Women in Defence

JM's quilt - Quilting

I've been powering ahead with JM's quilt, i finished the construction yesterday and I got started on the quilting this morning. image I kept forgetting different parts like her beads or the gold knobbly bits on her glasses but we got there in the end.

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And I got to start the quilting today, I always try to do the colours on top first to hold everything in place.

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No matter what I do I have to go slowly, it's almost impossible to fix any mistakes since the fabric is unforgiving, so I have to try not to make any in the first place. I'm sticking mainly to echo quilting again, I want the quilting to accentuate not dominate. It's not a huge quilt so it's a lot quicker and easier to quilt; not so much folding to fit it through the machine to reach the middle. I'm looking forward to seeing this one finished!

JM's quilt - half the hair.

She's looking a bit more like JM now and a little less creepy :) image

She'll look a whole heap better once she has eyes and a mouth, but at least she has hair now - nice colour too, not quite red but it sets her glasses off nicely.

It would be nice to have the face finished completely before moving to the other sections, probably would make them less odd to photograph, but by doing them last I have more control over the colour levels and I can adjust to get the best possible mix. Once the pieces are down it's tricky to move them so I like to leave the most important bits for the end. Plus it's a form of procrastination!

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The colours are off in this photo cos of the flash - but you can get an idea of how it is all going together.

I'm multitasking.

Don't you love those days where lots gets done? I caved and turned the air conditioning on today so I'm thinking that may have had something to do with my high productivity levels. I finished some questions for an article I had overlooked (oops!) I answered some emails and I got started with the background for JM's quilt.

I'm working with acrylics again, I've put down the base layer for the purple tones in the background, most of these will be covered with other colours.

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It feels a bit strange to be interpreting a quilt with paint. But I really want the background to be the last thing you look at, so it needs to be as flat and non-attention seeking as possible. By keeping it deliberately blurred it will appear to be further away.

I also finished numbering all the sections on the template. It's a good job, sometimes the template can be a bit tricky to decode without the numbers in place, and going through the process really helps me to learn the image.

I use numbers and letters, here the glasses are a b c d and her skin is 1 to 7.

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I'll aim to finish the background tomorrow and have the panels cut ready for painting!

Remembrance Day (and a request for opinions)

Today was the 96th Anniversary of the end of the First World War. It was a bit low key for us this year, James was in Canberra but Linc and I watched the service on the ABC and the kids stood silent for a minute at school. I remember doing the same thing when we were kids, not really understanding what it was all about, but realising it was something important and sacred. Soldier On asked us to take another minute this year, to donate and help them support our next generation of service people - https://soldieron.giveeasy.org/campaigns/remember-2014/. If you get a chance check out their work on their website - https://www.soldieron.org.au/ and see all the ways you can get involved. Soldier_On_f Soldier On, 180 x 100cm, 2013

Jan-Maree from Aussie Hero Quilts wrote a fantastic blog post which some of you have already seen; for those of you who would like to know more about what happened and why so many years ago, you can find the post here: http://aussieheroquilts.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/on-eve-of-remembrance-day.html

I managed to get one tiny job done today for Jan-Maree's quilt; Linc was happily playing with lego (again - think he might be addicted) at the table so I set up shop next to him on the patio window. I often tape the big templates to the window; the lights box is fantastic and much more transparent but I hate having to move the templates around so much. Anyway, it's done now.

I was a bit more brutal with the lines this time, ignoring a whole heap of the less necessary ones and smoothing out some of the others - I'm wondering if the high quality of the original photo has made the template too accurate? It should be fine now, just part of the tweaking process!

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As a final note - I'd like opinions about the following:

I was speaking with a friend today about ways to spread our ideas and help people interact with our work, and she mentioned the idea of offering online courses/info packages. Teaching is something I have thought of in the past but usually dismiss (since we live a long way from major centres and tying James down as a reliable babysitter is next to impossible) - but over the past little while I've been playing around with a few ideas for an online course which people could do from home. Is this something any of you would be interested in??? I'd love to hear what you all think :)

Home again

I love going away, especially when it's time with James, but it's very nice to be home. He's off again this week so it's taking me longer than normal to get things straight; Mum and Dad did a great job with the kids but I've still got truckloads of washing to catch up on and a whole heap of fabric to sort through and stash. I've put together the full size template for JM's quilt, next is outlining the shapes on the reverse so I have a template for the visofix. All the steps to get to the final template can take forever but I like going through the process - the end result is further from the original and I quite like that, makes the quilt a little bit more cartoonish and fuzzy, like Gerhard Richter painting a photo realistic image then blurring the edges.

I've tacked the template onto a spare wall in the studio, but it won't stay there long, I usually tape them to the floor (or a table if they're small enough) so I can trace the lines without worrying about the template moving about.

I think she looks pretty good :)

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Next!

I've just started the next project! Some of you will recognise this beautiful face, she's the founder and driving force behind a very large quilting charity. Jan-Maree will be part of the Women in Defence project, but she'll also be my entry for the AQC Challenge for 2015. She was an Air Traffic Controller at Richmond, the same as I was, just a few years before me ;)

I've decided on a design and done the first round of outlines, next is blowing the image up to full size (the big template in this photo is 40cm square) and the final quilt will be 90cm. Cos things tend to shrink a bit when I'm quilting I'll blow it up to about 95cm and trim back if I need to.

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Isn't she fantastic?

I'll have to put it on pause until we get back from Sydney but I'm excited about this one :)

Jaimee's Quilt - Photos!

Finally it's on the wall! I'm really bummed once again that my camera skills are not up to scratch, and really missing my photographer friend extraordinaire Jules :( But the photos are ok, I think I'm never going to be really happy with them - no matter what I do no photo will ever beat seeing the quilt in the 'flesh'. I've got to admit, I really really love this quilt. Jaimee and her girls are just beautiful to look at, and I loved making it. Maybe I've found my groove?

So here it is:

L Carroll Full On the train, Anzac Day 2014, Lucy Carroll, 2014 (195 x 140cm)

L Carroll Eva On the train, Anzac Day 2014 (detail), Lucy Carroll, 2014 (195 x 140cm)

L Carroll Jaimee On the train, Anzac Day 2014 (detail), Lucy Carroll, 2014 (195 x 140cm)

Jaimee's quilt - sneak peek/all done!

It's all finished! Unfortunately I have no wall big enough to hang it on properly (without a couch or light socket getting in the way) and DHA walls rarely resemble gallery walls (we seem to get the same off white beige in every house - perhaps they buy in bulk?) So I'll have to wait until I can borrow a decent wall to take some full pics. Luckily Mum has a decent space at her house so hopefully I can get some taken in a few days! In the meantime, here's a sneak peek:

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Jaimee's quilt - binding

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Well that was a Mammoth three days but i've finished the quilting now for Jaimee's quilt! I've squared it up (which sucks as a job - trying to get everything square over such a big space - but always feels really good cos it's the first time you can really see how the quilt will look once it's on the wall), and I've cut the binding so now it's just a heap of hand sewing to put it all together.

As a review of such a big quilt with lots of layers and acrylic paint I'm really impressed with how the Bernina had performed. I won't say I didn't struggle at all with the middle sections but I had no loss of power and with a bit of effort and lots of planning I'd be happy to tackle another quilt this size on the machine again. Although, I've heard whispers today about Bernina launching a long arm sit down machine early next year which will require some investigation!

The kids school is having their annual fete tonight so I'm looking forward to getting out of the house :)

Jaimee's quilt - Quilting

So I've spent the last two days quilting like a mad woman and I'm about 98% done. Even with my amazing machine I was having a hard time reaching the middle bits and I was starting to really question my judgement in choosing to make a quilt that is 2m by 1.4m. BUT... I just turned the speed down really low and took my time. And it looks great, definitely with all the effort, the size is great and it'll look great on the wall.

No sneak peeks of the quilting, I'll finish it off over the weekend and hang it next week for some decent photos!

In other news, my AQC 2015 catalogue arrived today! Unfortunately I won't get a chance to do any of the classes but there are since excellent ones on offer this year, and I was really pleased to see a heap of classes for art quilters!

I was even more excited because I spotted Aussie Hero Quilts on the front cover! I'm very excited for Jan-Maree and get team to see them getting recognition and support from the quilting world :)

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There is a little article about the Gallipoli quilts in the catalogue as well:

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Jaimee's quilt

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I had one of those days where making it safely round the supermarket felt like a major achievement. And even though Linc and I did make it out intact, I still forgot the onions and had to go back.

So, in the face of my underachieving day, I feel like I deserve a victory lap for giving Eva a mouth. And it actually looks like a mouth!

Which means I can use my blissfully linc free day tomorrow to start the quilting :)

Jaimee's quilt - eyes!

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Still no mouth but at least she has some eyes now. I've got a few little bits of the applique/collage to go, obviously Eva's mouth, and the medals as well.

Jaimee's face is all done and she looks fantastic, easy to make it look good with such a great subject!

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Hopefully I can get started with the quilting by the end of the week! No time to procrastinate this time :)

Jaimee's quilt - baby

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In between kids birthday parties and working in the garden I managed to finish off the baby girl! She has turned out really cute, I made her outfit a bit pinker than in the photo since she blended into the background too well, it'll be a bit bolder but I think it helps balance her out.

It was a good day for baby girls - my fantastic little brother and his lovely wife are welcoming their first little girl into the world today! I'll post some pics tomorrow :)

I'm in a book!

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So I did that thing (I know it's a bit sad) where you Google yourself and found that there is a section on me in this textbook. How exciting!

Its a book which examines women's textile responses to war imagery, and to make it even better there is also a section on Jan-Maree from Aussie Hero Quilts.

I've been working away on the collage/appliqué for Jaimee's quilt and I'm a bit behind where I wanted to be but it's looking good:

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They look a bit funny as they don't have eyes or mouths yet, but you can see the shapes coming through.

Jaimee's quilt - almost finished painting.

I'm onto the last few panels now, just the colours of the face and arms to do. They just happen to be the most tricky and I may have been procrastinating... I've decided to start putting the quilt together and quilting the pieces as I go. This is really not like me, normally I'd put everything together before I tried to quilt it. There are lots of good reasons for not doing it this way; there's a good chance I may find it harder to make pieces meet, and I might find myself unpicking things or hiding small problems, but I had such a hard time quilting the Amber quilt as it was so thick and stiff that I'm hoping this will make the quilting of the important parts much easier. I've added the seat panels and quilted the edges, I'm trying to put enough quilting in to hold it all in place without distorting the surface.

Here's part of the far right of the quilt, it's part of the seat and the train window. I'm really happy with the colours and I actually like the watercolour effect of the background. I'm always a bit dubious when trying new things so it's nice to see something turning out better than I'd expected!

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And hopefully here's a better close up of the painted panels:

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If you get a chance, check out the work of this street artist: http://www.jr-art.net/

 

28_millimetres_-_women_are_heroes_action_dans_la_favela_morro_da_providencia_favela_de_jour_rio_de_janeiro_bresil_2008 28 Millimeters, Women Are Heroes Action dans la Favela Morro da Providência, Favela de Jour, Rio de Janeiro, Brésil, 2008

He's an absolutely phenomenal street artist who began working in Paris when he was a teenager. He's gone on to take his particular brand of street art across the world, and I particularly love his Women are Heroes project.

In order to pay tribute to those who play an essential role in society but who are the primary victims of war, crime, rape and political or religious fanaticism, JR pasted huge photos of the faces and eyes of local women all over the outside of the favela, suddenly giving a female gaze to both the hill and the favela.

“It’s a project made of bric-a-brac, like the favela itself. We had to adapt to this world where the roofs of houses are made of plastic and children’s revolvers are made of steel. We managed to get by in spite of the steep streets, the unsteady houses, the unpredictable electric cables and the exchanges of gunshots where the bullets sometimes go through several houses at once”, says JR.

If you get a chance, please watch his TED Prize Speech, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PAy1zBtTbw

Still on holiday :)

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But I've prepared and cut the sections for painting and I've started doing some of the sections!

Today I painted the panels for the babies clothes and the blankie Eva is holding, they look really pink but the dark sections will mostly be covered by the light pieces. It takes me so long to paint the panels since I only have so much room - I have to wait for them to dry before I can start the next colour.

I'm getting a bit more texture in these panels, using a foam brush instead of a normal one, and I let the different colour paints mix on the fabric. You can kind of see it here:

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Jaimee's quilt - background painting

I actually managed to get something done today! It was a bit of a surprise but James took the two little kids to bunnings so I spent the morning alternating between painting and playing lego with Ethan as the sections dried! Lots of fun. I've decided to paint the background rather than piecing it for a few reasons; I want you to know the girls are on the train but I don't want you to look at the train bits for long, I want to keep the number of layers down as there'll be enough layers with the girls as it is, and I enjoy painting when I get the chance.

I used acrylic, mostly watered down into a few different shades, and then I layered a bit like you would with watercolors. I like the painterly marks this creates and it gives it a really soft look. It's actually really similar to what I did with the Anzac Quilts background panels, only there I used dye instead of acrylic. I find the acrylic has more body and was easier to vary in strength than the dye or fabric paint, but I'm pretty sure I can't heat set it so it's only good for this kind of work. I always use archival quality paint.

Here is a section of the right side of the image.

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And this is the whole image I'm working with (the squares on the right are the colour ways for the faces, Jaimee's on the left and the girls on the right):

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Amber's quilt.

image She's all done! Which is lucky since she's due for uni on Friday. Now I just have to write about her.

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Over all I'm happy with how she turned out; I'm feeling way out of my comfort zone with my work right now, which is possibly the most creative place to be, but I'm never really sure when I start something if it will turn out how I imagined.

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This was the first time I painted directly onto fabric with acrylic and I've learnt a lot which will hopefully make it easier for the next pieces. I think this size is probably the limit of what I can make on this machine since it's so difficult to roll the work as I'm quilting (she's 135 by 60cm). But I'm really happy with the colour and texture and the crispness of the edges.

Sewing Amber

I've been debating various ways to finish Amber, but in the end I've decided to quilt her. I'm using just a single layer of felt for the batting and back, as I'm worried about using anything too thick or soft since the fabric is quite stiff after it's been painted. It's working really well, the stitches are colour matched and there is so much colour in her hair that the threads disappear unless you get very close.

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The quilting is not super easy, even with my fantastic machine, but I think that's a combination of size and not being able to fold or roll the work easily. I'm having to go very slowly and I keep taking it off the machine to check. The benefit of it being so stiff is that as long as everything is tackled down I don't have to quilt densely, which gives more impact to the lines I do choose to stitch.

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I've still got quite a bit to do, it's due on Friday so I better get a wriggle on!