Sunday, March 24, 2013

Drawing a quilt

Someone on a quilting group asked about drawing with Derwent Inktense™ pencils, and when I looked for my post about them, I realized I'd never written one. This is one of the many techniques/tools I have tried out and loved, but haven't had time to go in-depth with (yet!)
"Serenity" 2010, thread-sketched with watercolor pencil shading.
I got the Inktense™ pencils, which are a watercolor pencil with very concentrated pigment, quite a while ago.
This little quilt I called "Serenity" was one of the first pieces I did using the pencils. For this one, I thread-sketched the scene, then used the pencils, with just a little water, to fill in the shading on the beach, palm tree and water.
I hadn't done much with them since then, until last fall I bought the Derwent Inktense™ Blocks, which look like pastels, but are concentrated blocks of watercolor. They are a little messier to handle, and easy to break, but give big, bold strokes of color.
To draw on fabric, I use bleached muslin which has been washed and dried without any fabric softener, and press it onto freezer paper to give a firm base. 
Derwent Inktense™ watercolor pencils and blocks
For one of my first play days with the pencils and blocks, I just drew random seashells, along with a few other motifs. I experimented with dampening the fabric first, with a brush or spray bottle, leaving it dry and dampening after I drew. I was happiest with the results when I drew on dry fabric, then used a brush to very lightly brush fabric medium on. It took a little practice brushing with the shading of the sketch, so it blended colors rather than smearing them.
Too much fabric medium can result in bleeding, as I found out.
Sketched motifs using the pencils and blocks
I really liked some of my seashells, and wanted to do something with them. So I heat-set them by pressing with a hot iron, then fused MistyFuse™ to the back, then cut them out. I laid out little scenes, using some of my handpainted fabric as background, and cutting seagrasses out of batiks and fusing everything down. Later I quilted and added embellishments.
I really like the pencils and blocks, just need to spend more time to learn more about what I can do with them.

Quilts in progress using the sketched motifs
More later!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Organizing Time

Hanging sweater shelves and a clear shoe hanger hold
balls and skeins of yarn.
I've hardly touched the sewing machine in the past few weeks, just too much going on. But I haven't completely given up time in the studio. I've been working on re-organizing so I can actually get some work done.
While I'm spending most of my time at our apartment near our businesses, most of my sewing and art supplies are at my house, where I have a large (and crowded) studio/sewing room. I'm constantly thinking of things I'd like to have here, and over the past few months my tiny guest/sewing room has about reached overflowing.
So, over the past few weeks I've been putting up new shelves and finding new organizing tools. Here's al little tour of what I've done so far.
I really like these over the door shoe racks for holding small stuff and keeping it visible. They work especially well for the fat quarters of hand-painted fabric I've been working on, and all the small balls of yarn I've collected.
I have one more major project, raising the guest bed on risers and stashing under-bed boxes with fabrics I don't use as often and other items.
More later.

Tall shelves hold stacked fabric, bins of cut pieces and
a couple of sewing machines at the bottom.

Another over-the-door shoe rack holds hand-painted
fabric, mostly fat quarters.

Another set of shelves holds books, fabric paints
and a couple more sewing machines.