Saturday, June 20, 2015

June Landscape - the Lone Tree

This is the first landscape in my Monthly Landscape Art Quilt Challenge

Forgotten Dreams album cover by Thirteen Strings
Forgotten Dreams by Thirteen Strings
I was intrigued by the album cover of Forgotten Dreams, by Thirteen Strings. It's of trees, possibly white pines, perched on rocks. The image is very haunting, as is the album. A few of the pieces were composed by Marjan Mozetich. I love his music and the pieces on this album are wonderful.

pile of possible fabrics for landscape
Possible fabrics for landscape
Without wanting to reproduce the image, I looked around for images of rocks and trees on Google. From those images, I decided to put a landscape together of a tree, rocks, water and sky.

I wanted to use scraps from a huge bag that a friend gave me. Thanks Judy! Here's the pile of possible scraps for the project.

The sky?
If you've read any of my posts, you'll know that I'm not very good at planning quilting projects. This one was no exception. I just started sewing some strips of fabric on a piece of stabilizer. I sewed them as if I was doing a quilt-as-you-go. Don't ask me why, it's just what I did....and I don't think I will do it again!

I wanted to do something different. Right from the beginning I didn't like it, but I kept it cause you never know until it's put together if it'll work (spoiler alert: it didn't!)

Trying out fabrics
Trying out fabrics

This is what I love about these small experimental projects - you try it and eventually, if you don't like it, you fix it! After sewing on the sky, I got smarter and started cutting and just placing and layering the fabrics without sewing them.

The added the water and the rocks. I must say that I'm not bad with rocks. Rocks are in my blood - I'm from a mining town in Northern Ontario.

Have you spotted the problem that will haunt me as I put this together? Hint: the water & the sky - there's almost no contrast. Add the tree to that and it becomes a dark mass.

First attempt
After I free motion quilted the piece, I wasn't sure what I thought, so I taped the landscape to the back of my bedroom door and went to bed. When I got up, I decided that I didn't really like it. So I kept some of the water, cut around the tree and started trying different things.

Frankly I didn't like this either which meant that it was time to try something different. I went into my real stash and found some lovely hand-dyed fabric that would make the sky pop. Sure it has pinks and purples in it, but that was the colour of the sky last night! I added more fabric and then covered it with three colours of tulle. That softened the sky somewhat. I sewed the tulle on top of the sky and around the tree. I then very carefully cut the tulle from on top of the tree.

I think that once it's quilted, the sky will look lovely.
Lone Tree ready for FMQ
What I've learned:

  • Everything really can be undone, covered up or removed. Thank goodness!
  • Contrast is necessary. I should be writing that down on the blackboard 100 times :-)
  • Since I had used tulle for the Southwest landscape, I knew that it would soften the sky and allow me to use more fabrics.
  • I was taking this project too seriously - so I added the birds for a touch of whimsy.
  • I have to learn to not stress over this challenge. It's about learning and trying new things and not about meeting a self-imposed deadline that doesn't matter.

As an aside, last week we adopted a wonderful 7 year old puggle (pug and beagle) named Chevy. To celebrate her coming, I re-covered Bandit's bed. Here is our sweety. She is very photogenic and so intense!

Thanks for stopping by.
I have linked this post with Pet Project Show, Free Motion MavericksQuilt Story and Fabric Frenzy Friday. Check out everyone's posts!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Monthly Landscape Art Quilt Challenge

Butterfly flitting
I’m like a butterfly flitting from one flower to another, except that my flowers are anything quilty!

I love trying new things and I tend to get bored quickly with repetition. Since I know this, I sometimes have to trick myself into doing a variety of related things so that I can actually become proficient at a new skill. Practice helps me acquire skills but repetition kills my motivation!

My solution for learning to make landscape art quilts is to set myself a monthly challenge:
  • To make a new landscape quilt each month;
  • While learning something new (i.e. technique, subject matter, etc.)

Here is how I will try to interpret making a landscape art quilt* for this challenge. A landscape quilt:
  • represents a landscape, a view of a place outdoor that is real or fictitious;
    Landscape Art Quilt Challenge Button
  • is a quilt, therefore has some type of batting and backing; and
  • can incorporate various art techniques (i.e. paint, crayons, embellishments, etc.).
*this is strictly my criteria for this challenge

To date, I’ve made four landscape art quilts. You can read more about most of these projects by following the links below.
Midwest landscape
Midwest landscape - First landscape started
Landscape based on Dream Landscapes book
Landscape based on Dream Landscapes book
Dream Landscapes by Rose Hughes

Amalfi Coast Landscape based on Happy Villages
Amalfi Coast Landscape based on Happy Villages
Happy Villages by Karen Eckmeier

Experimental Landscape
Experimental Landscape
As you can see from the dates above, most of these projects have been finished within the last year. This corresponds to my increased interest in learning and trying new techniques. I find that as I read and take more Craftsy courses, I'm exposed to different techniques which enables me to figure out what to do next when I'm stuck on a project.

If there's one thing that has given me both confidence and the ability to broaden my skills is learning to free motion quilt (FMQ). That has opened another entire universe of possibilities.

For this challenge, I've created a new photo set on Flickr for landscape art quilts. It'll be great to see my progress as the challenge advances.

What I hope to learn during the challenge:

  • I think that trying new techniques that are related to what I've learned in the last project will help me remember the lessons learned as well as add to my prior knowledge.
  • I think that I'd like to learn techniques that involve surface design but I've always been intimidated. I'm hoping that this will give me confidence to try these out.
  • I also want to actually use all of those books, magazines and Crafty courses!
Wish me luck on my journey!

If you feel like joining me, grab a button and leave a message on my challenge posts with links to your own version of your challenge! If there's enough people, I can even create a linking party!

This post is linked to Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop? Link-a-Finish Friday. Check out everyone's posts! 

The Midwest Landscape quilt was highlighted on Link-a-Finish Friday! I'm thrilled. Thanks Richard and Tanya!

The Butterfly photo is from Steve on Flickr. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Snippet Flowers in a Vase

It's time for the June Goal Setting Party of The Lovely Year of Finishes Challenge.

Based on what I've learned to date, my goal should be something I want to finish or that I have to finish within the month. Since I have no June deadlines for any of my projects, this leaves me with a choice. Let it be a wise choice!

This month's goal is a UFO that I started in 2008 (although it could be older). It was part of my Common Thread Quilt Guild UFO Challenge list – the Snippet flowers in a vase that I couldn't find! I did find it some time in April (under the bed, with another quilt that was ready to FMQ) but I really, really didn't like the borders. Now the borders are history and I had a great time thread-painting it.

It just needs a little more thread painting and then it'll be ready for new borders and quilting.

I started this quilt years ago after watching a quilting show on television (I think I was home sick). I don't think I was quilting then, but I've always had a fabric stash. I bought some kind of adhesive, ironed it to the back of the fabrics and started cutting snippets. I remember using a White Rose flyer for ideas when making the flowers.

It was probably made within a year, but I had no idea what to do with it. I knew I had to sew it to make sure that the snippets stayed on. That's why it was put away. Now that I can FMQ, it's time.

I started by following the outlines of the flowers, but eventually got more creative. I read somewhere that when thread painting, you can (and sometimes should) go outside of the area to create an effect. I love it when someone tells me that I can sew or colour outside of the lines! I think that it was quite effective.

I’m not sure what fabric I'll use for the border. I think I want to make it look like a framed picture. I also want to add texture to the vase and table, ideally with some shading.

Come back at the end of June to see the finished project!
Posted on Quilt Story and WIP Wednesday. Check out the other posts.