Cynthia St. Charles Store

Saturday, March 31, 2012

All Alone and Blue #2

Here it is trimmed and ready for the binding. This is actually my second piece with the title "All Alone and Blue".  The first one was made in 2004 and was done in a very different style.

 For the fused binding, I printed several different shades of blue hand dyed fabrics.  After fusing the binding in place, it is quilted.
is finished!

......or is it?  Seeing it here on the blog, I am finding the narrow white vertical rectangle
 to the right of the figure a bit distracting.
I think I may need to paint that rectangle a pale blue to make it less obvious. 
(if I use thinned transparent paint, the underlying fabric will absorb the paint
and it will mostly just roll off the print, so painting it now should not ruin the design -
however - it is a bit of a gamble!)
What do you think? Is that white rectangle distracting enough to warrant a gamble?

Friday, March 30, 2012

All Alone and Blue Quilting

I was not happy with the lack of contrast between the figure and the block printed background, so I darkened it a bit with a blue fabric marker.  Then, I was ready to do the quilting.

I am making good progress on this piece.  The quilting is finished and next I will trim and bind it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Masking before Printing

 I have decided I am going to try something different with this piece.  I am masking off a specific design (in this case, a female figure) with masking tape before I do the block printing.  It is kind of tricky cutting the very sticky masking tape into this shape, but having non-stick scissors is very helpful.

There is a current call for entries for quilts relating to mental health.  It is an exhibition sponsored by SAQA and the entry deadline is coming up in May.
I am thinking about creating something that conveys the isolation of depression.  I realize I need some narrower blocks for the design I have in mind, so I carve a few new ones (above).
After masking, I print all over the surface with my hand carved printing blocks. 
 After the paint dries, I remove the masking tape to reveal the figure, which I like.   I just wish the contrast was greater.
Here is the whole thing printed.  I think the transformation is remarkable and that is why I am currently hooked on this process.  I love the way the printing develops entirely new imagery, with the ghost of the underlying fabric showing through.  Actually, it is more than a ghost .. . . whatever, all I can say is - it is very satisfying.
Virginia has asked what material I use to create my printing blocks.

My current favorite is a 100% recycled product that is latex free. It is produced by Inovart and is called "Eco Printing Plates"

It is available from Nasco:

Also, I see that Dick Blick now carries this product.

It comes cut into many sizes and shapes, but I buy 12 x 18 sheets so I can cut what I want. I really like the characteristics of this product.  I love that it is recycled.  It is very affordable ($11 for a 12 x 18 sheet).  It is firm and resilient. Not glossy, so the paint stays in place well.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blue Scraps - What to do with them?

I have been rummaging in my UFO ( Un Finished ) drawer and I pulled out this randomly pieced scrap quilt.  I think I put this together about 5 years ago from a lot of hand dyed scraps leftover from other projects.  At times, I have pieced together piles of scraps to make quilted handbags - and they have been popular sellers, but they are not very profitable - they end up being pretty much a give away.  Handbags take quite a bit of time to construct and a lot of materials - lining, batting, zippers, etc. - yet they don't go for much (really cannot compete with all those imports from third world countries).

I remember this large piece from that era.  I remember the fabrics  in it - and what I used them for! 

It measures about 40 x 26".  I have it on the design wall for pondering.  I am going to do something with it, but I don't know what, yet.  I expect I will be printing on it!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Travel Log Tuesday - Steens Mountain Road

Last July, we visited Steens Mountain in eastern Oregon. We had a wonderful experience with the wild horses and then we started up the road, hoping to get to the upper lookout.
I really enjoyed seeing these tule reeds, because at the Lava Caves visitor center we learned about the strength and resilience of these reeds for Native Americans weavings - they made boats out of these reeds!  This low level swampy area was just packed with tule reeds. They disappeared as soon as we started gaining elevation.
I enjoyed the layers on this butte along the road.
This view is near the top. The road was blocked by snow - this was an ongoing problem in our July trip. We did make it to one of the overlooks - I will show pictures of that scenic area next Tuesday.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mail Art Project - Week Seventy Nine

This week, I have again used the same block printed fabric for my 12" square mini art quilt (shown yesterday) and my weekly Mail Art Postcard.

Hand painted cotton, block printed in a range of red shades of Pebeo Setacolor Fabric Paints.
Machine quilted in black thread.

Today's quote:
"If two wrongs don't make a right, try three."
-Laurence J. Peter-

The extra postcard this week is going to Stacey in Derby, CT.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Red Flowers - Foot Square #12

This is my 12th piece toward my goal of making 100 12" square art quilts.
As you can see, I have printed several different floral blocks in shades of red, and quilted in black thread.  The edges are bound by zig-zagging cotton yard to the edge.  This makes a nice delicate edge.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stitched Binding for Hedgerow

I like to finish off the printed binding with quilting stitches. This secures the binding in place and creates a nice firm binding that holds it's shape well and hangs nice and flat.

I got a little wonky printing the binding (I covered the quilt with a piece of paper to mask it so there would not be printing spilling over onto the quilt and this made it difficult to align the block perfectly (the block was also upside down so I could not see the details on it, either)
I am sure I could figure out a way to overcome this, but I am not really sure it matters all that much. I like things to be a little bit irregular.

I also like the look of the black thread.
What do you think?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Binding Questions for Hedgerow Quilt

Here is the black thread quilted Hedgerow piece - trimmed.
I am contemplating a different approach for the binding. . . .

Considering binding it in red, so to try the look - I have hung it on my design wall with red fabric behind it.

I'm not crazy about the red, so I decide to bind it with a matching hand dyed fabric, which I will print to match the quilt.
Above is the quilt with the unprinted binding fused in place.
Below, it is shown finished with the binding printed to match the quilt.

Now, to stitch the fused and hand printed binding with black thread.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Another Hedgerow Piece

I am still working out some questions regarding the block printed flower garden.
The last piece was quilted with colored threads. I decided to try quilting this one with black thread to see if it would be more successful. I quilted the sky with blue to match the pale blue block printing.

I do think the black thread sets off the printing nicely.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hedgerow #2 Stitched Binding - Finished!

Here are some details showing how I printed and quilted the fused binding after it was fused in place. I really love the way this looks.

Here is the finished piece - which I am calling Hedgerow #2.

As I have finished this piece, I have wondered if I made a mistake with the quilting. I used threads slightly darker than the print. Now I wonder if it would have been more successful if I had used black thread. . . .?
I will make another Hedgerow and will quilt it with black thread to see which is more interesting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Steens Mountain Wild Horses

 Last July (2011) we visited the Steens Mountain area in Oregon.  There are wild horses roaming the area and we were lucky enough to find a band of horses that allowed us to approach within 20 feet.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mail Art Project - Week Seventy Eight

I have decided to try my fused binding technique on the postcards. This is the same piece of hand dyed, block printed fabric I used for the Foot Square I showed in yesterday's post.  It is nice when I can make multiple pieces with a single process.

Block printed, hand dyed cotton, machine quilted, fused binding.

Today's quote:
"Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely."
-P. J. O'Rourke-

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Green Vine, Foot Square # 11

 This year, I have started a long term project in which I will complete a 12" square piece of quilted art each week.  I am sharing the work on my blog each weekend.
This is my 11th quilt in the series.
I began with three strips of hand dyed fabric, which I block printed.
In the picture below, I am fusing the hand dyed, block printed binding in place.

Here it is with the binding in place, stitched with free motion zig zag.
 And here it is (below) completed with some of my screen printed fritillaries fused and stitched in place. This Thermofax screen was created from a photo I took during a hike in the Beartooth Mountains.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Printing the Binding

I showed you my process for fusing the binding in place in my previous blog post.
I have been printing my binding fabrics before attaching to the quilt, but I want to try something different with this piece.

The plain binding is not complimenting the quilt, so I am going to try printing the binding after it has been attached. Below, you can see the first print on the binding -( the block is inverted on the binding.)

The color is not exactly the same, but I don't really feel that is a significant problem. I continued all the way around the quilt, using the appropriate blocks to make the print on the binding match the quilt.