Abstracts From Scraps – III

A fifth (and for now final) Abstract From Scraps piece — this one assembled from turquoise-ish scraps. I really have kept quite a few small scraps of fabric, boxes of them (all coloured coded: red/yellow/orange scraps, blue/green/purple scraps…). This is definitely a good way to use up a few of them.

Fern 5

I’m enjoying the process of selecting bits of fabric, piecing them (trying to use each fabric just once – although there are a few repeats where I decided to splice two fabrics in more than one spot), building a 10″ x 12.75″ block, then added a few appliqués, finally setting up and stitching out an embroidery.

For some reason, the “fern” seems to have worked quite well as a focal point for these pieces. I could see flowers, or other leaf shapes working quite well, too.

Anyway, this is it for now – although a grey/neutrals panel is kind of whispering to me. However, for hanging purposes 5 is probably a better number than 6, but maybe after I’ve finished the bark cloth appliqués I may come back to this idea and pursue it a bit further. Maybe….

Fern 1

Fern 2

Fern 3

Fern 4

Abstracts From Scraps – II

Just finished – the pink background wall art panel with appliqué and machine embroidery.

Fern 4

I added in a bit more pale fabric to lighten the whole, reconstructed the embroidery so it would be different from the previous two. All of the panels still need a signature which I’ll get to tomorrow. For now, that’s it. I did look at the turquoise fabrics but I haven’t pulled any from the boxes yet. I will probably do a fifth to fill out the set.

Abstracts From Scraps

Last week I started work on an idea I had for creating abstract wall art from fabric scraps. I pulled small pieces from the red/yellow scrap box, pieced them, added in a few soft blues/greens to complete the block (~10″ x 12″), added a few bits of appliqué, fused, then stitched them into place, added an offset machine embroidery of a fern.

Fern 1

The second piece uses predominantly blues with a bit of purple/green, three appliqué circles and, again, a machine embroidered fern.

Fern 2

The third piece uses green batik scraps with a few appliqué circles and a fern machine embroidery in the bottom left.

Fern 3

Those three are completed – now I need to decide whether to finish them with a quilt binding, or an invisible binding, and a backing fabric (probably natural muslin, of which I have quite a bit in a drawer).

I’m about to assemble a fourth piece in shades of pink with a few other accent colours. I can see from the photo I need to interject a few more light elements, particularly in the lower right, to make this background work. Again, there will be some small bits of appliqué and another “fern” embroidery to complete the work.

Fern 4 – in progress

I may still do a fifth using turquoise scraps….

[These wall art pieces are an extension of something I started with a single piece a year ago “Dots” – where I pieced scraps, then added a bit of appliqué. This time I seem to be focusing on colour as an organizing principle.]

I also want to do a few pieces which I refer to as “faces” –

A Very Sad Face

Baboon

The Scream

Definitely A Cat

For these pieces I plan to print the images on fabric, create a background, carefully cut out the essential “face” elements, appliqué them in place and thread paint the background a bit. I see these as relatively small pieces — ~9″ x 12″.

I’m still working, as well, on the bark cloth floral cut-outs. I hope to make progress today on the flowers. One thing I’ve learned (I guess I really knew it but didn’t act on it) is I need to have a similarly coloured bobbin thread to have the thread painting come out successfully! Otherwise, when I use a white embroidery bobbin thread, it shows and I’ve been forced to carefully darken the stitching with permanent markers. I finally made the switch when I did the “fern” pieces above. I took the time to set up quite a few bobbins filled with different coloured rayon thread so the embroidery and thread painting looks like I want it to without bits of white showing.

Thread Painting

I started thread painting the bark cloth cutout flowers and leaves the other day. It goes surprisingly quickly and yet it seems to take a lot of time. The first thing I did was stitch the edges of the fused cutout using a modified blanket stitch (w: 1.5mm) with a smoke coloured monofilament thread in the needle (a white rayon embroidery thread in the bobbin). As I’m thread painting, I’m stitching over the cutout edges with embroidery thread to obscure the loose warp/weft threads that are peeking out.

One leaf is done, parts of the larger leaf begun and the dark thread on the anthurium has been stitched – lots more to go. Next will be the brighter green elements on the larger leaf and the “grey” elements will be some shades of bright green, not sure what precisely, yet.

Thread Painting The Bark Cloth Flowers & Leaves

I’m using the embroidery thread doubled – two close shades – both threads through the single needle eye. It’s working well, I’m not having any tension difficulty. I’m not trying to cover the fabric with stitching – just enough to provide some texture and sheen.

Here’s where my collection of fine permanent markers is proving handy – I filled in the grey on the dark leaf with a bright green which livens up the whole. I will do the same on the larger leaf.

Thread Painting – Detail

This piece is a test run for the larger one with the natural raw silk background. The graceful movement of the printed design is making the thread painting straightforward – the flowing lines are easy to replicate, even though I have both the feed dogs and the Pfaff IDT engaged! (I’m doing that to maintain a consistent stitch length – I don’t come close to an even stitch length with free motion sewing). Using the needle down position, the presser foot lifts a wee bit when I stop which allows me to freely manoeuvre the fabric as I sew. So the long flowing lines are happening without difficulty.

Time to get back to work on the larger leaf.

Second Leaf – Finished

This is the second leaf stitched and tinted using the permanent markers – much more lively colour than original “grey”.

Next – the anthurium.

 

Pink Flowers – Finished

I just put the finishing touches on this wall art piece – Pink Flowers. In the photo it looks a bit out of kilter, but I that’s an artifact of where I was standing when I took the photo – the piece is 15.5″ wide x 18″ in height.

Pink Flowers

I did quite a lot of stitching using rayon embroidery thread – two colours at a time through the one eye of the machine needle which gives a tiny bit of depth to the colour of the stitches. I elected not to stitch in the background – mainly because I had no idea what sort of design would have augmented the piece rather than detract from the flowers. The piping is there to heighten the colours in the flowers, and the printed border/frame extends the “texture” of the background.

Stitching Detail

Now on the next one using the fussy-cut flowers from the bark cloth. The fabric colours are somewhat subdued – I’m planning on using strong bright shades of rayon embroidery thread for the thread painting.

New Wall Art Underway…

This morning I finally stopped procrastinating on the wall art – I found myself starting on two unexpected projects. Yesterday I was going through fabric in my stash looking for fabric for the Federer piece and came across some Hawaiian bark cloth with large floral patterns which I thought could be turned into an interesting raw-edge appliqué piece on a raw natural silk background fabric:

Raw Edge Appliqué using Hawaiian Bark Cloth Floral Cut-outs

I cut the fabric in thirds, isolating one repeat of the pattern, fused Heat ‘N Bond Featherlite fusible web to the back of the fabric, fussy cut the flower/leaves elements, then fused them to a panel of natural raw silk (backed with Warm ‘n Natural quilt batting).

Now I need to go through my embroidery threads and pick out colours to use for securing and thread painting the raw-edge fabric elements.

I also got a second piece underway – I had a small leftover scrap of a modern floral which I’d used years ago to make a wide-brimmed summer hat. I thought the cut out flowers, placed randomly on a pieced background, would be an interesting vehicle for thread painting – I started that this afternoon. This piece will finish around 10″ x 12″ – it’s a test run to see where this idea can take me.

Raw Edge Appliqué – Modern Flowers on Pieced Background

So I’ve got two pieces to work on and maybe I’ll make some progress by the end of the weekend!

Wide-brim Summer Hat

[Here are instructions for making this wide-brim hat, if you’re interested.]

Second Pair of Restored Socks

Finished restoring a second pair of socks yesterday. Same process as the first pair – because the heel flap was still unworn I just needed to replace the heel turning and to reinforce an area of the instep just in front of the heel.

2nd Pair of Restored Socks

I had some closely matching yarn in my stash so you can hardly tell where the reconstruction happened. I did use a slightly different colour for the reinforcing stitching – otherwise I can’t see where I’m stitching!

Close-up showing reinforcing of instep

Once this pair was done, I started work on a new pair of socks in shades of turquoise/grey/white.