Stashfest 2013

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Barbara O’Steen, Marylee Drake, and Rosalyn Duffy at the
Contemporary QuiltArt Association’s (CQA) booth

This past aweekend I enjoyed going to Stashfest, the fund-raiser for the La Conner Quilt and Textile museum.  As a contributor in several ways for this event, it was exciting to see it come to fruition.

The biggest effort I was involved in was in making fabric with the Contemporary QuiltArt Association (CQA), as a vendor for Stashfest.  I got an early entry and have photos to share of all the fantastic unusual fabrics that were available at this event.

Donna DeShazo from CQA with more of our handmade fabrics

Ice-dyed and other hand-dyed fabrics

More of the CQA collection
Annie Lewis with her fabulous hand silk-screened fabrics

Hand-dyed Kona Cottons

Hand-dyed Kona Cottons

Vintage Kimono Silks

Margot Myer’s NW Batiked Cottons

Barbara Kanaya (of CQA)
working at Mary Ogwell’s booth

Mary Ogwell’s West African cottons

Patricia Beleya’s Japanese Yukata fabrics

Early-bird shoppers get a spring on all the unique fabrics!

Patricia Beleya’s incredible Yukata fabrics

Rack of “insider visits” for sale- studio tours
of NW Quilt Artists (mine on top!)

Business starting to pick up as doors open

I’ll be getting some photos up soon from a new fiber exhibition that I went to last week, as well as my finishing my Salsa quilt and the start of a freemotion quilting practice quilt.  Make sure and stop in this coming weekend and link your blog up for Design Wall Weekends!

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CQA Surface Design Party Viewing for Inspiration Designing, Stenciling & 
Making Marks on Fabric

True Triangles – Video Tutorial

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Working on sample of True Triangles
I’ve had some wonderful comments on my Salsa blocks, as well as a few questions on how I did certain aspects, including my background of my most recent block, Chili Pepper.  Today, I’m going to go over the triangles freemotion quilting design.

 

Practice and notes from my sketchbook – True Triangles

I started working out this triangle design in my sketchbook, because I wanted a way to have triangles, but not a bunch of connecting lines or other angles.

More notes from my sketchbook

The main trick with this design is to make your first triangle and then backtrack (or “travel stitch” as Leah Day of the Freemotion Quilting Project calls it) to the middle of one of the sides of your triangle, where you start the first corner of your next triangle.

Difficulty: Beginner- The main difficulty with this design is in getting your sides of your triangles straight and in carefully backtracking, so your stitches stay on the line of the original triangle’s line.

OK, I’m still working out the bugs on how to do a nice job on videography for my tutorials, so bear with me.  I cut down time on this video by speeding it up a bit during part of the sewing, but I need a bit more practice on my hand position while videoing and also adding audio to the part which has increased speed.

Click Here if the Video isn’t Showing Above

True Triangles used in the background of my Chili Pepper block

If you haven’t linked up yet, make sure to visit Design Wall Weekend!  Or just stop by to find some other great blogs!

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Design Wall Weekend #1 Tutorial: Adding Your
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Design Wall Weekends

I’

Design Wall Weekend #1

Christina’s Salsa quilt (in progress)

I don’t know about you, but I generally have too much on my design wall… and sometimes the things that are up aren’t what I’m currently working on!  Not only am I working on finishing up my Salsa Quilt, I have my Waterfall colorplay quilt, my little “Waiting” piece, and fabric to start a piece for the Outdoor “Salsa in the Sun” show.  I guess if they’re up on my wall, I don’t really count them as a UFO… which implies that you’ve sort of given up on it.

By the way, I’m just finishing up my tutorial on “True Triangles”, the freemotion quilting design which I’ve created for the Chili Pepper block.  Check back on Sunday (April 7) to see the video tutorial!

So, what do you have on your design wall?   By the way, if you don’t yet have your own design wall, click here for a great tutorial on how to make one for yourself from Quilts by Jen. 

How to Use Your Design Wall

Years back, I never used a design wall.  I might sketch out a design on graph paper or in my sketchbook, but then I pretty much just went with it and constructed as close to what I’d drawn as I could.  It certainly is possible to get a good result from that… but it’s kind of hit or miss.  It’s much more effective to use a design wall.

Your design wall can simply be a piece of batting that you pin up on a wall anywhere you have some space to step back from it (preferably at least 8-12 feet or 3-4 meters) and be able to look at your design as it progresses.

 

First try- lower left seems a bit heavy with the
dark backgrounds

The change for me came when I started taking a Design series – classes for quilters that taught you the basic fundamentals of design.  Our teacher always said “Make visual decisions Visually.”  In other words, you have to actually look at something to see if it’s going to work, rather than just thinking it will work.

Tonight it was time to put my Salsa blocks all together.  So, up they went on the design wall.  I arranged them, then stepped back and took a look (and a picture).

I then rearranged them several times, each time checking to see how I liked the arrangement.

I like having the two red backgrounds on opposite corners

Looking through a reducing glass or at a photograph can also help you get a sense of how well the design will work from afar.

After determining the placement of the blocks, I then had to decide which fabic I was going to use for the sashing.  To do this, I pinned different pieces of fabric up and put the blocks on top, stepped back and looked at the overall effect.

The green fabric to the right is bold and seemed like a good prospect, but when I tried out the black with red/yellow/orange batik, I think I found a winner!

Salsa blocks with sashing complete

Next step will adding batting/backing and freemotion quilting of the sashing.

 

You Might Also Be Interested In:
 

One of the best places to learn FreeMotion Quilting: Leah Day’s FreeMotion Quilting Project

Coming on Saturday- Design Wall Weekends Link Party!

I’ve decided to open a “Design Wall Weekend” link party each week for Fiber and Mixed Media of all sorts.    You might notice a couple new tutorials I just posted to help out anyone who is interested in participating in the link party.

“Waiting for Inspiration” by Carolyn Hitter
I think that it’s best to have content that matches the content and interests served with the blog that’s hosting the party, so blogs that will be featured will have and emphasis on the following:
  • Quilting and fabrics 
  • Fiber art of any kind
  • Hand & machine stitch or embroidery
  • Mixed media art
  • Book-making, art journals, and sketchbooks
  • Tutorials for any quilting, fiber, mixed media, sketchbook and other arts
  • These can be works in progress or finishes
So, if you’re a blogger, make sure and check in on Saturday or Sunday and post your blog.  If you’re just interested as a reader, you’ll find a whole lot of additional diverse, fun and interesting content during the weekends!
 
 

Red Hot Chili Peppers!

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“Chili Pepper” by Christina Fairley Erickson
Freehand machine embroidery with decorative stitching and freemotion quilting

Make sure to check out the start of my Design Wall Weekends Blog Link Party coming Saturday April 6!

Well, I finally finished up my final 5 x 7″ block for the Salsa Quilt.  I had some fun with this and will be posting a couple of tutorials later this week for both how to do unusual lettering and a new freemotion quilting design.  I also will work on documenting my process for installing new fonts onto your computer, so you can play around with different lettering styles like this “Taco Modern” font I use in each of my salsa blocks.

I’ve been super busy this last week catching up after being gone for 5 days in the “Experimental Hand Stitch class.”  I’ve been working on continuing to complete my hand-stitch samples, which are quite relaxing to do.  I’ve also started cutting and piecing a new practice quilt, which I’m doing along with Leah Day’s Craftsy class.  Although I’m pretty comfortable with freemotion machine quilting, the more you practice, the better you get.  The one thing I haven’t completely decided upon is whether I’m going to do all the fillers which Leah suggests in her class, or whether I’ll pick and choose those which I want to do.  I’m not 100% thrilled with every design she’s picked, so I may just substitute some of my own, or others I’ve learned from Leah’s blog.

One thing that’s going to be a little different in the future is that I will be hosting a “Design Wall Weekend” blog linking party.  This will be open to quilters, fiber artists, mixed media artists, and book/art journalists who have blogs to help increase exposure to all sorts of great ideas.

Now, it’s on to do the sashing and binding for this quilt.  Not to mention, I will need to get going on a new 5 x 7 Challenge piece for next week!  So check back for tutorials later this week and I hope you will have some fun quilting this week.

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And the Winner Is… A Slice of Lime Peppers and Avocado

Check out these other great blogs:

Freshly Pieced

Freemotion by the River

Quilt Story

Waiting- the Fiber Funster’s Challenge

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Waiting by Charo Lopez

My small art-quilt group, the Fiber Funsters, met yesterday with our every-other month challenge.  We take turns choosing a theme.  This time, Charo picked “Waiting” for us to interpret.  Charo’s piece, left, features her cat gazing out the window at little birds and bugs made from beads, buttons, and embroidery.  The pillow her kitty sits on is puffy and with little braid and tassels.

Allison Chang’s “Waiting” (work in progress)

Allison started with white fabric and she wrote “Waiting” in Chinese characters across it.  She then fused shapes in a metallic gold, red, green, and black.  The squares and plaids contrasted with the circles, spirals, and dramatic red diagonal slashes made for active composition.  She also has put three half spheres of beaded wool felted roving.

Carolyn Hitter posed for several photos for her quilt

Carolyn started with having her husband, Jim, take some photos of her contemplating something from behind.  Using a method she learned in Leni Levenson Wiener’s Photo-Inspired Art Quilts: From Composition to Finished Piece“, Carolyn took the photos and applied a Cutout Filter in Adobe Photoshop Elements.  She then chose the photo she liked the best (on the far left) and traced the shapes (below.)  The background of Carolyn’s quilt is made from a fuzzy interfacing… just like on a design wall!  Her title says it all: “Waiting for Inspiration”

“Waiting for Inspiration” by Carolyn Hitter

Any of us who are mothers can relate to the sense of waiting that goes along with pregnancy.  Waiting to get pregnant, to find out whether you’ll have a son or a daughter, to make sure they’re healthy, and finally for the wonderous day when you meet your child.  Lise’s humourous spin on these aspects of pregnancy is whimsical with the pink (for girls) and blue (for boys) background that the pollywog shaped sperm are swimming through.  
“Waiting” by Lise Vandandaigue
Similarly, Debbie has a beautiful pair of thread-painted birds waiting over their nest filled with three eggs.  The background has a very delicate soft changes of color with light blue and lavender squares pieced by fusing.  

My piece is still a work-in-progress.  After missing a flight out of Paris one year, I had to wait for 9 hours for the next flight.  Pretty tough when you’re by yourself and already time-lagged.  Of course, it’s nothing compared to those who have been stuck in an airport for days due to whether or other problems… my heart always goes out to them.  I’m adding freemotion quilting for shading will continue for background 
“Waiting” by Christina Fairley Erickson (work in progress)

 You Might Also Be Interested in:

Fiber Funster’s Group 
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“Opening” – The
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The Fiber Funsters 
Group Challenge

Here’s some other great blogs to check out:

Leah Day’s FreeMotion Quilting Project

Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Nina Marie Sayre’s Art Quilt Blog

Never to Hot to Stitch

Five Days of Stitch Heaven

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Christina standing below hand-dyed
embroidery threads

I’m back from five days in “stitch heaven” with Gail Harker.  The class, “Experimental Hand Stitch” focuses on Procion MX dyeing of embroidery thread and a wool/acrylic felt to stitch on, and then learning some of the basic embroidery stitches and how to use them in a contemporary context.

My friends”, Debbie and Rebecca, dyed felts and threads

The felt and threads are vibrant and beautiful.  Gail feels that having your materials inspire you is important, so she helps her students understand their color choices and combinations to be successful with the dyeing process.

Some of my dyed felts and threads

I basically stuck with an analogous color scheme from yellow-green through red-violet.  If you’re unfamiliar with analogous color schemes, it means that you pick colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel.  So the colors I worked with were greens, blues, and violets.

After our dyeing days, we started doing small stitch samplers.  Each stitch will have its own page in a small stitch book (we even learned how to bind our books!)  We also worked on documenting our samples within a sketchbook, including what threads we used, any observations we have, needles that were chosen, etc.

Some of my incomplete pages with the sketchbook
documentation pages and sample threads

Some of our samples were also worked on sketchbook pages which we dyed and then fused together, so they are quite stiff.  We then poked holes in the sketchbook pages along the line which we wanted to stitch, and then added the stitch afterwards.  It was so fun… it reminded me of when I was a little girl and had cards with pictures on them and holes to “stitch” through (really it was more like lacing.)

French Knots (in process) by Christina Fairley Erickson

While none of these samples is complete yet, you can get an idea of what they’ll look like here.  I have additional ones started, but these are the most complete.  The other thing which was different and interesting was the freedom which we were encouraged to take with each piece.  For instance, in years past, French knots were expected to have the thread wrapped neatly around the needle two times.  With contemporary hand stitching, however, we can make a variety of sizes and different textures and effects by wrapping a thread more times around the needle, or by wrapping it loosely, rather than tight.

Running Stitch (in process) by Christina Fairley Erickson

Seed Stitch (in process) by Christina Fairley Erickson

Blanket Stitch by Christina Fairley Erickson

Open Chain Stitch (in process) by Christina Fairley Erickson

Each of the pages is about 5″x 7″, so they fit in well with my 5 x 7 Challenge!  I’ll be getting my final Salsa piece finished up this week, then I’ll need to work on the sashing and binding of all the Salsa blocks into a finished quilt.

You Might Also Be Interested In:

Dyeing to Embroider; Recognizing our Limits 
& Not Giving Up
Hand Stitch Variations

Check Out these other Great Blogs:

Anything Goes – Quilt ‘n Sew at Stitch by Stitch

Freemotion by the River

Quilt Story

More Procion MX Dyeing

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Wow… another fantastic day of mostly working with Procion MX dyeing at the Gail Harker Center for Creative Studies.  To be completely honest, I’m pretty tired… this can be hard work.  So, I’m going to keep it short and sweet tonight, and just put up some images and descriptions of the processes and projects we worked on.

First, our hand-dyed embroidery threads are totally luscious!  Here they are drying in our classroom.  We had to rinse them out and then set the color in hot water with Synthropol today.

We then started dyeing wool-rayon felt, which we’d cut into pieces prior to class, and will be making into hand-stitched books.

Felt with dye poured on (wet)

The felt totally soaks up the dye… you have to pour it on and it looks horrible and dark for the most part.

Rinsing out the felt

After allowing it to sit for a few hours, we rinsed it out and also set the dye with Synthropol.  Since the felt soaks up so much water, we had to carefully wrap it in towels to help dry it.  You don’t want to press or agitate it very much, or it starts the felting process.  We then left it to completely dry overnight.

Felt dyeing

Rinsed felt for hand-made stitch books, laid out to dry

We also worked with painting dyes on sketchbook pages.  We do these in 2-page “spreads” so that they will go together when the book is opened.  We then fuse pages together, to make the pages stiff and able to be stitched on.  We started working on a few pages by drawing a design on them, then punching holes through the paper with a darning needle.  We then can easily put our stitches through the holes.

Some sketchbook pages painted with dye

I believe we’re done with the dyeing now… on to more stitchwork tomorrow!

A two-page spread for a sketchbook, painted with Procion MX dye

  You Might Also Be Interested in:

New 5 x 7 
Challenge Pieces
Complex Threads 2 Developing the 
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Check out these other Great Blogs!
For great ideas on freemotion quilting, check out Leah Day’s FreeMotion Quilting Project