Taking a break for a moment – thread painting tightens the muscles in my neck and shoulders – I need to stop from time to time to exercise a bit, sit with a hot magic bag, until the tension in my body subsides and I can resume sewing.
The Epiphyllum leaf is done – I’m not going to do any more on it – I’m leaving the medium green unstitched.
Next is the Plumaria leaf at the top. Once that is done, I will have all the Plumaria flowers to do! Four clusters which I expect will take a couple of days. But then the piece will be done!
Because the framing has been finished, all that will remain will be to back the piece. Then I can to return to the Poppies and the Two Men in Cortona….
I finished shading the pale grey areas of the first Epiphyllum yesterday; completed the edging in off-white this morning. This Epiphyllum is done – phew!
Epiphyllum 1 – Completed
Epiphyllum flowers come in a variety of shades from white to quite striking red. I chose to interpret the Epiphyllum above as a soft pink – shading the petals from fairly dark to quite pale leaving the white highlights without stitching.
In case you’re interested here is some information on Epiphyllum – orchid cactus. Epiphyllum is a genus of 19 species of epiphytic plants in the cactus family), native to Central America.
My friend Marlene has a couple growing in her greenhouse – the blooms are short lived – the bud takes quite a while to mature but it opens and dies in one night – a wonderful sight. Because these blooms open at night, nocturnal creatures, such as moths and bats, are responsible for pollinating the flowers.
This Epiphyllum (also now completed) represents a pink one.
Epiphyllum 2 – Completed
I’ve started working on the two remaining large leaves now. They will both go quite quickly because the shading consists of quite long stitching runs that connect easily – this makes the stitching straightforward, unlike with the flowers where I had to plan the stitching so the short runs would flow from one spot to another. I’ve been working for two hours this morning – I’ve stopped for now. I hope to get back to the leaf I’ve begun, later this afternoon.
I wasn’t planning on working on this anthurium but I had the medium pink thread on the machine so I started stitching. Once that colour was filled in, it just made sense to carry on with the pale pink and then finally the white. My plan was to fill in the grey using colour and I think the shading works well.
To see the contrast, here is the panel before I’d done any thread painting – you can see this anthurium is almost entirely shades of grey. In the finished flower, a hint of grey is still apparent but the overall sense of the flower is rose pink.
Tropical Flowers – Before Thread Painting
I’ve made headway with the epiphyllums as well – here’s the lower one with the darker greys thread painted with the deep rose thread pair. Maybe later this afternoon (its a full-blown blizzard outside – not leaving the apartment today) I’ll get back to it.
Epiphyllum – Thread Painting In Progress
It really is a blizzard – visibility is much worse than the photo below suggests – I can’t really see the trees across from the parking lot. It’s turning to freezing rain – I can hear ice pellets hitting my windows. Expected to continue as freezing rain until this evening when the temperature will get above freezing but there won’t be much melting until Friday/Saturday when it will be warm enough to rain (which is forecast).
This is winter life in Nova Scotia – freezing rain followed by snow followed by freezing rain – makes for very hazardous driving conditions. Everything is cancelled today – no school, no university, the games centre is closed, and on and on. Good thing my freezer is stocked – lots of soup and chili. Just keeping my fingers crossed the power stays on!
I spent the morning working on this wall hanging again. Finished Anthurium 1 – adding the white and finishing the pistil:
Anthurium 1 Done
Completed Anthurium 2 as well, then began work on the Epiphyllum. I’ve started to stitch in the darker grey with the mid-plum/pink colour; the lighter grey will be a soft pink, finishing with a slightly pink white.
Anthurium 2 Done; Started on Epiphyllum
There’s a second Epiphyllum that’s printed in pinks – the colour choices for that flower are straight forward.
Then, I want to get to the two large green leaves – they’ll be fairly easy to stitch and then it will feel like I’m close to home although those frangipani clusters will take quite a bit of time because they’re small and each stitch run will be short which means a lot of twisting and turning while I’m sewing.
However I’m beginning to see an end to this project – although not likely by the date I’ve set up for the last class meeting day in early March.
I’ve been trying to track down another seam ripper clipper to have at my embroidery machine and they’re hard as hen’s teeth to locate and get to Halifax. I bought my original online at Nancy’s Notions in Wisconsin – the tool isn’t expensive but the cost of getting one here is prohibitive! It got me thinking about what are my essential quilting tools.
Essential Quilting Tools
Here they are:
a seam ripper clipper – it has a small but sturdy/strong point that easily slips under a 2.5mm stitch and fits nicely in my hand. Insert it under a stitch and when you continue pushing, it cuts the stitch on the sharpened interior edge below the point. I needed it yesterday when I had to take out 1000+ quilting stitches to redo the quilting. It’s a must have tool – way better than a conventional seam ripper because there’s less likelihood of cutting the fabric
a self threading needle – I like to leave tails when I start and end embroideries/quilting which I then embed in the sandwich. A self threading needle with an open back end is easy to thread – place it in the fabric, push the threads into the open eye, pull thread through and trim
very sharp small scissors– useful for lots of tasks including trimming threads close to the fabric; definitely essential when I’m doing appliqué work
fine pointed 3.5″ tweezers– I can’t manage without these – they’re perfect for grabbing the pulled up bobbin thread when I’m starting a seam – I always have a pair right at hand at each of my machines. Perfect for pulling out loose threads when I’ve taken out a quilted seam.
Frixion heat erase pens – I just finished the internal panel of the double convergence quilt I’m currently working on. I was doing an edge-to-edge quilting with three different embroideries adjusted to fit the quilt – I had to do a lot of marking to position the starts and ends of the embroideries/quilting elements. Press the panel and the markings disappear (I’m guessing they would reappear were I to take the quilt out into below zero weather or put it in the freezer….)
These are my five essential quilting/sewing tools; can’t function without them. I highly recommend having one of each at each machine in your sewing space.
Yesterday I finished a second leaf. For the moment I’ve left the medium teal unstitched and I think I like how it looks. I’ve covered the grey with the light teal thread and the dark areas are stitched but I like the texture leaving the medium coloured area as is, for now, at least.
Next I will tackle the red/pink anthuriums – they will actually be a bit easier to work on because the colour moves in a way that will make the stitching flow. Probably not today, though. This morning I went back to the double convergence quilt top.
One leaf done – a second underway and weeks of work left 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.
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.
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….