I still have to stitch the hidden binding on the back but other than that, this project is finished. Yesterday I’d finished applying the piping and border only to realize I’d forgotten the light inner “matte”! Having cut the piece to size I wasn’t going to take it apart and rework it. Besides, the contrast between piping/border makes the image itself pop quite nicely.
I’m definitely happy with how the gals worked out on the bench and that I was able to show their bums on the seat. Not obvious in the photo is the shadow under and behind the bench which grounds the gals – it’s much more obvious in the piece itself.
I’ll work on the hand stitching later this afternoon. That’s it for “portrait” wall art pieces for now. Time to move on to more garment sewing.
This is the second piece I decided to work on. I photographed the bench on the beach at Huntington Point in 2007. I’ve always wanted to turn it into a textile piece but it needed people sitting on the bench.
A couple of summers ago I was doing the day trip thing with a friend. We stopped at the Tangled Garden near Wolfville and I people watched. There were a couple of young women sitting on chairs near a picnic table. I asked if I could rearrange their chairs and photograph them from behind. I’ve been playing around with the relative size of the gals and the bench to get the proportions in balance. I’m close. Although now that I’ve mocked up the sky, the bay, the faint line of shore in the distance (needs to be much narrower than the strip I’ve got place holding it), the rocky beach and the grass, I think the bench and the women need to be a bit larger for the image to work as I imagine it.
Next steps: add fusible web to the pieces of fabric, trim them to size; thread paint the setting, print the gals and the bench to size, fussy cut them and place them in the scene. To make the image work, I need to build the shadow cast by the women and the bench coming toward the foreground (the direction of the shadow dictated by the position of the sun on the young woman’s hat). I don’t know whether to do that with permanent markers or ink pencils – I’ll have to experiment before I decide.
Now I really need to get on with that wedding gown!
The piece is finished — well, almost. I think I want to take apart the bottom right corner and see if I can straighten it just a wee bit. I may not be able to, but I think I have to try.
I’m pleased with how the work turned out. You have the impression of the dried seaweed blown against the driftwood log and the dried grasses on the gravel beach itself. You can see the headlands recede into the distance with the sun illuminating the top of the nearest ridge.
The colours in the piping bring out the blues and golds from the image and the very dark navy frame lightens it. From a distance, the log glows because it’s sun bleached.
My next job is to make some adjustments to a beaded lace wedding dress — take up the shoulder straps a tiny bit, replace the skintone mesh in the front cleavage slit with a longer piece (bringing the two edges a smidgeon closer together), finally cut the train from the two underskirts leaving just the lace and tulle train at the back and hemming the underskirts. That’s for 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.
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 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.
I wasn’t intending to carry on with the “fish” but I’m stuck with the quilt I started so I went to work on another “fish” piece.
Because I’d cut bindings from the leftover piece of purple ombre, the leftover piece was a bit shorter than I wanted it to be, so I added some batik to the dark bottom end of the purple and filled in with seaweed-like shapes.
Not so many fish this time, they’re more spaced out, with one behind the seaweed (which meant I had to stitch it in place before fusing the seaweed to the panel. The other fish are just laying in place for now – I don’t know precisely where I will put them, I’ll know that after thread painting the seaweed elements.
I worked away at my machine yesterday, edge stitching the seaweed then adding three seaweed embroideries for texture. Late last evening, I fused the remaining fish in place.
Next will be to edge stitch the remaining fish and add an eye to each. Again, I think I’m not going to do any background stitching, I like the water-like flow in the ombre print and don’t want to interfere with it.
OK. This really is the last of the fish pieces. REALLY.
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.
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.