quilts, treadle sewing machines, crochet, watercolor, dogs, & other fun stuff

Watercolor and Salt

Next Steps with "Cherry Crunch"

The neutral strings are done (unless I miscounted)!  Once they were all clipped together in groups of ten (for easy counting), it was time to finally decide what color to use for the next phase of the project.

As you can see in the photos below, I went with red! 

I did briefly consider using purple, but a quick look in the stash revealed that I didn’t have as wide a variety of dark purples as I’d thought.  Many were too light for this project.  I could have done it, but it wouldn’t have been a very broad selection of fabrics.  

Next, I pulled out that large piece of solid red mentioned last time.  It was even bigger than I’d remembered, so I settled on using that for the corner triangles.  Not sure what I’ll do for the border, but we’ll deal with that when we come to it.  

In the photos above, you can also see that I’m using a Mini Simple Folded Corners Ruler for this next part of the project.  It’s a new-to-me ruler and my first time using it.  

The jury’s still out on whether this will become a preferred method for me… I’m not the most precise piecer and I’m still finding my way around this method.  Some of the corners turn out perfectly, while others are slightly off.  Still useable, but not perfect.

The main benefit of using this ruler (or the larger version that does the same thing) is that you can skip the step that requires you to draw lines on your fabric.  Also, there are no dog-ears left to trim away.  I can see how it could be a time-saver, but so far, I had more reliable results with the draw-and-trim method.  Maybe I just need more practice.  (I think my cutting may be at fault here, more than anything else… Some of the squares might not be perfectly square.)

I quickly put a few joined units up on the design wall to confirm that it’s working out as it should.  It may not be perfect, but I think it’s okay.  

There are a ton of these triangles to cut and sew, and I’m not the fastest, so this will probably take a while.

(I’m also saving the smaller “bonus triangles” to use as leaders and enders, later on.)

Watercolor and Salt

I think I mentioned last time that I had tried using salt with watercolor to make interesting textures.  I’ve seen multiple tutorials showing how it’s done, but my first attempts were underwhelming.  So I gave it another try, this time using not only table salt but also coarser sea salt.  

I tried to follow the tips given by others.  The main issue seems to be how wet the paint should be when you sprinkle on the salt, but there are a lot of factors that can make a difference, such as humidity, paint brands, paper, and so on.  

While it wasn’t a total failure, I wasn’t getting the kind of results I wanted this time, either.  I’ll still use these backgrounds for something, but the salt wasn’t a complete success.  

For the example below, I tried a bit more salt, but mostly tested a different technique where you spatter plain water over the paint to create a texture.  It’s a softer effect than the salt, but not bad… (And it could be improved upon with practice.)

The last test I did, I used a different paper and a different set of paints.  A few of these swatches gave more promising results with the table salt:

Maybe I’ll give it some more tries with this paint and paper to see what happens, but I’m getting tired of disappointing salt results.  It might be time to take a break from the salt and move on to other things for a while. 

More Fun with Watercolor

I still had three of those “blow painting” experiments to play around with.  I started by covering them with watercolor washes and trying the salt.  I got less than impressive results with the salt, so I decided to see how it would look to doodle over them with color pencils.  

These are just everyday Crayola color pencils, so nothing fancy.  

I think this one was better before I added in the echoing lines.  It’s not my favorite doodle, but it was a good way to get a feel for how the color pencil acts and looks on the watercolor surface.  It could be effective, done “right”.  

The next one was fairly dark grey (darker than it looks in the photo below).  The first thing that came to mind was storm clouds and lightning bolts—the perfect time to try out the neon yellow color pencil in the jar…

For the last blow painting, I left the color pencils out and instead added more blow painting… And finished the whole thing with a quick wash of yellow.  It smudged the paint already on the page, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing!

Back when I doodled the mushrooms, I also doodled some pumpkins over a yellow and light orange background.  

I added some finishing touches this week:

This next one also started as a salt experiment…

I drew some shapes, filled in the background in black, and doodled some textures into the shapes.  Simple and easy, but also fun and effective, I think!  Anyone could do this and put their personal stamp on it. 

And the latest one is still not finished—just another salt experiment doodled with the same dandelion(esque) motif from last blog post. 

Something to play with this weekend!

Mr. Frodo

Just because I took a couple of photos of him and he was looking especially handsome (though I may be biased)…

“Whatcha doin’ up there?”

Recent Listening...

“Starwaves”, by M83, from the soundtrack for Oblivion:

Edward Goodman’s hammered dulcimer cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”:


I’m Michael (a female Michael, to remove any doubt).  I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast with my husband, Donald, and our crazy American Eskimo Dogs. 

I love to fill my spare time with various crafts and other hobbies, and this blog is where I share photos, record my progress, and ramble endlessly.

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