Wednesday 31 January 2018

WOW: Playing With Prints!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Today is the last day of January, and I'm loving what a productive month it's been!

-I've launched 4 BOMs
-Tidied out all my cupboards and checked over all my stored quilts
-Confirmed 4 new designs for drafting
-Started a new Group for stenciling and painting quilts
- And started on making my own blocks

So today, I'm taking the morning to do some serious playing. This package from Fat Quarter Shop arrived 2 weeks ago and after checking to make sure it was all there, I set it aside to explore when I had time. That time is now and I can't wait to dig in. I'm filling out my Kaffee stash for my BOM Love Always and this pack will make up those fabrics that I didn't have enough of.

What's Your WOW?

Monday 29 January 2018

The Magic of Tidying Up!

After my moth attack, I did some tiding up around the house and had several bags of goods which I dropped off at my local Op Shop. I never go there usually because my family have forbidden me from browsing other people's discarded things. They have this crazy idea that I will end up bringing home an antique side table, matching chairs, two man sized lamps and a boot-full of fabrics that my DH will have to somehow stash in the garage. They are constantly thwarting my great ideas and love for antiques in this way. But this weekend, I managed to sneak out whilst they were all distracted, under the guise of a hairdressing appointment .. and I struck gold!
This is 5 metres of Chintz, and it's so new that it still has all it's shine. It's never been washed. It even has that new fabric smell. I don't have many blue ideas, design wise, but I'm already seeing lots of possibilities with this fabric. I feel like I want to cover a chair with this fabric, or perhaps make a broderie perse version of On My Window, Flowers Bloom?  It's gorgeous. The flower heads include large vintage roses, parrot tulips, daisies, bell shaped flowers and more.
Right now, I just want to admire it for a while and let an idea find it's way to me.

My DD recently lectured me on the magic of 'tidying up' (aren't grown up children insufferable sometimes?!), and whilst I ignored her at the time, I must admit, she might be right. What a pay off!

Sunday 28 January 2018

Stenciled Quilts: Talking Paints

There are hundreds of paints available for you to use when stenciling and painting quilts and whichever paints you start with, I encourage you to try those paints out on a sampler before beginning any project. Be sure to abuse the sampler with washing in hot and cold, colour testing it in soaking detergent and purposefully staining the sampler and then stain removing the damage using commercial laundry stain removal products to see how your paint holds up.

Obviously for art quilts you don't need to be as harsh with your sample as you'll probably never wash it, but I like to be confident with my choices and am happy to tell you that the fabrics your paint and stencil today will last as long as commercially printed fabrics. So have no fear, stencil on!

Here are my staple paints I work with, wash and recommend. 

If you're looking for a no fuss brand of paints to stencil with, Permaset Aqua is an excellent choice. Unlike many other paints, Permaset Aqua already has the textile medium in the base formula - this means you don't have to add any textile mediums to make it permanent, like you do when working with acrylics. This makes working with Permaset fuss free, you can simply get started without understanding or working with textile mediums. 

And you can mix colours and blend your own just like you would with regular paints. My only 'caution' is that these paints are strong pigments and usually offered in the pure pigment hue making them much brighter than usually expected. 

This paint is perfect for high use items, like my tablecloth below. This paint feels like the next level of pigment, it will never leave. I've soaked, hot washed and stain treated this tablecloth stenciled with Permaset and the ink isn't going anywhere!
This simply means you might need to blend several tones to get the tint you want, but it is a detail that really struck me - the strong clear pigments when I was after a soft, toned romantic shade. 

I purchased a whole spectrum of colours but only ever used the primaries along with white and black to tone them down. I wasted a lot of these paints because I never used them, I mostly mixed my own pallette and didn't actually need to buy all the 'individual' colours that I did. An excellent paint, I definitely recommend.

One of my favorite acrylic paints that I always return to is the Jo Sonja range of acrylic paints. I use the tubes, bottles and cap bottles across the whole range, they're all excellent. 
And what a range it is! If you have a colour in mind, you'll find it ready and waiting. A huge advantage across the Jo Sonja range is the range of colours. You can really pick and choose gorgeous colour schemes without creating your own mixes, which is ideal when you're starting out and want to purchase different shades of any colour, or a range of shades within a certain tone value without mixing them yourself. 

The metallics are also very good, I especially love the pale and rich golds, they always add an extra element when brushed lightly over other colours like my green leaves below.

I started out with the Jo Sonja range and I've used them all - including the crackles, sheens and dusts - with great effect. All these paints are acrylic which means that you can use them when you're done with stenciling for other things. I've had many of my Jo Sonja paints which I purchased in bulk for workshops, for over 10 years and they are still in excellent condition.

The only thing you need to be mindful of if you opt for Jo Sonja paints is that you will need to use a textile medium to make the acrylics permanent on fabric. As there is a Textile Medium in the range, this isn't a concern. If you follow the instructions on the Medium, it makes any of the acrylics permanent on fabric. I have done this many times and it really is permanent, so don't be worried on that front. 

The acrylics dry quickly, so if you are working on a larger piece you may want to use the range's version of a Retarder Medium. You can use this with the Textile Medium and all it does is slow down the drying time of the paint. It can also be used to save any paint you have mixed overnight when sealed in a container. 

Today, if I'm stenciling a quilt, I reach for the Jo Sonja paints-  I trust the range and have made most of my own stencil quilts with this brand. I have also used he Textile Medium with ordinary (not for the purpose) pencils and crayons to great - and permanent- effect.

Lastly, I want to talk about Caran d-Ache crayons in the NeoColor 2 Watersoluble range. I now use these the most in my quilting and applique. This is because they are so versatile and easy to use, there is no tedious set up or preparation. 
Usually I work with these crayons to add highlights, definition and embellishment to my blocks. I do this even when I'm not creating a 'stenciled' or painted quilt. For art quilts, you can use them directly. For all other quilts, I use them with a small amount of textile medium to make them permanent. As these are the paints I most often reach for now, I can't recommend them enough. Even if you will never stencil or paint a quilt block, there's real scope to enhance your non painted work with these crayons. 

Saturday 27 January 2018

Quilt Stenciling: Tulip Delight Table Runner

Last week I shared my passion for stenciling by releasing my stencil sample 'the Tulip' as a warm up for you to try. For those of you interested in trying a new technique, it was the perfect introduction class to a thoroughly engrossing skill set. This week I'm taking my love of tulips one step further and sharing my pattern from back in 2010, Tulip Delight Table Runner. It's a simple pattern that allows you to use your new skills in an actual project you can use and show off. And, being a stencil means you can make it suit your own style and decor needs as I have above. That's the beauty of stencils, you're the controller - you make up the fabric as you go to suit your artistic vision, just as I have below. 

As you can see, I love burnishing my leaves with speckles of gold or other contrast shades to add depth and interest. It's just another way of making you own custom specifications. And once you start, you can create anything in any hue from a simple primary palette. What's not to love?
You can download my Tulip Delight Table Runner pattern at the end of this post for free. As it dates from 2010, it doesn't include my 1 inch size test square on the pattern pages - so make sure you print out the pattern all at one in the same session to ensure size uniformity.


Here's a pictorial guide to how I make my own Tulip Delights. And I say 'make' instead of made because I do keep making them - at least 1 or 2 a year since I created the pattern. My latest Tulip Delight was made as a commission piece for a new home - in hues to match the very specific colour scheme in the kitchen / dining area. And the one before that was made for a private Guest House lobby in deep shades of red and gold. Again, the beauty of stenciling is control - you can make this table runner any way you want. So go ahead and give it a try.

Iron freezer paper stencil into position on fabric (see my stenciling guide in last weeks post for instructions on how to do this)
Stencil your design using selected colours
‘Build up’ your colour, do not saturate the stencil
When you have stenciled one half of the fabric, allow the paint to dry (5—10 mins) and then ‘flip’ the stencil and iron down onto the second half.

Iron into position carefully.

In this image, one half of the stencil has been completed and the remaining design is being ironed into position. Because the stencil has paint on its surface, the iron is protected with baking paper.
When ironed into position, complete painting your stencil and allow to dry

When the paint is dry to touch, carefully peel off the stencil. Be patient!
This is what your table runner should look like.
Heat set the paint using baking paper to protect your iron
You have now completed the stenciled panel for your table runner.
 For more info on finishing your table runner, see the free Tulip Delight Pattern file

Friday 26 January 2018

Paintbrushes at the Ready!

There's a new hot spot to learn everything you need to know about painting on fabric, making and using stencils and creating quilts with paints.

So, if you've ever thought about quilt stenciling or painting, I have a new Group over on Facebook that you might be interested in. It's called the Stenciled & Painted Quilts Group and the whole point of this group is to share, teach, encourage and learn all about quilt stenciling and painting.

Sounds good? It gets even better because it's completely free to join and I'll be adding new projects and sharing skills in this Group throughout the year, so whether you've been stenciling for years or are a complete novice, it's a great place to take part and build up a skill sharing community.

Why? I've been stenciling for over 15 years and painting on fabric for over 30 years. I love sharing stencil designs and projects and I need a hub where anyone who's interested can connect with other like minded people and learn, explore, create and make all year round. A Group is the perfect place to make this happen.

So go ahead, pull out those paint brushes and get set for a year of creativity skill share. And you know me, there's always an interesting project just around the corner..and now that I have a Group to share my stenciling and painting ideas with .. well, the sky's the limit!

See you there!

Wednesday 24 January 2018

WOW: Quilting Home Beautiful

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
What a mess! This is what I have done to a usually, clean calm spot in my house. I need another house just to manage all my artistic pursuits and at least one floor will have to be dedicated to quilting and another to fabrics. A Quilter can dream, can't she? After all, I need something to keep my thoughts cheerful as I get through my mountain of quilt checking, unrolling, re-rolling, storing and tidying up.

I have a gorgeous new parcel of fabrics and 3 BOMs that I'd rather be playing with right now, but my recent moth attack has made me all house busy.

I can't wait to get over this bump.

What's Your WOW?

Tuesday 23 January 2018

How I Store My Quilts: Use Your Noodle!

I use plastic pool noodles to store my quilts. I prefer to roll my quilts, not fold them as I can't stand creases, particularly as many of my quilts end up on the wall.
I sew a calico 'pouch' over each noodle to protect the quilt form the plastic fibres. I have never encountered any colour transfer, but you can't be too careful. I always buy the lightest coloured noodle I can get my hands on - usually pink or yellow
 I roll my quilt carefully, taking care not to bend the binding. Once I'm sure the binding is nicely lines up with the covered noodle, I simply roll.
Than I tie my rolled quilt up with cotton tape, and finally I'll cover this rolled quilt with a calico long bag. Every few years I make a batch of new, long calico bags for this purpose. If I run out in between, I wrap the rolled up quilt with the calico - like a present- and then store it in a dark room. I actually store my quilts in a spare room with the UV blocking blinds closed.
I usually keep large sprigs of drying rosemary in this room to repel any moths or other fabric eating nasties and this has always worked. Except I haven't done this in the last few years as I got complacent. I will have to return to this habit as I'm currently cleaning up a moth attack in my wardrobe. Luckily they didn't reach my linen cupboard, bedsheets or fabric stash. That would have been a very expensive loss. When I dry rosemary in the room, the whole room smells like a herbal shop, it's very fragrant but stays contained and doesn't waft around the house. I find rosemary a bit irritating after a while so I might start growing lavender as someone suggested it had the same effect on moths. I will have to look into this as I find lavender very pleasant and would probably prefer it. As for now, I don't mind the cedar balls I've popped in my wardrobe.

Now it's time for me to finish my rolling and get back to making.. I have 3 BOMs to get started!

Monday 22 January 2018

Checking My Bed Of Roses

Having checked out my linen cupboard, I'm now double checking all my stored quilts.This is one of the first quilts I made back when I stated, so it must be about 15 years old now. Boy, does time fly when you're busy quilting. It feels like just yesterday.
This is a pieced and stenciled quilt. I love stenciling and all these roses are stenciled with Jo Sonja paints and textile medium.
This quilt has been enjoyed and stored and enjoyed some more and I'm happy to report that the stenciling looks as fresh as it did the day I first painted it. This is the wonder of modern textile mediums - if you follow the manufacturer's instructions, any stenciling you create will last as long as commercially printed fabrics.
 It's a two sided quilt, with pieced and stenciled blocks on the front and the quilt back is a whole cloth stenciled design I made up just to satisfy my love of all things romance and roses.
 Another thing that captures my eye, apart from the crisp paint colours, is the quilting. 
Bed of Roses was domestic machine quilted on a 1950's Elna sewing machine and I was a total newbie, just playing around. I've been fairly disappointed with sewing machines in recent years and I can honestly tell you with what life experience I have, that they just don't make them like they used to. I don't currently have a sewing machine I love, so I can't offer any recommendations. When this changes, I'll let you know. Heck, I'll shout it from the rooftops. But for now I'll just admire my determination to get this quilting done back in the day with what I had.
When I started out in quilting, I came from an artistic background and mindset, so I simply did things. No one had 'got to me' or told me that it couldn't be done or shouldn't be done a certain way. I was lucky in that I really wasn't influenced by any one or thing or brand. Nowadays when I'm out and among Groups of quilters, I'm often taken aback with the snobbish and somewhat elitist attitude that exists out there with what Quilter's Should Be Doing.

I think you should whatever you can with whatever you've got. If you wait until you have all the nice new, expensive tools you'll never get anything done.
This is the other vacuum foot I have set aside for vacuuming my quilts. It looks tougher than the horsehair one, but the bristles are actually soft. The fibres you see in the fibres here are not scrapped off my quilt top, they're from my table from before I laid the quilt down, it was covered in fluff and threads.
 As I'm looking over my quilts, I'm giving them a quick dust clean just because it's convenient. I did this before I rolled them up for storage the first time and they probably don't need it at this point.
And these are the quilts yet to be checked, I'l; be so relieved when this day is finally over.

Friday 19 January 2018

Moth Attack!

Urgh! I'm under a moth attack!
I haven't seen any evidence of them, but they must be somewhere sleeping off this great feast
They have very good taste, only bothering to nibble away at my favorite mohair items and completely bypassing those old woolens I probably wouldn't miss.
I'm particularly fond of this zip up item which I wear on my walks in winter as it's so light and warm. And, it was a good addition to my resolution to avoid wearing black. But now it's completely ruined and I can't buy another one in this shade, it can only be repurchased.. in black. I'm so annoyed!
This item below is my favourite ruby red, warm, cosy cardigan for winter.
It only has a little nibble, but they made sure to do it on the front side 
where any darning would just look shabby. 

There's another two of these size bites higher up on the same side. I really don't think it's salvageable. 
but back to my favourite zip up
I really don't want to part with it, even though it looks like I've wrestled it from the jaws of a Mastiff. 
So I was thinking, I could 'patch' it with cute fabrics? But my DH has put his foot down at me walking around with random love-heart appliques stuck around my zip up top. I don't know, I think it could be OK? I'm not even going to  mention it to my DDs as they'll surely just sneak in and dispose of it for me when I'm not watching.

Why doesn't anyone in my family have any sartorial vision?
This week has been all about soaking the cedar balls in cedal oil and auditing every single garment in the house. Tomorrow, I'm going through my entire linen cabinet - which is somewhat significant and will take all 3 woman of this family to conquer. I haven't been one of those people who vacuum seals garments between seasons, but now I will be. There's a mountain of those bags to suck down into airless cubes and store away until needed and it looks like I'm going to be busy doing it all weekend.

Happily they haven't touched any quilts or fabrics.

See you on the other side of my moth crisis.

Thursday 18 January 2018

BOM 2018: Monthly Option Ending

You already know how incredible this BOM year is shaping out to be and we've only just started. If you'd like to take part and pay installments by the month, 

this option closes on January 22nd

  BOM 2018  
$9.90USD per month for 10 months
Access the BOM 2018 for 12 months

Wednesday 17 January 2018

WOW: Vacuuming My Quilts

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays 
I've been taking turns to bring down and vacuum my wall quilts since Monday, it's tiring work! I can't believe how much dust each one has collected in just a year and its taking me a good 45 minutes to an hour to thoroughly but gently brush every inch, front and back. I use a horsehair attachment I set aside only for this use. It's a boring job, but someone's got to do it.  
Next up, I have to check all my rolled and stored quilts for any moth damage as I've recently discovered some damaged jumpers in my wardrobe. I don't keep my stored quilts in my wardrobe, they are in a spare room, but I won't rest easy until I have checked each one over with my own eyes. Phew, it's going to be a busy day.

What's Your WOW?

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