Sunday, September 30, 2018

Machine piecing the Farmer's Wife sampler blocks

In August, I posted about The Farmer's Wife  English paper piecing [EPP] stitch-along that was just beginning. On my birthday last week, I received this lovely Art Gallery Fabrics [AGF] bundle of fat quarters. Ah-ha! Project and supplies have met.
The Farmer's Wife pattern book and my new curated Art Gallery fat quarter bundle.

I have to calculate the Quilt Block Math for rotary cutting
Since the Farmer's Wife stitch-along began in August, I've decided to speed-piece the blocks by machine. The blocks are 6 inches (finished)—just like the City Sampler stitch-along that I'm working on. The Farmer's Wife book, however, does not provide cutting measurements. Instead, it includes a CD with a digital file for printing paper templates. Because I'm going to rotary cut the fabric for machine piecing, I'll have to calculate the cutting measurements myself.
The Autumn Tints block from The Farmer's Wife sampler quilt.

The blocks finish at 6 inches, so blocks divisible by 1, 2, 3 and 6 will be easy to calculate. Block 2, Autumn Tints (shown above), is an example.

Other handy formulas are:
Half-square triangles: add 7/8" to the finished size of the triangle leg.
Quarter-square triangles: add 1-1/4" to the finished size of the triangle's hypotenuse
(which happens to be the sides of the block).

Fabric Selection
The original bundle of Fat Quarters is shown here. It has a nice variety of almost-solids, small, medium and large prints that all coordinate... but there is not much contrast in value (lights/mediums/darks) between the fabrics.
Curated Fat Quarter bundle of Art Gallery fabrics.

I initially thought I would challenge myself to use only the fabrics in the bundle, but realized I didn't care for the lack of contrast in the piecing (a personal preference).

Here is Block 4: Basket Weave with my first attempt (left) and the second attempt with the introduction of two AGF blenders with darker values.
Two versions of Block 4: Basket Weave.

I have completed Block 2: Autumn Tints; Block 3: Basket (without the handle); Block 4: Basket Weave (two versions); Block 6: Big Dipper; and Block 10: Bowtie.
Six Farmer's Wife sampler blocks machine pieced.
The modern AGF prints and florals are a refreshing change of pace to the fabrics used in the book. And the taupe and peach blenders are a good addition to the fabric mix.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Applique with Cotton Embossed fabrics: something a little different

Have you heard of cotton embossed fabrics? Until about a year I go, I was not familiar with them. These cotton embossed fabrics are from Diamond Textiles and they are both beautiful and unique. Here are just a few of the colors from the full color palette that is available. The Cotton Embossed collection also includes black, white and natural in several different patterns. 
Selection of Embossed Cottons from Diamond Textiles.
The colors and patterns on the embossed cotton fabrics are achieved through a batik resist dye process. The removal of the resist after the dye process creates the "embossed" or "debossed" areas (the dots in this example). Yes, you can actually feel the depression of the spots on the fabric. And, like the batiks that you're familiar with, the color is on both sides of the fabric.
With embossed cottons, the color is on both sides of the fabric.

I decided to give embossed cottons a try with appliqué. The pattern is a new one from Sew Cherished called, Glory Days. The scrappy patchwork blocks and the borders of this quilt are a lovely selection of yarn-dyed wovens from the Nikko collection—also from Diamond Textiles.
Glory Days pattern from Sew Cherished.

I'm using a fusible appliqué technique (not turned edge) for my project and taking advantage of the inherent characteristic of the embossed cottons. Because these fabrics are dyed and have color all the way through, this makes them perfect for fusible appliqué—no white edges!
Fusible appliqué with hand embroidery.

Since I'm enjoying hand stitching these days, I've chosen Eleganza from Wonderfil Threads—a #8 perle cotton that comes in a range of beautiful solids and variegated—to add hand embroidery and stitch embellishment to the appliqué. Here's the start of the stitching process. The background fabric is yarn-dyed woven [PRF-568] from the Primitive Collection by Diamond Textiles.
Hand embroidery with #8 perle cotton

This weekend ushered in Fall. I think I'll keep the colors of summer a little longer with this basket of flowers... brightly colored embossed cottons... and a bit of slow stitching.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Quilt with oil paint stick embellishments gets washed

This quilt was made about 10 years ago. The design was inspired by an antique coverlet from the crazy patch era of quiltmaking.
Quilt embellished with Shiva oil paintsticks. 54" x 64"
The centers of the blocks were hand embellished using Shiva Artist's Paintstiks and rubbing plates. Remember when oil paint sticks came on the radar of the art quilters? I was there. Yep, I was experimenting with them.
Centers of the quilt blocks embellished with oil paintsticks and rubbing plates.
So instead of decorative hand embroidery stitches on the blocks of this crazy patch-inspired quilt, I decorated the blocks by hand with colorful iridescent oil paints.
Free-motion quilting using Mirage, a 30 wt. rayon thread.
I was also new to free-motion quilting and crushing on Mirage, a 30 wt. rayon thread, and Accent, a 12 wt. rayon thread from Wonderfil Specialty Threads. These variegated threads have gorgeous colorways. It was easy to show them off on the black sashing and solid batiks used in this quilt.
The color of the paintstiks before washing.

Last week, I decided to wash this quilt to see how the oil paints would hold up. 
The paintstick colors held up from washing.
They did just great! No noticeable loss of color saturation. The quilt was washed in cool water, gentle cycle on speed wash (yes, in the washing machine). As expected, the 100% cotton batting caused the typical fabric puckering, but that was about all that changed.
Detail: block embellished with oil paint sticks after washing.
I've used the Artist's Paintstiks for surface design on other fabric items. It's a fun process and there is an abundance of rubbing plates, textures, stencils and the like that you can use with them. Follow the directions for use, care and how to work with these oil paints on fabric. There is a time period you must wait for the oils to dissipate before washing... but it's much less than 10 years.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

I'm taking the September Textile Love Challenge

This summer, I joined the #100Days100blocks2018 Challenge. This was my first virtual stitch-along and I'm enjoying it. A recent Instagram post by a friend introduced me to the UK-based textile community, Seam Collective. Seam Collective is issuing their second September Textile Love Challenge. I decided to jump on board!
This is my Textile Love "Introduction" photo to my chaotic studio space with its
wild, uncontrollable yet colorful design wall. Only 2 WIPs on it today.
This is my "Introduction" post photo on Instagram, where the Challenge is hosted using hashtag #SeptTextileLove. I'm not experienced with selfies (nor do I like them much), so just take in the color in the background... or the lovely Art Gallery knit fabric I'm wearing. Be sure to follow me at veronica.fiberantics to see my responses to the SeptTextileLove daily prompts.
Daily prompt worksheet for the Seam Collective September Textile Love Challenge.
On the Seam blog, you can download a worksheet with the full month of daily prompts issued for the Challenge. Here's my worksheet amidst the Majestic batik scraps I'm using for the 100 Blocks Challenge. Yep, my cutting board looks much like my design wall.

I would like to use some of the Textile Love prompts on new work—or in-progress pieces that have stalled. But I'm OK with experiments and practice swatches. I believe that every piece you start doesn't need to be finished. Sometimes a piece serves a temporary purpose for experimentation, skill building, auditioning... or ya just need to busy your hands. If I don't used a prompt for doing hands-on work, it will motivate a search for inspiring photos from my archives. A revisit to inspiration from the past is a good thing, too.

September always reminds me of the end of summer, the saturated colors of Fall, going back to school, and the opportunity and possibilities for learning new things! This September Textile Love Challenge fits this so well.

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