About Me

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Great Falls, Montana, United States
I love creating art. I love the Creator! And through that love, I find a little slice of heaven on earth and I give Him all the glory! It's a great adventure and I'm excited to see what's around the bend! Come join me, won't you?
Showing posts with label collage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label collage. Show all posts

Thursday, January 29, 2015

frankie the fox joins the forest crowd ~ finished

good morning ~

"frankie" the fox is finished and has found her way into the forest, too!  {hanging with the gang at the quilt shop}  and she is pretty dang cute... 

first, i'd like to show you how i decided to change up the quilting and thread choices for this piece.  in the previous five collages i've quilted, just one thread was typically used, and one motif too, quilted over the entire surface of the quilt.

not so this time.  i switched it up a little; deciding to "be brave" and use a 24 weight, cotton thread.  this is a much, much thicker thread than any 30 or 40 wt cotton threads.  note: in the thread world, the lower the number, the bigger {or thicker} the thread is. 

i've had "fusions" a 24 wt. cotton, variegated thread, {designed by laura heine} in my thread stash for awhile now.  i had tried it a few years ago, but it was not fun.  everything get getting tangled up underneath and i couldn't seem to get it to work... until i realized it absolutely requires a larger needle ~ size 100, and a 50 wt cotton in the bobbin. {trust me} so with with masterpiece cotton and the 100 needle... it worked soooo beautifully!  i really dig the thread presence and the texture it brings to this piece.

i began with fusions thread in the body of the fox, and then in the gray, outer part of the background on this quilt, i chose a shimmery sulky rayon, in a soft white.  i do like the sheen of this thread, and it brings a subtle shine, and soft texture, blending into the background, letting the polka dots have a bit of 'hey, look at me" too! 
 i always appreciate the qualities a good needle brings to the quilting... yup.  i'm using superior threads topstitch needles. the left is the {green package} 100/16 size, and the right {pink package} is the 90/14 size.
 as you can tell from the label in the photo above, this is a 24 wt, 3 ply thread, 100% cotton.  it does leave a goodly amount of fuzz in your bobbin area, so be sure to be diligent and clean it out often.  otherwise, it's a beautiful thread!

i switched to yli 40 wt cotton {another thread i've had for over 10 years} only because i wanted a variegated thread color, and one that was light, for the facial pieces of "frankie's" face.    {and this was all i had on hand, believe it or not!}  no heavy thread here, as i think it would have been too much for this light colored facial space.  i could have used the white sulky rayon.... but it doesn't cope really well with fusible web as it frays and breaks easily.
 and so this is how the three threads look in the palm of my hand.  you can easily see the difference in thread thickness.  the fusions 24 weight to the far left, yli 40 wt in the middle, and the sulky 40 wt on the far right.  even though 40 wt threads are the same weight... their "thickness" factor is a matter of material make-up, {how much 'space' they create when plied together}... whether cotton, rayon or polyester, all of these have different thicknesses even if they are the same weight... so pay attention to how they look off the spool, unraveled onto the quilted surface, as well as the weight on the label.

and they are all beautiful together, in my opinion!
frankie's face quilted with yli 40 weight, a lighter twist of variegated thread... softer, yet a dab of color and quilting dimension, compared to the thick thread in the leaf below the eye
the thicker look of the "fusions" thread, also by yli... the 24 weight thick thread. must use a 100 size needle!
the lighter thread of the sulky rayon 40 weight in the body of the gray fabric... love how it helps the polka dots keep their subtle texture and movement within the background fabric!

 i chose a simple loop-da-loop quilting motif... slow and steady wins the day with fusions thread, as far as quilting speed goes, so let off the pedal a bit!
 and instead of quilting the loop series through the flower motifs in the background, i changed up the design as the mood struck me for quilting each individual flower. 
 and for frankie, it was time to add a bit of extra zing to the binding, couching free motion style, with a hand dyed piece of rayon yarn from my stash... once i had the binding attached i applied the yarn as a perfect finish for framing this piece in a fun, slightly elegant, and yet casual look, too.



and... don't forget the butterflies, too! {be on the lookout for butterflies, bees, and hearts in your stash}  i love using these sweet little motifs.  

well, i hope you enjoyed seeing 'frankie' and reading about  the quilting process. thank you so very much for spending a few minutes here!  

{and still... more to come!}  am i crazy?  yes!  love this technique and i'm revved up ... ready to explore a couple different directions with subjects and background ideas, one of them featuring the talented vicki welsh and her hand-dyed fabrics!  and... be sure to come back, because we're going to team up with a giveaway for valentine's day, too!!  yay!

reminder: if you are local, {or not} the two-day class on collage is set for february 21st and 22nd!  $60 is a great price for a full weekend class, at a really fun shop, the quilt-a-way of great falls, montana.  i know we are going to have great time together creating wonderful, one-of-a-kind forest friends.  {woot!}

xo
soli deo gloria!
leslie

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

frankie beginnings ~ the fox collage

good day to you all ~

yesss... "freida" has arrived on my cutting/sorting/musing table ~ such a fun pattern!  and we have become fast friends, so i have named her "frankie" instead. she's all rusty golds, rich reds, dark maroon browns, and golden yellows with a hint of peachy pinks, purples and turquoise blues.  it's a plethora of pattern and a really fun color puzzle!
like any puzzle, it would seem it's best {and easiest} to pick out and place the pieces that first identify the main features of the animals; the ones you recognize the best when you see them in nature... their form and shape; eyes, rump/back, nose and ears... and then just "fill the blanks!"
hint: while the pattern calls for a lightweight 'voile' fabric as the base, {which you get in a kit}, i have also found that a lightweight muslin works really well, as does a fusible cotton interfacing fabric, both of which i've used.

 this darling frieda kit that laura heine puts together includes a 'panel' type of background fabric, and i had the best time playing with it.  while i loved the print itself, i also liked the flowers, which in her version are actually cut off, and then fused back on, as separate flower focal points.  i also cut off the uneven stripe on the bottom part of the panel, and fused it to the bottom of my background piece...  i could have sewn it on {always the best option} but i wanted to see how it would work out.  and it did.  but it still would have better to sew it on instead.  {sew} it goes.  below is how the whole panel which is officially called "magical prairie panel in moon gray" and although i forgot to take a picture, here is one from the internet, and how it looks before cutting, except that it doesn't show the bottom stripe:

note:  the kits now sell as "starter" kits.  you will most definitely need more florals than what is included in the fabric kit, should you have it.  personally, that's great for me!  and i am smitten with art gallery fabrics, and some of their fabrics included in the kit are from the fabric line called "littlest" by art gallery. they are very charming!  you can find them at hawthorne threads.com, {use the search box and type in "littlest" as well as on etsy by searching "littlest by art gallery"  or preferrably at your favorite quilt shop!
 and never underestimate the charm of a small motif, whether a bumble bee or a tiny flower!  worth the time in cutting out the tiny, intricate details in my opinion.
i decided to also add eyebrows to frankie, just for kicks and giggles!  also, i try to keep the fused layers to no more than 'three fabric deep' for quilting.  

more to come!
blessings on your day
soli deo gloria
xo
leslie

Monday, January 26, 2015

meet "rocky" ~ the great northern rocky mountain goat

happy january greetings ~

i'm pleased to present to you, "rocky" the rocky mountain goat!  he hails from the northern rockies, and wilds of glacier national park, montana!

from the replays of my memories, here is the scene:

"we find him posing for us, across the canyons of the green-jeweled, roaring flathead river, set against the dramatic backdrop of impossibly steep cliffs, high mountain fir trees, and big blue skies... where rocky so easily balances on the precarious sheer cliffs of the centuries old gray rock, getting in his "licks" {of salt} ~ at the "goat lick" ~ a favorite stopping place ~ for montanans, tourists, and goats alike!" 

this is the time-and-time again memory embedded in my heart which is at the genesis of the inspiration for this quilt. moments of precious time spent with my sweet gramma ila.  the "goat lick" was {and still is}, a special stopping spot on highway 2, heading to the park, and western montana. over the years, it also became {and has become} a treasure of memories for my two little boy's {now grown men} as well, who would travel with me and their great gramma, too. 

so from those memories, and more, "rocky" is also inspired from a photo i took many years ago, actually on brian and i's first date!  definitely founded in sweet memories! and so i've created my very own pattern, which i've named, "rocky, the mountain goat." {under copyright}

this was a very special quilt for me to make, and i've enjoyed every second!  i'm still... cutting, fusing, cutting and fusing!  {the more the merrier as far as i am concerned!!}

a tiny swatch of bright pink embossed velvet becomes the perfect "beard" for rocky!

there was a great deal of time and debate going on in my head about the backdrop... cliffs... rivers... forest... mountain lakes.  all of which i've seen the goats in my forays into the park... but in the end, i decided on the sweetest one of all, that which is a gray background, featuring the salt lick memories.
i found the tree fabric {a batik} at the Quilt-A-Way, and it was difficult not to want to buy the whole bolt, it is so cool, and such a great motif, perfect for these kinds of quilts!  the orange flowers are also from a batik i purchased there {seen below at his feet}
... so much fun to add his name to the bottom!
"rocky" is 26.5" wide and 46" tall
while i just had to make myself make a decision... and i know i could probably have adjusted dimension better, but after several afternoons of playing around with the final layout, i'm really satisfied with the overall look. he's now residing at the quilt-a-way so stop in and check out his fellow counterparts: olivia the owl, paisley bear, and soon... frankie the fox!  {coming soon to a blog near you!}
hope you enjoyed meeting rocky!  and oh boy... i'm excited to pursue other design ideas... hope you'll come back and see "frankie" later this week!

and!!  i'm so excited to be teaching this as a class: "collage quilts"  at one of my most favorite stores of montana, the "quilt-a-way" here in great falls.  choose from from one of laura heine's patterns, {which i've featured over the last couple weeks} and then come and have a great time playing with us, utilizing your fun stash of floral fabrics... {or pick up some new ones}, and create your own fun original!  

we will meet for a two-day session, on saturday and sunday, february 21st and 22nd, from 10:30 am to 4pm on both days. we will have time to discuss and choose fabrics, fuse and cut, explore creative options, feature details, color, value, contrast, scale, and layering... we will get a lot of mileage from our fabric stashes! fusing techniques and quilting ideas will also be demonstrated.  class fee:  $60, plus pattern; choose your own pattern {even rocky will be available for purchase at class}. and be prepared for a couple little give-a-ways at class, too!

blessing upon your day ~ thanks so much for stopping in!
soli deo gloria
xo
leslie

Friday, January 23, 2015

just the {fusible} facts ~ misty fuse, steam-a-seam2

hey peeps ~

first, i'm not an expert at fusibles...  but i have used them a lot!  so i thought i'd share what i've discovered, and why i use  different brands, and types, and why and where i determine to use them. {to the best of my skill!} lol

my most favorite fusible is "steam-a-seam 2" the "lite" version of the original.  it was out of production for a bit, but now it's back, and i am super glad.  this product is slightly sticky, so that once you've cut your shape out, it stays where you place it.  which is excellent if you're working on a wall, but it is also nice to keep your placement firm.... until you fuse it.  which is great for collage! the fusible glue on the back does not become permanent until you decide to iron it with a very hot, steam-oriented iron.  hint:  the name indicates how to make it work permanently... it requires steam!
steam-a-seam2 is great for large flower shapes, like shown above and below on this fat-quarter-size piece of fabric:
when it came back into production, i purchased a large box of it.  the collage quilts i'm making require at least 5 yards, but i'm using more as i'm building up a supply of elements.
steam-a-seam2 has two pieces of paper encasing the glue fusible.  i just pull back the top, and lay it fusible side down, onto the backside of my fabric.
i smooth it out with my hand, and... i also lighly touch the iron surface over it all, just to get a nice bond that won't easily peel off.
perhaps you want to "piece" a shape you've cut out, and this is easily done, too. i sometimes generally cut around it, and then later, specifically cut the shape how i want it to be.
or you can do several at once.  
i cut them very specifically from the web, ensuring there is as little as possible, no {wasted} extra fusible surrounding it, and then iron it very slightly to set the glue until i peel the paper back and use it in a collaged piece. 
{cutting it into a more specific detailed shape as needed}
i save almost all of my leftover pieces in their own bag... they do come in hand now and then, and i do, and have used them lots:

and they can be pieced onto a shape, if you are using steam-a-steam brand.  {this is kinda awkward, but it works in a pinch!} i also do this on a protective teflon sheet, and i highly recommend having at least two of these sheets ~ one on the top and the other on the bottom. {your iron will thank you} and you will be thankful you don't have to clean your iron!
below, i've pressed all the patchwork of fusible pieces onto the backside of this flower shape, and now i will trim it away.
you can leave the paper on until it's time to use the shape, which is convenient, but one thing that is nice, too, is that if you lose the paper, or take it off, then you can store these motifs in a bag, and even if they stick to one another, they are usually quite easily removed from one another, and the fusible stays intact.
one of the advantages of using teflon sheets to set the glue of the fusible web is that they are so easy to clean up.  you can wipe your finger across the surface, and the leftover pieces are easily picked up {and tossed away}
the next favorite fusible in my supply is "misty fuse" shown below on a roll which i purchased directly from mistyfuse.com, the company. {they had a great sale over new years}.  it is a wonderfully light fusible product, but it is not repositionable as steam-a-seam is.  but! because it is so light, it does not affect the hand of the fabric as much as the others.  {great for wearable clothing you may want to embellish!} you must definitely use a teflon sheet to use this product.  it is flimsy, and will stick to itself {once it gets warm from the iron} so be careful not to let the fused sides touch until it's cool. 
for small pieces... i still prefer a paper back fusible {steam-a-seam} as it makes these shapes much easier to cut precisely than misty fuse.  misty fuse is wonderful for large motifs, such as tree trunks, or wherever you don't want fusible to affect the hand of your fabric, especially for wearables.  but my preference is to use paper backed fusible for easier cutting, especially for delicate shapes with lots of curves or details.
{below} this is how i work with misty fuse, and i've labeled the layers in order, of which there are four:  1. teflon sheet, 2. misty fuse on top of 3. fabric, and 4. another {second sheet} of teflon on the bottom.  now just fuse the whole piece of fabric, using your iron on top of the first teflon sheet:

wait until the fusible has cooled, and then just peel back the teflon sheet from the fused fabric.  if you have fused it long enough, it will peel away easily.  if it has not been set long enough, the misty fuse will not be stuck to the fabric, and if not, just set it again with the iron, laying the teflon sheet back over it. i think it's important to WAIT until it's cooled, too.
if it doesn't stick, then you can see the fusible separate it, as i've shown below:
it's likely you will at times, find a bit of misty fuse on the sheet; especially if you are just fusing shapes by themselves, and this is normal, and easy to just wipe off:
clean your teflon sheets, using a leftover piece of batting, wiping it across the surface on both sides:
you may think you don't have any fusible on the sheet, as it's hard to see, but you can feel it, i guarantee you!  just wipe your hand across the surface... and then wipe it clean.
with the lite steam a steam2, sometimes if you don't set it well enough with the light press of your iron, it will not come away from the paper, so just set it again:
this is not what i prefer to do, but it does work with all your leftover pieces of steam-a-seam2! {which i had to do until my order came in!}
misty fuse comes in many different colors; black, white, ultraviolet to fit whatever need you may have.  and it comes in many different sizes, too.  mostly, in quilt shops, you will see it in a package similar to the one below, where the product has been folded up.  the only place i know to get it by the roll, is directly from the company itself.
and, as you can see, once misty fuse is fused to the backside of your fabric, it has a slight sheen to it.  now all that is required to permanently set {most fusibles} is a very hot iron to permanently set them to the fabric. remember that steam a seam products require steam, too!

i still prefer steam-a-seam2 for my collages, as they are wall quilts, and a bit of stiffness is an advantage in my opinion.  i love the repositionable quality about the fusible, too, especially for collage, but both are great products.  

i have used pellon products as well, and like the regular and light {sticky} backed ones, but they aren't as well-suited overall.  and if you press more than two or three times, these products lose their ability to fuse.

hope that helps some of you have posted questions, and i thank you for asking!  the best fusible is going to be what you get comfortable with, but i also encourage you to try new products, as you may just find they are perfect for your project or technique!
xo
leslie

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