A free creative morning….

Yesterday morning I set 3 hours aside for creative ventures and I was scared stiff!!

WHY is that such a scary proposition??

I knew the project that I wanted to play with, but it is something that I have never tried before and that scares me to death!!!

It shouldn’t but it sure does!!

OKAY….here is the project!!

During COVID days, one of our guild members (Sharon) took an online course from Michelle Mischkulnig of Chelle Textiles. In that class, she created this amazing threadwork scarf…..

I fell in love with it and immediately got onto the website and started reading about her process. She uses a water-soluble Vilene as the base for all of the stitching. The Vilene is sticky on one side, so the idea is to place lots of threads, yarns, and embellishments on the sticky side of the Vilene and then place another piece over the top, sticking the two stabilizers together with all of the bits in the middle. Then you quilt like mad to connect all of the bits and pieces. When the stabilizer is washed out, it leaves a lovely lacy scarf.

Now, I didn’t really want to make a scarf but I loved the idea of using this technique.

THE INSPIRATION…….Back in April, I posted this photo of a Botero painting and said that I found it inspiring…..

…but could I use this new technique to make some similar??

My first decision was to not work directly on the Vilene but to use a piece of dyed cheesecloth as my base. I was originally thinking about a green background for the bottom but found a piece that was already dyed brown and decided to just use it…..

I adhered the stabilizer to one side of the cheesecloth…..

My first plan was to cover this piece of cheesecloth with lots of threads and other bits…..

…but I quickly realized that I wanted to STITCH these on and not just lay them down. So I sat down to stitch.

But then I got worried and decided that I needed to make a test piece first. So I prepared a smaller piece and started stitching…..

….only to find out that the fabric bunched up a lot with the stitching.

I added a 2nd piece of stabilizer to the back and that made all the difference….

With the big piece double stabilized, it was time to start some stitching, and MAN was it fun…..

I started with a variegated green thread and put the pedal down and FLEW across the piece. It was so freeing to stitch with such abandon!!

I did have to stop once when my needle got gunked up with the adhesive, but a quick clean with an alcohol wipe solved that problem….

At the end of my scary creative time, I had this to show……

Where am I going next with this?

THAT question makes my head hurt!!

Come back for more and, if you have suggestions, PLEASE pass them on!!

Meadow Play

Don’t you just love it when you finish a project, and especially when you feel like you did a good job!!!

This past weekend I spent several hours doing the last of the hand embroidery and yesterday I called the Meadow Art piece complete!!!

The final thing to do was to put it in a frame. I had bought a reclaimed wood frame from Amazon a few days back and was so excited to see it ready to hang……

This has been a fun project and one that has opened my eyes to ways of adding texture and depth. There is another design in this book that uses architectural designs and I can see lots of possibilities in it as well.

So what’s next??? Today I start quilting on the Brown Stripe quilt and then I need to look back on my “Inspiration Day” to see where I want to head next!!

Practice makes…..one crazy!!!

The last step on my Meadow Art project is to add the daisies. In my last blog installment about this project, I showed some of my attempts and concluded that the best way to do them was to do the initial work on the machine and then use embroidery floss to finish the petals (#4).

THEN, I started thinking about using Perle cotton in the bobbin and working the flowers from the back. The first few attempts were not successful as I didn’t have the tension set correctly……

I kept changing settings until it looked like this…..

Those are better and would work for another type of flower, but not for these daisies!!

I made several other tries using a smaller Perle cotton (size 5) in the needle but it just didn’t look right.

In the end, I moved back to my plan of machine work under and hand-work over.

I decided to color in the centers to give me an idea of exactly where I wanted the flowers to fall…..

….. and then stitched the first five flowers on the machine The two on the left have been finished completely with hand stitching and centers stitched……..

They are not nearly as good as the ones on the sample, but they do look good on the piece. I also noticed that the ones on the sample have some shading on certain sides of the petals so I am going to explore that further before I finish the artwork.

The important thing is that I am still enjoying this process and am already starting to think of other ideas that I want to do in this same format!!

Too many ideas

Do you ever feel like you have so many ideas at one time, that you just want to do all of them…..at the same time?

That was me on Friday evening.

I knew that Saturday was completely free for me to be creative and it was almost overwhelming to try to figure out what I wanted to do…….

  • I needed to make a new mask (since I apparently dropped mine in the Kohl’s Parking lot).
  • I have two quilts that are ready for quilting and “FINALLY” I have an idea AND am excited about doing them.
  • I want to finish the next step on my Mystery Quilt but want to video one of the processes as I do it
  • Since I spent Friday playing with thread painting flowers, I am now ready to move forward on my Meadow Art
  • And, to add another level of creative tension, I just found a video series on operating our new camera and, when I watched for 10 minutes, I learned 4 new things!!!

The first thing that I did on Saturday morning was to go for an early 2 mile walk….in the dark!! As I walked, I listened to a podcast entitled “Calming an Overwhelmed Brain”…..it just popped up on my suggestion list which is a little bit eerie!!

The first thing that the host said was that FOCUS stood for…….

Okay….what can I take away from this??

As I entered my studio, I decided that to maintain any focus, I needed to tidy up a bit…..

Once I had things neater, I decided to pull the batting and backing for my two quilts and at least get them ready to baste.

Next was to make the replacement mask…..that didn’t take long.

With a couple of the “tasks” off of my list, it was time to get interested in the Meadow Art project again!! I had purchased this book…..

….and on Friday I had spent some time playing with the flowers designs……

As you can see, they did improve as I went along!!!

Her suggestion in the book was to work without a presser foot…..

…. but the stitches often wouldn’t catch the bobbin thread so I ended up with a free-motion foot instead. The daisies are supposed to be done in a series of long stitches, quickly moving the fabric back and forth as you take SUPER slow stitches…..

I was NOT good at this technique!!!

Then I started drawing the petals with short stitches (#1 and #2) but those didn’t look great either.

For #3, I pulled out embroidery floss and did it by hand. It looked better but still fairly sparse.

Then I got the idea for #4….. machine sew the stitches and then over-sew them by hand with floss. Ding….ding…..ding…..ding…..we have a winner!!!

So, back to Saturday……

I now decided that I wanted my “focus” for the rest of the day to be on the Meadow Art…..adding the “buttercups”.

These were done by taking a small piece of yellow organza and sewing over it using a “whip” stitch. This stitch is made by tightening the top tension to it’s highest level and loosening the bobbin tension, which allows the bobbin thread to pull thru to the top……

Many of these were stitched over a small piece of yellow organza……

After I was happy with the number of these flowers, I went back in and added a few more “grass” lines over some of the flowers so they would recede to the background.

At this point in the day, my creative brain was fried!!! But I have to say that I am thrilled with the look so far……

Oh, I did spend another 20 minutes with the Camera video but there is SO much to learn and I realized that I need to take it in VERY small bites!!!

So “Creative Saturday” is now in the books and, all in all, it was a good one!!!

Putting the meadow on hold

On Friday I added a few more lines of stitching to the Meadow and declared the background to be finished……

…..and then decided that I wanted to darken some parts of the sky a bit……

I am ready to start adding the embroidered flowers, but feel like I need a bit more instruction before I start them. To that end, I have ordered a book TWO booksto teach me how to do the machine embroidered flowers, but they wont be here for another 10 days or so…..

……SO…. I am placing the Meadow on hold until then!!!!

I am sure that I can find something else to work on between now and then!!!!