Sunday, February 26, 2017

Landscape Quilting

Lunch with a sewing friend re-introduced me to her husband's landscape quilts. Bob had overheard a program that Brenda was watching and he was intrigued. Never one to hesitate, Bob immediately began researching the topic, ordered the book Landscape Quilting, and commenced on his first landscape quilt.

Now, about five years later, Bob has made dozens of quilted wall-hangings which he gifts to friends, hangs in his home (discreetly, never over the top), and continues to develop his art.

I don't know why we are captivated by certain things at certain times in our life and not in others, but that is the way it seems to happen. I was completely intrigued by Bob's quilted art, and after a few emails with Brenda, some video watching on the internet, I headed to the fabric store and bought a selection of quilting cottons, then to Staples to get glue sticks and permanent markers.

For my first attempt at this, I decided to copy or try to copy the wall hanging of birches in this video.

There is a lot to learn, but I think the learning curve will be steep and quick. Just what I like.

I am not overly pleased with the background fabric, but it will have to do. I wanted something that looked more like an overcast sky with more light in it, but the selection at the store wasn't that great. I can also see that the background shrubbery needs some work. As Nancy Zeiman says, you need more fabrics to add dimension, so the addition of some more greenery should do the trick. And perhaps a splash of some yellow flowers there too.

I was not at first pleased with the trees; I had one fabric to use but it seemed so dark, then I realised I could use the wrong side. So the tree on the right is the right side of the fabric; the one on the left is the wrong side.  But they do not begin to look like trees until you get the markers out and start outlining the edges with either black or silver markers.  For the tree on the left, I darkened it with the silver marker and for the tree on the right, I lightened it with the same marker, after having outlined the edges with the black marker.  Then adding the little branches was lots of fun. Those are simply drawn on with black marker, squiggling the marker as you draw it across the fabric.

I have lots of leaves to add, yellow and green, and those are cut carefully and will take some time. Then they are also marked with the markers to make veins. After all of that is done, the piece is backed with quilt backing, and a complementary fabric for the backing and the free-motion machine quilting is done. 

Leaves added. Perhaps I need more, not sure at this point. I think the groundcover needs some work, it is too monotone and needs some flecks of colour in it. 

I have done stippling before and actually love it. So I am looking forward to that part of this project. I don't think I will do small stippling on this, but will do larger free motion stitching across the sky in the shape of clouds, and then outline stitching on the tree trunks and branches. Each leaf will be stitched, plus then some straight line stitching to resemble grass in the undergrowth. 

I think I am hooked. I can already see the stash for this beginning to explode. Because you purchase about 6 or 7 fabrics for one piece (or more), but use so little, there is loads of fabric left over for another project. And there will be more. This is a lot of fun. I have always wished that I could paint but my artistic ability with a brush is pathetic; however I can see that, with this craft, you can let the fabric dictate where you go and all you need is patience, scissors, glue, and some inspiration. If you don't like some aspect of it, add more fabric. And it is all removable because it is simply tacked down with paper glue until you permanently stitch it. 

Nancy Zeiman has three videos for this technique. Simply put in two or three at the end of the URL to get to the next one in the series. What a great lady she is. 

And thanks to Bob and Brenda for the inspiration that they have given me.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Shirt Duo

This is my first version of Simplicity 1538. Made up in a poly/cotton shirting blend from the local fabric store. It kind of looks like a man's shirt, except for the feminine buttons. 
From this version, I learned that I cannot skip the broad back alteration as I had some pulls in the back yoke that seemed to indicate I needed extra width there.

Image result for simplicity 1538
 This is version #2. I bought a stretch cotton shirting from Emma One Sock about a month ago, and wanted to add some contrast similar to the pattern above. This was the result of getting the advice from a lovely woman who works at Fabricville. She is a quilter and has a wonderful gift for putting fabrics together. I asked her how she knows what will work.

She had a couple of tips. One is the scale of the print, you need to keep them similar. For instance, I had a polka dot cotton picked out and she said the polka dot was too large for this printed shirting. Another fabric she said had too  much contrast in the colour, it was too sharp.  The original shirting had a muted look to it, so she picked out a couple of quilting cottons that might work and then we eliminated them until we had this one. I think she is a genius and told her that I hope the manager realises this and gives her more scope in her job there. For instance, she could be a wonderful window dresser instead of just cutting fabric for customers.

I put the contrast on the yoke, the collar, the cuffs and the front bands.

The pattern calls for a ribbon to be sewn down the button band, but I simply cut a narrow strip of the shirting and folded it so that it was about 1/2" wide.

There is one more version of this shirt to come. The fabric was also chosen by my newly found friend at Fabricville. I had chosen a vintage cotton print in lovely tones of pale mauve and yellow and she found a contrasting yellow made by the same manufacturer so it matches perfectly.

I was saving this fabric combo until I got the fitting just right on this shirt. It is definitely my go-to shirt pattern now.

Too bad that Simplicity patterns aren't sold in Canada. Apparently they aren't allowed into the country because they lack a French translation of the instructions. Bah!  what a silly excuse to ban the patterns. New Look suffers the same fate apparently.