Technique of the Week #7 – Freezer Paper Stencil

Project Hours: About 2 hours
Design and materials: 1 hour
Execution: 1 hour

Part of this week’s project should include a long amount of time being “stumped” for which technique I wanted to try next.  There are so many.  I thought of doing something based on a “freezer paper resist” technique I learned from Melanie Testa.  But, as this whole technique of the week thing is supposed to be about learning something new, I thought I would reverse her process and just use the freezer paper as a stencil.  
Finding stencils that are free to use is pretty easy online, and this one came from  Cutting was quick using an X-Acto knife.  The paint needed a bit of white in it to make it more opaque.  I also used a really heavy weight thread to do the flames.  
This was for the Valentine’s Day weekend, when you see lots of diamond commercials on TV, and especially “Hearts on Fire” diamonds.  
Later this week when things are not so busy, I’ll post my “snowmageddon” quilt made while stuck in my hotel room in Baltimore on a recent work trip.

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Technique of the Week #5 – Wholecloth Painted Surface

Project Hours: About 4 hours
Design and materials: 1 hour
Execution: 3 hours

The idea for this week’s quilt came from an episode of Quilting Arts, Season 4. After watching Sue Kelly show how you could paint over a quilted surface with oil paintsticks, I decided on a faster approach with a “dry brushing” technique of my own.  Paintsticks take 3-5 days to dry and cure before they can be heat set.  Ths is done with fabric paints and cured in 1 hour.
The Octopus was freedhand drawn with a chalk fabric gel pen, and then quilted over in Blue thread to match the background.  I chose dense quilting and a couple of bubbles to add interest to the background.
Once the piece was quilted, I ironed it from the back so the front would have as much heighth as it was going to get.  Using a piece of cardboard as a pallate, I daubed on some paint and got my paintbrush wet.  Here is the “dry brushing” part, where you get a lot of the paint OFF of the brush and glide it over the “hills” of the quilting, leaving the “valleys” paint free. It takes a lot of passes witht he dry brush to get the amount of paint to show up.  This was a lot of fun!

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Technique of the Week #4 – Pentel Fabric Dye Pastels

Project Hours: About 3
Design and materials: about 1 hour
Execution: About 2 hours
This weekend I was in Zion, IL for a quilt retreat, and I needed a portable, yet artistic technique to try.
I got these fabric pastels at a recent local quilt show, and they are very much like using art pastels for paper.  They are soft, get all over your hands, and smudge very easily.  But they are pretty neat.  I used a white fabric background for this piece, and used my koi fish design from last week in reverse.
Follow the directions about ironing, and be sure to cover the work like they say to.  The dye will migrate to your covering surface, so make sure you don’t put it face down on the ironing board.
I washed this with some harsh hand soap to see if the color would fade or wash out, and my wash water was clear and there was no fading!  The fabric was slightly waxy before it would get totally wet, but still has a nice hand.
The price for a set of these can’t be beat, so give them a try!

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Technique of the Week #3 – Painted Fusible Web

Project Hours: About 3
Design and materials: about 1 hour
Execution: About 2 hours

This technique I had heard about on Quilting Arts TV.  Pokey Bolton does a quick demonstration of it on the show, but I got more information about this technique in Jane Davila’s and Elin Waterston’s book Art Quilts At Play.  

The texture of the WonderUnder is visible in this technique and I don’t know of any fusible that is completely smooth, so this technique will always have some element of surprise.  I was pleased that my koi fish came out looking like it had scales on it. I also realized once I was finished that I could not iron the image after removing the backing paper… It would stick to your iron.  

That said, this was an easy, quick, and fun technique.

I am going ona  quilt retreat this upcoming weekend, so it should be lots of fun to get my sewing groove on for 3 days uninterrupted. 

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Weekly Quilts in 2010

I will be doing weekly quilts in 2010, however, I have opted to do something a bit different (again) this year.

The last two years took themes and expanded them out over the 4 weeks of a month (sometimes 5). This worked great in some instances, and less so in others.  The hard part was the travelling for work.  It was hard to take some of these themes “mobile”. Sometimes the themes left me uninspired after I got the original idea out of my head.  Some would have worked better as a larger piece, so I left detail out that I would have preferred to have tried.

One of the things I liked about the first year of weeklies is that they were often technique based. The whole reason I did some of those pieces was to work with a new material or try a technique out.  So I have decided to go back that way, and use the weekly pieces as an educational exercise.  

I have two other concepts I’d like to incorporate somehow this year, either in monthly works or something to that effect.  First, like 2008 was the “Year of the Pomegranate”, 2010 is the year of the “cephalopod”.  I am not joking that I have seen squid and octopuses EVERYWHERE.  They are a dominant theme lately, and I think it’s kinda cool.  So that’s one concept.  

The second is that I am voracious researcher.  I love to learn something new, and the things I learn are so very eclectic that there has to be some theme that can be taken away from the learning.  

So, expect to see works in new techniques, often with themes based on something new I have learned recently or cephalopods.. ha ha!  Happy 2010!

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