I’ve spent the entire afternoon trying to piece this image. The distant background – the hills leading down to the bay weren’t so difficult, but trying to get the foreground assembled in some meaningful way has been difficult. What I see in the foreground is a lot of thread painting to simulate the grasses and seaweed on the beach; I’m not trying to emulate the gravel beach entirely with the fabrics.
David (and the log) are still paper, but it’s almost time to print him on fabric and carefully cut him out so I can add what’s needed to the foreground.
The surf is a bit of lace but it will still need to be overstitched to make it more realistic (I need to stitch some surf in each of the inlets, as well – same with the water – I need to stitch some horizontal wind lines to suggest movement in the bay.
I made these socks from a ball of Opal yarn using the colour pallet from the famous van Gogh painting “Vase kit Sonnenblumen.” I liked working with these colours. I happened to find a golden solid that blended almost perfectly with the yellow in the variegated yarn.
Into the giveaway stash.
I’ve started the next pair – this one Opal Rainforest 17-4 Ply Sock Yarn – a nice combination of greys/whites/yellow/turquoises. The repeating pattern is a bit shorter than the Van Gogh pattern above.
As I sit knitting I have the TV on to one of the US news channels but I’m going to have to turn it off! Even though everybody’s known the result of SCOTUS abortion decision since it was leaked a month ago, it’s angering. What’s so terrible about that decision is where it takes women – not only in the US, but we will feel that decision ripple through Canadian politics – particularly since several of the Conservative leadership candidates are promoting the same arguments as far-right Americans are.
“We won’t go back”—it’s an inadequate rallying cry, only prompted by events that belie its message. But it is true in at least one sense. The future that we now inhabit will not resemble the past before Roe, when women sought out illegal abortions and not infrequently found death. The principal danger now lies elsewhere, and arguably reaches further. We have entered an era not of unsafe abortion but of widespread state surveillance and criminalization—of pregnant women, certainly, but also of doctors and pharmacists and clinic staffers and volunteers and friends and family members, of anyone who comes into meaningful contact with a pregnancy that does not end in a healthy birth. Those who argue that this decision won’t actually change things much—an instinct you’ll find on both sides of the political divide—are blind to the ways in which state-level anti-abortion crusades have already turned pregnancy into punishment, and the ways in which the situation is poised to become much worse.
Everybody’s tired. I’m tired. But we’re all going to have to summon the energy to become involved in various political activities if we’re to retain a modicum of civil society and push back against the dystopian reality of “The Handmaid’s Tale”!
Yesterday, I spent the greater part of the day teaching a class about heirloom sewing; passing on what I’ve learned about creating delicate Victorian detailed embroidery techniques using my sewing/embroidery machine by helping others create a sampler which they can now use as part of a garment (likely a nightgown) or some other decorated textile project.
It’s that time of year – I had a class of one. While my student was working, I had a bit of time to work on a sampler of my own – not particularly precise since I was distracted showing her techniques to help her with the precision that makes this work so lovely. I’ve put my sampler aside as an example of what you’re trying to avoid – my rows aren’t straight, the spacing isn’t exact and the panel is too narrow for the garment I want to make.
However, I still intend to make a light weight, flowing summer top embellished with heirloom work. So after aquafit this morning I started another stitched piece to serve as the yoke for this garment.
Today, I decided to use a crisp paper as stabilizer, pulling it away from the stitching as I finished each row. I also took the time to draw lines with a heat-erasable pen to follow as I stitched. Unlike yesterday, my rows are evenly spaced and straight.
I began with 4 rows of tucks in the centre, since the neck opening of the top I plan on making has a slit I want to replicate, I decided not to put a lace piece down the centre. Now that I’ve drafted a pattern for the front yoke from my existing top I have a feeling I may not have left enough space at the centre to make the slit and face it properly (Oh, well). Next some hemstitching, followed by a row of decorative stitching, a grouping of pin tucks, another row of decorative stitching, an entredeux insert, ending with more decorative stitching and an outside line of hemstitching. The panel is symmetrical and the lines do match up on both sides.
Over the next few days, I’ll cut out the garment and begin assembling it. The top on which I’m basing this creation has an embellished front without a seam joining top and bottom. I’ll have to add a strip of entredeux to join top front to top bottom. I’m still thinking about style here and may in the end just use the same pattern I used for the nightgown and simply sew a hip-length top from it. I’ll make that decision tomorrow.
I’ve time to get another wall art piece made before the exhibit in Parrsboro at the end of July through to August 19. I went through a bunch of photos I’ve set aside in a wall art folder on my desktop and decided to try this one – David walking on a driftwood log at Huntington Point Beach (West Hall’s Harbour/Simpson Road) taken Nov 1 2007.
My plan is to make a 12″ x 9″ image by piecing the background – sky, Bay of Gundy, hills, beach, seaweed – then printing the image on lawn fabric of David on the log (enlarging it about 115%), adding a fusible web, fussy cutting David and the log, and fusing the cutout to the background.
I started yesterday gathering fabric scraps from my many boxes of small fabric pieces. I now have a pile of stuff sitting on my cutting table. I hope to get to it tomorrow.
As you can see, I’ve sketched out the basic elements of the image on a muslin backing fabric. I won’t need large pieces of fabric to fill the area. I’ll start by trimming the scraps to an approximate size, adding fusible web to the back, then start to assemble the panel.
I’m also toying with another idea.
I took this photo at Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park a gazillion years ago! I was fascinated by the Tiki on the beach there. So obviously connected to the totem traditions of Canada’s west coast Haida people. I have this photo hanging in my sewing studio. It’s in portrait view. I think these two wooden sculptures would make a great focus for a coastal landscape view with them off-centre on the left. I’m just trying to figure out how to sharpen the image so I can highlight the demarcations with stitching.
Another photo I keep coming back to is the one of Charlie’s first visit to a beach when he was maybe a year and a half.
I made a wall art piece from this photo in 2017 using appliqué and thread painting but I’ve always wanted to extract him from the photo and do the piece again.
The problem is the photo I have was send in small format from his dad’s iPhone and I can’t enlarge it and get any sort of sharp image! I’ve played with the photo endless times to no avail. I went so far as to call his dad, my nephew, and asked him to try tracking down the original. No luck, probably long gone. I may have to enlist some help from the iPhone Photography School people to see whether anybody can help me out.
For now, it’s David at Huntington Road beach and possibly the Tiki.
I’m doing an Heirloom Sewing class on Tuesday. The plan is to create a sampler using a range of heirloom techniques on a piece of lightweight cotton fabric (voile, batiste, lawn) large enough to become a yoke on a pull-on shirt, or a nightgown, a piece that can be used to make some kind of garment.
I needed to make something to show a finished product. A number of years ago I created several heirloom samplers intending to use them to make nightgowns. My supply of these lovely cotton nightgowns has continued to be serviceable for more than 10 years – I haven’t needed to replace any. However, I needed a new garment to show the class so yesterday I chose one of the samplers, pulled some batiste from my fabric stash, and cut out the nightgown. Today, I sewed it together.
First I had to put a bias binding to finish the front neckline. Second, I had to embellish the ends of the sleeves. I have a supply of beautiful lace edgings I bought quite a while ago and decided I should use one. I put it on the sleeve edge, did a row of hem stitching using a wing needle, then three rows of pin tucks using a 1.6mm twin needle and a pin tuck foot, finally a single row of decorative stitching. Together it makes for a pleasing sleeve edge.
I constructed the gown with French seams by sewing wrong sides together first, pressing the seam, folding it along the seam edge and stitching the seam again 1/4″ from the edge encasing the raw edges within the second seam. It’s a strong seam finish and there can be no fraying.
Once I had the gown made up, I double folded the hem and edge stitched it, then I added three rows of tucks along the bottom edge. I might still add a bit of decorative stitching but for now I’ve stopped.
Along with the original panels, I now have a completed nightgown to take to class!
Here is the completed Night Sky quilt. I finished quilting it yesterday – it wasn’t a simple job because I’d decided to quilt on the diagonal within the flow of the strips which meant I had to keep pinning fabric strips to the edges so I could hoop the pinned layers.
I set up a swirl embroidery in two columns, used a variegated thread which blended with the various colours of the strips. I started at the strip end, changing to navy thread when I reached the dark fabric (often in the middle of a quilting run). A fiddly job, to say the least. However, I didn’t want the light thread to interfere with the speckled effect of the navy background. In some sections I had no choice but to carry the light thread into the navy but I hauled out my handy permanent navy marker and darkened the stitching. That worked well.
This was an edge-to-edge design which actually matched up very nicely – I could successfully place the next design and have it line up with the ends of the previous one. The joins are barely noticeable – I can pick out a few but most are perfect alignments.
I widened the backing by creating a panel from scraps leftover from the Poppy Field quilt inserting a long batik strip of a rather wild palm leaf batik. In the photo it looks black but it’s much more colourful than that with purples, pale greens, pinks which blend with the other small batik samples.
My goal with this quilt was to showcase the beautiful fabrics in the curated set from the jellyroll. In the end I did have to add a few other strips on order to have enough to make the quilt long enough. Finished size: 47″ x 60″ – a good lap size; great for a wall hanging on a large wall!
I finished this pair of socks on June 1. I just didn’t get around to posting the photo. You get a hint of the sparkle in the photo but if you click on the image, the sparkle becomes more obvious.
I no longer have the label so I can’t tell you what yarn I used for them. I think it might have been Opal, although I can’t find any sparkle yarns in their collection. I’ve had the ball in my stash for a while so it may be they no longer make one like this.
I was suddenly awake at 7:00 this morning (I normally wake at 8:00). Got out of bed and went to work (before going to the pool at 8:45 as always on a Friday morning).
First, I removed the narrow pumpkin sashing from the two “straight” sides. Then I carefully unstitched the three navy bits in the bottom right corner and replaced each with fabric that blended with the main strip in each location. Now there is no jarring bits of navy in that corner.
So, from “Poppy Field 2”, I can name this piece “Night Sky” which brings out the golden speckle in the navy fabric and implies a city scape below.
I think I’m happier with that. Next on to coming up with an idea for piecing the back.
This afternoon I went through my fabric stash looking for 1/2 metre cuts which I could use for narrow sashing. I came up with five possibilities. I gathered up the panel and the fabric pieces and marched down to Deb to ask for her 2¢.
We started with the panel on her dining room table – after auditioning the five fabrics at the edge of the panel against the remaining Ruby Star Society navy Speckled we settled on a light beige Stonehenge with soft blue in it.
We moved the panel to the floor to better judge the fabrics – that’s when I had the idea to offset the panel and instead of sashing and a border, to “sash” with large triangles on the outside.
To visualize the rotated panel better, we taped the new outer dimensions with masking tape. The mitres are less jarring at this angle – now I needed to do something with the straight sides. I thought about opening seams and inserting several more navy Speckled elements at the straight edge – that would break up the flow of the piece, however.
The idea I think I’ve settled on is to sash the two straight edges using the pumpkin Grunge – that will create a finished look on those two sides; then join the filling triangles directly onto the other two sides. Rotating the panel 10°/15° changes the impact of the “ragged” edge of the strips – those joins become much less jarring; their 45° angles fight less with the new outer edge of the panel. I have just enough fabric to make this happen if I cut my triangles from the length-of-fabric!
I still plan on quilting on the diagonal – 3-4 strips at a time. I now need to spend some time thinking about what kind of embroidery/quilting will give me the continuing flow from the colour into the navy I’m seeing in my head!
I don’t know what to do with the quilt back yet – I will incorporate whatever navy Speckled remnants I have but there won’t be much. And I don’t have many scraps remaining from the jelly roll strips I started with. It’s too soon to worry about it – the “problem” will percolate and something will pop into my head when need an idea.
The strip piecing is finally finished. I have called the quilt “Poppy Field 2” because that was the name on the batch of strips. I will have to come up with another name for this effort.
Looking at the image, seeing the top on the floor, I can see immediately what I have to attempt next – a similar piecing but with the strips coming from a single point in one corner. That will involve grading each and every strip in order to generate the quarter circle full of radiating strips! I have more jelly roll collections in my stash so I could certainly use one to try out the idea.
Back to this quilt top. The current size is 47″ x 60″. I think I want to add a narrow 1/2″ sashing in some contrasting colour then complete the top with a 3″-3 1/2″ border which will make the quilt top something like 53/54″ wide and 66/67″ long. Colour and fabric for the sashing is a decision for another day when I get back to this. For now, I have to say I’m reasonably happy with how the piecing has turned out.
One aspect of the piecing I’m not completely happy with is the mitred joins – when you see the quilt from the corner the angles are interesting:
straight on I think the mitred joins are awkward. My intention is to quilt along the strips (on the diagonal) 4 rows at a time using variegated thread and bringing the design and colour across the dark blue background. If I come up with a suitable design those mitres will be overstitched and I may be able to create the illusion of a starburst.
Now to start exploring designs to use for quilting the project.