I started this piece on (or about) July 7 2021 – here’s how it unfolded:
I got to the thread painting part and stopped, partly because I wasn’t sure I liked the poppies – I felt they weren’t strong enough although they were the right size to fill the space.
The piece has sat around, face down, until a couple of days ago when I finally picked it up and got to work on it. I’d already picked possible threads for the job, had them all in a plastic bin (which sat on top of the face-down piece). I threaded my machine with the lightest of the green embroidery thread and got to work filling in leaves. That was relatively straightforward; the leaves wanted a bit of texture but nothing more. The poppies were another matter. I wanted to brighten them so I started with a dark purple thread to stitch the outline pencil marks which took some careful stitching. I stood back and looked at the piece – seemed to me right then was the moment to stop. I figured I’d just muddy the whole thing had I attempted to work in the various pinks and mauves. So I’ve left it alone.
I added a batting panel, and backing, and decided to complete the piece with a narrow dark binding. The piece is 18″ x 24″ – large enough without adding wide borders to it. In truth, I just wanted the piece finished and out of my way. It’s been hanging around for six months – the longest I’ve procrastinated on a project.
The piece is not bad; not my best. It’s now finished.
I started the morning by cutting a gazillion 2″ squares of fabric from the many strips and scraps I’d collected which I hoped would help me fill in the background on the wall art piece. I needed a lot (although I didn’t count what I needed but I’m guessing it must have been close to 140 squares (the panel is 16 X 12 = 192).
Then I began laying them out, a few at a time, trying to create some kind of flow to the background.
As you can see the pieces are pinned to the fusible interfacing – I didn’t want to fuse them until I was certain I had the colour flowing as I wanted it – nothing jarring. I still have to walk around it some more before I start pressing the squares in place. Likely on the weekend I’ll get to that.
I didn’t plan it, but I like is the way the dark fills in a slightly off-centred “U” shaped space at the bottom, and when the panel is sewn together and the blocks end up at 1 1/2″ the light colours should blend reasonably well.
So how do I plan to fill the empty space? With a couple of California poppies!
The image looks small but its height is 14″ – the panel will finish at 18″ X 24″ (it’s currently 24″ X 32″) so the flowers in relation to the background will be a better fit. I would print this image on fabric (using my inkjet printer), then fussy cut it carefully before fusing it to the background, and thread painting it in place.
There is another possibility I’ve been working on – I’ve created a machine embroidery of 4 yellow poppies which are also ~ 14″ in height which I could embroider in position directly on the background:
I printed it out, roughly cut it, to see how it would look on the background
Impossible to tell which might be best until I get the background sewn. The current limitation I have is my largest hoop will create an embroidery 360mm in height (just over 14″). If I decide to use the embroidery, I may have to rework it by splitting it in two in order to enlarge it – not sure how well that will go but if the 14″ is too small it’s something I may have to try.
Next step is to fuse the squares in place, then construct the background panel.
I last posted June 22 – just over two weeks ago. Where have the days gone? We’ve had some lovely weather, some not so lovely weather (but I bet folks on the west coast would have given anything to have had a few cool, foggy, misty days – so no complaining).
I’ve been working away at the usual stuff – I was teaching a class on building a table runner/wall art textile piece using “postage stamp” squares. The class was originally scheduled for late April/early May but didn’t happen because of our COVID-19 lockdown. But I’d prepared some samples to illustrate possibilities.
I’d planned a 5 X 5 array but when I’d sewn one of the blocks together (the top block #1) it finished too small to be useful for a table runner – a 7 X 7 array would be better. So I created some instruction for the gals outlining how to prepare for the class, what to bring, etc. I did not add to my samples or create new ones – they could get the idea from what I’d done.
The first day the women chose from their plastic sandwich bags containing their 2″ squares and arranged layouts for their table runners, pressed the squares to a piece of quilters grid fusible interfacing and began sewing the blocks together by stitching the rows, shaving off the fold, pressing the seams open, then stitching the columns, shaving off the fold, and pressing those seams open. The technique gives you perfect joins which you don’t always get if you just sew blocks together in the usual quilting fashion. The interfacing also adds a bit of firmness to the panel which is useful in a table runner.
The class met this past weekend – ten days after the first session – to finish the piece. The gals needed to decide how to put their five blocks together, what kind of sashing to add, and borders to finish the piece. All three of the women got the tops completed, one was able to add batting and backing – she finished the piece using a pillow case finish (laying backing and top right sides together and sewing a 1/4″ seam around the outside leaving an opening for turning the piece right side out).
Another had nearly finished a bed runner – just needed border for the top and bottom ends.
(The third had her top and backing pinned right sides together when we ended the afternoon so I wasn’t able to get a picture.)
In the meantime, I’d started work on a wall hanging:
Only to discover that although I have hundreds of 2″ fabric squares in a wide range of colour, I didn’t have fabric to fill in the light portions of the layout! I’ve had to dig through scrap boxes to come up with more possible fabric bits. My plan is to build a graduated background, then to embroider a large flower of some kind (not another iris, maybe a yellow poppy) to overlay the light side of the layout. However, right now, I’ve got a pile of small light fabric pieces on my cutting table and I’m still walking around them. I hope to return to the piece this weekend.
Because I was stuck I turned to pants making, once more. I had washed, dried, and pressed a piece of beige linen cotton blend fabric and wanted, this time, to make a loose wide-leg pants. I took my previous pants pattern, hauled out a pattern I had for pyjama bottoms, laid one on top of the other aligning the crotch seams, then drafted a new pattern with the higher waist of the pants and the wider legs of the pyjamas.
However, when I put the pants together I made a BiG mistake – I forgot the pattern didn’t need a waistband – because the body of the pants incorporated the waistband – I just needed a waistband facing! But instead I added a waistband and faced it – which of course made the body of the pants too long. They looked dreadful. I was about to throw them out but a friend wanted to try them on. They fit her better but would have still needed adjusting, so I took them back, and the next morning removed the waistband, added back the waistband facing, shortened the legs (which were also too long even with the shortened body).
All I can say is, they’re wearable. They’re comfortable but they certainly make me look like a dumpy old woman! The front fits OK. The back drapes funny so I’m going to have to revisit my “pattern” because I want to make another pair.
So while I haven’t been blogging, I’ve still been sewing, really.