Posts

Maples

Cutting into a strip of the botanical prints turned out to be quite liberating. I’m certain there is a psychological term for it but I’ll just stick with ‘progress’ and be happy for it.

I love the shape of a maple leaf and isn’t it wonderful that there are many varieties? Here is a small grouping of very delicate leaves. I have joined them with the last scrap of silk fabric that reveals the twine markings from the cochineal dye bath — see this posting for more explanation — and, on the right side, a piece of silk that I silk screened ten years ago.  Click on the image for a larger view.

Note that these sections are not pieced in the traditional way with a quarter-inch seam. Instead, I overlapped the fabrics by one quarter inch (or less) and used a very narrow zigzag stitch to attach them. This allowed for maximum use of each of the fabrics.

I auditioned quite a few threads for thread painting the leaves and decided on using another variegated hand-dyed pearl cotton that I purchased from Elin Noble. I’m quite happy with the results.

The thread painting went a long way in brightening the leaves. To continue with that idea and bring more balance to the bright silk strip on the right, I chose one of the Nature Colors collection from Superior Threads.

Things are coming together so I am back to work. There are a lot more circles to stitch before this small piece is done. It will measure 12″ x 12″ when completed. Stay tuned.

Precious Metals

I couldn’t resist using the three metals — copper, silver and gold — that I just used for postcards in my next small quilt. I’ve just finished the quilting and I have it prepared to block. Since it’s just 14 inches square right now, it shouldn’t take long to dry.

I’ve already decided that it needs beads. Lots of them. This quilt will be 12″ x 12″ finished.

Textiles and Tomatoes

The moment we stepped outside for our morning walk with the boys I could tell it was going to be a real summer day — you know, the kind of tomato-ripening weather you usually have in July and August. Well, that kind of heat eluded us all summer. But it’s here today and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I approached the vines, basket in hand and picked Sweet 100s and Sun Gold tomatoes.Yum!

After rinsing the tomatoes I headed to the studio.

I emptied another spool of thread and completed the quilting on the Woodwardia Fern piece. This was my third spool-tossing event with this quilt — another reminder of just how big this one is. Because I usually work with many threads and on smaller pieces, I often work for many months without emptying a spool of thread. That plunk in the trash feels like I’ve completed a major chapter in a project — and so I have. Here it is pinned and wet with steam from blocking.

I’m pleased that the unquilted 1/4″ lines show so nicely. During the quilting process I was becoming concerned that they might not be obvious due to the larger-than-normal quilting shapes I used.

I’ll be able to bind it tomorrow and once I have it on my design wall, consider the possibility of additional work. Beads? Paint? or ????  Stay tuned.

WIP – yes, on Friday too

Let’s face it, life is a work in progress and since I shared the news of my Buddha’s Hand on Wednesday — the ‘official’ Work In Progress day — here I am on Friday with an update on the fern project.

Lesson learned: Stitching a snug quilting line around a tone-on-tone color scheme is a killer. Why didn’t I already know that? Perhaps I did but chose to push it into the furthest reaches of my memory banks. Let me just say that I spent more time taking stitching out than it took me to complete the quilting on this single fern image.

Some of my marking lines are visible here but I’m not going to spoil the “how is she going to quilt this?” question yet. I won’t be ready to begin stitching the over-all quilting pattern until I’ve stitched around the remaining 2 fern images. The good news: contrast on the remaining images is high so the quilting will seem like a breeze! Whew. Back to FUN!

WIP — Riffing on 3

Goal:  Connect the 3 individual fern prints in a way that makes them a comfortable, natural threesome. Can we say Three Musketeers? All for one and one for all? 

The first idea came so easily it seemed like a gimme: Combine fabrics from the adjacent prints to fill the gaps in height. I like the simplicity of the check and the fusion it creates. The next challenge took a bit more.  I needed a fabric that would bridge each of the pairs of adjacent prints and I wanted a commercial fabric — no more painting for me. I found the first one in my stash. It’s a piece of Jane Sassaman-designed fabric that a friend gave me a quarter yard of. Lucky me. I cut two 2″ strips and pieced it in.

The second fabric was not in my studio but at the second store I went to.

And here is the completed top:

This is the 3rd quilt I will have created using the woodwardia fern — see the first 2 in my Art Quilt Gallery. This top measures 50″ x 67″ — my largest art quilt to date. It was not planned at all that the quilts would have 1, 2 and then 3 prints in them, it just happened that way. A bit of serendipity I’m enjoying. But I digress.

I’ve been thinking for some time about how I would quilt this piece. My riff on 3 will continue. Stay tuned.

WIP

It’s Wednesday, so this must be a Work In Progress.  This is the second of three Woodwardia Fern fronds I am threadpainting for a new art quilt.  I get these fronds from my friend Jennifer, who has an incredible speciman in her back yard.  (Jennifer and I meet each Monday morning, alternating houses, to practice piano duets.  We laugh that we’ll never make it to Carnegie Hall but we’re having a great time and, in spite of ourselves, we are getting better.)  If a plant that has been printed on fabric can seem happy, that’s what I see here.  In fact, this ones seems to be dancing.

I love the imperfections of this frond and the wide variation in color that was achieved by the spotty layering of fucshia over teal.  Over the surface of this print gradations of pink to purple lurk.  Yum!

The fucshia print is next.  My head is spinning with ideas for how to put the three together. I can hardly wait to see what happens!

Thread Painting

I enjoy all the phases of creating my art quilts, but I particularly enjoy the very beginning of the thread painting.  This is the stage where shapes are becoming more clearly defined, taking on a new personality.  The process, always very meditative for me, is made more so by the patter of the rain I’m hearing on this late June day.  I’m using a DMC 50 wt. cotton. 

As the stitches are applied, a converation begins about the next layer of design.  At this close viewing, the effects of the rice and salt are more completely appreciated.  I want to enhance the primary design of the fern frond but I don’t want to lose the serendipitous secondary design achieved by the rice and salt treatment.  Ahh, the chat continues.