ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Creating with the Brother Scan & Cut

It is the first week of January, and we are in the deep freeze here in Ottawa. I am in my studio, and it feels good! So I'm working on this idea I posted about late last year. It started with an up-close section of a photograph I took of ferns on Vancouver Island in June of last year. I played around with some settings and filters in PhotoShop that emphasized these little black circles on the fern fronds and made them look more 3D. I have no recollection of what the setting or filter was. I was playing that day. I loved how the little black circles had value variations through them, darker on one side than another.

Here's the design worked out in my sketchbook, I will make the centres of the fronds less yellow, probably a lighter value of the same green I'm using for the main part of the fronds.

Late last year I also dyed a value gradation of a neutral black.Now I ask, why are we dyers always trying to find a neutral black/grey? Well I know why ... because when we go to paler and paler shades we tend to find greys that look more blue or green or ... but we want just plain grey. However, after the painting class I took a few weeks ago, I've come to the conclusion that greys are more interesting when you CAN see a bit a colour in them. Very little in the world is a neutral grey. However, for the purposes of this project, I'm sticking with my neutral black/grey.

Here's my design enlarged. I traced it to transparency film and projected it to the wall with an overhead projector to enlarge it. I did not draw out all the dots on the leaves. I just drew a few different sizes.

I thought this was the perfect project to try out my new Brother Scan & Cut Machine that I purchased 7 months ago from Ottawa Sewing Centre since there are so many repetitive little dots that need to be cut. When I purchased the machine, I thought it would be great for cutting tree bark for my tree collages, and I was excited about the possibilities of cutting shapes out of organza without using fusible web, and thus retaining the sheerness.

Then I traced my dots onto a piece of paper, one or two dots in each size.

I scanned this into my Brother Scan n' Cut.

I knew I should be able to reproduce the dots to fill an entire space the size of the scanning mat. It took a bit of fiddling and reading (I hate reading manuals). However, you can see here I did manage to figure it out. 

Hard to photograph the screen without it showing a glare, but I think you can see in the photo below, that I've now managed to fill the entire screen with dots. This gets saved into my Brother Scan & Cut.

I've taken a piece of fabric that is approximately 12" x 12" in size, and ironed fusible web to the back of it. I still had some Steam a Seam Light in my stash. Better use it up before it gets old.

I've pulled the backing paper off the fusible that I ironed to the back of the fabric, and I've positioned the fabric on the mat meant for cutting. Except I made a mistake and used the scanning sheet that I'd affixed an extra tacky sheet on way back when I bought the machine. I used that extra tacky sheet to cut organza without any fusible on it. Alas I erred here, and cut through the really tacky sheet, such that it became permanently attached to the back of the dots I was cutting.

Here you can see the first sheet cut. I then figured out I had used the wrong sheet, didn't need the extra tacky one, just the mildly tacky one.

Once I used the correct cutting mat, everything worked wonderfully. So here I have a table full of dots in a variety of sizes and values. I'll go and buy a couple of new mats at the Ottawa Sewing Centre. I purchased my Brother Scan n' Cut from them.

I now also have these cool sheets of fused fabrics that have holes in them.

Actually an entire little wall of them attached to my design wall. There must be a fun use for these?

For the rest of the design (the leaves themselves), I used my usual method of tracing them in reverse onto the fusible web, ironing the web to the back of fabric, and cutting them out.

Here's my first leaf. What do you think? I dunno why, but I am craving a white background, but we shall see. Am I going modern or what?

A few more leaves to go. The big reveal should come in a day or two.

19 comments:

  1. Holy smokes, now I have to go to the Brother booth and check this out! Can I share this post on the CQA social media sites?

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    1. It is pretty cool, isn't it Ellen? I think it will be great for tree bark too.

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  3. Love this. AND the sheets with holes in them. They'll be perfect for something.

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    1. Everyone loves the sheets with holes. I may do something with them, but the thought of the holes is conjuring up other ideas in my head.

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  4. Love it Elaine!!! Beautiful so far! Eager to see the end result. Nice to see he cutting machine in action as well. Thank you!

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  5. Beautiful, thank you for sharing your process. I'd love to get a Brother scan and cut and hope to in the near future.

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    1. I hope you enjoy yours when you get it Jackie.

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  6. Awesome Elaine- I purchased a scan and cut last fall and haven't used it too much- still figuring it out-had same issues with tacky sheets.... you make me want to go back and try again! Thank You!

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    1. Coreen, It takes a while to get comfortable with new technology. It also took me a while to get the different sheets straight in my head. I am the kind of person who doesn't read manuals and jumps right in. Now that I know I can replace sheets if I do something wrong I am not nearly as intimidated. Apparently there are good UTube videos on-line but I have not explored that yet. Hope you give it another whirl. Happy New Year! Elaine

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  7. That machine has endless possibilities. This is the first time I've seen one in action. I love the direction you're heading in with this piece. Can't wait to see more of it.

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  8. It certainly does Jo. I think it will be great for tree bark in my tree collages!
    Thanks for posting.

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  9. It certainly does Jo. I think it will be great for tree bark in my tree collages!
    Thanks for posting.

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  10. Thanks for sharing your experience on your Scan and Cut Elaine. I never thought about purchasing this item before seeing your work on it. Lovely and exciting!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post Judith. Happy New Year!

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  11. Wow, Elaine!! These posts are soo cool! I love the fern fronds. You have been really busy and I feel like a slug! I seem to have so much hanging fire but I AM getting ready to take the plunge once again! These are VERY VERY nice and I think you will go MILES with this idea. Way to go!!!

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  12. Thanks Carolynn. You have not been a slug, you have been travelling!!

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Elaine