In a few weeks time I will be teaching my free motion quilting workshop at Midsomer Quilting not far away in Somerset.
I haven't taught this workshop in the UK before, so to celebrate I have made some new samples of my favourite birds and created some nice things with them.
As you may know, I always like to make samples of things before I start a bigger project. I like to see how new fabrics or paints behave before I launch into a big piece and become familiar with how they behave. It may seem like an extra step in an already long process, but time and again I have been glad I did spend the time exploring and experimenting. I personally find it saves a lot of time and frustration in the long run!
Using some of the sketches I made of the flamingos as a starting point, I drew a new, quirky flamingo and filled it with some doodled patterns. I then transferred it onto a piece of plain white poplin fabric and free motion stitched the whole thing. Once it was finished I had fun using my newly mixed fabric paints (using acrylic paint and fabric medium, as I explained last week) to finish the quirky doodled flamingo.
The paint and fabric medium mix worked very well. As well as making the paint soft, buttery and easy to work with, it also extends the drying time of the paint too, meaning I have more time to blend colours together to get that nice graduated look. This is how the new flamingo turned out.
Which brings me on to the next point..... what do I with all these samples?
It is an important thing to consider. I live in a fairly small house, and space to store things is at a premium. I would love to have the equivalent of a walk in wardrobe of fabrics, equipment, sketchbooks and samples - but until I win the lottery and buy the old textile mill that is in my town, and convert it into a home and studio (pipe dream!!) I need a better plan. So, what I try and do is convert them into something both pretty and useful. Cushions, sketchbook covers, bags, storage pouches and so on. You get the idea.
And this is what the little flamingo has been converted into. I am planning on storing my samples for the doodle bird workshop in it - so everything will be neat and tidy and all in one place. How about that for organised?!
My thanks go to Kati Spencer, whose excellent instructions I followed to make the bag. You can find Kati's excellent tutorial here on her blog 'from the blue chair'.
Here is the link, should you wish to make a similar bag. http://www.fromthebluechair.com/2013/03/messenger-bag-supply-list.html
I must say, I am really looking forward to running the Doodle Bird workshop in November. I have 16 new full sized Doodle Birds to choose from, and several smaller bird projects for those who are new to free motion quilting. As well as developing or improving your free motion quilting skills, you will create beautiful quilted squares which you can transform into other projects, like the bag above, or perhaps a cushion or book cover. If you get completely hooked you could even make all 16 and turn them into a bed quilt - something a bit like this.
The workshop is on the 14th November at Midsomer Quilting. To find out more either contact De firstname.lastname@example.org or myself, or see the brochure on the workshop by clicking here.
Thanks for reading. Happy doodling!
Fabric paints two ways: ready made fabric paints or mix your own....
One of the ways I like to add colour to fabric is with fabric paint. There are lots of brands on the market, all at varying prices.
'Pebeo', 'Jacquard', 'Dala' and 'Golden' are brands that are readily available. They each give bright, long-lasting colour, leave the fabric with a soft hand (that is, not a stiff or plastic-like feeling on the surface of the fabric), can be heat set easily with an iron and are washable. I have lots of all of these brands and find them equally good.
So far, so good. The main problem I find with all of these is that they are mostly sold in little pots and can work out to be rather expensive.
Happily, however, there is an alternative. You can purchase something called FABRIC MEDIUM to mix with ordinary artists acrylic paints which transforms them into fabric paints. Again, there are lots of fabric mediums on the market. In the past I have used 'Golden GAC 900', 'Dala Waterproofing Medium' and 'Liquitex Fabric Medium' very successfully.
One of the major benefits of using fabric medium is that you can mix it with acrylic paints - and these come in a huge variety of colours, qualities and sizes and are readily available online and on the high street and even in many large supermarkets. For me, this means I have so much more choice.
Another benefit is simply down to cost. Generally speaking, artists acrylic paints are not very expensive and come in a range of sizes from small tube to bucket-sized. Prices vary according to whether you buy student quality, which I find is usually fine, or artists quality which has more pigment and often goes further but is more expensive.
Which brings me on to why I am talking about this today.
I ran out of fabric medium on Friday!
Here are some of the samples of doodle quilting that I painted
The final thing you need to do when using paint on fabric is to fix it in some way. If you do not fix the paints you risk them coming off or running when the fabric becomes damp or wet for any reason and after all your work that is probably the last thing you want - so do not forget this last and vital step.
It is usually as simple as ironing the fabric for a certain length of time at a given temperature. There are other ways, however, which I have summarised below. Just be sure to always read and follow the instructions on the particular product you are using.
Thanks for reading.
Moonraker Quilters' Area day, Bromham: 12th September 2014
After my talk we were then treated to the excitement of the raffle draw and a great 'show & tell' session with a fabulous variety of quilts. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did. Unfortunately I was not able to write down the names of the makers, so I give my apologies.
After all that excitement there was time for tea and delicious homemade cake (you probably know how I feel about cake) before we all said farewell.
My wholehearted congratulations to everyone at Moonraker Quilters for hosting such a great day.
Meeting Day: 3rd Wednesday of every month, 2pm-4.30pm
Venue: Southbroom Parish Rooms, Devizes
Contact: Sue Daniels
Phone: 01380 729721
Thanks for reading.
To help me decide on a motif to use I decided to take a walk and look what I found! I have been noticing all kinds of fruit in the hedgerows along the sides of the road these past few weeks - it amazes me that people don't stop and pick a little. So far I have had blackberries (a firm favourite), plums and now apples. There were lots on the floor that were perfect for cooking - so I gathered up my skirt and chose about 20 of the nicest ones to take home.
As well as making a delicious crumble and some apple sauce for the freezer, I saved a few of the mangiest ones and started a new sketchbook. Problem solved!
So far the sketchbook only has a few pages - and is likely to stay that way for a while - but it is the beginning of something that may (or may not) end up as a series of quilts one day. Nevertheless, it will be enjoyable to create and will hopefully give me the opportunity to try out lots ideas, old and new, that I can use in the future.
Here is a flip book of some of the pages.
Why not try a few ideas in a sketchbook of your own?
Thanks for reading.