Wednesday, August 31, 2011
The other shade I could match fairly well was the darkest although to be honest my thread was a little dark. I couldn't just leave the mid blue unquilted but I didn't have a blue thread even close. So I tried grey. I use a lot of grey as most of the time it blends in really well with other colours. Unfortunately I had a little too light and a little too dark and it didn't want to play ball.
As I said at the beginning I did roll back and take another look at the hair before I unloaded the quilt. I decided I couldn't add any more quilting. The quilt had enough distortion already I didn't want to add more. It is now pinned out being blocked to flatten everything before I trim it up.
Monday, August 29, 2011
I've made the thumbnails a bit smaller today because I wanted to share more pictures that usual, you can still click on them to get the full size images.
The legs seemed quite simple at first glance then as I thought about it more I realised how much was actually going on that wasn't being shown by the shades of the fabric. The most obvious area was where the top leg met the arm, both were the same colour and needed to be separated by the quilting. There are many more subtle areas too, the knee for example needed some sort of transition as did the lower leg and body.
As ever I started where I could see what was going on with the highlights on the muscles. I was trying to both follow the underlying contours of the leg and the shape of the fabric. It did mean making some compromises but it came together. The next lightest shade on the top leg was also fairly easy to deal with, although I had to start thinking about the fold in the leg, with this colour.
By the third shade I was clearly coming up against the crease behind the knee, but more importantly I spotted some details I wanted to add to the arm. In one of the pictures you can just see a couple of pieces of paper off to the side. I stopped here to work out what needed adding and decided I needed to leave that area of the leg until I had put some more detail on the arm so I could tuck in the edge of fabrics that were supposed to be further back. It's amazing how often quilting past something can point out a problem with it.
I left that for later and went on the lower part of the leg. By comparison this bit is easy. There are some fiddly narrow pieces to control but at least the shape is clear and simple. You can see in this area what I meant about the arm and the leg trying to blend together.
You might also notice that in some places there is a lot of fabric to persuade into quite small places. As I am quilting fairly densely the quilt is drawing up as I go so pieces further down seem to big to fit. They will but the need a lot of coaxing. Its one of the reasons I longarm one handed. I use my left hand to manipulate the fabric as I work in just the same way I did on the domestic machines. It worked there right so it must work here, and it does. It also scares people when they see me doing it. I do have my fingers very very close to the foot of the machine, I have to if I am manipulating small pieces. Yes it is possible to sew through your finger but mostly I get hit by the needle screw, it hurts but it lets me get the fabric to do what I want.
The lower leg is again more of a challenge than I first thought. The tiny piece of dark fabric is the where the calf muscle is pressing against the thigh, so again the quilting needs to change direction there to provide the appropriate shape. It is also a good example of silly little things that are critical to the overall design. When I am teaching my art quilt classes I do talk a lot about small things that matter and small things that don't. I try to explain how to tell the difference because there is no way to make a list of them. This may not seem important but trust me if it wasn't there you would know it was wrong.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
The other use for the image is to translate the strange shapes into a human. It's hard enough to tell what the fabric represents in the photographs, but trust me it is far harder in real life and it is one of the reasons I always take a lot of pictures they help. Once I have worked out what the fabric is trying to show I can try and figure out which way the the quilting lines need to go to improve the image. Fortunately with humans I do at least have a sample on hand. You can feel your own shoulder and feel where the bones are. I've done different styles of quilting on different quilts but for this one I am trying to have the quilting follow the body structure. It's fiddly but it seems to work quite well.
The collar bone was fairly easy to deal with and the indentation next to it. The central section of the chest was harder to sort out so I decided to start work on the opposite arm instead. I tend to jump about a lot. When I can see what needs to be done on an areas I do it, and come back to the trickier pieces. Sometimes the tricky bits have vanished in the easy bits which is always nice.
The pins in the quilt are marking transitions to give me some guidelines. Quite often one shade of fabric will span multiple body parts and for this quilt I want the quilting to separate them. I like to use pins for marking as they are easy to remove. I've had enough bad experiences with marking tools I try not to use them at all now. You can see on the arm how I have followed the line of the arm but also the shape of the fabric. I don't want to use the same colour thread on the two areas. If I did the thread would be very visible on one of the fabrics, which could make it too invasive. The thread may also reduce the contrast in the shades of the fabrics. Sometimes that can be helpful, but on the whole I want the best match I can get. On this quilt I had some problems choosing the palest fabric. It wasn't really as pale as I would like, so the thread I used on it is bright white, just to lift it a little.
I applied the same principles for the top of the other arm and quilted a bit more of the background. Mostly the background is keeping pace with the quilting on the image.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
As I think I mentioned in my last post about this quilt I had some problems finding the right colours of thread. After turning the house (and van) upside down I did find a few more. I found far more that were the wrong purples though. Of course all the threads I really wanted to use didn't want to play ball. Some of them I have never managed to get to run on my machine and I really should get around to either chucking them out or rehoming them before I waste more time playing with them. I did try them and I did fail.
After a lot of fiddling I did persuade masterpiece to run provided I kept the speed right down, which for me, quilting hair just wasn't going to work. I think hair is my favourite part of quilting people. It's the easiest for me so work out what I am doing and it tends to flow better than other areas of the quilt. I can also be more flexible with my thread colours as I want to blend the fabric shades more in the hair than anywhere else.
I started with the darkest thread to start getting the direction of the hair in place. The dark thread was the one happiest running at speed which made it easier for me to get the flow right. From there I could work on the mid shades. These had to be stitched slower, which I found hard, but possible once I had the dark lines in place to keep me going in the right direction. I was also looking to secure as many of the raw edges as possible at this stage, it makes the quilting easier later.
I build up the quilting on the hair in stages. I want it to be ver clearly hair but I can't quilt it too densely or it will distort the quilt even with the uber wadding in it. I worked on the hair until it read OK and I will come back to it when I have finished the rest of the quilting. If I think I can add a little more quilting I will. It is one area that really benefits from heavy quilting.
Friday, August 26, 2011
I am quilting the art quilt today but I will leave posting about it until tomorrow, so this has a chance to reach as many eyes as possible, sorry.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
The floral batik you can see pinned on to the quilt is just there to protect th applique as I work. I float my tops (and even if I didn't normally I would for these) and I don't want to brush against the pieces as I am quilting.
I was thinking I would start right away with the hair as I am happy with that part of the quilt, but then I remembered the other problem with working in purple, threads. There just aren't enough shades of blue purple thread. Lots of red purples but those don't match the fabrics I've got. The group of four cones are the quilting weight purples I've got that might work on the quilt. I'm a bit lacking in the mid ranges with them. The set of three are threads I mostly use in the bobbin. I used to use them as top threads a lot then they suddenly stopped working for me. There is a much better range of colours with them, so I think I will have to have another go and see if I can get them to run again, otherwise I think my best option would be shades of grey which do tend to pick up the colours around them so might work in a pinch.
Tonight though is a night off, I'm off to see a band with some friends. Maybe inspiration will strike overnight.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Thanks to Donna from Follow That Thread, I now have some pictures of Greek Fossils hanging at the world quilt show. I really appreciate it when people around the world not only take and interest in my quilts but also take the time to send me pictures. I can't often go and see my quilts and getting the pictures is rather like getting a good postcard from a friend. In this case it's also the first time I got to actually see the award, doubly good.
Yesterday I did finish the areas of pebbling I was determined to do before giving the quilt a rest again. I've got a couple of customer quilts I needed to have done and actually they have been a very nice break. There comes a point where you would really like to see some progress when you are working and getting a quilt fully quilted today was just what I needed. I think tomorrow I will finish the customer quilt I have on the frame then start on quilting the art quilt. It's not hanging in a terribly safe place and it should be fairly quick to work on. Before I get to quilting it I do have few tweaks to do but I think they might actually be easier once it is lying down.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
This quilt was made to test some ideas I had which I am now using on it's big brother, the monster currently on my longarm frame. The dense fill on this quilt took me about 45 minute to do an area the size of my hand (and no I don't have big hands) fortunately I have got quicker. I never intended it to escape into the world, but I'm glad it did. If you have any questions about the quilt do leave me a comment and I will try to answer them.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
I decided to press on. The colours looked good off the quilt so I thought it was worth getting a good look at the effect. If I had to redo this section it wouldn't be too bad. Just adding one shade lighter started to give me hope. I wonder if part of the problem was just seeing such a large block of colour on a fairly complete image.
Friday, August 19, 2011
I also got a supply of Glitter thread for my machine quilting classes, it's been one of the most popular threads I demo with so I can now offer it for sale to my students. I can't afford to keep all the shades but I hope I got a good selection.
Well back to the art quilt. I'll show you how I'm doing later.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
All in all a great day for lots of quilts and people I like. Well done everyone and if anyone is going to the World quilt show at any of it's venues please could you send me a picture of Greek Fossils hanging, I would really appreciate it.