Do you see a theme?

If you have been following along this summer, you will know that I have played with a variety of techniques, but there has been one thing in my mind that I have been heading for…..

SADIE THE SADDLEBILL STORK!!

To refresh your memory, I took a photo of Sadie when we were traveling last year in Mozambique….

Back in December, I collaged the stork and then started working on the background. It took me 4-1/2 tries to get something that I was happy with. When I left you, this is where it was…..’

I had thought that I would work on it some during the 2022 tax season but that was just a pipe dream!!!

I tried couching down a few threads…..

but quickly realized that I didn’t like it and pulled them out again. I mean, what was I thinking when I put them in a row like this??? I do think that I could use this thread to add some highlights.

Anyway, this summer I spent a lot of time on my Botero Flower Garden…..

…loving the look of the dyed cheesecloth as an underlay.

And yesterday I posted about thread painting this meadow…..

So the question for September is “how can I use these two techniques to embellish Sadie’s background??”

I have concerns about both techniques…..

  • The cheesecloth will make the surface rough and I am worried that Sadie wouldn’t be able to lay flat…..especially with her sweet, skinny legs.
  • The fabric may not stand up to the intense thread painting in the 2nd meadow

So, do I need to do some sort of hybrid??

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts?

A little thread painting

As I mentioned in Tuesday’s post, I was asked to finish a couple of pieces that my friend Diane started before her death.

One of these was a thread-painted piece.

Diane had fused fabrics down to create the scene and then started adding some stitching…..

From looking at it, I would guess that she was using a free-motion zig-zag stitch…..

Both of my current machines are straight stitch only so I was a bit concerned about changing the method that she was using!!

But, once I got started, I enjoyed adding interest to the sweet scene!!

The pine trees were greatly enhanced by the fabrics that she had selected….

I was most concerned about the tree on the left. I just wasn’t sure exactly what she was wanting to show here…..

….maybe a sunset where just the outline of the tree showed?

I started out adding some light grey over the black branches, came back in with a bit darker gray, and finally pulled out a green/grey and started scribbling little circles over the black branches.

This is where it came alive…..

…and I am pleased with the final result!!

I did all of the stitching on my Juki Sit-Down Longarm and realize now that the extra power and speed made this much easier.

But, my favorite thing about this piece is the grass in the front field…..

I used four different threads in a gradation from the top to bottom and then added some highlights using a lighter thread…..

Since the top was backed with a heavy stabilizer (which made stitching easy), I didn’t see a reason to add batting and quilting.

I fused a backing fabric to the back and bound it in the same fabric.

I love the final piece…..

….and, typical of Diane, she pushed me to try something new and find out that I REALLY enjoyed doing it!!

The “Botero Flower Field” is FINISHED!!

Yesterday, I talked about quilting the background of the Flower Field quilt, leaving it at this stage…..

Now I needed to figure out how to finish the edges of the quilt. I debated about adding a border to the final quilt but quickly decided that it didn’t need it.

It was time to square up the quilt and I used my laser Square…..

I was surprised about how much the fabric had shifted and skewed during the surface design process.

After it was squared up….

….I had to decide how to finish the quilt edges.

I would have preferred to simply face the quilt but I was afraid that having all of the dimensional stuff along the edges would mean that a facing wouldn’t have turned well.

In the end, I added binding but matched two separate binding fabrics to the top and bottom so that it wasn’t as noticeable. This was a great compromise to facing the quilt.

At long last, the experiment was finished!!…….

It was such a fun process and I look forward to trying something like this again really soon!!!

Now I just have to find a name for the quilt……

ANY SUGGESTIONS???

The quilting of Botero’s Field

Last week, I posted about adding flowers to Botero’s field, and I left it at this stage……

I was very happy with it but felt that it was a bit busy and it didn’t really have the dimension that I was looking for.

As I sat down to quilt it, I decided to heavily quilt the background areas so that the flowers and leaves could come forward.

I picked out a green variegated thread and started stitching. The only rule was that I didn’t go over ANY of the flowers and only over some of the leaves.

It IMMEDIATELY started looking better.

I also added additional quilting along the leading edge of the field……

…..and added some detail to a few of the yarns that had been couched…..

Although the backing fabric hides the stitches, If you look at the back you can see the amount of stitching that I did in the “spaces”…..

It was time to think about the sky and WHAT I was going to quilt there.

The first thing that I wanted to do was to remove the iron-on interfacing that I had fused to the back of the fabric. It was necessary in the field but just added more bulk to the sky.

I carefully…..oh so carefully, peeled the interfacing off and cut it as far down as I could…..

As you can see, it wasn’t neatly done, but it accomplished what I wanted……

When I started looking for threads, I pulled out a bunch of blue but ended up going with one that was more of a violet…..

It seemed to fit well.

I agonized over the quilting, coming up with several ideas but decided that simple was best……

I quilted the sun area with the same design but tried to alter the size somewhat.

So, now it is quilted…….

Come back tomorrow and we will get it finished!!!

The flowering of Botero’s Field

When last I left you, the Fernando Botero-inspired flower field had a lot of brown and green…..

….but like our backyard, was beautiful….but a bit boring…..

It was definitely time to add some punch to this field!!!

I started out by pulling more threads and yarns from my “stash”……

…..and couching them in as “pops” of color…..

I was disappointed to find out that this specialty yarn….

…couldn’t be couched easily. There simply wasn’t anything for the needle and thread to get hold of!!

I added a few more threads and then decided that it was time to put some flowers in this field.

I pulled out a box of hand-dyed offcuts that had been gifted to me…..

….and started cutting circles (similar to the painting inspiration)…..

I liked how it was looking BUT…..

NOW I had to make some decisions….don’t you hate that!!

I had to decide exactly when I was going to start QUILTING on this piece. I was pretty sure that I wanted to flowers to puff a bit which meant that they needed to be quilted rather than thread painted.

I also debated about adding two battings to help achieve that puff and finally decided to add my usual “Hobbs Heirloom Fusible Batting” to the backing fabric and then put a fluffy polyester batting on the top…..

BUT, how was I going to quilt it with all of those pieces loose on the top?

The answer was that “I WASN’T!!

I did use a bit of wonder-under to adhere the purple, stringy flower at the top and it quilted beautifully…..

But, I did manage to knock most of the other flowers off as I quilted this one….

OKAY….this will be a case of “organic flower arrangement”!!!

I used tweezers to position some of the smaller blooms…..

….but most were just quilted where they lay…..

There were some happy surprises along the way, including this yellow center that scrunched up as I quilted…..

PERFECT!!!

I did truly enjoy having my new thread tower sitting next to me as I changed threads again and again and again!!

At the end of this session, this is where the piece stood…..

….and while I LIKE it, I am sure that it needs something else!! Right now it seems too messy and fussy…..too many disparate designs in the same space.

HMMMM….maybe I can fix that with some quilting….

MORE TO COME……