Fish 3

Against The Stream #2

I taught a class this week on “Skinny Quilts/Wall Banners” – on constructing simple, fast and easy quilted fabric art pieces. I’d worked on two much more complex pieces recently.

I wanted something simple to show the women in the class. I wanted whatever they tackled to be pieced/stitched in a day. Hence the “Fish”.

The night before class, I pulled the ombre pieces I had in my stash (from a Ryan McKenna kit I’d bought but never used five or more years ago), chose the purple one because it was an uncut 1/2 yd piece and cut an 11 1/2″ piece WOF. Next I gathered together the last of the “fish” scraps I’d saved from the Double Vision quilt – A Study in Blue and Green I’d made in 2019.

Quilt Top – Double Vision 2019

I positioned a dozen fish on the ombre fabric (they already had fusible web on the back), pressed them into position, cut a piece of batting and took it to class along with eight other banners I have in my closet so the gals could see a range of possible appliqué work.

Yesterday, I edged stitched the fish and added an eye to each. I thought about embroidering some seaweed at the bottom of the panel but the ombre fabric has a soothing “water” movement to the pattern and I decided that rather than embellish the background, I’d leave well enough alone.

I sewed on a hidden binding and added a backing muslin this morning, pinning the binding in place. I still have to add a hanging sleeve and hand stitch the binding in place but the hanging is now complete.

The women managed to piece a background (as I had done on the two banners above), cut out appliqués, fuse them in place (we discussed matters like colour, value, complexity of pattern, etc when choosing both the background and appliqué fabrics), then began the edge stitching.

I usually do this class as a two day affair but we were doing it on a single day. Had it been a two day class, I’d have had the gals practice edge stitching on curves but there wasn’t time so they went at it on their banner pieces. One had an open toed foot, luckily we were able to find another in the shop for the second machine – what a difference being able to see where your needle is in relation to the appliqué fabric! It takes a bit of practice to get the eye/hand/foot coordination to sew accurately at the fabric edge. Then the issue of editing the various decorative stitches to get a suitable width/length so the stitching shows, but doesn’t dominate the work, arose. Stitch selection and editing takes practice and judgement as well. We didn’t have time to develop a stitch sampler with notations – that would have required another couple of hours – we went with what was expedient.

The gals made significant headway and their technique improved significantly as they went along. Toward the end of the afternoon we stopped and examined how I’d done the finishing work on my textile pieces. I’ve sent them the directions for completing their wall hangings. Now it’s up to them. I’ve asked for photos of the completed work.

That’s the last of my “fish”; I still have a bag full of circles in many sizes waiting to be used.

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