Starting the Maine quilt
Do you remember a post from August when I talked about my sun printing project in Maine? I had a great couple of days at our cottage on Sebec Lake sun printing about 9 yards of fabric. I got them out recently to figure out what I want to do with them. This is going to be my project for Country School monthly sewing retreat. But before our October sewing days I had to decide exactly what to do about it.
This will be an every-day quilt for our bed so I want it to be pretty quick and easy. I also don't want a lot of small pieces because that will hide the sun printed images. I worked up a couple of ideas and then did a Google search for "one block quilts" and saw all sorts of quilts that were square, triangle and hexagon based. Then I saw an apple core quilt.
I really did say "Ah Ha!" out loud.
Because I remembered that my friend made an apple core quilt with giant blocks. Here's was made with a huge variety of skull fabrics and it was a really cool quilt. Fortunately she still had the template. Can you see that this is a 12" block? Sadly, I don't think this particular template is available anymore but this one is close.
At the October sewing retreat I got the whole quilt cut out! It's pure luck that I happened to cut my fabric pieces to be larger than a fat quarter and I was able to cut 4 blocks from every fabric.
I couldn't wait to see how they will look together. Here's one of each fabric just randomly arranged on the floor. Sometime before the November retreat I'll lay the whole quilt out on the living room floor so that I can stack the rows for sewing. I love the mix of strong and subtle prints. This is going to be an awesome quilt.
Oh look! Leftovers! There's no way these are going in the trash. I see placemats and postcards in my future.
Sun Printing Maine
We arrived home Sunday from 2 glorious weeks in Maine. We spent one week on Sebec Lake near Dover-Foxcroft and one week at Acadia. The weather in Maine in August is a perfect break from the heat and humidity of Virginia. It gave my asthma a much-needed break. But I can't leave home without some projects. One of the projects that I took was sun printing supplies.
I wasn't sure I'd have a good place or good weather to do sun printing but I was prepared with everything I needed just in case and I was not disappointed! The camp on Sebec Lake was in a wooded area but also has a large cleared yard. I had plenty of sun and lots of plant material.
My first concern was to make sure that I didn't leave any evidence behind. I set up a plastic tablecloth for my work surface so that I didn't get one drop of paint on the ground.
I started by mixing some paints to try to make a palette. that didn't last very long because I ran out of these colors but wanted to keep printing. In the end I just mixed colors until I got tired of printing. I think I have about 2 ounces of paint left from about 12!
The fabric pieces are about 20" square because that's the size that worked for my print board. I only took one board so I set up my lawn chair nearby and I'd read a chapter or 2 of a Harry Bosch novel between each print session. It was a beautiful and relaxing day.
Ferns are some of the most fun things to print. The images are always really crisp.
Here are 15 of the 19 or 20 fabrics that I printed. I did a little of everything: leaves, ferns, pines boughs, grasses and acorns. It's a good mix of sharp and faded images. I'm going to use these to make a Maine quilt for us. It may just simple 8 or 10-inch squares or some variation of The Gift Quilt Pattern.
Now I have another UFO!
Sun printing shift work
I didn't get a lot done this weekend because I was teaching all day Saturday and ironing most of yesterday. But I am slowly getting through all of the sun printing that I want to do.
Sun printing with stencils is really cool but when you want 20 prints of one stencil it's going to take a while. I want 20 of the house and the stag. They are both going to be Christmas cards. If I'm going to do 2 I might as well do enough to fill the printing board, right?
So, I've set up a sun printing station to make this as fast as possible. I premixed the colors in some old containers so that the paints are ready to go.
I even thought to pull out a larger pair of gloves so that I didn't have to get a new pair every time I set up a new print. Because I'm allergic to the VOCs from the paint I have to wear a respirator. I have it upstairs and put it on just before I go the basement and spend 10 minutes setting up a new print. Then I wear it back upstairs and get on with something else. I can get about 4 prints a day in between doing other things. Maybe I'll have all of my prints done by the end of the week.
I did get to reveal this fabric yesterday. This is a piece that I dyed as a back for one of my quilts and I love it.
I know that this topic is coming out of the blue but it's July and my thoughts always turn to sun printing at some point in the summer. Estelle and I usually do this together and we skipped last year, mostly because we both have a nice stockpile of sun prints. But sometimes you've just got to scratch the itch and this was the week for that particular itch. We'll forget all about all of my other itches for today.
Of course I had absolutely no plan about what I wanted to print. I wasn't all that interested in printing botanicals this time so before she came over I searched the basement for all the things I've collected for screen printing and settled on 2 things: lace and stencils. I intended to do more lace but I got a little side tracked with the stencils. But I found this one lace shower curtain panel and cut a FQ size to print.
Now you are going to see a lot of stencils in this post. I can't look each one up on the internet but I can tell you that there are 3 sources:
Artist Cellar for water, diamonds and whimisical flowers for sure
TSC Designs for most of the single image designs like the cat, stag, birthday cake, etc. I buy them at the Mancuso Quilt Show in Hampton each year but it looks like they are getting them on their web site although you have to page through all of the big stencils before yo get to the smaller ones at the end.
Jenny Mae Designs for some of the single image designs. I also buy them at the quilt show and I can't find a web presence for them.
Another great source for stencils is Stencil Girl. I didn't use any of theirs with this but I do have some.
If you want to learn how we do sun printing you can check out my Sun Printing Tutorial.
I also wanted to test using stamps and did this one small piece. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked.
Since I was printing pieces for postcards I had to pay attention to the size of the stencil. The stencils in the bottom of the photo are 6" so they were perfect. The fist and birthday cake are smaller and had holes for hanging the stencils. I solved both issues by adding borders of duct tape in the same way we tape up screen printing screen. It worked like a charm.
Now, let's get to the good stuff and look at the prints.
This is my shower curtain piece. I'm printing a set of 6 of these for placemats. I envision stitching around the motifs to highlight the designs. These fat quarters are big enough that I'll have plenty of leftover fabric to make binding.
This is a FQ that Estelle printed with clock parts, grids and other found objects. She's an art quilter and uses a lot of her sun prints to cut up small elements for her art quilts.
These 3 sets turned out great and I have enough of each to do sets of postcards. I envision the water ones with a orange koi fish (see stencil above) stenciled on them. The diamond ones will probably just get a bunch of crystals and maybe no stitching at all. I'm not sure about the lace ones. I have a couple of ideas going for those.
The real problem with printing with stencils is that you can only do one at a time. So I picked 8 that I liked (because that's how many fit on my printing board). I've only printed 2 sets so far so I'll continue working on these over the next few weeks. Since there's a wait time between prints this would be a good thing to do while I'm cutting glass for mosaic fish. I won't have to worry about the mess with either project. Any paint that I get on glass will burn off in the kiln.
The rest of these are Estelle's. Looking at these I can see that we were both fully in character in choosing our color palettes!
For you cat lovers, and I know there are a LOT of you, this stencil came from TCS Designs.
I think I'm going to do a series of the stag to use as one of my 2017 Christmas card designs.
I think she is going to use these for Christmas postcards that she sells at the Virginia Quilt Museum gift shop.
Spending a day sun printing is like having a vacation from everything.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.