Kim Eichler-Messmer


Starting a new quilt is scary/exciting

My work starts out really ugly. I've known this all along, but people never seem to believe me. A lot of my decisions are based on "what can I do to make this less ugly?" Now there is proof. Ugly, ugly proof. Even though I cringe inside when I think about putting the following pictures up, it is a really good example of how I work.

So. Here we go.
1. I started with a piece of red fabric, about 4' x 6' that had a large spine painted on it in light green. I made this fabric sometime in October or November and then it sat folded up on my shelves because it is hideous.

The fabric was pieced together from a few large scraps I had lying around. The spine is on the other side of the fabric. It was too much, so I decided to ignore it and work with the back side. Sometimes you just have to ignore something that isn't working and move on.

2. I cut a stencil to use on my last quilt that I'm still excited about. Here it is:

It's already taped onto my silkscreen. I'm not very good at planning, so the only way it would fit on the screen is to angle it and then fill in the open spaces with paper (so no ink leaks through the screen). It looks janky but it works.

Getting ready to print. I'm using Aqua Brite textile pigments for this. The fabric stays soft and you can play with how wash-fast they are. Sometimes I like to wash them out of the fabric without heat setting for a worn look.

A couple of heads printed in a loose repeat. I wasn't too concerned with the spacing on this.

Mirrored heads. If you look close, the eye on the yellow one looks wonky. I forgot to put the little eye stencil back on the screen after washing it so I had to improvise.

3. The fabric isn't doing much for me, but I do like the printed heads.

Here they are cut out. I ironed wonder under to the back of the fabric and then used my new x-acto knife to cut them out (thanks Messmers!) I like them overlapped better - like Siamese twins.

4. The Siamese twins need a body. I have a quilt that is nearly done with the same heads and each head has a different skeleton. One has a human skeleton and the other has a rabbit skeleton. These Siamese heads are going to share one human skeleton. It's time to cut another stencil.

This is the stencil drawn out in thick sharpie, then cut out with an x-acto. It's a good idea to tape delicate areas before cutting to add strength to the stencil. For this one, I used butcher paper. It's cheap and comes on a roll. The downside is that stencils cut from butcher paper don't last very long. So today I ordered some Tyvek from ebay. Most likely I will jump up and down when it arrives.

5. Ok. This next picture is so ugly. Maybe if I hadn't graduated from Iowa State (cardinal and gold) I wouldn't think so. But seriously. It looks like it was airbrushed in Gatlinburg. I'm not too worried, though. I have a plan.

Will it get resolved??!?!? It seems likely. Check back tomorrow for an update.