Black Rock Beach – Completed

Just finished. Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t do the piece justice – I’ve tried lightening the blue of the frame and can’t get close to the real colour without distorting the body of the  piece.

Black Rock Beach

I’m happy with the balance of the whole. The piping, which doesn’t show well in the photo at all, pulls out both the orange of the vest and the blues of the water.

Now to find a place to hang it in my apartment – there isn’t obvious wall space in any room. I’m going to have to walk around and decide what to take down so I can display this piece of art.

Black Rock Beach – IV

Day before yesterday I took apart the stitching of the water near the shore. Yesterday I stitched in new wave lines which run more parallel to the beach. I stitched in small wavelets as they reach the beach. I also stitched the rubble at the beach line and at the bricks at the bottom right.

Thread Painting Finished

Today, I stitched around the rocks and pebbles on the beach. I worked in the bits of vegetation and wood debris amid the rocks.

Finally I added David.

David Up Close

I very carefully stitched the shading of his clothing and around the edges of the fused appliqué.

The last thing I stitched was my signature in the bottom right.

Auditioning Fabric for Framing

I’ve stopped for today, but I’ve cut and laid out fabric for an inner border. I auditioned several fabrics for the piping including both bright and muted orange pieces but they pull the eye away from the vest. I think I’ve settled on a dark teal solid which will allow me to use a mottled grey print for the wide outer framing.

I’ll do the framing tomorrow.

Black Rock Beach – III

I spent several hours yesterday working on the thread painting on Black Rock Beach – the sky, the distant shore, the black rocks point, the water near the shore.

Black Rock Beach

I closely stitched the Black Rock Point

Black Rock Point

Then I worked my way toward the foreground

Black Rock Beach III

Standing back from it I can see the curvature of the waves is jarring. The piece would feel more calm were I to straighten out the water movement. That’s a challenge – because I’m not sure I won’t be left with stitch marks I won’t be able to eliminate once I’ve taken that stitching out.

However, I’m going to give it a try because I’m not happy with how the water near the rocky beach is flowing.

A Return To “Black Rocks Beach”

This “staying at home” has my brain befuddled. I was able to feel productive while engaged in face mask production but for the past week I have not been able to settle on a new quilting project or wall art project or any garment making. I’ve whiled away my time with puzzles and following news, a minimal amount of cooking, and an occasional walk but I’ve not been getting anything creative done.

Day before yesterday I put the “Black Rocks Beach” piece (started a year ago!) back on my cutting table. Last spring I concatenated three photos to create the one image. In December/January (I can’t remember when, exactly) I’d got as far as laying in the background sky, far shore, the black rocks, the near shore but stopped short of doing any thread painting.

Two days ago I fused small bits of fabric to indicate the movement of the water near the beach. I think today is the day I pull out my boxes of rayon embroidery thread and start working on water and sky.

Black Rocks Beach

David’s figure is fussy cut and ready to go but not fused to the scene yet – the water has to be thread painted before I can put him in place and thread paint his clothing. This is one of those moments where I have to take a deep breath and just start stitching – there will be no going back, no correcting what I’ve done. Here’s where the art form is unforgiving.

Ready – set – go.

Bargello Table Runner IV

I finally finished the 57″ x 16″ Bargello table runner last evening. It took me several hours over two days to stitch the whole thing in the ditch – that was because I was changing thread colour and having to stitch on the zig-zag.

Bargello Table Runner – Finished

I thought about quilting the piece in the hoop for quite a while – doing an edge-to-edge style of design along the length – but I decided it would detract from the bargello detail. In this case, I also stitched through the backing, which meant I needed to add a binding. I chose a 1/4″ binding on the front but 3/4″ hand stitched down on the back.

The original Bargello piece is also finished – it’s the inverse of the longer table runner with a dark, rather than the light, centre.

Bargello Table Runner I

I’m teaching a class in two weeks on how to improvise a Bargello block and how to think about layout for a table or bed runner, a cushion, a wall hanging, or a quilt. The point will be to understand how the quilting version is derived from wool on canvas work and uses the same math principles.

For the class, I will need to set up another Bargello piece so I can demonstrate forming the tube stitched from 10 strips, cutting, and laying out the Bargello array. Better think about that in the next day or two.

Here are instructions for this table runner –  Download the PDF

Finishing Wall Art

I’ve finally got around to creating instructions for adding borders and piping to a textile wall art panel as well as instructions for hidden bindings.

It took some time because I had forgotten to take photos as I added the borders etc. to the Iris panel last week.

This morning I took a small panel I’d made quite some time ago, removed the backing, and added borders & piping and a hidden binding – and I took pictures along the way to illustrate the process! Finally. I did it because the panel wasn’t really finished and I needed something already assembled (instead of taking the time to construct something new) so I could take photographs as I did the work.

If you’re interested here are links to the PDFs

Iris

Yesterday, I enlarged and printed both the iris and its leaves on fabric then applied some Steam-a-Seam2 Lite (fusible web) to the back so the iris could be fused to the watercolour panel background. Last evening I fussy cut the iris, the bud, and the leaves.

Complete except for hidden binding

This morning I fused the appliqué elements to the panel, then thread painted them, taking care to edge stitch everything so the appliqué won’t lift  over time.

Iris – Thread Painting

Because the appliqué elements are rather small they didn’t want a great deal of stitching but I did want to work in a bit of shading on the leaves and on the flower – not so much that I obscured the shading within the appliqué.

I added a signature along the right side, then applied three border sections – first a narrow inner binding of natural raw silk, then small dotted green piping, last a 3″ purple grunge outer border.

All that’s left to do is add the hidden binding (I do have a small amount of purple grunge left but I’ll see if I can pick up 1/2m more because it’s a very useful colour to have on hand). Once the bindings are attached, I’ll insert a muslin backing and hand stitch the bindings in place on the back.

I will leave the piece as it is – while I can still lift the border to reveal the inner border construction. That will allow me to show the gals how I align the narrow border, and piping as I explain how I do it.

Yet Another Watercolour Piece

So I can demonstrate on Wednesday how I finish a hanging, I had to produce another panel for class. I had a clear idea of what I wanted to construct – a colour shading from dark purple in one bottom corner to very light in the opposite one. That was easier said than done – I had no suitable precut light colour squares; instead, I had to go back to my stash and pull out both large and small cuts of fabric in very pale colours that would blend with the purple range I was building. After considerable hunting and cutting, I was finally able to assemble a complete panel.

Once laid out, I stitched the rows (first sewing the 8″ panels together, then cutting apart each row, starting at one end, sewing and pressing each seam open).

Rows Sewn Together (Back)

Next I stitched the columns, again by cutting apart and sewing each column one at a time beginning on one side.

Columns Stitched, Seams Pressed Open

I pressed the seams open as I went along – first finger pressing, then pressing with the iron.

Completed Panel

I’m now ready to add a fused appliqué to the pale side of the panel – that’s for tomorrow. Once the appliqué is fused and thread painted, I will be ready to demonstrate how to add the three finishing layers on Wednesday.

Watercolour Quilt Workshop

I arrived at the class on Wednesday with my latest watercolour panel completed. I also took along the others I’d done as well as a folder of images I’d compiled from Pinterest to discuss with the gals – pointing out technical decisions evident in each photo.

Garden In Pink

We started by preparing the gridded fusible interfacing – cutting it into working size rectangles, then into 8″ rows – to be able to carry them to and fit them on an ironing board.

I’d come to class with over 2000 precut 2″ squares in a wide range of colours (all sorted into small zippered sandwich bags so the gals would have something to use – I was anticipating they might not have a broad colour selection and I wanted to be sure we had enough precut fabric to work with).

We spent almost all of the day working on developing colour flow. Each panel shaped up into something striking and different from the others – fascinating to watch.

Jean’s

I pitched in as the gals were trying to meld the different parts of their assembly – locating squares from my abundant stash to fill the central gap and draw the panel together.

Faye’s

Once laid out, the squares were fused to the fusible interfacing in sections in preparation for sewing the rows and columns together.

Nancy’s

That was as far as we got on Wednesday. Homework: to stitch the panel completely – first,  sew the rows together, then the columns, with the 1/4″ seams pressed open (to allow the panel to press flat).

Heather’s

Coming Wednesday, we’ll turn these panels into finished art works complete with a signature (which I’ve already prepared on my computer and will bring with me on a memory stick so we can use one of the high-end embroidery machines in Sew With Vision to stitch each out).

We’ll frame each panel with a narrow off-white inner frame, a contrasting piping, followed by a wide, contrasting, outer border. Lastly, we’ll add hidden bindings and a backing fabric. All of that takes as much time, I find, as creating the panel itself.

With the pieces taken that far, I’m gambling the gals will blind stitch the hidden binding at home to complete their hanging. I hate contributing to everybody’s UFO piles – I’m determined these pieces will get done.

Watercolour/Colourwash Pieces – Completed

The finished colourwash panel – complete with inner raw silk border, rust piping and black crackle frame.

Blue Garden With Butterfly

I’m pleased with the colour distribution on this piece and the small butterfly appliqué adds a place for the eye to land.

I undertook a second panel for the class – this time I cut my fusible interfacing grid into 8″ strips, taped them to the cutting table, laid out my squares, fused the squares to the interfacing (easy to do because the strips were narrow enough to carry and place on my ironing board), stitched the three panels together, then continued systematically stitching the small blocks – cutting the interfacing as I went so I could press the seams open (which precludes stitching in the ditch as a finishing quilting).

Garden in Pink

I wanted to add some kind of focus element in the centre of the panel but I didn’t want another butterfly and I didn’t have anything else to place there so I’ve left it as is, for now. Should I come across an idea or an image of something small enough and from the right colour palette I can always remove the backing panel and add it to the work.

Next, in preparation for the Wednesday workshop, I cut a gazillion (around 2000 actually) 2″ blocks in as many shades of dark, light, and medium print fabrics as I was able to find either in my stash or from my local shops. I bought 4″ strips from width of fabric which yielded two 2″ strips – one I set aside in my stash, the other I cut into 20 2″ squares.

I’ve colour sorted all the blocks into sandwich bags placing bags with similar colours in larger ziploc bags so there is some order to this collection. I also cut a 26″ x 24″ panel of fusible interfacing in preparation for the class, and using the grid on the non-glue side as a guide, marked 2″ squares on the glue side so it’s possible to visualize the layout (the grid lines are very difficult to see when I’m working on my dark green cutting surface).

So I think I’m now ready for the Wednesday day-long class. Week 1 we’ll assemble the watercolour/colourwash panel; Week 2 we’ll turn it into a finished textile hanging – inner sashing, piping, outer frame, even an embroidered signature.