tutorial: using the Snapseed app with appliqué in mind

Or – “how I use Snapseed to alter a photo I’ve already taken so that it is easier to turn that photo into a pattern for appliqué” but that was too long for the title bar.

When you are going to make a pattern from a photo, especially a simple appliquéd portrait, You need to figure out where the darks and lights in the face are. Faces aren’t usually dark and light delineated so running the photo through a filter makes it a lot easier to see.

You can take a photo through the Snapseed App but I find it much easier to take all the photos I want with my device’s regular camera then to import just the one I want to filter.

The very first time you open the app you will most likely need to give it permission to access your photos and your camera. Go ahead and do it.

Now you will be prompted to open a picture. You have options. You can click the camera button and take your own picture right in the app. If you don’t like it you can cancel and try again. I find it quicker and easier to just open a picture I’ve already taken so I choose the first option and “open from device.” Unless of course I see the photo I want on the slider there and then I just tap that.

 

If you tap “Open from Device” you will get the chance to choose which photo album you want. Click through until you find the photo you want and tap it.

Now you see the photo you want all big and pretty. Pretty silly in this case. My little guy has been called monkey boy for ages. He was scaling cabinets and climbing to the top of unreachable places by the time he was a year old. 

Now – we want to turn this silly face into something easily transferrable into a pattern. Click that big pencil icon on the lower right.

This will bring up your Tools. Feel free to crop the image if you’d like. I usually click on the very first tool, Tune Image.

Now you are in working mode. You can change all kinds of stuff here and if you like it you click the check box on the right. If you don’t you click the X on the left. If you want to compare your original to your changes hold the slider icon on the upper right.

Touch and hold anywhere in the photo and a tools screen will pop up. These are all the changes you can play with. Slide your finger up and down to choose what change you want to make, then slide your finger to the left and right to make the change. You will notice at the very top of your screen it will tell you which change you are making and give you a bar and number to let you know how far up or down from the original you have moved. I always start by punching up the brightness.

See up at the top? I’ve now also punched up the contrast by about 51%.

For pattern making it helps to see pure value (light/dark) instead of color so I slide the saturation all the way to the left. I usually head back up to brightness and contrast and sometimes play with shadows as well.

He looks scary now as well as goofy – but I can see dark blacks against bright lights. This is a good place to stop. See that checkmark on the bottom right? Now I click it and I’m back to the home screen with the tools pencil on the lower right that we saw before. If you made a mistake and didn’t want to keep these changes go up to the upper right and click the stack with the back arrow icon.

This will give you the chance to undo just the last change, start over (revert), or take a look at all the different edits you’ve made.

I’m fine with this edit and am done so I’ll click Save. Now I have a choice. I usually Export. This makes a plain copy that is easy to open in another app and doesn’t use up as much data as the second or first options. 

Open your photos and goofy boy is there, ready to print and take to my light box, or to play with in Paper Camera (see this tutorial) or a sketch program (tutorial coming soon.)

tutorial: doodle to thermofax ready image

I love doodling in my sketchbook. This sketchbook is definitely not a work of art – it’s my WORK place. Most of what’s in there is an ugly mess and I don’t care. But some of the doodles have potential as thermofax screens.

This one for instance.

thermo_sizing_tute00

Picture taken with iPhone while doodle was still in sketchbook.

Now if I wanted to turn this into a great screen it would need some work. I need a stark black and white digital image so that I can print it out on my laser printer that uses the right carbon based toner that will burn through the emulsion on the fabric mesh when I run it through my thermofax machine.

See how the page is shadowed at one corner and brighter at another corner? That’s not going to work.

It is also hard to keep the image from key-stoning when you take a photo with your phone or camera. See how the image is distorted in the upper left corner? It leans in and isn’t square? The sketch itself isn’t that way – just the photo.

How to fix that?

SCAN YOUR IMAGE

thermo_sizing_tute_scan

Scan of doodle cut out of sketchbook so it will lay flat.

You can see the difference in this image where the lighting is perfectly even and the photo is square. When you scan your image please pay attention to the following.

RESOLUTION: scan at 300 dpi because you are concerned with print quality – not screen quality. 72 is standard for an image that you look at on your screen but is not high enough for a clear crisp print.

FILE TYPE: JPG will be the easiest to work with in a digital editing project. If your piece needs no cropping and is already in black and white a PDF might do as well.

COMPRESSION: when you scan your image, then save it, make sure that you do not compress the file further. At some point when you go to save you will see a quality slider similar to the one below. Make sure you drag the slider all the way to 12 – which is the maximum quality.

thermo_sizing_tute001

Now – make a copy or duplicate of your image and lets get busy. You always do that right? That way if you make a mess of things (I often do) you can start back with your original file.

CONVERT IMAGE TO BLACK AND WHITE

No shades of grey. No creme paper. No shadows. When the thermofax machine burns through the emulsion coating the fabric screen the grey areas of the screen may or may not burn all the way through. The best way to have a clean image for your print is to have a clearly black and white image to send to me. If you are starting with a lower quality photo such as the first one in this post, I’ll show you how to clean it up.

These instructions will work with pretty much any digital editing program. I’ve used Photoshop Elements, Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, and Gimp as well as a few others. If you can’t find the tools I mention in exactly the same place just open your program and type the tool name in the HELP box at the top. Most of the programs will give you an arrow pointing to where that tool is located.

BRIGHTNESS/CONTRAST

thermo_sizing_tute02_brightnessFind wherever your programs Brightness/Contrast controls are hiding and give it a click. Up will pop a window with two sliders.

thermo_sizing_tute04Play around with the sliders until you can see that the image is as bright white and dark black as you can get it without losing parts of your image.

LEVELS

thermo_sizing_tute02_levelsI also often play around with Levels instead of brightness/contrast.  This is the most complex of the three methods but it isn’t a big deal. Remember that  control+Z is your best friend. It is the UNDO button. 

thermo_sizing_tute05There are three sliders in the levels window to play with. I’m certainly not a photoshop expert so I’m not sure I can explain to you why these work or how – but they do. First I mess with the slider on the right under that funky mountain graph looking thingy. It usually makes the white background whiter as I move it to the left. Next I work with the middle slider. This one is more fiddly – I move it back and forth until I’m happy with how black my blacks are. Sometimes I mess with the far left slider but not often. 

Again – just play around as see what you get.

THRESHOLD

thermo_sizing_tute02_thresholdThe last and sometimes quickest tool to use is the Threshold filter. It’s also the tool that is hidden in different places in every digital editing program so you might need to type it into the Help bar to find it.

It’s quick and easy but it isn’t always the best at keeping all the details you want. Let me show you.

thermo_sizing_tute06There is only one slider to play with and you get ALL black and white immediately. You need to slide the little pointy button back and forth though. I really didn’t want all that shadowing on the upper right to show up.

thermo_sizing_tute07So slide that slidy slider around and see what happens. In this case – moving it around too far got rid of the shadows but lost some of the lighter circles in a different part of the doodle. Again – play until you are happy with what you have.

thermo_sizing_tute01Here is a middling image that doesn’t have any messy bits and has enough of the circles intact to make me happy. What do you think?

VOILA!!! 
Now you have a stark black and white image.

Remember – there is no rule saying that you can’t try all three in conjunction. Sometimes I boost the Brightness/Contrast then go straight to the Threshold filter.

Now – it might be the case that you see some messy flecks and dots that are bugging you. Anything on that page (I recommend you print out your image so you can see what you are going to get in the finished screen) is going to show up.

thermo_sizing_tute12
We can fix that.

Hunt around for your eraser tool. Remember that HELP box up at the top of your control menu can find it for you.

thermo_sizing_tute12eraser

You will need to size your eraser, and decide the “hardness” of the tool.thermo_sizing_tute14

I needed my eraser to be small enough not to erase any of my circles so it was set quite small on this file. Remember that if you accidentally erase something you wanted to keep you can click control (or command) Z – or Edit/Undo to, well, undo what you just did.

Hardness controls whether the edges of your eraser are hard or a little fuzzy. With a black and white image I like a hard edge.

Click and slide and work your image until you’ve erased all the flecks and specks and you like what you’ve got.

Good?

GOOD!

I strongly recommend you also check out my tutorial on SIZING so that when you send your image to me to be made into a thermofax screen you get exactly what you want.

HAPPY PRINTING!

tutorial: sizing images for thermofax screens

If you are unsure of how to size your image so that I can make a thermofax screen for you – here are some instructions. First the simple list. Then detailed instructions with pictures.

  1. SCAN your image (if you are working from a sketch.)
  2. CROP your image so there is no extra white space.
  3. SIZE your image so that it prints exactly the size you want.
  4. PRINT your image at 100% to test it out.
  5. NAME your image with your name, image name, the size YOU want the image printed at.
  6. SEND me your image via email after you have placed your order.

Now for detailed instructions.
With pictures and everything!

 

SCAN YOUR IMAGE

There are many ways to create imagery for thermofax screens – one of my favorite is simply doodling. This is an image from my sketchbook. In order to make this into a screen I first need to digitize it.

thermo_sizing_tute_scan

Scan of doodle cut out of sketchbook so it will lay flat.

You can see the difference in this image where the lighting is perfectly even and the photo is square. When you scan your image please pay attention to the following.

RESOLUTION: scan at 300 dpi because you are concerned with print quality – not screen quality. 72 is standard for an image that you look at on your screen but is not high enough for a clear crisp print.

FILE TYPE: JPG will be the easiest to work with in a digital editing project. If your piece needs no cropping and is already in black and white a PDF might do as well.

COMPRESSION: when you scan your image, then save it, make sure that you do not compress the file further. At some point when you go to save you will see a quality slider similar to the one below. Make sure you drag the slider all the way to 12 – which is the maximum quality.

thermo_sizing_tute001

 

If you don’t have a scanner you can work with a photo taken with whatever camera you have. In this case I took a photo with my iPhone.thermo_sizing_tute00

It is very difficult to get even lighting. It is also hard to keep the image from keystoning, see how the image is distorted as it is in the upper left corner you see here. See THIS TUTORIAL for working with the image to make it thermofax-ready. This image is NOT ready because it is not a stark black and white.

Once you get it stark black and white like this…thermo_sizing_tute01-1… you might need to further edit it. Say you drew your doodle on a 4″ x 6″ page but you actually want a 6″ x 8″ image? You will need to size it. These instructions will work with pretty much any digital editing program. I’ve used Photoshop Elements, Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, and Gimp as well as a few others. If you can’t find the tools I mention in exactly the same place just open your program and type the tool name in the HELP box at the top. Most of the programs will give you an arrow pointing to where that tool is located.

now….

CROP YOUR IMAGE

See all that extra space around the image? In order for you to get exactly the size you want it will help you to get rid of all the extra. Look for the CROP tool… It usually looks like that little square I’ve pointed to on the left.

thermo_sizing_tute13The crop tool will probably open a box over your image that you can then pull or drag along each corner to get rid of all the extra white.

Sometimes you just click and drag over the part of the image you want to keep then you can move the sides around to tuck them in all snug up against your image.

Sometimes the box will only stay square, or only keep the original ratio of the image file. In that case there should be a bar somewhere up at the top of the window that will let you change the preset ratio to “free”. Or in this case to W x H.

thermo_sizing_tute19

next…

SIZE YOUR IMAGE

With the extra cropped away you can size your image to exactly the size you would it to print. Find your program’s Image Size tool.

thermo_sizing_tute09

When you open the Image Size window you will see what width, height, and resolution your current image is. Make sure the number you are looking at is inches – not pixels or percent, or something else. There is a pull-down menu next to the number so you can change to inches if that is not what you see.

thermo_sizing_tute11

Notice that because I am using a photo from my iPhone rather than a scan my resolution is 72. That is how many tiny little squares of light the computer crams into an inch of the image you are seeing. Great for on-screen but if I am going to print this I want to change my number to 300 pixels per inch. thermo_sizing_tute18Now you can change the width and height to whichever size you prefer, so long as it fits within the guidelines for a small, medium, or large thermofax screen.

Small: max image size  3″ x 4″
Medium: max image size  4″ x 7″
Large: max image size  7″ x 9.5″

You can make your image smaller than 7″ x 9.5″ if you want it smaller on a large screen. You just can’t make it bigger than the maximum image size for each screen you order. 

Why? Because even though the screen fabric you get for each size will be larger than the maximum image size you’ve got to leave enough blank space around the image on the screen so you can tape the edges or fit the mesh into a plastic frame.

next…

PRINT YOUR IMAGE

It’s always a good idea to print out your image to make sure it looks like you want it to. Make sure that however you print it – your print setting say your print size is 100%!

thermo_sizing_tute20

You might have to hunt – but make sure you are printing at 100%. In photoshop you have to scroll down quite a way to find the print scale.

thermo_sizing_tute21

Take a look at the printout. What you see in this printout (if it black and white with no gray) is what you are going to get on your screen. Is it fuzzy? Is it pixelated? Are there black splotches and specks? They will all show up on your screen. 

You can learn how to clean up your image in THIS TUTORIAL.

Now that your image is exactly the right size and as clean as you can get it (unless of course you want it speckled and splotched – I’ve seen lovely messy screens that work quite well!)

NAME YOUR FILE

Label your file with your name, a description, and the exact size you want the image (not including the white area around it) to print at. It should be the same numbers you put into the image resize box up there!

example: Kinard_dotgrid_6.9×9.jpg

finally…

SEND YOUR FILES

Go to my CUSTOM THERMOFAX SCREEN page and order the size and number of custom screens you want me to make for you then send me an email with your images attached.

Good?

Any questions? Feel free to ask. If anything is unclear please let me know and I can try to tweak this tutorial for you.

a quick tip: hand appliqué with scotch tape

I’ve been doing more hand appliqué this past week and tried something out that you might already know. It worked for me so I thought I’d share it.

I had a piece up on my design wall with everything in place. Right next to me I spied my much-loved and silly frog shaped tape dispenser. Rather than fuss with finding my appliqué pins (they are wonderful pins, short and without big heads to get your thread all looped up in) I used scotch tape to hold my shape in place.kinard_tape_dispenser

It worked wonderfully well and left no residue since I worked on it immediately. I would peel off a piece as soon as I stitched up next to it and just move it over or take it off. I’ll show you more of the work in progress in a couple days.kinard_applique_with_tape

tutorial: hand applique

I thought you might like to take a peek at how I stitch hand appliqué.

This finished piece will show at

To Dye For

at theScreen Shot 2016-04-23 at 6.09.46 PM
July 16 – October 2, 2016
Opening Reception: July 16, 5-7pm
2825 Dewey Road, Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92106

Kinard_MWV_rise_web

Mill Wheels work in progress: piecing the easy way

Nothing like a deadline to help you get the job done!!! At least that is how it works for me. Last month I had to finish several quilts for….

To Dye For

at theScreen Shot 2016-04-23 at 6.09.46 PM
July 16 – October 2, 2016
Opening Reception: July 16, 5-7pm

2825 Dewey Road, Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92106

(Picture me now doing the happy dance around and around in circles!!!! I’m in a museum!)

I haven’t pieced a quilt for ages but I knew exactly what I wanted to do and thought I’d share a bit of the creation process for a couple of these quilts with you. I’m working on a series exploring the imagery of Mill Wheels. I love them. Attachment-1

For this piece I first am required to make a big fat mess. Oh, wait. No. First I have to clean up a BIG fat mess so I can even come close to seeing the top of my work table. It’s a huge old Oak drafting table that I rescued from the college art department’s junk heap and restored. It has a smooth drawing surface that is covered by a giant cutting mat that is usually covered by a print cloth and is always covered by a BIG fat mess. Kinard_piecing_mill_wheels_01

Step one – dig through and find the fabric I want, dye some more, do some simple strip piecing. I could cut each pattern piece and sew things together the normal way, but that sounded very much like work. Anything where I have to be precise takes too much brain power for me. I like easy.Kinard_piecing_mill_wheels_02Step two – draft my circle on freezer paper. Layer it and cut out a billion wedges. I sketch in just enough of the lines on each piece so that I can get the direction of line mostly right. Iron the shiny plastic coated side of the freezer paper to the strips, matching the direction of line. Then I cut out each wedge – stick a pin in the corners of each piece so the freezer paper matches exactly, and sew. Kinard_piecing_mill_wheels_03This way I don’t have to be careful about seam allowances or do anything other than follow the edge of the paper. On some of the wheels I ironed there freezer paper to the top and some of the wheels to the back of each piece. It didn’t really matter so long as I was consistent with each wheel.Kinard_piecing_mill_wheels_05Step three – once my whole wheel was complete I ironed the inside and outside edges over the edge of the freezer paper and had a nice clean edge.

Step 4 – I realized my piecing wasn’t super great, even with the freezer paper templates. My circle was just a bit wonky. That wouldn’t happen to someone who paid close attention to details but that someone isn’t me.

Step 5 – I went back and used the ruler to mark from the center to the inner and outer diameter of the circle and trimmed my wheel back into shape. There you have it. a lovely interpretation of a mill wheel. 

Now isn’t that a pretty thing!?!? Keep your eyes open for a peek into the rest of the design process on this piece. I love how it turned out. Hope you love it too!

 

a peek through my sketchbook

I thought I’d give you a little peek at my most recent sketchbook. If you’ve been following me here you know I’ve went off on a bit of a tangent. I got a little obsessed with drafting celtic knots. It’s a lovely way for me to meditate and I can do it wherever I am instead of needing to be in my studio.

 

You can view my quick video tutorial for drafting celtic knots
HERE

You can purchase the result of that tangent – a real live coloring book!!!

HERE!kinard_celtic_knot_coloring_book_square400px

tutorial: satin stitched edges for art quilts

I have lots of little abstract tops floating around from my Abstract-A-Licious class and recently was able to layer and stitch a few of them up. They make great “to-go” embroidery projects when I’m at a meeting or waiting at one of my kids classes.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_00When I work small (under 18″ or so) I leave my back layer off as I do all of my stitching. Yes, that means top and batting only while I do my machine and hand stitching. Then I fuse a backing on to cover up all the mess and trim everything nice and straight …. if it’s the kind of piece that wants to be nice and straight.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_01

Next up is a very important little bit if you want to satin-stitch or even just zig-zag your edges as a finish. A little triangle of fusible craft stabilizer gets ironed to each corner. If you are a person who thinks ahead – you add this little triangle of craft stabilizer to the back of the quilt-let BEFORE you fuse the back on – so it hides between the layers. As you can see, I’m not a person who things ahead.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_02Next up – choose your thread color – it will become an integral part of the design. I thought red would tie this little piece together without overwhelming anything. You can always pull out and double (or quadruple) up the thread and and lay it out on your quilt before actually choosing which color to use. Audition it. See what works. Take a picture of each option and look at the thumbnails all together if you can’t choose.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_03

Now start in the middle of an edge. A few short straight stitches then a good wide zig-zag, although not your widest. I set the needle to just barely miss the right edge and head on down towards a corner.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_04When you get to the corner, stop the needle on the right, leaving it down. Carefully lift the presser foot and swing the quilt-let down without moving it away from the needle.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_05Now slowly make the next couple of zig-zags on top of the stitching that is already there. Carry on in the same manner all the way around. You can see in the photos here that I’m already on the second layer. My first layer of zig-zag seems to just hold the edges and everything together.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_06On the second go-round I shorten my stitch length to satin stitch closeness – but widen out my zig-zag so that it is just wider than my first go-round.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_07When you have gone all the way around a second time, end with a couple of very short straight stitches and back stitch just one or two stitches. I cut my thread then flip over the piece and give a good hard yank on the back thread to pop the front thread through just a bit. I trim the thread right there at the fabric and it leaves no fuzzy little tail on the front.

And – there you go. Enjoy!

tutorial: valentine’s day origami heart garland

kinard_origami_heart_garland3If you missed the tutorial on how to fold these sweet little origami hearts, just scroll down. The post should be right next to this one.

kinard_origami_heart_garland2

kinard_origami_heart_garland6

Here is a short video showing how I strung the hearts together to make a garland. I’ve used pearl cotton embroidery thread but you can use whatever decorative cord you wish.

 I had extra painted pages so I thought I’d package them up for you.

kinard_painted_paper1

I have just a few packs. 5 sheets each – just shy of 4″ x 8″each. Red on one side and white on the other.  I threw in some pearle cotton and a needle so you don’t even have to hunt around to find something to string your hearts onto.

$12.00 plus $1.50 shipping (US only)

kinard_painted_paper2

tutorial: valentine’s day origami heart

kinard_origami_heart.01

I thought I’d share a sweet and very doable project with you for Valentines day. This easily folded (I promise!) origami heart has a lovely little flower in its center.

kinard_origami_heart_garland4I have a collection of sheet music that I use for collage and origami projects. These pages were painted red on one side and white on the back.

Here is a quick (under 5 minutes) video of folding the hearts.

 

Tomorrow I will post a short video of how I strung them together.

 

 I had extra painted pages so I thought I’d package them up for you.

kinard_painted_paper1

I have just a few packs. 5 sheets each – just shy of 4″ x 8″each. Red on one side and white on the other.  I threw in some pearle cotton and a needle so you don’t even have to hunt around to find something to string your hearts onto.

$12.00 plus $1.50 shipping (US only)

kinard_painted_paper2

kinard_origami_heart_garland2 

tutorial: origami 5 part star

Kinard_origami_5pt_star1

 

And here are step by step photos if you weren’t quick enough to fold along with the video.
Seriously – all you need is a little more caffeine to go that fast, right!?

kinard_5pt_star_tute1Begin with 5 rectangles (half a square)

kinard_5pt_star_tute2Fold one rectangle in half the long way

kinard_5pt_star_tute3Unfold and fold two corners in to meet the line

kinard_5pt_star_tute4Fold one corner in on the other side

kinard_5pt_star_tute5Fold your point in to meet that corner

kinard_5pt_star_tute6flip the paper over and unfold that one corner

kinard_5pt_star_tute7fold the two corners in to meet the center line again

kinard_5pt_star_tute8repeat, folding in the two corners again
(it feels like a paper airplane)

kinard_5pt_star_tute9flip the paper over again so you can see the pointed flap

kinard_5pt_star_tute11fold the flat edge up under the flap

kinard_5pt_star_tute12repeat, folding the edge up again

kinard_5pt_star_tute13repeat again, creasing the fold tightly

kinard_5pt_star_tute14make five more of these units

kinard_5pt_star_tute16take two units, and notice the pocket here

kinard_5pt_star_tute17slide one unit’s strip into that pocket

kinard_5pt_star_tute18flip the units over

kinard_5pt_star_tute19tuck the second strip into the back/point pocket

Kinard_origami_5pt_star1repeat with the rest of the units until all five are tucked into each other.

TA DA!!!!

Kinard_origami_5pt_star3This star works perfectly with paper money.
If you are giving cash as a gift this is a lovely way to do it.

Kinard_origami_5pt_star2

It looks just as pretty from the back.

 

 

tutorial: felted wool ornaments

I’d like to point you towards Judy Coates Perez’ sweet little tutorial for making felted wool ornaments.
You can find her instructions here.

12ornaments

tutorial: braided corona star

I spent half a day ignoring all the “shoulds” on my list.
The result was this spectacular piece of origami.Kinard_origami_braided_corona_star6

Braided Corona Star
origami designed by Maria Sinayskaya

Kinard_origami_braided_corona_star2

I have a collection of old sheet music that I use for just such purposes.

Kinard_origami_braided_corona_star1For this project I used 8 pages. Four were painted red, four white. The back of all 8 were painted gold.

Kinard_origami_braided_corona_star9After the paint dried I ironed each sheet nice and flat then cut them perfectly square.

Kinard_origami_braided_corona_star4There were several steps along the way with this star where I was completely smitten…

Kinard_origami_braided_corona_star5… in love with the geometry and beauty of this feat of simple yet complex engineering.

You can find Maria’s step by step and easy to follow video tutorial here:
http://goorigami.com/modular-origami/braided-corona-star/4832

Kinard_origami_braided_corona_star8
I went back in with more paint after the star was finished and cleaned up some of my messy paint.

tutorial: origami 8 part star “robin”

I love origami. Because I also love music I get a kick out of folding ornaments out of a few old piano books I found. It still feels a little sacrilegious to cut them up but the results are a thing of beauty.

kinard_origami_robin_star

Play along with me as I create this star


The origami Robin Star was designed by Maria Sinayskaya

Kinard_origami_star

Here is the star with plain, rather than gold painted paper.

Kinard_origami_robin_star2

And here is the star folded in variation #2 as shown in 
this most excellent diagram
http://goorigami.com/diagrams/robin-star

Tutorial: Snowflake Pinwheel Ornament

This December I hope to post and point you to some lovely tutorials.
Let’s make stuff – bring beauty and light into a world that needs it!

Snowflake Pinwheel Ornament

My children and I were playing around with scissors and paper – it happens every year about this time. We came up with some wonderful variations on snowflakes and I fancied them up for you. Enjoy!

Choose your material – paper, interfacing, whatever you have about. I’ve used some old sheet music and Lutrador.

Cut out squares – I liked mine 4″ as a tree ornament. The kids and I used regular paper and made them much larger. Experiment!

I wanted to brighten up the yellowed paper so I brushed some gesso over it. You could use any white paint you have lying about. This isn’t necessary if your material is white to begin with and it’s optional even if it isn’t.

The paper curls if you only paint one side. No worries. Let the paint dry then iron it flat.

Fold your square corner to corner and crease the edge. (I’m showing you the Lutrador now.)

Fold again, corner to corner and crease the edge.

Fold one last time, corner to corner. DO NOT crease this edge – keep it soft.

Find the side with all the edges showing (from the last picture) and cut a simple wave along the top.

Now find the edge with a few folds on it and cut a couple of shallow shapes from it, leaving some of the edge intact. Leave the corners alone too – don’t cut them off.

On the last edge you should only be able to see one fold. Get fancy with your scissor here and cut a few deep shapes but leave part of the edge intact.

Open up your four sided snowflake and snip from each corner almost (but not quite) to the middle.

Hunt around for whatever you have that will stiffen up the paper or interfacing (or cloth, or stabilizer) your are using.

Brush or spray it on both sides. Be gentle.

Now for the fun part. Find some glitter (this is fancy micro-fine stuff) and sprinkle it on while your stiff-stuff is still wet.

Find a needle and some thread or embroidery floss. Double the thread and make a knot in the end. Pull it through the center then through one of the corners as shown.

Pull that corner down the thread until it meets the center then work your way to the other three corners, doing the same thing.

Make a knot in the thread then cut it. You could add a button here to fancy it up or simply tape, glue (then clamp until it dries) or staple the corners in to make it simpler.

Use the embroidery floss, or thread and poke your needle into the tip and make a loop for hanging the ornament. To make it super simple you could tape the loop on or even use an ornament hook.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial! 

Picture It Framed Tutorial: mounting small textile art on gallery wrapped canvas

Let me tell you a funny story. My husband loves me dearly and supports me in every way. He is, after all, Mr. Almost Perfect! He is also an engineer and has admitted that he does not “get” art. He’s happy I do it but it has yet to touch his soul. The first time I showed him one of my small textile works in a frame his exact words were, “Wow! That looks like ART!” I had to take more than one very deep breaths thinking, “What did it look like before?” As soon as my head cleared I had something of an epiphany… or at least a “duh” moment. Most people have no real life experience with textile art. If they see a fancy little bit of fabric they might only have grandma’s potholders to relate it to. Framing your small textile works presents them in a format that is immediately understood by everyone as ART!

canvas 08Over the next week I’m going to show you a few of the ways to present your smaller textile art pieces. First up is mounting your work on gallery wrapped canvas. Begin with a small, finished textile piece. In this case it’s an abstract piece, fused and stitched to timtex with a satin stitched edge.

canvas 01

Gallery wrapped canvases are fairly inexpensive – especially when you use your half off coupon at your local craft store. I like to use the deeper canvases, usually 1  3/4 inches or so. Choose a size that is several inches bigger than your textile work all around – it’s especially good if the wooden frame on the back isn’t overlapping your artwork. You’ll see why in a minute. I paint my canvas to accent the artwork, in essence turning it into an integral part of the overall design of the piece. In this case I played with layers of paint, sometimes sponging them off with a wet paper towel before they were all the way dry. When the piece was fully mounted I went back in with india ink and doodled a continuation of the black stitched motif. I love to bleed my textile work out onto the canvas.

canvas 03

Place your work on the painted canvas and pin it in at least three, preferably four spots so it won’t move around while you sew it down. I chose thread the same color as the satin stitching on this piece so that I can just sew right through the edge. If your piece is faced or does not have an edge treatment that you can sew through, you just carefully catch the back edge with each stitch you take. A little tricky but not impossible! I use a thin but fairly sturdy needle and use a thimble on my “underneath” finger and a secretary’s rubber finger on my “topside” pointer finger to help pull the needle through. Painted canvas can be tough but these two tools will help a lot!

s canvas 04Make sure you knot the thread well. See how close the stitching is to the wooden frame? I learned the hard way to make sure that frame isn’t right under where I need to stitch. Again – you CAN angle your needle under that frame but it’s a royal pain in the rear!

s canvas 05I fuse a label or use a sharpie to create one on the back of the canvas. Sometimes I’ll subtly sign one of the sides of the canvas as well but on works of this size I rarely sign the front. I feel the signature competes with the composition. You do it whichever way you feel best but always, always, ALWAYS sign and date your work – somewhere. Now I screw in the eyes and wire the work for hanging. I like to wrap the ends of that wire with a little bit of tape. The ends of picture hanging wire make for nasty little scratches and cuts when you handle it.

s canvas 07Here are a few of my recent works that utilize this technique.

leaves-fullwebGLORY

Click this link to see how this series was created. In this case the leaves were simply glued onto the canvases with gel medium.

600px.FT_.Full_FAMILY TIES

When I mounted most of the pieces in this series I did need to sew them onto the canvas by catching just the back edge. I also chose not to paint the canvases. I did texture them with modeling paste. I pressed lace into the damp paste to get an imprint then when it was dry I used a white acrylic paint over the whole thing. Isn’t it cool how you can take a bunch of tiny pieces and turn them into one bigger work with PRESENCE through this mounting technique? You can see details of each piece in the series by clicking here.

SoarII.400pxSOAR II

This mounting technique works just as well for larger pieces as smaller ones. Works II  through IV in the  Soar Series are mounted on 20×20 canvases.

Tutorial Redux – Beaded Fringe (and another giveaway)

I thought I’d share this tutorial with you again since it goes along with the last post. this isn’t the same instructions that are in the book but it does involve gadget cases.

Isn’t it funny how quickly tech gadgets are outdated!? I sent in these little cases for Quilting Arts Magazine for the “Glam-To-Go for Gadgets” article. They didn’t use the case I actually spent the most time making – no worries. It’s perfect for showing you one of my favorite techniques to play with – beaded fringes!

Materials:

  • Something to add fringe to: gadget case, scarf, your husbands favorite necktie. In any case it will need to have enough “oomph” to support the fringe. In this instance, the fringe will be supported by the satin stitched bottom edge of the case. For a scarf I like to add a tiny bit of cording or seam tape or ribbon (depending on the weight of the scarf) inside of a rolled hem.
  • Beading thread (I love Nymo) and a beading needle (or a size 11 applique needle.)
  • Seed beads and other larger beads. Make sure the holes in the larger beads are not so big that the seed beads sink into them. If they are you’ll need to put medium beads next to the large holed beads.

1 – Make your knot. Thread your needle, bring it in through the case and out on the edge of the satin stitching. Leave the tail of the thread hanging out. Wrap the thread (not the tail end) three times around the tip of the needle, hold the wrap with your thumb and pull the needle through. You should have a secure knot now. I often make at least one more knot in close to the same place just to be extra secure.

2 – Load your beads onto the needle. Add seed beads until your fringe is about as long as you wish it to be then add your bigger bead and one more seed bead. The seed bead on the end is your anchor. Slide all of the beads to the end of the thread.

3 – Anchor your fringe. This is the only tricky part – and it really isn’t hard. Slide that last seed bead away from the line of beads then send your needle right back through your whole line of beads. I find it easiest to do if I bend the line of beads over my finger, holding the thread taut. This lines up the beads in a row and holds the thread tight along the bottom of each hole. That way you have room to get the needle back up through the whole line.

4 – You might not be able to get the needle all the way through your line of beads in one shot. No worries. Just do it a bit at a time, holding that thread taught to it easier to slide the needle through.

5 – Push your needle into the satin stitching, right under your fringe and come out where you want the next fringe to start. Continue adding fringe until you think you’re done. Notice here that my fringe isn’t the same – I like it funky. Sometimes my big bead is in the middle, sometimes there are more seed beads on the end than just one anchor. Mix it up and make it fun. (And yes, I am an artist and my cuticles and nails ALWAYS look that bad!)

6 – Make a knot right next to the last fringe in the same way you did at the beginning. In fact, make two knots. Come to think of it, make a knot and just keep going (not starting with a new thread each time) every three or four fringes just to be safe. I truly dislike the sound of a million tiny beads scattering across the floor as my child yanks on my fringes. At the end, after your last knot, send your needle up through the satin stitching and come out anywhere. Trim the tail off and you’re done.

Hope you enjoyed it! Go add some beady fringe to something! They make wonderful swishing noises as they move and swing around. If DVD’s are easier for you to learn with you can find this and a lot more on my instructional DVD:

Bead It Like You Mean It!
200.BI.coverAnd now for a little surprise.

photo 1-7Anybody want it? Anybody out there still use an ipod classic? My daughter has my old one but isn’t interested in this case.

photo 2-6

You could get creative and fill in the holes with beaded cloth of your own. Who knows.

Leave a comment here telling me what you would do with this lovely little beaded thing. 

This giveaway IS open to International readers – I’ll draw the winner next Monday. (tell your friends to stop by and leave a comment too!)

Congratulations! go to Manuella – the winner of Ann Fahl’s Applique booklet. She says “I love Ann as an artist and admire her work. I am on a learning journey and haven’t found my favorite technique till now. I am open to every new techique to learn and would be very happy about this book.”

Tutorial – Sketchbook Slipcover

Sketchbook Slipcover Video Tutorial

Following this week’s giveaway, I thought I’d repost this video tutorial on how to make a slipcover for your sketchbook. The written directions are in the book that’s up for grabs (leave a comment on the previous post for your chance to win!)

Tutorial: Screen Printed Cat Pillow

Just for fun – over the next week or two I’ll repost some of your favorite tutorials – enjoy!

A couple of weeks ago one of my little ones walked in and said, “will you teach me to make a screen?” Now a very good mother would have done this long ago, especially since this little one has been asking to do this for months. Unfortunately I’m more of the “my studio is MY refuge” kind of mother and I don’t take time out as often as I should to let them into my space. I felt the need to take time for her this time. So glad I did.

She would like to share with you her process.
She things that if she can do it so can you!

General’s Carbon Sketch Pencil

Draw your picture with a carbon pencil and send it through a thermofax machine and thermal-mesh to make a screen. You can also email your image to a thermofax screen service and let someone else make the screen for you.

Lay out your cloth on a padded print surface (mine is a layer of felt under twill) and position your screen. It’s easier to handle a foam brush than a squeegee. Dip it in the paint. With one hand hold the frame, with the other press the brush across the screen. Notice how her finger is pressing the brush? You really need to squish the paint fairly hard to get the paint through to the fabric.

We made a few prints then washed and dried the screen before turning it over and making some facing the other way. We also decided to do some splatter painting over the top of the kitties just for fun. Dip an old toothbrush into the paint and run your finger over it. It makes a really fun mess!

Cut out the kitties and hold them up to the light and make sure they are aligned. Pin the cats and sew a straight stitch around them, leaving a gap about two inches wide. Use pinking shears to trim about 1/4 inch around the outside of the seam.

Stuff your pillow through the gap. I always have left over bits of batting so she tore some of those up and used them.

Squish the batting back into the pillow and stick a pin into it so that it’s easier to sew.

Sew a straight stitch to close the gap.

Pose for a picture with your beautiful little creations. Carry them around and tell everyone you know that you made them yourself. Sleep with them every night.

Artspark’s Winter Tutorials

From Jill Berry
Mini-Book Ornament

 From Judy Coates Perez
Speculatius Cookies

From Tracie Lyn Huskamp
For the Smell of It

 From Traci Bunkers
Star Garland

From Lisa Engelbrecht
Easy Gilded Letters for Cards

From Lyric Kinard
Snowflake Pinwheel Ornament

New Work: The ArtBox CSA

 In November there will be a fabulous new set of Art Boxes for sale at
 The Artbox CSA

If you’ve been thinking a bit about purchasing one of the current boxes there are just a few left. These are beautiful collections of artwork at some very reasonable prices!

 Each of these pieces is 8″ x 8″, wrapped on a 1 1/2″ deep gallery canvas.

You can see a little of the process for these works here.

Each piece begins with hand dyed cloth, a doodle that was turned into a thermofax screen that was used to print the cloth, then pieces, fused, machine quilted and hand stitched.

A tutorial for this mounting technique can be found here.

The Artbox CSA

Tutorial: Mounting Textile Art – gallery wrapped canvas

As promised – here is part 2 of my process in creating a series of works for
The Art Box CSA

Art Box work by Lyric Montgomery Kinard

(part 1 on the process for these works can be found here)

Position your unstitched top on your canvas and trim it down – leaving enough cloth to wrap to the back of your gallery wrapped canvas. In this instance I’m using and 8″x8″ canvas, 1.5″ deep.

Adhere fusible web (regular weight Wonder-Under is my favorite) to the back side of your finished top.

Trim the cloth and remove the release paper.

I’ve placed batting on the canvas with just enough to cover the edges and cut out the corners.

Carefully position the cloth on the canvas

I use the release paper on each side to protect both the iron and the board as I make sure the fusible web is well adhered to the cloth and the batting.

Quilt or stitch and embellish your cloth with the batting but no backing. (yes – it’s a different top in the series from here on out – the pictures were better on this one.)

Here is the stitching from the back – yup – no backing cloth – just the batting.

Pull each of the four corners up and fuse them over the back to the wood. I trimmed the corners where they overlapped into the middle as per the next picture.

Cut the cloth along each side, almost to each corner. Leave just a bit connected.

Tuck in the cloth on the corner, carefully creating a little pleat, pulling the edge of the fold cleanly to the corner edge of the frame.

Iron the side of the canvas, making sure the iron  only touches the side, not the back of the canvas. You need to hold the pleat in place – but be very careful not to burn your fingers.

Cut and trim out any excess cloth, making sure to leave enough cloth with exposed fusible to be able to tack it down. Sometimes I’ll pull a little of the batting away and trim it as well.

Pull each flap in to the wood and iron it down, making sure the corners are cleanly folded. There should be enough exposed fusible web to seal the fabric to itself on the corners and the wood around the edges.

Press all the flaps of fabric to the wood. Sometimes I leave the cloth long enough to press into the inside of the wood frame to give it a really clean look.

 

One last press of each edge.

Lovely clean corners.

The finished artworks in this series are available for purchase for a VERY reasonable price at
The Art Box CSA

The Art Box CSA

I thought you might enjoy seeing the creation process for the series of works I did for

The Art Box CSA

Art Box work by Lyric Montgomery Kinard

dye and discharge cloth with a katazome inspired thermofax screen

mix colorless extender with textile paint to increase its transparency

use photoshop and make several images for a thermofax screen – variations on a theme

put it up and take a look – say oooooh, aaaaah!

test images for placement, keeping in mind the size of the canvas

use a strong enough color that it will contrast and become a focal point

a second screen will be used to apply foil adhesive to a selected area

a card (I always end up with a hotel room key) is perfect for this size of screen

lay the foil color side up on top of the DRY adhesive and use the edge of the iron and quite a bit of pressure to apply the foil

let the foil cool before peeling it off

check placement with canvas again before proceeding to the next step – adding batting and stitching

Keep your eye out here for a tutorial on how to mount the finished work on a gallery wrapped canvas.

The finished artwork in this series is available for purchase at

What is an Art Box?

An Art Box is a new and exciting way to purchase a collection of art from several different artists at once.  Artists create a limited number of new original artworks for inclusion in the box in a predetermined size making it easy for the collector to display them together if they desire. Purchasing an Art Box is a cost effective way to begin or add to a growing art collection from today’s most popular mixed media and textile artists.

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