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Same But Different

Wow! It’s been awhile since I blogged!

Here’s my excuse…..  I was lucky enough to spend 10 days in Santa Fe in April. Five days with my dear sisters and mother-in-law having a grand old time seeing the sights, and five additional days attending the SAQA conference "Expanding Horizons".

Everything about the trip was fantastic! The SAQA Conference was so inspiring, yet I got home and I’ve barely been in the studio. Evidently the weeds were “inspired” also while I was away so I’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors on the job that will never end.

Yes, that was weeks ago and weeding certainly doesn’t explain how I’ve spent all my time. Part of my excuse is just plain inertia.

I have spent some time in the studio and I’m still working on the looped wire elements. Sorry if I’m boring you with more of the same…. but wait! These are a little different……

Looping samples

What I’m doing is experimenting with modifying some of the shapes I’m making. I’m working out different sizes and shapes and figuring out how much wire each one takes. As I construct each one I get more ideas for additional shapes and forms to make.

Beaded looping

This one has seed beads on each loop. And I’ve got a list of ideas for other elements to add to the looping process.

One of the reasons I’m working through all these samples is because I plan to use some version of them to construct my piece for SAQA’s “Radical Elements” exhibit. Each artist is to create a new piece specifically for the exhibit. It’s due in September and I really need to get crackin’! 

Lack of blogging means I haven’t been over to Nina Marie’s lately, but today I’m linking up again! Why not see what everyone is up to this week? I can’t wait to catch up myself – after some weeding and looping, of course.

Until next time –
MCH

Stealing Time

I've been stealing some time in the studio each day this week to make some of my favorite things.

Pinks1 blog

 

I've been making more of these.....

Pinks2 blog

 

To go along with these.....

Pinks3 blog

 

Eventually to be incorporated into a companion piece to Metamorphosis

This technique is known as either "looping" or "knotless netting". I'm using wire, but this process is also more traditionally done with thread, yarn, rope, or other softer materials. Think fishing nets, for example. 

If you are visiting me here I encourage you to take a look at the other artists linking up at Nina Marie's Off The Wall Fridays. And if you are visiting here from Nina Marie's I do hope you will leave a comment.

What do you think of looping wire? I'm absolutely hooked on it!

Until next time --

MCH

Finishing the QR Quilt

As promised, here is the follow up about how I finished the QR quilt, "Bits and Bytes". Due to the nature of the surface elements I completed the quilt out of the usual order.

(Click on any of the images to see a larger close up.)

I'm linking this post up to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", too - the first time for me. I hope you'll visit her blog and check out all the artists that have linked up there - visit their blogs and leave comments! Leave a comment here too - I'd like that!

The binding is normally one of the last steps, only before the sleeve and label on the back. But with my plan to add wire and credit card bits onto the quilt surface I decided that I'd better do the binding first. Although the wire is pliable and can be manipulated, it does give a certain rigidity to the quilt once it's been sewn on. Certainly not something I want to deal with when sewing on the binding.

Binding front2 blog

This is what I call my "Very Narrow Binding". It is done completely by machine and finishes at 1/4".

Binding back2 blog

This is the view from the back. Click on the image to see the machine stitching that I've done to close the binding. I use Sulky Invisible nylon thread.

Binding front blog

Finished binding, front view. The finishing stitching to close the binding is done from the front so that I can neatly keep it in the ditch.

Binding back blog

Here is the finished binding from the back. Machine stitching the binding closed definitely requires some finessing in order to catch just a small amount of the binding edge all the way around. I am continually checking as I do that final stitch to make sure that I'm catching the binding on the back, but every so often a little smidge of it escapes my stitching. I go around to check it afterwards and hand stitch that little bit closed.

Wire cc closeup1 blog

With the binding complete I'm ready to add the surface elements. The first step is to determine the placement of all the credit card elements. To back track a little bit, if you read my previous posts here and here you'll remember that I encountered issues with the code not reading. I didn't want to have the same problem once I added the credit card bits, so I went about it quite meticulously.

I had all the small plastic pieces cut and holes drilled in the four corners. I used little pieces of masking tape on the backs of the credit card pieces to audition placement on the quilt surface. I taped them up in stages - about 5 or 6 at a time - and then used my QR code reader to test it. As long as I could read the code, I continued with another 5 or 6 pieces, taking a read, and so on. There did actually reach a point where I put up more credit card pieces and the QR code would no longer read. I took the last few off, and it read. Critical mass, so there I left it. No way was I going to let this thing get away from me again!

Loose wires blog

I left the credit card pieces taped to the quilt surface while I stitched down the wire "circuits". I wanted them in place to help me determine where to place the wire. I made the decisions on where to "connect" the circuits as I went along. I decided on one small section at a time and then cut a piece of wire to size. I used 26 gauge coated copper, non-tarnishing craft wire. I also use the Sulky Invisible thread for this step and make a narrow zig-zag stitch to capture the wire in place. You can see all the loose ends of wire and thread here before I do the finish work.

Finish stitching blog

Here's the set up for doing the final finish work with all my tools at the ready. The first step is to secure, tie off, and bury all the loose nylon threads. That stuff is slippery and invisible and a real challenge to work with!

Next I work on attaching the plastic pieces with the wire. Now that I know exactly where the wire "circuits" are, I mark the plastic bits and drill two more holes in the center for lacing the wire through. I thread the wire ends through the holes to attach all 70+ pieces of credit cards. The wire ends get wrapped and snipped and hidden under the plastic pieces. That's a lot of hand work and I'm not done yet......

Wire cc closeup2 blog

 

Each piece of plastic gets attached with handstitching in the four corners. I make sure to catch only the top of the quilt and then I bury the threads and everything has a nice, neat finish.

So, there you have it! I have more ideas for new QR codes and for using credit cards - they are endless!

Until next time -

MCH

A New Online Venture

I was delighted recently to receive an invitation to join an online community of textile and fiber artists and entrepreneurs know as TAFA, or the Textile and Fiber Art List. I've know about TAFA for awhile and actually, if I look back on one of my "goal" lists from a year or two ago, joining TAFA was on my list of "things to do".

When I received an email invitation recently it seemed the little kick I needed to go ahead and do it! I'm working on implementing new ways to sell some of my work, especially now that TraillWorks Gallery has closed its doors.

My TAFA profile page is now set up and you can see that I've added the TAFA logo to the sidebar here on my website - click on it anytime to go directly to my TAFA page. And while you're there I hope you'll explore the site for awhile and check out the wonderful community of textile and fiber artists. Lots of great work happening out there!

TAFA logo

The other project that I'll be working on soon is setting up an "Art For Sale" page right here on my website. Stay tuned for that as I gather all my information and map out a plan for designing the sale page and getting it set up.

EmptyNest

COMING SOON!

 I will be offering my smaller works for sale directly from my website!

Please check back soon and look for the "Art For Sale" page.

 

Until next time --

MCH

Hidden Message

I finally took the last few stitches in the QR code quilt, "Bits and Bytes". All of the small credit card pieces - the "bits" of information - are sewn on by hand.

I mentioned in the last couple of posts that I had some trouble with this quilt. I put in many, many hours of work on it and then the QR code wouldn't read. (You can scroll down to the two previous posts to get some background.)

Briefly put, in order for a QR code to "read" it needs good contrast between the light and dark areas. Most of the codes you see in print advertising are black and white. I like to interpret mine in color, but one must pay attention to the value contrasts. Mine didn't quite make it.

I wasn't prepared to give up on it so I needed to come up with a solution. Here's what I did.....

 

QRquilt Bits before

This is the "before" picture. All the piecing and quilting has been done. Tough time to find out the QR code doesn't work! On the right you can see my working chart with notes and color layout.

I initially thought my problems were with the light areas. After some further testing I determined that the real problem was with the oranges. I thought they were "dark" and really they were reading as "medium" values and hence, the QR code would not read.

 

QRquilt Bits testing

I need to darken up the orange areas and I needed to think through how I would do that. I thought about fabric paint, but settled upon using ink instead. I bought several colors of Tsukineko (soo-key-necko) inks to try out. Here is my sample piece to try out my color mix and application procedure. I taped off the orange strips and tried out a couple of ways to apply the ink - foam pads and brushes. The foam pads hold a lot of moisture and bled under the taped edge. I ended up using  a brush to apply the ink because I could keep it drier.

And for the record, I've been known to skip the "testing" phase and jump right onto the quilt! Without the pressure of a deadline I forced myself to test out my materials. Good thing, too, as I really did determine the best methods and figured out how not to let the ink seep under the edges.

 

QRquilt Bits taping

Using low-tack painters tape to isolate the orange areas.

 

QRquilt Bits tapedoff

All taped off and ready to plunge in with ink. Before I started, though, I made sure to press and adhere the edges of the tape very firmly so there would be no leaking.

 

QRquilt Bits start to paint

Painting has started. You can see on the left how I'm darkening the orange areas. Right side hasn't been done yet.

 

QRquilt Bits remove tape

Okey-dokey! Removing tape. There's no other way to test out this thing than to remove all the tape and try for another "read". And hallejulah! - the ink stayed where I put it - no leaking!

 

QRquilt Bits after paint

Here is the "after" and it works! You can click on both the "before" and "after" pictures and larger images will open up in new windows. Toggle back and forth to see the transformation from light to dark.

As for the "Hidden Message" mentioned at the top..... If you read my previous posts you know the backstory about making this quilt to meet the deadline of a show entry. With the deadline imminent and the QR code not reading I strongly considered changing the title of the quilt to "Hidden Message" and entering it that way. I thought that was a brilliant solution, but my husband disagreed -- insisted that a QR code must be readable! Aaacchh - fine! So I fixed it (and I'm glad I did).

The next steps are wire, credit cards, and binding, but not necessarily in that order. Would you like to see that?

Until next time --

MCH

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