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  03:01:00 am, by Airycat   , 703 words  
Categories: Needlework, GIMP, Quilting

Virtual Needlework

That sounds like an excuse for not doing the real thing, but, in fact, it's a great way to plan out a real project. I have been enjoying my class GIMP For Textile Designers taught by Sharon Boggon. I have learned oh-so-much about GIMP and also how to apply it to needlework and fabric. To see a lot of what I've done, sometimes with explanation, you can check out my GIMP For textile Designers with Sharon Boggon folder at Photobucket. Earlier in the course, I tried to plan my Fairy Quilt with GIMP. I couldn't do it then, but maybe now I can. To be honest, though, I don't think it will be any better than my crayon scribbled papers, so I'm not going to. I may do future quilt projects that way though. I did figure out a way to do it that worked great on these samples.

Virtual Quilt with GIMP
  1. Take photos of your fabric. - Try to get them all at the same scale. Have your camera stationary and the fabric all at the same spot. Upload to computer, but keep at full size the camera makes them.
  2. Open a new image in GIMP. - Make it the size you want the final image to be, unless you need to adjust your pattern.
  3. Draw or 'open as layer' the pattern you want. - Any adjustments to the pattern should be made at this stage. You should end with your final working size. The final pattern should be fine lines on a transparent layer. I chose the smallest dot and scaled it to .30 and used the pencil tool.
  4. Add all fabric photos as separate layers. - This is an option under File.
  5. Scale each layer to size. - This is done under Layer, 3rd from bottom option. This will keep your fabric pattern size in scale with each other, if the photos were in kept in the same scale.
  6. Move all fabric layers below your outline layer.
  7. Keep all but your working fabric invisible. - Otherwise only the top fabric will show.
  8. Choose section of pattern to fill with fabric. - Use the fuzzy select.
  9. Leaving selection on, go to fabric layer and copy. - The selection will work on this layer even though it was chosen on the pattern layer. You can move the fabric around before you copy to get what you want in the selected area, but don't rescale to make something fit. Also make sure the fabric fills the selection.
  10. Go to new layer and paste. - Be sure to anchor the pasted image to the new layer. Remember to make that fabric invisible until you use it again.
  11. Repeat steps 8, 9 & 10 for all pattern sections. -

(Please let me know if these instructions are not clear enough and I will adjust them.) Anyone who knows how to use GIMP (and probably Photoshop, too) should be able to do this.

Something that has turned out to be a bonus for me, is creating graphics that inspire needlework projects. I created this images as part of the class.

I pretty much made this up as I went along and had no thought for it other than to learn the lesson (about brushes and erasers in GIMP). I did fiddle with it to try and make it pleasing to my eye. I think I changed things several times until I decided it was done. Then I made a frame for it and posted it to the class. By that time I'd been looking at it full size quite a bit and since the class is for textile designers, I kept thinking of how this applied. The answer is that I can see making something like this in fabric and embroidery. I could even print out some of the pictures I have behind the grid and use them the same way... Or I could quilt them... or embroider them. There are really lots of options, The other picture I did for that lesson inspired me much the same way. Although I wouldn't make it look like the picture, I can see using fabric and embroidery to create something like it. Crochet, lace making and tatting would also work with that one, but I suppose I could use pre-made items.


  10:15:00 pm, by Airycat   , 123 words  
Categories: Needlework, Hand Embroidery, Blessings Stitched Fabric Book

Block 14, Page 2

I didn't realize I hadn't shown this block. I finished it sometime in June, just before or after I finished Alex's portrait. I didn't plan it as a blessing, although I certainly can thank God for providing these "free jewels" as He does.

The is a bit of seashell attached using crossed threads on which I did buttonhole stitch for two or three rows. Only the crossed straight stitches go through the fabric... um, no, I did sew some of the buttonhole stitch through the fabric. I tried to follow the shisha attachment, but the odd shape of the shell caused it to be less secure than I was comfortable with. For this I used a single ply of my bamboo sock yarn.


  09:47:00 pm, by Airycat   , 391 words  
Categories: Needlework, Hand Embroidery, Blessings Stitched Fabric Book

Blessing 14, Trees

Blessing 14, Trees
Position: page 2, blocks 11, 12, 15 & 16


Food, shade from the sun, beauty, clean air, paper, homes and other manufactured items... What more could one ask from these mighty plants? There are other things. I can't think of all of them, specifically, at the moment, but fragrance, healing, and helping the earth by holding water, are some more.

I have always loved trees. Even when some of them have nuisance seeds and evergreen/ever falling leaves, I still appreciate them as a whole. As a child, I used to sit in a tree to read, sometimes. I'd do that again, in an eye blink, if I had the right tree to do it. (Kinda hard in small trees or straight-up-20-feet-before-branches trees.) Although I would love more sunlight in my den, I would never cut the gorgeous maple that is my view.

This block took me a long time to stitch, in part because I was trying to do so many other things and in part because I used a slightly complicated stitch that I discovered I wasn't doing quite right. I didn't redo it. I think it works OK for the tree trunk. But, I need to practice doing it right, or I will always do it this way.

The stitch is the magic chain stitch. It uses two colors of thread. I used a grayish brown and a reddish brown. The links of the chain come out in alternate colors. I thought this would reflect the variegation of a tree trunk better than a plain brown. (I don't have a variegated brown floss.) I also did the leaves is two different (of three) strands of floss in a detached chain stitch. Again, because I don't see one color when I look at leaves. I think I need to add more leaves, here and there.

Three of the blocks (12, 15 & 16) will have an additional blessing in them when I get to them.

Chain stitch is far from one of my strong stitches. I have a very difficult time keeping the tension even on them. It seems that most of them are either too thin (looking like a split stitch) or too open. A few came out just right. What I was doing wrong was ending every stitch like a detached chain stitch. A small difference, but I imagine it makes a big difference.


  04:56:00 pm, by Airycat   , 139 words  
Categories: Needlework, Hand Knitting, Blessings Stitched Fabric Book

Update, sort of

I have ADD. I get distracted very easily. I have not forgotten this project though. I have worked on it a little bit throughout July. I'm doing a two color stitch which goes rather slowly for me. I have to be very careful or I get the threads twisted too much and it looks knotty.

I have also been working on projects (some of the distraction) I've posted about at my NeedleArts blog. (EDIT of 09/15/11That blog, along with the separate Blessings blog, is integrated into this blog.)

In addition to that, I've been taking the e-course GIMP For Textile Designers with Sharon Boggin. I'm having enormous fun with it and it takes time.

Add to that the things happening in and around my life (mostly ordinary) and I'm behind. But that's OK with me. I am/will be working on it.

  04:47:00 pm, by Airycat   , 356 words  
Categories: Needlework, Hand Embroidery

Another New WIP!

Does anyone else do this or is it an ADD thing? I have plenty of projects that I really should finish, but I started another one! Oh, well....

I'm taking GIMP For Textile Designers with Sharon Boggin and thoroughly enjoying it. Finally I am learning how to use this program and thinking of it in terms of fabric, rather than simply computer graphics. (You can see what I've done/will be doing here.)

Before I got to the end of lesson 3, I was inspired. I was using a photo of a poppy from my garden for the lesson and between working on that and looking at photos on stitchin fingers, I was just itching to do something with thread and fabric.

I printed the photo out on transfer paper, but I don't care for the feel of it, particularly for embroidering. Then I printed it directly on muslin. I don't remember why, but I decided to wash it. Printer ink washes out quite well. That's nice to know if you get it on your clothes accidentally, but not so good when you want to keep it. Now I know to get some Bubble Jet Set.

But I was impatient, so I printed another poppy directly onto the muslin. What I'm making won't be washed. Anyway, without further ado and chatter...

The background fabric is from a sample book my mom got at a yard sale or antique shop. The way the light hits the photo, it doesn't show how well it blends, color wise. That is pink, but has a strong peachy aspect to it, as well. I love how the buttonhole wheel reflects the pattern from the inside of the flower. I matched my DMC for it to that. The leaf on the left is traced from a photo of an actual leaf. I plan to add more seed stitches to show the color variation. I know there will be a spider web, but so far, that's all I've figured out. I did collect threads and beads that might work with it. I just don't know how, yet. Figuring it out is half the fun, though.

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