Digitally Painting Flowers for Appliques

I have been making some progress on my Sashiko/Ikebana quilt. I got the blocks all embroidered with the Sashiko, cut and stithed together for the background, and I made the moon applique and turned the edge around a freezer paper template using starch, so it’s ready to applique. The next thing is making all the other appliques.

I looked through my stash and decided I did not want to use commercial fabrics for my broiderie perse appliqued flowers. I also found a wonderful set of line drawings on Dover Pictura, but they needed a lot of editing to make them work for outlines for my painted flowers.  So I thought I would tell you a little about how I approached that editing and painting. This is a very brief look..there is more to it, but the blog gets so long. Please ask questions if you want to know more.

I have found that a lot of line drawings you can find that are either copyright free or royalty free (that make them useable for my purposes) have lots of things that interfere either with digital painting or with digitizing for embroidery, but they are fairly easy to edit.  It does take time, though.  I use a combination of Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter 15 for this, but I could probably manage it in just one or the other.  I have found though that the combination gives me a very powerful setup, especially when I added Corel Draw and Bernina V7 to that mix. Then I can potentially use the same line drawing for fabric painting and for digitizing embroidery.  But for this project, you can probably do it all in most drawing packages.

First some of the drawings need to be a little simplified…removing dots, for instance, using the eraser tool.  So I start with Photoshop and edit the line drawings:

Preparing a line drawing

Then I make sure all the shapes have no “leaks” or gaps, using a narrow line drawing brush.

Editing a line drawing 1

Then I move it into Corel Painter 15 for the painting.  (Note, I save the outline as a .tif file and as a .jpg, and I use the .tif for the painting). I start by filling the shapes with color using the paintcan fill tool.  After I do that, I will add some highlights and lowlights using one of the digital air brush tools, and I might do some blending with the blending brush tools.  In some cases, I need to add some texture with some of the texture brushes,, as I did in the center of the blue flowers below.  I left the lines black because I think it looks good for fabric prints.  I will probably use the lines for stitching lines.

flower 4 for applique-a_003

 

But sometimes I just color the drawing with only minor editing.  In the drawing below, I filled all the lines in dark green (this requires care…just to touch inside the line so the lines go green and nothing else does).  I filled the leaves as much as possible (the spaces are very small) with the light green and then painted in the rest of colors using the scratch board brush.  I did not do any highlighting  or blending on the one below because the line drawing was so complex.

flower 5 for applique_001

Colors have to be more intense on the screen so they will print well on fabrics. If you try a paper print and it looks right, it’s probably too light. I can print an 11 x 17 inch fabric on my printer.  It will print larger, but I would have to prepare the printable fabric myself.  I get the 11 x 17 and 8.5 x 11 sheets from Electric Quilt.  After I print them with my ink jet printer, heat set, rinse, and iron dry it seems to be fairly permanent and washable.  So I print it and set it and then iron the fusible web on the back and carefully cut it out.  I do stitch the edge after ironing it in place.  Sometimes I use only a tiny straight stitch with 10o wt silk thread or with monopoly.  Sometimes the edge of the cut fabric shows a little white, and I use India ink markers to color the edges if needed.  This also needs to be heat set to make it washable.

It amazes me how far digital paint programs have come.  I especially love Corel Painter 15, but it really took me a lot of time before I began to really use the great features of this program.  I found some you tube videos by several of the digital painter experts that have helped me a lot.  One of the cool things about this is that I can resize the flowers, reverse print them, and print them all..then I have a lot of flowers without having to paint more.

Sew happy everyone! Try a little digital painting for fabrics.

 

Painting and Writing and Missing Quilting

004Over the past couple of weeks I have been working hard to complete my book “Ten Skill-Building Projects for Bernina V7 Effectiveness”.   I have all but two of the eleven chapters and accompanying project designs complete and have only the two hardest ones left.  I also have several informative appendixes partly written. I will have to test everything, working through the book and making any corrections.

I also have been “painting” horse appliques and preparing a package for each horse that will include instructions for printing and appliqueing and patterns for stitching the tails and manes.  I have two horse designs ready to test and am making progress on learning the things I need to consider for building each applique package.  I will have to test everything for these too.

I have not, however, been working on a quilt.  I miss it.  But this is a temporary situation.  My plan is that after I finish the first book manuscript I will set up a weekly schedule that will divide my time equally between writing, embroidery and applique designs, and quilting so I can still make several new show quilts every year.  Eventually I will finish the writing too.

It’s all wonderfully creative work though, sew I’m still having fun.

Sew happy everyone!

A Greeting in Fabric from the Heart

As I work through writing and building the projects for my Bernina v7 Skill-Builder book, I am delighted with how much is there to use.  Some of my projects are fairly simple in design because I want to concentrate on the techniques and design elements available in the software.  Yesterday I worked through a project to develop a little fabric greeting card…or it could be a mug rug…about 5 inchs by 5 inches.  It discusses using the art canvas Basic Vector Shapes, turn the heart shape into Advanced Applique, using Pattern Run to fancy it up, and working out the quilting in the hoop.  Here is the resulting design, ready to be stitched out:

5" x 5" fabric greeting card or mug rug

5″ x 5″ fabric greeting card or mug rug

It is my hope that by the time someone works through all ten projects that they will be able to develop almost anything they want with it.  I did set aside my hope to include making lace in the book, because I am thinking of writing a second book if this one is successful for more advanced projects. And in case you are wondering, I have no connection with Bernina other than I love their products. This software goes well beyond Bernina, and I thought this might be helpful to those of you who use it or want to use it. I had quite a struggle to learn it myself, so I thought I might be able to save you some time and frustration.

Sew Happy everyone!

Progress in the Studio

Hooray!  I finished Canterbury Knight.  Oh, I still have to put the label on, but otherwise it is complete.  This quilt is far from perfect, and yet it has absorbed so much of my time and efforts that I have sadly neglected my blogging, my house cleaning, and a few other things.  And to top it all off, when I completed the squaring up and binding, it ended up too small for American Quilter’s Society shows…or too big.  They have a six inch gap between their small wall quilts and their miniature quilts.  It’s not a miniature anyway.  It’s 26 x 35 inches.  Not to worry, there are many other shows, including Houston, that believes that art quilts “of any size” are acceptable.  And why shouldn’t they be.  They take just as much effort.

Anyway, I love this little quilt with all its flaws.  Here’s hoping I can get it into a few shows so some of you can see it in person.  You should see the quilt at the top of this post and here’s a detail zoom:

Detail

Detail

Now I will turn to completing at least one of the books I have started.  The one I am sure to finish first is 10 Projects to Help Master Bernina V7 Design Software.  That title is way too long, so I’ll try to find something shorter.  The next one will be on the different types of machine applique and which to choose for what purpose.  I have a third one on surface design lightly outlined also, but let’s see if I can get the first one completed and somehow published.

I plan on blogging more often for a little while, and hopefully will get some feedback along the way.  I love to hear from you.  Sew happy everyone…takes some time to enjoy the spring, but also spend a little time creating.

Fabric Adventures in My Studio

Sometimes I have so much fun in my studio it feels like a great adventure.  This past week has been one of those periods of time.  I don’t have any pictures for you this week. You see, I am working on things I want to share with you later…after they are finished, and maybe even after they have debuted either at a show or in a published book.

I had a wonderfully productive work week last week.  Spring seems to be springing and I finished quilting Canterbury Knight.  I also managed, after about four tries of putting it on and taking it off over and over to get the three rows of Ricky Tim’s Razzle Dazzle around my central block with nice square corners and mostly straight sides.  It looks so good I got excited about it.  Now I have to paint the border designs.  Yes, that is scary.  After working for months and months on this quilt, the last thing I will do before binding, labeling and adding the hanging sleeve to it is the painting, where things can so easily go out of control.  So today, I made a small mug rug sized piece that I quilted and all just to practice my painting before I start the real thing.  “Practice makes perfect”…well, at least for me it makes “better”.  😀

In addition to all that, I took a webinar tutorial on Corel Painter.  That was the best I’ve ever taken.  The artist was painter master Aaron Rutton, and I discovered he has a lot of videos out there on this program under “Draw This”.  I will be watching many more.  I am slowly becoming almost able to really get the best out of that wonderful program, so I really will be watching a bunch more.  It’s like using real paint without all the mess, and with additional cool things, like layers, that let me accomplish things I see in my head even if I am not a great painter…like the horse on the Canterbury Knight.  I painted that in Corel Painter, minus tail and mane.  It was a struggle, though, that took me weeks, so if I can improve my knowledge of this program, just think what I can do with it.  I’m sure Mr. Rutton could have done that in a matter of an hour or two.  One of things I plan to do with it is to put items for sale and for free like tail-less horses and faces and hands, and Vases for flowers for people to download and print on their own Electric Quilt or other printable fabrics for their own quilts.  Let me know if you have suggestions for small, similar things you always wished you could find for your fabric art.

Then finally, I have been making huge progress on my book on using Bernina v7 software.  I got a little bogged down on my applique book, because I need to work out samples and take pictures to move forward.  But when my daughter-in-law came over for a short lesson on the software–she has never even used an older version–I realized that I already had a book in my head on that, because I have been thinking about this for a long time.  So I sat down and sketched out an outline before I lost the idea that just came to me, and got the first two chapters of an eleven chapter book about ten projects that will help you get the most out of Bernina design software written and illustrated.  To top it off, I got a response from Bernina that no permission was required for me to publish such a book.  Hooray!  I think I can finish this one by the end of April, though we will see.

Sew happy everyone!  Even though it’s spring, and you want to go outside, still spend some time in your sewing space and then take lots of breaks running outside to see the next flower open.