to, it is this cloth!

I knew it had to turn green but didn't want to go so dark as to obliterate the pattern.  In retrospect, dark would have been pointless; nothing could have made that brown and pepto-bismol pink disappear.  Anyway, in the absence of soda ash, I tried green tea.  Nope - the fabric turned a barely beige.  Went to the studio, picked up some soda ash and  then this morning, overdyed it (again).  Better, don'tcha think?
I was hoping it would turn into something beautiful at midnight (Eastern Time Zone) tonight, but no dice.  In my disappointment, I am going to sleep.  Maybe tomorrow I can cope with it between my other two must-do projects. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

My book is here!

Well, not "here, in my hands", but "here" I can pick it up at lunchtime!  

So, what I'm going to be working with are these birthday blocks that were the result of a miscommunication with my group. I asked for blue or purple stars, but most people gave me blue AND purple stars. So, they didn't go with each other at all, and consequently, not much could be done with them.

Given what other people have posted on the blog so far, I thought I would start with these two blocks as they needed the most help;

but in the end, decided to go with this block as I have a lot of fabrics that would fall within this range.

So, give me a chance to read the book, and I'll be on my way within a couple of days!

*rubs hands together*

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Another day in slice-n-dice-ville

Done for another day. I basically don't like what I did and I am not looking for compliments in some passive aggressive way. I DO like this one and will probably make it into a stand alone piece.
I just need to find a way to knock back the orange. Time will tell. These are the other three.

I WAS listening to a pretty good book on MP3 which covered both days so it wasn't a complete waste of time.

Sometimes I Hate Blogger

Because it won't let me post comments.  For the past week.  So I'm putting up a post with my comments.  In the previous post, Beth from Maine, my wall and floor are covered with strip-sets that I've sewn in the past week.  I'm trying to find the motivation to go work with them.  I do like your purple blocks.

Kit!  I know you found the book -- but I tried and tried to post a comment -- my friend, Cathy Neri, of QBU Books has a special limited time offer for "friends of Karen" for Rayna's book -- it includes free shipping.  You can reach her toll free at: (877) 315-7131 or at QuiltingBooksUnlimited@gmail.com.

Quilter Beth -- I love those colors -- I'm wondering, after looking at yours and Beth from Maine's posts, if I need to ditch the soft colors and go back to my brights.

Judith!  Your pieces are just fantastic.  Again, I think I need to ditch the soft colors -- it's so cold outside, I must need brights!  Although, my son liked the dragon fabrics I used.

So now I'm going to go downstairs to pull some COLOR from my stash and see if I can perk up all this blah.  TTFN...

Finally with it

I got the book and read it a few days ago and was itching to start. I made 4 blocks that I really love just not all together. I sewed each of the blocks to another and I don't like it. I am thinking of make 4 small pieces with these blocks as the centers. Meanwhile, I will continue to work on strip sets in yellows, greens and oranges and see if inspiration strikes.

I can't believe this is the end product of an entire day.