Tropical Flowers II

One leaf done – a second underway and weeks of work left to do.

One Leaf Done; Weeks Of Work To Do

The question is why bother? Why didn’t I just fussy cut the flowers, fuse and edge-stitch them in place and leave it at that? Good question. The thread painting, in spite of the large amount of work involved, adds interesting texture and dimension to the fabric turning it into a piece of wall art. I probably should have thought more about the size of the piece before I began, choosing fewer elements, but this panel does make an interesting art object. So I committed myself to the work. In addition, the fabric raw edges are inclined to fray because the bark cloth is loosely woven – thread painting lets me densely edge stitch creating a sharper outline for the flowers and leaves.

Tropical Flowers – Bark Cloth

I started with printed bark cloth given me by a friend – 4 one metre pieces with different coloured backgrounds. I chose the blue to work with here but you can see from the black piece just how clearly printed the flowers are. The fabric provides a lovely foundation for doing thread painting.

Tropical Flowers – A Selection

The first step is to choose a few flowers/leaves and cut them out. Next I apply a fusible web to the back of the fabric, pressing the whole thing flat, then fussy cutting before removing the paper backing from the fused web – the paper makes cutting out much sharper. Once the flowers are fused to a background fabric, thread painting can begin.

So that’s where I am in the process. It will take many hours to fill in the colour gradation of the leaves and flowers – I’m working to eliminate the grey using light values of the adjacent colours so “grey” won’t mean grey when I’ve done thread painting – there will be pale green, or pale teal, or pale pink where grey currently is found.

The flowers/leaves on the black backed fabric don’t have grey, instead the fabric has appropriate light shades for each element, making the decision-making process somewhat easier. But now, back to the teal leaf which I began yesterday….

Thread Painting – Tropical Flowers

You’d think because this piece has borders and piping that I’ve done all the thread painting – wrong! I started adding borders on the weekend because I was having the second session for the thread painting workshop and I needed to be able to show the gals how I finish a piece. I’d carefully marked (using a heat removable Frixion pen) a centre vertical line, used that to set up the inner border line. I kept all the markings visible as I partially bordered the piece. (Here are instructions for how I do borders with piping: creating borders). I marked locations and created a signature to show how I position the signature embroidery, as well.

Then I began thread painting – this is going to take several weeks – there’s a lot of fabric to cover – I did enough on the leaf on the bottom left to give an idea of how I shade the colours using two different but similar rayon threads through my needle eye. This provides a bit more texture than using just a single thread and lets me fill in spaces more quickly.

Thread Painting Underway On A Leaf

My plan is to eliminate the grey on leaves and flowers using other shades to in-fill spaces. In this leaf, I’ve used pale greens/yellow greens to stitch in the grey areas. I also did pistils on the anthuriums, flower stems, and leaf central veins while I had a specific thread combination on the machine. This is not my usual way of working but in order to share technique with the gals I did a lot of skipping around.

Now I need to settle in to resume thread painting; this weekend I plan on finishing this leaf and move on to the darker green one above. I also need to baste the edge of the outer border to the batting so I can more easily move the piece around while threading painting.

Possibilities #7

Finally finished this convergence quilt yesterday. Got the binding done and label sewn on. Two sets of mistakes that went together – totally unexpected and unplanned. It definitely worked out quite well.

Finished Quilt Top

I’m happy I took out the narrow vertical turquoise stripe – it disrupted the left-right movement of the convergence flow. Replacing it with the narrow turquoise border was a good decision. I didn’t have enough grey crackle fabric to complete the binding so I incorporated a turquoise piece I trimmed from the backing after I’d finished quilting. I ran out of binding as I was coming to the join and inserted another small piece of turquoise to complete it. I like where that insert landed.

Fiished Quilt Back

To create the quilt back I set up a “jellyroll race” using leftover bits of fabric from the top, with a narrow strip inserted and two unequal sashing strips. Using the turquoise for the backing sets up an interesting flow from top of quilt to the back. There’s enough turquoise in the top that when you flip the quilt over you retain the connection between top and bottom.

The ombre fabric I ordered online arrived Friday so I will now work on completing the double conversion quilt featuring the ombre fabric.

But before I can get to that, I’m have to work on the thread painting wall hanging.

Detail – Thread Painting Floral Wall Art

I started the thread painting last Tuesday as part of a class I’m teaching (I stitched the dark green parts of this and another leaf although you can’t really see what I’ve done in the photo). We meet again coming Tuesday and I have made no progress on the stitching work. Nevertheless I need to move on to framing the piece so I’ve trimmed it, I’m in the process of adding a bit more batting to the edges to allow enough background to balance the floral arrangement and provide support for the borders. Then I have to set up the marking (using Friction heat erasable pens) so I can apply the borders – have to get that process well underway before Tuesday – not completed, but started so I can demonstrate how I add borders. The framing of the piece won’t hinder the massive amount of thread painting I will still have to do.

More Socks

Finished last evening. Into the stash they go. I was pleased with how the blue solid came very close to the blue in the variegated yarn.

Peach/Blue Socks

Can’t leave the needles empty – started a new pair, predominantly red/pink. I have two 100gm balls of variegated yarn left in my collection. Time to go through the yarn leftovers basket to see if I can find some combinations that will work. Each leftover is enough to make a pair of legs so two leftover balls will make a pair of socks, if I can find combinations of variegations that will work nicely together. That leftover yarn could keep me going for quite a while – there’s a lot of it there.

Possibilities #5

Yesterday I removed the turquoise vertical strip and resembled the quilt top panel – much happier with the flow across the two sets of strips – they’re not interrupted with that contrasting element that really didn’t work well.

Hodgepodge with turquoise vertical stripe removed, sashing and borders added

The colour was right, though, and I used the turquoise fabric to sash the panel – the narrow contrasting sashing provides closure to the panel and brightens it.

The border – that was a challenge – I had several grey fabrics in my stash – I tried all of them. At one point I thought one of the taupier ones would look OK (I used two different Grunge taupe fabrics in the brightly coloured strips) but in the end I used wide strips from the grey Crackle (Moda) I’ve had in the stash for a while (I thought the fabric pattern was long out of stock but I just found more in a wide range of colours online so I bought two yards to replace the piece I’ve used).

Now on to a backing panel with a wide strip of some kind. How I choose to quilt this will also make a difference to how the final quilt will look – quilting design, thread colour should help tie the elements together as well.

Possibilities #4

Today, I looked at the two sets of discarded strips and decided they could go together and kind of work. The miscut ombre strips needed lengthening to match the pieced strips – I used my last bit of ombre (from the dark brown end) to extend them. I sewed the two sets of strips together this afternoon. The width proportions were the same so I put them together  wide/narrow, wide/narrow until they were assembled.

Hodgepodge

I don’t like the turquoise strip in there, however – I might actually take it out because it interrupts the flow of the strips in both directions. I’ve ended up with a panel 36″ x 43″ – reasonable proportion for a throw/lap quilt with narrow sashing and wide borders added.

Tomorrow I will take out the turquoise strip, then see what I can do about a narrow sashing and a wide border to get me to around 48″-50″ in width, 56″-58″ in length.

And here I am quilting when I intended to be making pants – the corduroy is sitting on the dresser waiting for me to get to it; the pattern is there, too. I wanted to get both pair done by the end of the holidays – nope! It’s quilts instead. Gotta follow the inspiration.

Oh, and I never work on more than a single project at a time, and here I am deeply engrossed in two.

Possibilities #3

This morning I constructed a new black ombre/batik panel (from the fabric I had left over yesterday) and then assembled the convergence. Yesterday when I cut the two parts into strips at the same time, my strips were exactly the same width. But cutting the second panel today meant there were slight variations in the pieced strips so assembling the large panel proved finicky because many of the joins did not align precisely…. I had to make lots of small adjustments.

Convergence Panel Assembled

However, now I’ve got the balance the way I want it with the two darker elements of the ombre opposing one another as are the two contrast fabrics.

The question is where do I go from here. I need a narrow sashing of some kind but I’m not sure what it should be. Also I have no more ombre (I’ve ordered 2m online but it probably won’t arrive for a couple of weeks) to set up wide outside borders to make a decent size throw quilt. Right now the panel is ~36″ x 36″ – I want to end up closer to 60″. That means more piecing of some kind – at the moment I have no idea where to go from here. Next question is whether there is a way to end up with a throw that’s longer than wide – that means doing something asymmetrical with sashing and borders.

The surprise with this piecing is while the ombre shading comes through due to the wider elements constructed from the darker ends of the fabric, it’s actually a rather weak colour flow. The turquoise livens up the panel but now the question is whether I should introduce more fabrics to build around this panel or wait till the ombre fabric arrives and see what I can do with that. Lots of possibilities….