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The Self-Portrait 1 Project

The Self-Portrait #1 Project is finished except for binding and label. The label is on the computer waiting for the page to fill up and I haven’t decided on the binding yet. This was a challenge quilt with my art quilt group. We hope to put all of our self-portraits onto black fabric and perhaps enter it as a group quilt. We’ll see. Progress has been slow with the other members. I was excited about this quilt because I actually had an idea, using a sugar skull rather than a real-life likeness. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned. The problems started when I went to quilt this project. I had used Lite Steam-A-Seam II and it was all working out well. I followed the directions for permanent fusing, steaming for 15 seconds. I didn’t realize that it had not fused properly until the needle kept gumming up. Break out the alcohol swabs and one broken needle later. When I went to clean my machine, I noticed that the outside of the bobbin case was gummed up but luckily there was only one bit of goo that went further than that.

goo in machine from fusible

goo in machine from fusible

goo on bobbin case from fusible

goo on bobbin case from fusible

goo cleaned up with alcohol swab

goo cleaned up with alcohol swab

Because the needle was gumming up, some of the quilting was not stellar on the back, especially where I used mono-poly clear–little nests appeared. I just finished the project and it will hang in my studio. In the meantime, I contacted the Warm Company and they told me that the new directions are to steam for 30 seconds. Fine, but my directions didn’t reflect that. Anyway, I’ll get over it and you can benefit. Of course, it always helps to do a trial with any fusible. For Self-Portrait #2 I took scraps of all of my hand dyed fabrics and fused them without much success for whatever reason. I also took leftover flowers and fused them into a little wall hanging and had very little stickiness on my needle. I steamed for 30 seconds on the front of the project (protecting with parchment paper) and then again on the reverse. I used this project to practice matchstick quilting with letters. Here it is–also needs binding and a label. I’m still figuring out how to do lettering.

Matchstick quilting

Matchstick quilting

So back to the self-portrait. I remembered I had some Kreinik iron-on ribbon. I could not find this anywhere so it must be a discontinued item. Originally it was sticky on one side so you could put it in place and then iron it down. I didn’t know if it would fuse and which side had the fusible but at this point it didn’t seem to matter.  I used my small craft iron to outline the green flowers on the face as well as the outside edges of the face, stitched it down for insurance and then cleaned up the fusible afterward. Just use Bo-Nash Iron Clean–works great on your regular iron, too. You can find this on a number of sites including Amazon.

Krienik ribbon

Kreinik iron-on ribbon

Next, I basted the little sunflower petals down so I could pull them back out of the way to free-motion the larger petals in place.

Quilting the sunflower

Quilting the sunflower

After free-motion stitching the small petals down, I fused the brown center. I embellished this with a new product I found on my trip to Paducah: YLI Quilt Highlights. This is a braid that you can sew on flat, or pull one thread to gather it up.  I got a neutral spool (used here), a rainbow spool and one in white that I can dye any color I want. Yeehaw.

http://www.ylicorp.com/News.aspx

YLI Quilt Highlights

YLI Quilt Highlights

Here I basted this down just to see how to sew it–then unsewed it and resewed it to my project. You can also see my practice quilting. I didn’t need much practice–I have made two sunflower quilts previously.

Next I tackled the face. I used a white-on-white fabric that is covered with flowers. I brought out my Tsukineko inks and decided I had better used my Fabrico fabric markers instead–much easier-there were a lot of flowers to color in and I wanted paler colors. I’ll be experimenting more with the inks on Self-Portrait II.

Tsukineko Inks

Tsukineko Inks

Adding details

Adding details

Fabrico markers

Fabrico markers

After I finished all the quilting, I added some Angelina fibers. I did not do any fusing with them but left them loose.  I stuck them under some flower centers and quilted them in place. They remind me of fireworks but one is the planet formerly known as Pluto.

Angelina fibers

Angelina fibers

pluto, crystal amethyst angelina

pluto, crystal amethyst Angelina

Threads, thread holder

Threads, thread holder

I used a lot of threads for quilting. The one on the holder gave me problems until I put it on the horizontal spindle. Some threads are picky that way. Here is the quilting I did on the background.

quilting detail

quilting detail

And here it is all finished.

Self-Portrait/Sugar Skull, quilted/embellished

Self-Portrait/Sugar Skull, quilted/embellished

Reverse

Reverse

I almost forgot–one day as I was listening to space age music and quilting, random thoughts kept running through my head so I finally stopped and wrote them down on a blank page in my Wreck This Journal.

http://www.amazon.com/Wreck-This-Journal-Black-Expanded/dp/0399161945

After I’m gone, when my job here is done, I’ll be buried in my mushroom suit, and weird wildflowers never before seen or named will sprout up along with daisies and Icelandic poppies and wind anemones and Johnny jump ups will play all day long and maybe into the night and Pluto will once again be a planet and you’ll find tan m&ms in your Halloween candy because they taste the best. In my new world there will be eclipses every month and stars will nova every night, everyone will be kind, color blind and rewind. More people will be artists of some kind and have Fun Fridays and Silly Saturdays and stuff like that. 4.30.2016.

I’m going to print this poem out and put it on the back with the label. I really had a lot of fun with this project and tried a lot of new things.

Till next time, embrace your weird.

 

April Challenge

I joined a private FB group in January.  Each month we set a personal goal to work on daily, the idea being to effect some kind of positive change in our lives.  Our goals range from enhancing a beauty routine, to weight loss/fitness goals, to organizing our desktops or files on our computer, to business goals.  You get the idea.  The psycho-experts out there estimate that it takes anywhere from 7-21 days to ingrain a new habit into our lives.  By putting our goals out there, we have continued support — daily if you want it — and hints about what works for others.  My April goal has been to work only on my self-portrait and UFOs (unfinished objects).  I worked on my self-portrait for the first five days and then started tackling my pile of unfinished quilts.  Some just needed to be quilted or have labels sewn on.  My pile of night time handwork has gotten bigger but that means things are getting done.  I did have to sneak in a small new project, a padded travel case for my daughter’s keyboard.  She is always putting her Mac and keyboard in a backpack and said keyboard finally bit the biscuit.  While searching for a new keyboard and carrying case, we spied a travel keyboard that folds in half to about the size of an I-pad but it doesn’t have a number pad so that one’s still in the store.  We’ll start with this project.  I used about a yard of fabric for both the outside and inside and some Soft and Stable byannie.com.  It’s a 100% polyester foam-like material, for bags and beyond.

http://www.byannie.com/

I searched in my Pinterest FMQ file for a simple quilt design and chose this one.

Spirl with Line quilt design

Spirl with Line quilt design

Here’s the loop for a button closure.  You can use ponytail bands for these.  I’ll get back to finishing this project as soon as I finish binding the edges.

Loop for button closure

Loop for button closure

 

I practiced on my white board before making a quilt sandwich.  Here are two spiral designs you can try.

Straight line with spiral

Straight line with spiral

Spiral

Spiral

In my ongoing effort to use up fabric, I pulled out this little print from centuries ago.

Quilt sandwich

Quilt sandwich

A lot of quilters like to back their quilts with a little print like this–you quilting stitches don’t show up much so it hides your stitching if you are less than a confident quilter, not that experienced quilters don’t have bobbles and mistakes.  Here’s a little batting hint.  One side of your batting is cleaner and smoother than the other so put that side up, facing your quilt top.

Batting

Batting

I did a lot of practicing yesterday and went through four small quilt sandwiches before finally deciding to use the same line with spiral design on my Gelato tablerunner.  Here is the quilt halfway done.

Quilting design

Quilting design

When I was ready to quit for the day, I looked up at my screen to see what was playing: It was Where the Rainbow Ends, by Northern Sinfonia of England, written by Roger Quilter.  I just can’t make this stuff up.  I’ll show you the table runner after I finish stitching the binding and putting on the label.

So back to my April challenge.  Here is where my self-portrait is–I have some Kreinik iron-on ribbon I’m going to use.  The stickiness has gone so I need to see if I can still iron it in place before stitching.  I’m on a spiral kick this week I guess because I made these spirals–my portrait is starting to look like a party’s going one here.  I’ll talk more about this challenge in a future post.

Adding flowers and spirals

Adding flowers and spirals

This quilt has been finished except for sewing on a label and one quilt square on the back. This is called Memory game–there are two of each center square, except that one square had to go on the back of the quilt.  It’s a variation of a quilt called Cappuccino, by Joyce Stewart, as seen in McCall’s Quick Quilts, November 2008.

Memory Game

Memory Game

This quilt also just needed a label: String Theory1, inspired by Heart Strings by Jennifer Rounds and friends, as seen in The Quilt Life, February 2012.  I went crazy with an all-over feather design.  I thought I had better photos–will have to retake these.

StringTheory

String Theory1

StringFeathers3

Feather Quilting

Then, there’s this quilt, Waiting for Spring, which I quilted and bound in April, 2014.  So what was the problem?  When I went to weave in all the thread ends, I noticed that my tension was off in the section with the small squares.  Here’s a close-up to give you an idea.

Bad quilting tension

Bad quilting tension

Like an idiot, I start ripping out the worst portions and then was going to rip out this whole section.  Well that lasted a couple hours and I saw the error of my stinking thinking, requilted where I had ripped and have now called it good.  By the time it’s up on the wall, I won’t even see it and neither will anyone else.  Lesson Learned: Aways check the back when you start free-motion quilting on your project to make sure the tension is correct.

Waiting for Spring

Waiting for Spring

So that’s it for today.  I’ll be back later in the week with more quilting news.  Also on my list for this week, file all my photos on my computer and find out why Internet Explorer stops working every time I try to type a hyphenated word into tags for my posts.  It’s driving me ka-razy.  Till next time–