Friday, 2 February 2018

KFC: Topping Up the Stash

Making a start on Love Always means I've had to top up my Kaffee Fassett stash: I seem to have lots of smaller measures that simply aren't enough for my full sized quilt, so I've been shopping online and luckily managed to find what I was missing.
I love the reds and oranges and always seem to have enough of those, but I don't have nearly enough green. My latest purchase  from the Fat Quarter Shop was these new greens here, but I still went shopping for more from Glorious Color for older ranges (luckily still in stock) and I can't wait for that package to arrive.
I'm buying enough to make 2 x full size quilts because I know that as soon my DDs see this quilt in all it's fabulous bold beauty, they will want one each. So I'll just make two at once! Because of this, I'm debating what technique I'll personally use - raw edge seems the most feasible, time wise. And it would allow me to contrast satin stitch if the mood takes me. But, can I resist turn edge applique? I'll let you know once I've started, right now, I'm undecided. 

BOM 2018, Biggest Year Ever! 

Love Always is my current paid BOM. It's mainly applique. It stated on January 1st and Part 2 has just been released. 

To see some of the breathtaking examples that are taking shape, simply visit my BOM Group where progress images are being shown all the time. It's a massive inspiration and I warn you, it's addictive!

You can start this BOM today! 

Simply click the quilt image to learn more.

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?

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