Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Still Plugging Away - But No Sewing....

Sorry no picture today. I'm still busily working away on my computer, trying to figure out how to accomplish a new automated quilt design technique. I've come to two conclusions:

1. I'm going to have to write some code to make this work.
2. I need to figure out what to tell the computer to do before I write the code.

Back in the day, when I worked as an Engineer, I did quite of bit of computer programming. So it's not foreign to me. Plus Daughter 1 is a Software Engineer, so she'll be tons of help. BUT, it will be some time before I figure out what we need to do.

Meanwhile, I did figure out that I don't need the expensive software to make this work. So after my 30 day trial is over, I can let it disappear. I know this all sounds cryptic, but I don't have any pictures to explain it better. Once I've got a design done, I'll share it here. Until I figure out how to get the computer to help, I'm designing a new quilt manually. It's VERY time consuming and tedious, but once the design is done, the quilt will be super simple to make.

On the home front, since we decided to take our house off the market, we're updating all the things that potential buyers complained about. The bathrooms are all going to get a complete remodel. We have 3 bathrooms - the contractor is going to do one first. Then he'll do the other two at the same time. That way we'll always have a working bathroom. We're also replacing our Corian countertops with granite. Oh what a mess this will be! Construction is never easy to live with, but I know the results will be nice.

Monday, July 19, 2010

After a little blogging break.....

I'm back! Here's a quick update:

I got contact lenses - haven't worn them in about 10 years. Love them!
I had a lovely mini-reunion with childhood friends. A wonderful day!
I had a BIG birthday. BIG refers to my age - the BIG FIVE O!

I started a new quilt for a good friend of the family.

My other new project involves quilting, too. But it will some time before I cut into fabric. I'm working on a new way to make patterns for portrait quilts. I'm getting very close to getting this to work, but for now it's Top Secret. I can tell you that I'm doing this on my computer. I had to install a new operating system and install a trial version of some very pricey software. If I succeed, I'll definitely spring for the software - it will be so worth it!

We quilters don't hesitate to spend big bucks on our sewing machines, so why not drop some on some software that will make the designing easier? And I'm not talking EQ software.

I have 30 days to work with the trail version of the software. Today is Day 3. Deadlines always make me work harder! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Flowers Are Blooming...

After a few days off to celebrate the Fourth with my family, I'm back at the geranium project.  Up to this point, I've been painting with the fabric flat on my cutting table (with a plastic drop cloth underneath).  I've been using lots of water with the paints and wanted to prevent drips.  But this morning I went vertical again!  I pinned the piece to my design wall (yes, with plastic underneath!).  Much better!  It's so much easier to back up and view.  So this is what it looked like first thing today.

Time to add flowers.  I'd planned on cutting the blossoms freeform from pinks and red fabrics.  Tried it.  Didn't work.  They looked too stark against the entirely painted piece.  Plan B:  Paint the flowers.
This is more like it!  And it's much quicker than fusing and cutting bits of fabric.  Yay!!
Sorry for the blurry pink one - I just got contacts (after 10 years without them).  I'm still adjusting to taking pictures with my "new eyes."
And here's how it looks after about 15 minutes of dabbing on blossoms.  I'm going to let it dry and look at it again this afternoon to see if I need to touch up something.  I'm almost done and ready to quilt!

I can't believe I've made this quilt top in barely over a week-  MUCH faster than I usually work.

In other news, we took our house off the market.  We'd always planned to try to sell it for 3 months and then take a break.  We don't want to be bogged down in selling and buying and moving too close to the wedding.  Meanwhile, we're making a few updates to the home and will try again in a year or two.  It's good to be able to make a big mess in my studio again!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Printing with Leaves

For the next layer of my quilt, I started adding geranium leaves.  Luckily, I have a geranium plant on my deck.  So I picked several leaves of various sizes and got to work.  I painted the back side of a leaf.  The back side of most leaves have more pronounced veins.
Then I placed the leaf on the surface of the quilt, pressing it carefully with my fingers.  Again, I was in a hurry and didn't do this step the proper way.  You're supposed to put a piece of glass over the leaf and press down.  Oh well.  My way worked, too!
And here's how it turned out.  You can see I used different shades of green.  I'm liking the effect.
So here's my progress, with the screen printed vines, the green wash, and the printed leaves.  I plan to add more printed leaves before I add the blooms.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Layer by Layer

The next step in my quilt was screen printing.  I bought a screen from Ginny Eckley that has a vine with leaves.  As she taught us, I mixed shaving cream with a dollop of paint and mixed it all together.  The shaving cream thickens the paint to keep it from running under the screen.
Then I held the screen down with one hand while I used a foam brush to apply the paint.  In this picture I'm not holding down the screen - that hand is taking the picture.  Ginny taught us to tape down one side of the screen, but I skipped that step - I was in a hurry!
I screened these leafy vines all over the place!
After they dried, I realized that I needed to do something to provide a sort of background for the actual plants.  In the photo, you can't see the sky through the plants.  I decided to apply a wash of green in the areas where the plants will be.  You can see above the wash has been applied on the right side already.

Tomorrow the next layer:  geranium leaves!