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
I finished the hand work last evening on this project – what started out to be a central motif for a medallion quilt, turned into a wall art piece.
Finished Wall Art Piece
I added the bright, strong narrow outer border and finished with an embroidered signature (on the bottom right side) and hidden bindings. Finished size: 20″ x 24″ – a good size for a wall hanging.
Today, I assembled the blocks for the original lap quilt project – a simple but colourful construction which I began at the sewing retreat. The half-square triangles used in the wall hanging came from the corner offcuts from the quilt blocks so you can tell how small the half-square triangles really are.
My intention is to add a 3″ light grey border using one of the paler fabrics from the panel with no narrow border but I’ll see over the weekend when I get back to this whether that will seem right, or not.
Same fabrics, two very different feels. That’s what I love about working with textiles – I’m never sure how any project will turn out – I start with an idea, a stack of fabrics I think will work together, and see what emerges.
This project is totally unexpected – I thought I was starting a much larger quilt by building a central block on which I was going to improvise further. The responses I got to the panel were interesting, however – suggesting this was a complete piece as it was.
Worth considering. If it was a piece on its own it still felt unfinished to me – I thought it needed another narrowish border. After auditioning quite a few fabrics from my stash I decided this wild, vibrant batik (which I used in the blocks themselves) was precisely what the emerging piece needed.
I mitred the corners because if this is a wall art piece it needs the finesse of mitres and I’ve overcome the butted piecing of the grey border by stitching in the ditch in both directions creating the illusion of squares in the corners.
I’m not finished stitching in the ditch – I stitched the borders and began on the diagonals. I will continue that tomorrow, emphasizing the squares on-point and the triangles.
It’s so interesting how I start in one direction and find I’m actually going in another – totally unexpected, and yet interesting. It’s about colour, it’s about shape, it’s about visual impact.
I’m not going to do a standard quilt binding – definitely a hidden binding since the outer border stands comfortably alone. The challenge will be establishing a seam allowance that successfully fudges the slight shortfall in a few spots and yet manages to catch the border fabric so it won’t pull out and fray and leave enough width to the border for it to look even.
We’ll see where this goes.
Just on the phone with a very close friend who thought my medallion panel was striking just as it is – make an effective wall art piece, she thought.
Medallion Quilt – Centre
I certainly wasn’t seeing it that way – in my head I was working on something much larger. Now I have to rethink the whole thing. Maybe just one more border in a darker grey to finish it off?
This past couple of weeks I’ve been teaching a class on improvising wall art and I’ve been working on four Skinny Quilts/Banners myself as part of that project. The other day when I finished embellishing each panel (although I still have to bind each one), I thought about another project that might interest the gals.
Last spring I attempted a watercolour quilt – made from many 2″ blocks cut from small print floral fabrics to use the colour in the squares to “paint” a canvas. I have many bags filled with 2″ squares (light, medium, dark) and thought this might be an idea to interest the women.
I laid out an array (9 x 12) creating a colour flow across the surface, stitched the pieces together and took it to class yesterday to share with the women. Today, I decided to finish the piece with a narrow inner border, a piped border, and a wider dark border. I’ve added a hidden binding and backing – I just need to do the hand stitching to tack the binding in place.
The photo doesn’t do the panel justice – the prints are all quite sharp and showcase the colour flow rather better than the photo would suggest. Looks like this might be a go for January. The women all thought it would be fun to attempt something like this.
Drove yesterday to Parrsboro, NS to set up a show of 22 quilts and wall art pieces which will hang in the Art Lab Studio and Gallery until August 30.
I’m always amazed at what my work looks like when hanging together like this – I can see just how much I accomplished in a year.
The reaction of the visitors yesterday at the opening was encouraging – people were interested in how I constructed the wall art, particularly those pieces with photo elements printed on cotton.
It seems the favourite pieces, they got a lot of attention, are the modern “flower” appliqué hangings. I thought the “banner” pieces might generate interest but the flowers seem to be winning out.
Until I saw the show hanging, I hadn’t realized how much turquoise featured in my work this year. It shows up in quite a few of the quilts and hangings as a highlight colour.
I finished thread painting yesterday afternoon. I added a muslin backing and hidden binding. This morning I hand stitched the hidden binding in place. After all this time (I actually started this raw-edge appliqué piece on May 17, 2018) I have it completed – absolute done!
Tropical Flowers – Finished!
The project sat around for months while I worked on other things. I started thread painting this piece on Jan 8, 2019 because I was teaching a class on thread painting and had to have something to work on myself. I got into the thread painting seriously after Jan 17 – when I completed the framing (I’d done that early in the process because I wanted the women in the thread painting class to see how I go about finishing my work). I spent time filling in leaves, then flowers. In the beginning, each leaf took a day or three to complete.
I was sure I’d taken on more than I’d expected when I started out. But as days went by I could see I was making headway. Jan 20 – one leaf finished; Jan 22 – a second leaf; Feb 11 – I got back to the piece (after working on some new quilts and planning two wall art pieces) and finished an Anthurium; Feb 12 – more progress; Feb 13, Feb 17, Feb 18, Feb 20 – I continued thread painting elements until yesterday when I stitched the last of the Plumaria!
People often ask – “How long did a particular piece take”? It’s not a simple question. As you can see, I started this piece on a whim back in May, it sat around for several months before I returned to it. The thread painting was slow going to start with but as I made progress I was able to stick with it for longer. When nearing the end I worked on and completed elements in a single sitting (although I felt tension in my neck and upper back).
You can’t see the thread painting in the upper photo – here are photos of the detailed work:
Epiphyllum – Detail
Plumaria – Detail
Anthurium – Detail
I feel a weight lifted having finally completed this work. The gals in the thread painting class are meeting again on March 5 – my piece is done. We’ll spend time that day working on framing and finishing, even if their thread painting isn’t completed. I want to create motivation for finishing their projects.
Tomorrow I’m going to return to Poppies which I began Feb 4. Time to get back to that and to Two Men in Cortona.