Recuperation is great for mindless sewing tasks such as sewing on quilt bindings. I actually got two largish quilts done since my surgery – Damask and Denim and Trip Around Columbus. It helped that the bindings were already made, so I just had to machine, then hand stitch them.
I quilted most of Damask and Denim (44 by 55 inches) with a golden yellow cotton thread, though I used a pale blue in the diamond interiors. The binding is a soft gray small print.
Trip Around Columbus was made from an Art Gallery pattern, and features many fabrics I made in a painted dye workshop. I had it quilted by a longarm quilter as the size (55 inches square) was just too large for me to deal with, especially after Damask and Denim. It’s bound with what I think is home dec fabric that was given to me. I also used some of it as part of the backing.
You can see how it crinkled up after washing and drying. I used a bamboo batting.
I have heaved a sigh of relief that these large projects are done, though they are no longer my excuses for postponing a piece that will require a lot of thinking and planning. It’s to be a map quilt of the Ohio and Erie Canal near my house. I’ve found archival photos that I hope to print on fabric. Right now I’m worrying over how best to do that, and have ordered supplies for different approaches – transfer printing and direct printing on fabric. I’m even considering a new printer, though I spent yesterday agonizing over reviews of various options. Some reviewers have had horrible experiences, which I’d prefer to avoid. If you have any recommendations, let me know.
A pentimento (plural pentimenti) is an alteration in a painting, evidenced by traces of previous work, showing that the artist has changed his or her mind as to the composition during the process of painting. The word is Italian for repentance, from the verb pentirsi, meaning to repent. (Wikipedia)
I have no idea how common it is for quilters to rework their quilts, but I decided to redo one abstract landscape mixed media piece I made in 2016. It’s made partly with fabric and partly with painted tissue paper coated with gel medium. There’s no batting; it’s quilted onto rayon/wool felt.
“Golden” was the last piece I made as part of my master class with Elizabeth Barton. Her comments were: “Love the sense of light in this one too…but be careful dividing the picture plane in two….perhaps consider adding another section on the left? it feels like it “drops off” a bit there. I usually suggest cropping but this time I think a little more would be a better solution – and we’d have more! the colors of the abstracted landscape are really beautiful…and the textures..
actually when you get a little added on the left, you might consider cropping the top v.v. slightly….just so you get as much depth in the middle as possible.”
I began by attempting to create a new section for the left side, but found nothing that worked after about a week of frustration. Then, I thought I’d make the left side smaller by cutting off a chunk and adding it to the right side. I also added a strip of tissue paper fabric to give a crisp vertical line, and cut off about 3 inches from the top.
To finish it off I created a binding on three sides using Sue Bleiweiss’ almost no sew technique.
The results? I like it better than the original, but I wish I hadn’t cut off so much from the top. Oh well, too late now. That piece has become part of what I created from my unsuccessful attempts to make a new left side. It’s not quite done, but close I think.
The last of my bullseye quilts is now complete, and I like to think it’s the best of the bunch. If nothing else, it had the longest maturation time of any.
Here’s the final Bullseye Bubbles (25.5 by 33.5 inches.)
Once the green organza additions began, I felt the need for more bubbles, this time in purple, and spent much time rearranging all those shapes.
After I had them all fused down I worked on a quilting design. I printed a photo of my top in B&W and put a clear page divider over it. Then, I used a dry erase marker to try out quilting designs. Talk about high tech!
Did I make changes? You bet. I needed more bubbles, so I quilted them after I had finished the swirly bits. Are they lovely, round, even bubbles? No, not even close. But that didn’t stop me from adding more.
I’m over bullseyes for a while, but I’ve learned never to say never.
Actually, I should call them carryovers from 2017 finishes.
The second bullseye quilt is now done. “Crazy Bullseyes” (25 by 36 inches) used up some of my blue green scraps and a yard piece of fabric I bought for the heck of it.
The second finish is for a Chinese Year of the Dog art quilt group challenge. I don’t have a dog, so I looked to outer space for inspiration. In this case I traced the Canus Major constellation, which is home to Sirius, the dog star. I discussed this piece in another post, but here’s “Siriusly” again.
I began to quilt the third (and last) bullseye quilt this month, and started an improv abstract piece to avoid the boring task of sewing in hanging sleeves.
My excuse for the improv piece was I needed to test out my new (used, actually) portable Pfaff sewing machine before the 2 month warranty ran out. So far, so good. My old portable sewing machine keeps requiring repair, which sets me back at least $100 each time, and the used machine cost $300. So, I plan to donate my old Elna to the sewing machine shop for them to fix and give to a local charity.
While I was at the sewing machine shop I browsed the newest fancy machines and suffered sticker shock. The idea seems to be to remove all thinking from the sewing process, just push a button and follow the laser line. Sorry, I’m a piece of tape on the machine bed kind of sewer.
Heart In Gold
My nemesis was lurking in my threads box waiting for the day I would need a glittery silver thread. That day arrived when I chose a galaxy for a Chinese Year of the Dog quilt challenge. I’ve never owned a dog so I don’t have a burning desire to capture my fur person in fabric. I’m OK with dogs, but don’t turn to mush over them.
Instead, I decided to do an outline of the Canus Major constellation, which contains Sirius, the dog star. I FMQed glittery synthetic black organza to a piece of navy cotton, and then outlined the constellation using my mother’s tracing wheel and paper.
The constellation of Canis Major and nearby open clusters and nebulas.
My problems began at this point. I wanted to use a silver metallic thread over the outline, but had only a Sulky thread called Holoshimmer in the right color. Since I didn’t see this challenge piece as a work of art I had no intention of buying additional supplies. Holoshimmer it was.
Even after following the helpful hints on the Sulky website I had issues with the thread. I was using a jeans stitch to outline the constellation and that went OK except for one thread wrap-around that broke the thread. The real issues started with the zigzag edge stitching. Despite the vertical thread stand, stitching slowly, and 50 weight bobbin thread; the Holoshimmer insisted on wrapping itself around all the openings on my machine, causing the thread to break many times. I finally ended up hand feeding it through my tension discs to remove tangles. Never have I been so glad to see the starting point of a stitch line. The spool of thread is now in the trash.
Everything after that was anticlimactic. I sorted through my Swarovski crystals to find appropriate colors and sizes. and glued them on for the stars in Canus Major. Because the piece is so small I made a backing for it out of a painting experiment. I found that my Decor bond had lost most of its adhesiveness. I didn’t think it was that old. My mother’s tracing paper from the 1960s held up much better.
Finally, I stitched the black part to the backing at the corners. My plan to sew on some fabric stars was thwarted when I couldn’t find them. I know they’re in my sewing room … somewhere.
At this point I declared “Siriusly” done.
Frigid temperatures have discouraged me from gadding about, so I’ve been busy in my work room and have two finishes to show for it. You’ve seen them before in their unfinished states, but I trust they are now done, or done enough to suit me.
“Not Quite Nancy” is the last of my Nancy series. It took a lot of time to quilt as I decided to do crossed curving lines a half inch apart. Never again.
I decided I like it best with a horizontal orientation. It’s not my favorite of the series even though its boldness is in my wheelhouse.
Another series carryover from 2017 is “Bloodshot Bullseyes,” one of my three responses to an Ohio SAQA challenge. I created eight curved piecing quarter squares with scraps and sewed them to felt.
The ribbon on the sides has been lurking in my trims box for a few years, so I was delighted to put it to work. I also did a bit of beading in the bullseye centers. Beading is right up there with dainty embroidery in my most disliked embellishments list. That is, I dislike doing them. When other people do them well they’re lovely.
I have at least two more tops to quilt (more of the bullseye series) before I can really dig into new work. In the meantime I’ll be working to improve my photography skills or at least my equipment. I’m waiting on the lights now.