Tuesday, March 26, 2013

challenge progress

I've been absent for a bit, but I've been plugging away at my challenge quilt...

Tonight I did the scariest part so far and drew on the background fabric using watercolor pencils.  I'd experimented with a little piece and was relatively happy with how it turned out, so tonight I took a deep breath and dug in...

You can see there are also a few more colored blobs (black are budding yeast cells, green will be rhinovirus (common cold), blue will be influenza and orange will be HIV when they're finished).  As well as the mycelial (fuzzy) growth of fungi (mold).

The way watercolor pencils work is that you draw with them just like ordinary colored pencils.  They're a little softer than average pencils, but the same otherwise.  (Well, they seem to sharpen more easily, but for what I paid for just 12 of them, the darn things should never go dull...)  Then you use a paintbrush and water and can smear them around.

When the mycelial growth of fungi is stained with a blue stain, the cell walls take up the stain, but because the cells are three-dimensional and looking through a microscope you can only see two dimensions, they look a little fuzzy around the edges.  So the diffusion effect of the watercolor pencils seemed a perfect match for this portion of the project.

(Thread painting might have been good too, but I just don't have that sort of control over my machine and with a deadline just over a week away to have this finished, I wasn't going to have the time to practice I would need.  That's okay.  The pencils were Plan A anyways.)

So here's the fungi before painting:

Aspergillus (common bread mold) is on the far left, a dermatophyte (ringworm and athlete's foot) is in the middle and Penicillium (yep, what Dr. Fleming and his infamous orange discovered) on the right.

I do not consider myself able to draw in the least, but I'm rather happy with these so far.  You can kinda see my paper draft underneath too, though...

And while wet, but after the smudging and painting:

I will let this dry tonight and see how it looks tomorrow.  I'm hoping it won't need touching up, but these pencils are so cool.  You can use them wet as well and they act more like pastels when you're drawing on wet fabric.  They're a lot of fun, though I'm not sure I see where I might use them in the future.  (I'm sure something will come up...)

So there you have it.  My progress.  I should be further along, but I've been at far too many quilt shows and then managed to get food poisoning this past weekend and that mostly just sucked all the energy out of me.  But I'm feeling better and pacing myself to get everything done.

When this challenge is over, my house needs a good cleaning!

Now I'm just hoping all those of us participating finish.  At last count, I think we only had 8 still working on their projects and we need 8 to enter the competition.  Nothing like a little pressure, right?  I just hope mine isn't the ugly one that causes us to not get chosen.

Next up are round "borders" to frame in the microscope view, then setting it all into a square.  And then the next scary part: quilting.  I hope to get it quilted Saturday so I can get the binding, hanging sleeve and label on it before it's due next Thursday (the 4th).

Wish me luck!

Happy quilting,


canuckquilter said...

Good luck ! It's looking good! The watercolours sound like fun...but I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to draw on a quilt I've already spent hours putting together. You did well!

Lynette said...

ugh - I hate food poisoning! Love the watercolor pencil approach.

Liriopia said...

I love it! You are doing a great job. Can't wait to see the finished results!


Just Another Quilter said...

Yards ago the head of Micro retired. Our group used to blocks from a Hancock's BOM as her going away present. The quilt just looked like a quilt....but the quilting was all the organisms. The giardia was another fun one to make...getting the distinctive "eyes".

Unknown said...

Such a fun project you have going there;) Only you, Katie. Only you;) Those watercolor pencils sound like fun. I picked up some fabric markers awhile back that are really cool to play with too;)
Happy Quilting!!

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

GOOD LUCK!! I think that if there is an "ugly one that causes us/you to not get chosen" - it won't be yours - ;))