I’m a picture person. An odd shape of fabric or random doodle on paper always conjures up an picture or image in my mind. These few random stitches on wool above suggested an image to me. Can you guess what it is?
I think its a sheep. Now, I don’t know much about sheep or goats or any of those animals with curly horns. But when you improvised a stitched image, who cares? I’ve extended the original couched thread shape to form the animal’s body. Now that I have an outline, I can fill it in and hope to becomes a creature of some sort.
This quilt from 2012 is a demonstration of how to create a basic quilting block (the 9-patch) with fused fabrics. Rather boring.
Hand embroidery placed in the center of each square, makes sweet little flower gardens. Still rather boring.
So recently I put birds on it. A solution for all your not so interesting quilts!
The shape of the small birdhouse is now on the fabric through the miracle of Pattern Transfer to a Fused Fabric! Using a really sharp pair of Karen Kay Buckley scissors, small areas are snipped to reveal openings for the birdhouse.
It’s a tiny birdhouse for very tiny birds.
After trimming, a white batik fabric is slipped under the birdhouse shape. This fills in the openings. Should I make black dots for the holes into the birdhouse? No! Why, you ask? Because it looks like a bunch of eyeballs staring out at me from the birdhouse.
Three more birdhouses are created and fused to the quilt top. This commission quilt (detail of center panel above) is coming along but there is a lot of machine work to do. Hope to show you more on that later.
One of the many elements in the design of the commission quilt I’m working is a purple martin house. This image was sent to me by the people who have requested the quilts and plays a part in their family story.
Heres how I translated the birdhouse image into fabric.
Using the Photo Shop Elements program on my computer, I converted the photo into a black and white image, enhanced the contrast, and sized it to measure about 1.25″ wide by 1.5″ high.
After it was saved as a jpeg, I printed it on paper and colored in the areas that will be green fabric. This becomes the pattern for the birdhouse.
The first step in transfering the green shape to fused fabric is to trace it on to silicone release paper or parchment paper with a black marker.
The drawn or ink side of the paper is placed on to the glue or fused side of the green fabric.
The paper is ironed into place with a hot iron.
After cooling, the paper is removed. See how the lines transfer to the fabric? This method of transfering shapes to fused fabric is so easy and fast. Try it at home!
More on making the bird house soon.
Usually I’m making small art quilts all the time. But since early January, I’ve only worked on one project. Why only one project? Because the one project occupying all my time is a commission quilt. Or rather, three commission quilts.
A lovely family has requested three panels measuring about 32″ x 48″ that tell stories about their family and places dear to their hearts. Here you see the sketches and color swatches submitted for the commissioned pieces. In the process of making these three panels, I’ve learned new methods of constructing a fused art quilt and how to translate other people’s stories into fabric.
I’ve also learned that documenting the creation of a work of art, hampers the creation of that art. So I’ve taken very few photos of the panels in process. But there are a few things I can share with you. Like how to make a purple martin house. Get your fused fabrics ready and stay tuned!
Studio Clean Up Time: Before
I’m back in the studio for a few weeks and have to remind myself to practice good habits. Those habits seem to go out the window when I’m on the road. Good habits like brushing and flossing, eating right, and most importantly, looking both ways before crossing a street.
How to form that good habit? By repetition! (Or by getting hit by a car.)
Studio Clean Up Time: After
Here are a few life saving habits I practice when making art in my studio.They are the reason I am here today:
- Closing the rotary cutter blades after cutting,
- Turning off my iron when not in use,
- Cleaning up the studio after each project,
- Avoiding fabric sales at quilt shops,
- And, my favorite, setting aside time to play.
Anything else I should be doing?