Saturday, December 8, 2012

Blue expression curiosity

I was thinking about Nicolette's post of one thing leading to another and while sitting eating my lunch today, I was curious about what idiomatic expressions might contain the word blue.  Why you ask, would I be curious about that?  Even though I have my concept for what I want to create for Beverly's B L U E theme I wondered what I might also add to my raft of ideas.  It was surprising what turned up when I googled "blue expressions".  Here is a sampling:

"A bolt out of the blue" meaning a sudden surprise
"Between the devil and the deep blue sea" ... choosing between to equally unpleasant situations
"Blue blood" ... a person of artistocratice or wealthy ancestry
"Blue in the face" ... for a long time; usually preceded by "until you are"
"Into the wide blue yonder"  ... going somewhere far away that seems exciting but is unknown

There's more.  Check them out here.

All of this is to say that there are so many different way of approaching an interpretation of this theme, that it was hard to narrow it down.  But I've got mine.  Hint...think Greek...think mask...think pattern.  That's it for now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

how one thing leads to another

While searching the internet for more information about the Indigo dyed blue jeans, I found lots of pictures and information on Japanese Indigo dyed fabrics. I have collected these fabrics for some years and never made anything out of them really.

The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook by Susan Briscoe
My google search also lead me to the Sashiko technique. In Susan Briscoe’s book she explains that Sashiko stitching was not only a way to decorate fabric but was also used on Indigo dyed workmens’ clothes to make the fabric more sturdy at places that were likely to be worn sooner.

David Sorgato’s book about Boro
Susan also referred to Boro, Japanese (rag) textiles and then I discovered this website.
Boro was made in the 19th century by recycling remnants of indigo dyed cotton and joining them together. I had seen some beautiful pieces of new made Boro by Victoria of the SillyBooDilly. Victoria’s work is always an inspiration.

Blue jeans (the word jeans comes from Genoa, Italy - more about that later...!) was also used as workmens’ clothes. They discovered archeological ‘jeans’ pieces in the gold mines in California, likely to be about a 150 years old, which look really worn and weathered. These old jeans as well as the old Boro textiles have become collector’s items now.

I may have found the ingredients for my Blue quilt!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Blue jeans

jeans quilt at the National Quilt Guild exhibition in Leiden in 2011

In one of my comments on previous posts I talked about blue jeans. I did some research and I already discovered some fun facts. To my surprise I saw an item on TV about an exhibition that’s called Blue Jeans which was opened at one of our museums last week.

This is the link to the Centraal Museum in Utrecht and the exhibition. Needless to say that I hope to go there for some more inspiration.

However, I do have other ideas brewing as well.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Blue- paint or not?

In the spirit of being less secretive and showing more of the process, I'm presenting my first design conundrum with the next challenge.  I used a common phrase with the word blue as my starting point, and a piece of my hand dyed fabric fit the bill perfectly.  I'm going for a misty, mysterious effect, and thought I could get it with thread.  I'm considering adding a light layer of metallic paint to part of this- what do you think?  The metallic thread adds the sparkle I wanted, but it is a hard edge and I'd like to soften it up some.

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend- and those in the US, that you enjoyed the long Thanksgiving weekend surrounded by family and friends.  With my husband having foot surgery the day before the holiday, and only three of us being at home for the big dinner- we chose to go out.  It did make for a much more relaxing holiday, although we are missing the leftovers!

I'm hoping to see more posting as we get closer to the challenge deadline.  I have to get this one done early, because I know our house is going to be utterly chaotic after Christmas, in addition to the normal holiday chaos.  But more about that later-  have a good week, everyone!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My beginnings, again

AS promised, here is a step through video of my last challenge piece. 
I have also posted a written step through on my blog.
Now onto BLUE!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Something blue

Since we are all posting about where we go for inspiration and what we do, I thought I would post about where I am up to with BLUE.
I have been researching about blue and blue things and have a huge bank of pictures to inspire me.  Some will end up as sketches, and some of these will make their way to fabric.  One of them might even end up being my challenge piece. 
Here is a peek into my sketchbook. This is one of the images I have in mind, but may come to naught.
This is a blue winged kookaburra, or kingfisher as we call them.  It has lots of texture and it is a blue animal!  Gina recently photographed a kingfisher on her blog and I commented that ours were blue down here, so this is what they look like.
I can see lots of organza and other fabrics in this one, and I will probably have a go, but it's very early days yet and I have a lot of sketching to do, still.
I find that as I sketch my ideas, I think of ways to create them in fabric and stitch, so it is a good method for me, although if you check my blog, it sometimes is not neccesary and the design come just from playing.  Playing-Imagine that!  lol

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Blue Period

Renate's post brought this to mind - Picasso and his blue periodIt  looks like we will be in good, artistic company with our "blue" challenge. Images from: Wiki PaintingsVisual Art Encyclopedia

Picasso and S. Junier-Vidal sitting near Celestina - Pablo Picasso
Picasso and S. Junier-Vidal sitting near CelestinaPablo Picasso, 1904

Rouen Cathedral, Magic in Blue - Claude Monet
Rouen Cathedral, Magic in Blue - Claude Monet, 1894

Blue Calligraphic Lines on Dark Blue - Jiro Yoshihara
Blue Calligraphic Lines on Dark Blue - Jiro Yoshihara, 1963

Music Pink and Blue II - Georgia O'Keeffe
Music Pink and Blue II - Georgia O'Keeffe

Brainstorming Blues

In an effort to post more about the process of how I reach my end result, I thought it might be a good idea to begin at the beginning so to speak.  I'm not sure how the rest of you do it, but trying to come up with ideas, for me, usually involves some brainstorming.  For instance,  this  I thought of adding an "s" making "blues". Of course this led to thinking of music, which led to
Blue suede shoes.  So I googled blue suede shoes to see what images I could find that might be workable.  As it turned out there were quite a number. I could use applique and some FMQ thread painting with a bit of hand embroidery thrown in.

I also discovered that there was a musical group called Blue Delft.  Blue Delft? Isn't that a type of pottery?  more googling....
Ah...yes blue delft.  Now that might work.  I could try some dyeing with resist to create pattern that would resemble this.  Then I remembered that I heard about something called blueware. 

So more research and this is what I found.
Hey wait a minute.... Wedgewood is also blue.  More images for inspiration to seek out.
But is pottery or china the way I want to go?  Perhaps there is another train of thought to take.  There is also the idea of a "blue mood"....hmmmm....or "blue blood"......gonna check that out too.
Then of course there is Gainsborough's "The Blue Boy".  So this is the start of my "Blue" piece.  Brainstorming blues so to speak. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thought you might enjoy this variations on "blue" which I stumbled upon. Gorgeous even though it is not fabric.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Here We Go Again!

The Tangled Textile group is off on a new round of challenges.  It falls to me to come up with the first one in the second round, and I have spent the weekend trying to come up with a good one.  It was easy the first time, I knew already what I wanted to do!  This time, not so easy.  I spent over a hour last night reading through a children's dictionary (well, I had college football on too!)  I have a laundry list of possibilities, if any other members are interested when the task of choosing the challenge comes their way.

In the end, I chose one that can be interpreted using one of  the several meanings, or as a color study.  Our next challenge is. . . . .


My children's dictionary defines blue as 

1. The color in the rainbow between green and violet; the color of a clear daytime sky

2. Out of the blue: suddenly and unexpectedly

3. Low in spirits; melancholy.

Then there are all those things that have the word blue as part of their name: blueprint, blues music, bluegrass music, bleu cheese, blue jay, blue bird, bluebottle fly, blueberry, bluebell flower, blue whale.

If none of those float your boat, there is always blue in a color study!  Think turquoise, clear sky blue, vivid royal blue, pastel powder blue.

There didn't seem to be any consensus about the size, so I've left it at 16 by 16.  Maybe in some of the next eight challenges, we can experiment with a rectangular size.  I hope to see lots of discussion and works in progress over the next two and a half months!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Aaaaand... the bell rings!!!


Round one is officially over!!!
 We have had eight (yes, 8!!!) challenges!!!

 Tangled Textiles, challenge #8: Beginning 

This last challenge featured a really eclectic mix of art work!

 Stay tuned to see what happens next at Tangled Textiles!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

the beginning is now a finish

I had so many ideas running through my head for this challenge -there are so many beginnings to think about.   I thought about alpha and omega, biblical beginnings, all kinds of cyclical ideas.  

On many of our hikes we see Nurse trees - I had given a lot of thought to the idea of creating an image based on this.  (Nurse trees are when a tree dies or falls and starts to decay, and a new tree starts growing out of it - a really fine example of a beginning and an end.)  But, I just couldn't come up with an image that really spoke to me, and it would have ended up being a very "green" piece again, and I wanted a change. 

I then thought about the seasons of a tree - the fresh greens of spring, the bright greens of summer, the mixture of colours in the fall, and then the bare bones of the branches in the winter, recuperating and getting ready to start the process all over again.  These and a few other cyclical ideas kept running around  and around.  

It was while looking for possible leaf fabrics that I pulled out the fabric that I had printed last spring in Halifax - I knew I had done some leaf printing and I was thinking I might use it.

But that's when I came across this and my idea changed completely

 - while the theme was beginnings and endings, a circle is all beginnings and endings - every point you pick can be the beginning or the end of your way around the circle.  I had my idea, and of course, it had to involve a lot of dense stitching!  Unfortunately, I ran out of time before the official reveal, so my reveal was still a beginning, but now the ending can be shown.
After finishing the quilting on my piece yesterday, I blocked it over night, trimmed and faced it today and voila - my finished "Circling Around"

Circling Around - Finished

front detail2
lots of dense quilting

the back
the back (before trimming)
thank you for a very fun challenge Vicki!

Hand painted and printed fabric, Wonderfil thread on top (4 different colours), Decobob in the bobbin

Thursday, October 25, 2012


but not the end yet!  This challenge had me going around in circles for a very long time, until it hit me that a circle has no beginning or end, and wait, didn't I have just the perfect piece of fabric that I had painted/printed while in Halifax last summer?  It needed a bit added to it to bring it up to size.  So I made a start, and here are my beginnings...




circling around

Unfortunately, no ending yet, but I'm going to keep working on it and will post again when it is finished.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

where to begin...

It took me some time to start the Beginnings quilt. I selected my first drawings which my Mother had saved for me, my first handwritings and mathematics, but couldn’t think of a way to put these into a quilt.

I thought of sprouts of the cotton plant, peeking just above the ground and maybe I should have sticked to that colourful idea, but somehow I was drawn to the natural undyed fabrics and materials from my childhood, my first steps in the world of fabrics, needles and threads. 

top and batting are quilted, backing needs to be attached
The Nuns in Primary School were my first teachers in sewing and embroidering. It’s a miracle that I developed a love for these crafts, because I was often literally rapped over the knuckles with a wooden ruler when my stitches weren’t straight and equally devided.

I remember the unbleached cotton and cheesecloth we had to work with to make doll’s clothes. I learned to cross stitch with red threads on jute. The red made the stitches really visible and I often had to unpick them and start all over again.

When I was a teenager I learned to sew my own clothes and I remember helping my Grandmother when she was sewing on her Elna Grasshopper sewing machine. She made beautiful damask tablecloths and napkins to decorate the Christmas dinner tables.

The plush reminds me of the softies I made for my little nieces and I worked with silk and satin to make clothes for their little theatre puppets.

where to begin... ? 16" squarish
This little quilt is made from the neutral undyed fabrics of my childhood. Linen, cheesecloth, damask, jute, unbleached cotton, satin, plush, and silk. All fabrics have a neutral beginning, so that’s another beginning added!

The first machine quilting method I learned to use was Quilt-As-You-Go, so I made the top starting with a piece of batting and pieced and quilted fabric after fabric with a neutral coloured thread. Then I added some cross stitches and hand quilted some straight lines in red. The quilt still needed a backing and because the top was all quilted I tied a canvas backing to the top and batting, with... red threads! I’ve never used this technique before, so this was also a beginning.

I still love everything neutrally coloured, but I also developed a strong love for every colour in the rainbow!


Fowl Beginnings

Well this was indeed a challenging theme Vicki.  So to get going I began to think of beginnings.  What came to mind initially was a collage; a collage showing all the various beginnings of trees.  I envisioned the start of a maple tree, an oak tree, a ginko, but couldn't find the seed for a ginko.  So I began again.  Call it another beginning if you like.

I was quickly running out of time.  Then I started to get the seed of a Beginning.  Stay with me now.  I gathered some of this;

some wool roving and some of this...

                      fur that had feather like pieces. 
I sewed this into a circle, but it wasn't turning out the way I had envisioned.  But then I found some of this...
a decorative yarn that I had stashed away
I added this to the circle but it kept getting caught on the sewing machine foot.  Tracing paper helped to keep it in place while I zig-zagged it and tore away the paper, like this.

Are you beginning to get the picture? No? 
How about some additional embellishments?
Okay so I added some appliqued leaves, some, FMQ, and I finally had my Fowl Beginning.
Thank you Vicki this one was fun. 
"First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination." --Napoleon Hill

My beginnings

I had lots of ideas for 'Beginnings', but in the end the piece chose itself.  This piece was one that I was working on for my weekly/fortnightly videos and it just became beginnings.
It started as a collage, then I added the thread painting.  The scene is of a beach not far from where I was born (My mother, in fact, went into labour on the beach), so it is very 'My beginnings' in that sense, but it also was me going back to my beginnings with art quilting.  Landscape and thread painting.I think Iwould take uptoo much space if I listed all the fabrics I used, because there are a ton. I will post my video and some more info later about that.
Here are some close ups.
The little bay with bead foam.
Some of the collage background.  I knotted some of my basic embroidery on the top and left the threads loose for texture.
I put a few grasses in the corner as a foreground (needs more contrast, though).
Close up of the thread painting.  It does look awful this close, doesn't it?
A bit more of the collage and the frayed edge of the organza I did the thread painting on.
It's a bit different and a bit the same for me.  I hope you all like it.

Itten's Harmonious Proportions

As usual when given the challenge of  'beginnings' I started with brainstorming, recording ideas and sketches. I immediately thought of my beginnings in quilting, beginnings of art quilting and also beginnings in color. Below are a few shots from my sketchbook as I worked through some ideas.

Looking back now I may have preferred the finished quilts of my first sketches but I settled on the last one, partly out of time constraints but I did know I wanted to make a quilt based on black and white blocks and this was a good opportunity to do it.
Then which color or colors to add? That was quickly decided with the three primaries as this is a 'beginnings' quilt. As you see from the sketch I hadn't decided to put Itten's theory to work yet, but as I glanced at my book shelf , that old book from Color Theory class junped out at me and I immediately knew I would be using Itten's theory of Harmonious Proportions.
I took those relationship ratios and put then into a relationship among the three primaries and came up with 6 to 8 to 3. I decided I wanted my widest strip to be 2" so the blue was cut 2", red 1.75" and yellow 7/8". As I started to cut fabric for the binding it hit me that I needed to use the same relationships there.
Here are a few shots of the piece.
Thanks Vicki for fun challenge!