Tree Applique Quilt

TreeAppliqueDone2

More raw-edge applique on the quilt plotter! About 94″ square. Cotton fabric, cotton-polyester batting, polyester thread. The process:

photo 4

Stitch all-over background design, including shapes where leaves, fruits and branches go.

TreeAppliqueStitching1

Cut out pieces of leaf- and fruit-colored fabric. Lay them on the quilt (still in the frame) over where they’ll be stitched down. Return frame to quilt plotter and stitch.

TreeAppliqueStitching2

When the leaves and fruits are stitched, lay a big piece of brown, tree-colored fabric over them where the branches go, and another piece where the trunk goes. Stitch.

greenlaidTrim the base of the tree and lay a piece of green fabric over it as above.

greenstitched

Stitch that sucker down per the digital design you’ve carefully prepared. Then fold the fabric over and quilt on the top.

TreeAppliqueSnip1

When done stitching, remove quilt from frame and trim. Begin snipping.

NinSnipsTreeSnip snip snip.

TreeAppliqueDone3Snip until done, then  bind.

TreeAppliqueBack

Here’s the back.

TreeAppliqueDone1

TreeAppliqueQuilt

Et voila.

 

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Water Wheel

water wheel5

click for animated gif

Back on the Quiltimation front, I was wondering if I could arrange animated frames on a quilt in a mandala/medallion pattern, rather than left-to-right cells. This would essentially be a quilted phenakistoscope, with the animation emerging as the whole thing is rotated (we’d keep the camera and lights stable, and rotate the quilt).

water wheel6

click for animated gif

 

The saturated colors here would be lost, although I could use a few colors of thread. The elements are early Leviathan designs, and Water from Chad Gadya which is still in (very slow) progress.

 

Pink Arabesque

PA_finished93.5″ x 95″. Cotton fabric, soy/cotton blend batting, polyester thread. Designed by me, stitchcoded by Theo, stitched on Behemoth the Quilt Plotter, reverse appliqued and bound by me. The process:

1. Draw vector design in Macromedia Flash 8.

1. Draw vector design in Macromedia Flash 8.

2. Load onto Quilt Plotter and set appropriately.

2. Load onto Quilt Plotter and set appropriately.

3. Stitch.

3. Stitch.

4. Begin snipping away top layer of fabric (because you loaded two top layers before stitching, color on the bottom and white on top)

4. Begin snipping away top layer of fabric (because you loaded two top layers before stitching, color on the bottom and white on top)

5. Keep snipping.

5. Keep snipping.

6. Snip until done.

6. Snip until done.

7. Bind on Davis Vertical Feed treadle (best binding machine evah).

7. Bind on Davis Vertical Feed treadle (best binding machine ever).

8. Include tag.

8. Include tag.

9. Place on Momz's bed.

9. Place on Momz’s bed.

10. Get approval from cat.

10. Get approval from cat.

This is an experiment/prototype. Someday we may sell these, but for now PaleGray Labs is just research & development, consulting, and commissions.

Anyone want to buy my almost-new 16″ quilting machine?

 UPDATE: SOLD!

sweet16_1

Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen (I didn’t name it! I’d paint over the name but it would reduce resale value) sit-down long arm quilting machine. Less than one year old, only 134,228 stitches total.

handi quilter sweet sixteen quilting machine

Includes table, two table extensions, smooth table overlay, open-toe hopping foot (in addition to closed-toe foot it came with), extra needles, bobbins, tools, supplies, manual, documentation, etc.
Purchased May 8 2013 via Lori’s Pins ‘n’ Needles, Paris IL

Selling because I bought a full-frame computer-guided system, and now do any hand-guided work on treadles. It’s a great machine, practically brand new, and just gathering dust in my studio.

Pickup only in downtown Urbana IL. I’m happy to give instruction and let you “test drive” it before buying.

What I paid:
Machine package: $4965.94
2 18″ x 30″ table extensions: $478 ($239.00 each)
Table overlay: $89.95
Open toe hopping foot: $39.90
= $5,573 total

Selling for $4,500 without the separate bobbin winder, or $4,800 with.

 

As seen on Craigslist!

EmbroiderModder 2 kickstarter launch

The world needs open source embroidery software.

Direct Kickstarter link here.

Some of EmbroiderModder 2′s kickstarter rewards include designs and stitched pieces by me.

One Fish, Two Fish…

A friend recently refinished my Singer parlor cabinet (pix later) and asked to be paid in quilt. He’s a fish scientist, so naturally he wanted a fish quilt.

Niels fish 2It’s a little over 6′ by 3′ – I haven’t measured it actually. Also the photos are all a bit distorted because I couldn’t shoot it straight on. Instead these are all taken of it lying on my cutting table.

Niels fish 1The technique is Trapplique. The parts were stitched on the quilt plotter. I cut them out, then basted and satin stitched them down with my sailmaking machine.

fish stitchingIt has a sequined and beaded eye.

Niels fish eye

 

The quilt above belongs to Niels the fish scientist, but the most efficient use of materials with this design was to make 2 fish’s worth of trapplique parts in one stitching. So I assembled a mirror image fish for myself:

Fish2_03

Fish2_02

Fish2 tag

I stitched the binding on my Davis Vertical Feed, best binding machine ever.

Money Laundering

Money LaunderingTheo machine-washed and dried our Thousand Dollar Quilt.

As is always the way with money, there was a little less of it than before.

Laundered and unlaundered money

Laundered and unlaundered

The 98-inch-long quilt shrank about 5 inches (approximately 5%). Shown above against our other $1,000 quilt test, pre-laundered, for comparison. Theo prefers the soft crinkly-ness the laundering imparts. I like them either way.

$1Kat

$1Kat2Gray the cat approves of the $1,000 quilt.

$1Kat3 $1Kat4

 

 

Work in Progress: the $1K Quilt

$1Ktest2_01

This is a TEST of the One Thousand Dollar Quilt, conceived as a more affordable version of my handmade Ten Thousand Dollar Quilt.

$1K_laureldetail

This is a test, it is only a test. We stitched out two versions to see how the quilt plotter would handle it, how the thread density would look, etc. There’s well over half a million stitches here, and it took the plotter about a day to stitch. Then I spent half a day cutting, sewing, and ironing binding, and binding it.

$1KRae

Rae Spooner of Bent Bean Chocolates (Urbana, IL) enjoys the cozy warmth of One Thousand Dollars.

It’s about 8 feet long. The front is high thread count unbleached cotton muslin, the back is regular thread count same. The batting is a mystery – either polyester or poly-cotton, not sure because it’s left over from another project Theo bought it for, and he doesn’t remember. The quilt is remarkably soft and flexible given all the dense stitching

$1K_rtcloseup

Unlike the Ten Thousand Dollar Quilt, which uses reverse applique, this gets its color solely from the thread. The result is lower contrast, but I like all the stitch lines. Also there’s no way I could do a reverse applique version for under a thousand dollars.

$1K_SFseal

The bright green thread is 30-weight, thicker than the 40-weight dark green and white. What a nice solid effect it gives.

The thread is polyester: the dark green and white are 40 weight, and the lighter green is 30 weight, which is significantly thicker. We may do another test using 30 weight dark green. Heavy thread works beautifully, but it’s very expensive. Then again for a Thousand Dollars we can use expensive thread.

$1K_1000closeup

Registration is off as expected, but could be worse. He have a strategy for improving registration in the next test.

$1K_center

Medallion background fill will be crosshatched in the next iteration.

The portrait medallion fill will be crosshatched in the next version. I didn’t like these curved shading lines at all, because the machine double-stitched some of them which ruined the gradient effect. The next version will also have fill lines on Cleveland’s face, along with a larger border with more of the swirly fill.

$1K_back

The back. We had a few thread nests but overall it’s pretty clean.

$1K_NinaRae_sm

Rae helps me hold up the 8-foot comfy currency. Photo by anonymous friendly woman who was trying to buy chocolate at Rae’s shop.

Quilt Plotter action shot

A great “machine’s-eye-view” of our quilt plotter is at the one-minute mark of this Apple promo video. In addition to creating the Mathematica user interface and co-founding Touch Press, Theo is Science Officer of our own PaleGray Labs.

The Quilt Vault

The PaleGray Labs office/workshop/studio is in a former bank building, which is why our suite contains a vault.

Entering the Quilt Vault

Entering the Quilt Vault

When I bought a new mattress I stored the previous one in the office vault before it found a new home. I quickly realized the vault could be its new home, and the home of my art quilts, freshly returned from Sleepy Creek Vineyards. And so the Quilt Vault was born.

My former mattress now lives in the Quilt Vault

QuiltVault$10Kceiling

Shedu&$10K

IlGatto&friends

Two Goddesses

QuiltVault Laxmi ceiling

FireEarthLaxmi

QuiltVault01

Even though Theo’s kids call the Quilt Vault a “sex dungeon,” having a real bed on site is practical for a quilt studio. I’m currently designing minimalist quilt tops using the 44″ wide bolts of colored fabric I bought last year, to have more colorful bases for complex stitch patterns. The bed provided instant visual feedback as I pieced this together:

piecedtopblue

Of course it is also excellent for naps.

Fibonacci Sequins and other news from PaleGray Labs

PaleGray Labs being the textile art collaboration of me and Theodore Gray. First up, we have a photo of Mathematician Ian Stewart holding up PaleGray Labs’ “Fibonacci Sequins” quilt Theo just gave him in London:

Fibonacci Sequins

Fibonacci Sequins

This was designed by me and Theo using a Mathematica tool he created for that purpose, stitched on the new quilt plotter, and bound on my 100-year-old Davis Vertical Feed treadle machine. I hand-sewed on the sequins and beads. This was a test, but we plan to make more of them, including large bed quilts.

What I call the “quilt plotter” is a Quilt Master IV Full Frame Quilting System. Actually the model IV isn’t on their web site yet – we’re early adopters! – but you get the idea.

quilt plotter 2

Below are some initial experiments with the quilt plotter. We’re still getting the hang of this thing, and working out some software issues that will require communicating through a Chinese interpreter some time in February after Chinese New Year vacations are over.

quilt plotter tests

All stitchcoding by Theo using tools he built in Mathematica. Above we have fibonacci spiral fractals, a big guilloche pattern, and a modified dancing Reena Shah cycle from Sita Sings the Blues. All just tests, because the machine ripped the fabric before we learned to let it “cycle” on before moving the head (a problem that could be fixed with improved software, but until we get the ear of the Chinese software company that controls its operating system we just have to be very careful and do a lot of work-arounds).

Davis Vertical FeedHere’s my treadle-operated  Davis Vertical Feed, which I am in love with. It makes binding almost a pleasure, a physical game of skill, a kind of meditation. If it weren’t for the time it takes to cut and iron the binding strips, I could see binding all PaleGray Labs quilts with this. (I’m also experimenting with bias tape and a Suisei binder attachment on my Singer treadle and Featherweight, which have the necessary mounting screw holes but lack the genuine walking foot that quality binding needs). Behind the Davis is the new 20″ long arm zig-zag machine, designed for making sails but which I intend to use for trapplique. It’s a powerful beast but we don’t get along because something’s wrong with its tension. The company is sending me a new tension assembly which will hopefully fix the problem.

PaleGray Labs embroideryThe domain palegraylabs.com currently just reroutes to the “Quilting” category of this blog. Hopefully we (meaning I, helped by Webmaster Ian) will design a nice web site of its own soon.

 

 

Davis Vertical Feed restoration

 

I got this Davis Vertical Feed 2 on eBay for $30 (plus shipping). It arrived full of gunk and rust, barely moving, and smelling of smoke.

 

Getting a bath in the Parts Washer

Submerged in kerosene overnight

Soaked in kerosene and wiped but still full of gunk.

After cleaning what we could with kerosene and brass brushes, we soaked everything the following night in Evapo-Rust.

This morning we retrieved each piece, wiped it off, rinsed in water, wiped, rinsed in acetone, wiped, and revaled beautiful clean shiny parts.

Then we put everything back together, with liberal squirts of sewing machine oil.

Success! Here she is installed in my Minnesota A cabinet. She works great.

Here's the reason I bought and spent 3 days restoring her: the walking foot. I need this "vertical feed" system to sew bindings on quilts. The Minnesota A made too many random pleats and crumples.

Blogger’s Quilt Festival – “Ziz” quiltimation in Art Quilts

Approximately 32″ square. Cotton fabric, cotton/bamboo batting, rayon thread. Machine embroidery, quilting, trapplique.

I’m submitting this in Art Quilts because there’s no “animation” category in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. ;-) I’m happy to have it in an online show, because you can easily see it animated:

Ziz quiltimation - animated quiltEach block of the quilt is a frame in the animated cycle above. I created the animation, exported as vector images which Theo Gray stitchcoded in Mathematica. Each block was stitched in 2 parts on our embroidery machine: first the Ziz (gryphon) figure, then the background. I cut out and applied the former to the latter and the machine “trappliqued” it down and did the echo pattern. Finally I zigzag stitched the blocks together, topstitched homemade bias tape over the seams, and bound it.

Stitch me closer tiny dancer

embroidered dancerTheo stitched the yesterday’s dancer outline with the background inverted to make a fill.