Screen Printing Saguaros

I need some fabric for the border of my quilt; I spent the weekend screen printing, and while I wanted the fabric dark, I started out light with a dark pink. Above, the first run of saguaros. Below, two silk screens with saguaros cut out of contact paper stuck; the screens are the same size, but the arrangement of the saguaros is different on each one.

I then did a run of blue, then gray over the pink:

This is how the fabric looked after the first run of gray, it’s the vertical piece on the right:

I thought it wasn’t dark enough, and printed another run of saguaros with what I thought was a darker gray, but it didn’t make too much difference; here’s both vertical pieces auditioning on either side of the quilt top, along with some fabric strips auditioning for window frames for the 6 windows:

I think I’m OK with the vertical border fabric as it is. Which is another way of saying I’m done screen printing out in the heat on my patio. The next step is to put it all together, and then I have to decide what colors to use to frame the windows; here’s a few strips I’m trying out. My sister had the great idea to alternate the colors and widths of the fabric strips for the windows.

Lots to do. More soon, when I can tear myself away from obsessive/compulsive fabric auditioning and sewing. It seems I just can’t stop trying out yet more colors and patterns to see what will work best. This is where having lots of fabric may be my doom.

Quilt Progress So Far

I took a photo today of my art quilt as it is now; you can see the 4 foot level on the right hand side, for some scale: this piece will be large.

I feel this piece would benefit from some really dark tones to make all the light bits “pop” out a bit; so I have this plan to have dark fabric as a vertical border on either side of the piece, and the same fabric will be the vertical pieces for the window frames for the 6 windows. This will tie everything together. With that in mind, I cut out some contact paper shapes and stuck them on some silk screens, so I could print fabric with these saguaro designs:

The fabric will ultimately be very dark, but it’s going to start out light as I add layers; here’s the fabric drying on my patio, it was sunset and there are–sadly–mosquitoes in Tucson now. I took the photo through my screen door. The clouds at the time didn’t seem very significant.

A big thunderstorm blew threw an hour later; this is the edge of the storm, a nice big creamsicle colored cloud:

More dyeing in a few days. I’m out of print mix so have to make up more before I can finsih the screen printing.

Feeling Capital about….Capitols

I had to make more fabric with the U.S. Capitol; I need 19 capitols for 19 clouds….and I don’t quite have that many.

Here are photocopies of photographs of the U.S. Capitol, the photocopies have been stuck onto my hand-dyed fabric with acrylic gel medium; now that the gel medium is dried, I’m about to press the fabric with parchment paper, so I don’t melt the fabric:

These are small pieces of fabric, about 6″x8″; it’s also humid outside, and there are mosquitoes: so, this is an ideal project to do inside. For larger projects involving scrubbing fabric, it’s just so messy I have to do it outside. Here I am, below, scraping the paper off the fabric after I’ve soaked the fabric in a bucket in my kitchen sink:

After scraping with a spoon (soft enough not to damage the fabric), I scrubbed lightly with a scrub brush, soaked the fabric again, scrubbed lightly once more, then rinsed. Here is my new “palette” of U.S. Capitols; I plan to sew ALL DAY tomorrow to get as many of these in place as possible:

Reverse Applique Progress

This is how my piece looks so far; I’ve reverse appliqued 11 cloud shapes so far, 8 more to go. If you look carefully you can see 3 white cloud shapes, those are pattern pieces which I’m “auditioning” to see where clouds will look good on the remaining available quilt surface. This is a better view:

The surface looks a bit crooked because the fabric isn’t lying flat against the wall; the fabric that’s laminated is stiff and has no drape, so I have to really smooth it down to get an accurate read on the surface. I’m feeling confident it will quilt well, though.

I was distracted for a day with the 12 pounds of cherries I got at the store on sale recently; I used them to make a pie with the last of the lard from Prairie Pride Farms, it is THE best lard and it’s worth every penny:

It took me a few hours, it seemed, to pit all the cherries; in the end, enough for 3 pies. I had to freeze 2 pie’s worth because I don’t have any more lard, and according to the Prairie Pride website, they aren’t shipping until September, when it may cool down after the hottest summer on record.

It’s good I didn’t bake 3 pies or I probably would’ve eaten them all myself. I can’t tell you how good it turned out: check out the flake on the crust:


Pie crust for 2 pies

4 1/2 cups pitted cherries tossed with 1 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice and 4 pinches cinnamon. Toss these ingredients, then add 1/2 cup flour and 2 Tbsp cornstarch. Put in pie crust, use egg wash to anchor down the lattice strips cut from the second pie crust. Bake for 1 hour at 350. Cool on a rack to keep crust flaky and firm.

Cloud Catastrophe: Sewing in the Clutch Averts Disaster

I left my camera in my brother’s car for a few days and wasn’t able to post any photos of progress on my art quilt.

Of course, the other reason I wasn’t able to post is because I hit a huge impediment. Part of my design includes 19 clouds–to represent the 19 victims of the January 8 shooting who survived; the clouds will each be cut out of my quilt top using reverse applique. Last weekend, I cut out my first cloud, and used satin stitch around the reverse applique:

OMG. Yuck. I was so disappointed. It was just to hard for me to roll up my quilt top and maneuver it through my machine to keep the satin stitch smooth, instead the stitch was all jerky. This cloud will not do; it’s just unacceptable. I needed a solution.

So….as so often is the case, when one applique fails….apply another applique on top to cover it up. I drew another cloud around my failed cloud…

…and pinned some fabric to the back and cut out that cloud shape, neatly disposing of the failed cloud. 😦

I needed a new method of cover up the seam of my new cloud. What to do. I thought of trying free-motion zig-zag, but then I thought I’d try out my new Juki and used free-motion straight-stitch to sew circles and curls over the seam, which will keep it from fraying.

I cut out a sample cloud with same sample paper-laminated fabric for the inside and some hand-dyed yellow cotton on the outsdie. The laminated fabric is from a photo I took of the Vietnam War memorial on the National Mall.

Here’s a closeup. I liked the way it looked.

So I used the technique on my new cloud; here it is, fresh off the machine and still in it’s embroidery hoop.

Here’s a close-up:

One cloud down, 18 more to go!!