Green Woman #5 – Colouring the Background

January 19, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Posted in Fiber Art, Patchwork | 1 Comment

The next step is both the fun and the hard part in the category “Playing with fabrics”. Starting with the finished face on top of the pattern, I needed to choose the right fabric for every piece in the background, and make everything fit together somehow. Here’s the pattern again:

GreenWoman - first and second draft of background

The right version is approximately what I ended up with at full size. And this is what it looks like after colouring in the spaces:

Green Woman #5 - background fabrics

Just to make sure that nothing is jumping out too badly in terms of contrast, I converted the image to black and white:

Green Woman #5 - background black/white

The face sticks out clearly, and the hair on top of her head has the lightest colours, as intended. You will see a big difference if you compare with a black and white version of the original, though:

Green Woman #5 - original black/white

If you look just at the background, ignoring the white foreground, you see that there’s much less contrast in general between the different areas than in the fabric version. I think the main reason for that difference is the choice of medium: coloured pencils versus fabric. I started filling in the background with all those light greens at the top of her head, but soon realized that doing the background in all those relatively light colours wouldn’t work. For the rest of the background I went much bolder in my fabric choices, trying to keep to the general colour schema as well as ensuring local contrast similar to the original. Another thing is that lots of the dark fabrics at the edges will be covered by the white foreground, so there will be much less of the darks visible at the end.

The next step will be sewing all this together, so I end up with a single piece of fabric for the background. I think I’ll be a while, I’ll let you know when I’m there.

Green Woman #4 – She’s got eyes!

January 6, 2020 at 10:56 am | Posted in Fiber Art, Patchwork | 2 Comments

Last time I ended up with a face that had an important feature missing: the eyes.

GreenWoman - Pieced Face

I was going to fix that next. The plan was to reverse-appliqué some bits of white fabric into the eye-sockets, but first I had to deal with the irises. Initially I was thinking of hand-embroidering them, but then I decided to try playing around with free machine embroidery. It’s something I always wanted to explore more, and might use again in different parts of this quilt.

Here’s my first try:

Green Woman - sample for eye

I layered the white fabric with a bit of water-soluble embroidery stabilizer, which I also drew the pattern on. I choose a dark red and an even darker reddish-brown embroidery thread, which fits the original colours well. I was quite happy with the first try, but did manage to turn the design the wrong way round when adding the second colour. So two more eyes it was.

I’ve made a little slide show to show you the steps for putting one of the eyes in:

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And here she is, and I think I got her likeness pretty well:

Green Woman - Finished Face

That’s as far as I can take the face right now, onto the background next. There’s lots of hair to add!


SAL Update: Green Iguana #39 and Prism Owls #1

January 5, 2020 at 8:44 am | Posted in Embroidery | 22 Comments
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I did it! Mr. Iguana is finished, and here he is in all his glory:

Green Iguana - Finished!

There was so little left before I left for the holidays that I took the new project with me and got a head start. It’s another kit from Gecko Rouge, which I just had to grab when they retired that pattern about a year ago:

Prism Owls - Pattern

It’s called “Prism Owls”, and I couldn’t resist all those whimsical and colourful birds. It’s also considerably bigger than Mr. Iguana, so expect me to be at it for a while. Here’s my current progress, quite a bit of a change from all confetti all the time:

Prism Owls - 2020-01-05

I also aquired a bigger qsnap frame and had to make another grime guard. It’s a bit too small to hold all the extra fabric, so I might have to make another one at one point. But for the moment I just wanted to get started!

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Linda, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne and Connie. We also welcome a new member, AJ!

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

Green Woman #3 – Sewing the Face

December 31, 2019 at 8:13 pm | Posted in Fiber Art, Patchwork | 1 Comment

Last time I decided to sew the face first, because the colours there will definitely influence whatever I’m doing for the hair. So, here’s what I did:

Step 1: copy the lines of the face to the shiny side of some freezer paper. The shiny side because it will be ironed onto the back of the pieces of fabric, and I don’t want to end up with a mirror image. You’ll need a permanent marker that writes and stays on plastics for that.

Green Woman - copying the face onto freezer paper

The letters are short for the different colours, and the tick marks will be used to pin the pieces precisely for sewing – particularly important for curves.

Step 2: Cut the pieces apart and iron them onto the fabric. The shiny side will stick onto the fabric when heat is applied, but not very strongly so it can be easily removed later.

Green Woman - pieces of the face

Step 3: Trace around the pieces and add the tick marks. Here’s a detail shot on how that looks like:

Green Woman - tracing around the freezer paper

Step 4: Cut all the pieces out, adding a seam allowance. Arrange in correct order for sewing:

Green Woman - pieces for face

You can see in the light green that the freezer paper is still attached to the back of the pieces at this point. Since my lines are curvy, I do need to remove it before starting to sew.

Step 5: Sew. I’m leaving you with a link to Ruth B. McDowell’s “Piecing – Expanding the Basics” for detailed instructions and lots of inspirational pictures. Here’s what I ended up with after quite a bit of cursing (some of the curves are almost too tight for sewing):

GreenWoman - Pieced Face

The light green fabric is thinner and more tightly woven than standard quilting fabric, and it also doesn’t iron as well. This led to quite a few wrinkles in her face. I’m fine with this, since what’s a few wrinkles between friends? Also, I will be quilting things quite heavily and probably most of it will not be that obvious once I’m done.

This is a pretty flat image for the moment. Obviously the shading is missing, and I’ll need to add at least some of it, probably while quilting. But I did make heavy use of the one way I have to directly add some dimensionality, which is by controlling which way I ironed the seam allowances. I’ll strengthen that effect later with some strategic quilting.

By the way, did you notice that she’s looking ever so slightly to the left? I didn’t until I traced the face a couple of times and noted the differences. I love how this project makes me look closer at the original artwork!

The next step should be pretty obvious: Giving her some eyes. I have some ideas on how to do them, but there’ll probably some experimenting first.




Green Woman #2 – A Plan for the Background

December 20, 2019 at 8:24 pm | Posted in Fiber Art, Patchwork | 3 Comments

Last time around I showed you what exactly it is I’m tackling with this project, and now there actually are some first steps! It’s all black ink on paper though, no fabric involved yet.

Green Woman - drafting the background

So, here’s an A3 copy of the black and white drawing, overlaid with drafting paper. For the background, I’m obviously ignoring the white foreground, pretending it isn’t there. I’m also ignoring all the detail that weaves in and out of the rest – the vines and thorns, the leaves and flowers, and the tight spirals of her hair. What I’m trying to do is to figure out what makes sense to be one piece of fabric – similar colour, similar structure etc. The colour printout helps with this. Here’s the result of my first try, with quite a few false starts included:

Green Woman - Background, first draft

A second version is in order, and already looks much better. Here’s both of them next to each other, so you can see the comparison:

GreenWoman - first and second draft of background

Next, finding the right fabric. I pulled all the greens I can see me using out to get an idea of what I have:

Green Woman - fabrics in all shades of green!

My original thought was to do the hair by couching lots of yarn on top of the sewn background. Looking at those lovely fabrics, I want to try to go a bit more abstract. For the moment, the only fabrics I have firmly selected are the solids for the face. Since whatever I do for the hair needs to work with the face, I’ve decided to sew the face first before making any other decision. But that’s an adventure for the next post.


SAL Update: Green Iguana #38

December 15, 2019 at 8:40 am | Posted in Embroidery | 16 Comments
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Almost there! I can promise you a finish for next time. Here’s the last update:

Green Iguana - 2019-11-24

And here’s today:

Green Iguana - 2019-12-15

Three weeks from now is the 5th of January, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to show you a finish as well as a sneak preview for the next project. I’ve already prepped it in anticipation of the holidays coming up with more stitching time than usual.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Linda, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne and Connie.

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

Thinking about “Green Woman”

December 8, 2019 at 10:22 am | Posted in Inspiration, Patchwork, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

One of the parts I enjoyed most about working on the Displays and Crafting areas of the Dublin 2019 Worldcon was the collaboration with the artists who provided the artwork used for the convention. During that time I fell in love with Iain Clark’s Green Woman, which I thought would make a splendid quilt. I got his permission to use the image, and now the time’s ripe for taking on the challenge, and a challenge it will be.

Here’s the image that got a hold on me:

Green Woman - Original Artwork by Iain J. Clark, used with permission.

I’m a sucker for the colours and forms of nature, so it’s no surprise this one got to me. Where to start, though? Probably the easiest part will be the face – just a few solid colours in clearly delineated areas. Should be easy to sew using the tried and tested methods from Ruth B. McDowell’s “Piecing – Expanding the Basics”. Next, the hair, all of it, and the lovely leaves and berries and flowers it develops into. That will be the challenging part. And on top of that, the white foreground, with some of the other elements weaving through it. Love the effect, and it’s something I definitely want to keep.

So, time to stop procrastinating and start making some decisions. First up, size: the final quilt needs to be big enough so I’ll be able to sew the pieces reasonably well, but not so big it’s totally overwhelming on the wall. I’m finding this very hard to decide in theory, so I got a few differently sized versions of the line drawing (the one we used as a colouring page in Dublin) printed out. This one’s the A0 version (about 80×120 cm) that I had taped to my craft table for a few weeks:

Green Woman - A0

While that size is well in the “reasonably easy to sew”-range, after looking at it for a while, I found the size a bit too much for my taste. I got another couple of printouts, one in A1, and one in a size in between those. The A1 turned out to be too small, so the in-between size it is, with the image about 75×105 cm big.

The next step will be coming up with a sewing plan, and to figure out how to actually create all that crazy hair. I have ideas, but no idea how they will actually look like when executed. Time to make some samples – a task I can endlessly procrastinate on, so I’m writing it down here so you can hold me accountable!


SAL Update: Green Iguana #37

November 24, 2019 at 8:32 am | Posted in Embroidery | 15 Comments
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I’m on the last page of the pattern! Here’s the last update:

Green Iguana - 2019-11-03

And here’s where I am today:

Green Iguana - 2019-11-24

Looks doable till the end of the year, although looks are deceiving with this kind of work. Can’t wait to see him finished!

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Linda, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne and Connie.

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

Quilt Show 2019 – My Year in Quilting

November 13, 2019 at 7:56 pm | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 5 Comments

Last weekend brought around our group’s annual quilt show, which is as good an excuse as any to look back on what I did quilt-wise this year.

First, the community project. As usual, I helped put together a beautiful quilt to raffle off for charity. This is this year’s edition:

Lucky Stars Raffle Quilt 2019

Love the quilt, as well as the long-arm quilting which fits the pattern very well. The money we raised goes to Herzkissen München together with almost 200 pillows we also made this year.

Second, our yearly challenge. I’ve already posted about my contribution, here it is again:

Challenge 2019 - Finished

And here’s the whole wall with everybody’s contributions:

Lucky Stars - Challenge 2019

My personal quilts all ended up on the same panel, which was not very surprising since it seems I had quite the theme going:

My quilts 2019 (and an extra)

The quilt on the upper right is very beautiful, but not by me, but by a fellow group member. It does fit well though, since it was made for the same exhibition as mine on the lower left. The one on the upper left is the one I wanted to make for said exhibition, but didn’t quite pull off at the time. And the one on the lower right is my scrappy colour wheel.

Since I was pretty busy this year overall, this is quite a good haul, I think. My next project is on the table, waiting for me finding the courage to actually start it. It will be a challenge, for sure – more on that when I actually have a better idea of what I’m doing.


Inktober 2019

November 3, 2019 at 7:31 pm | Posted in Drawing | 1 Comment

I’ve been keeping in touch with a few of the artists I met at the Dublin 2019 Worldcon via Facebook and my newly created Twitter account. At the beginning of October they started talking about and posting drawings tagged with something called Inktober. I got curious, read up on things and spontaneously decided to play as well.

It’s not as if there’s a dearth of art supplies around here, so I dug around for an empty enough sketchbook and my ink pens. What I found was an half-full sketchbook where I’d worked on designs from a zentangle book for textile artists. Not wanting to commit to anything complicated, I decided to keep to the zentangle-sized 9*9 cm squares and to fill one of those for every day of October. Since I can waste huge amounts of time to come up with the “right” idea and was sure that would derail me sooner or later, I also decided to use the official prompts from the website linked above. I continue to find that my creativity works best when I don’t let it roam completely free, but give it some constraints to hang on to. I must have made the right choice, since I made it all the way through the month, doing a small ink drawing for every day:

The prompt is in the captions, and you can click on the images for larger versions. And, so you can see how my sketchbook looks like, here’s my favourite page spread:

Inktober 2019 - Page spread

This is also now a very full sketchbook, I had to squeeze the last sketch into the absolutely last square available. Yay!

Still noodling over what I’m going to take away from this. Left to my own devices, I’ll probably get back to drawing for the next vacation diary sometime next summer. This is something that needs consistent practice, and I’m not quite sure how to go about achieving that. I’ll probably never draw for drawings sake, but I’d sure love to be able to confidently get ideas from brain to paper, where they can be examined and evaluated for committing art (usually using fabric and thread). Leaving this here for the moment as food for thought.

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