Green Woman #9 – I’ve got a top!

May 21, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Posted in Fiber Art, Patchwork | 2 Comments
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Last time I was preparing to attach all the tiny bits to the quilt top. I’ve already talked a bit about choosing the right fabric, so here’s an example. The spiral in the middle of this section gave me a bit of a headache:

The primary colour of the fabic on the left is a sand tone, with some browns and a red mixed in, resembling a marbled paper. A good fit in theory, but I couldn’t find a position to put my shape on that really convinced me. Here it is somewhat getting lost against the lighter fabric in the background. So I made a second try, this time with a brown fabric that is much less structured. Admittedly, in the picture it now looks like it’s getting lost against the darker browns on the right side of the background, but the spiral part itself is now more visible. I thought about that one for quite a while, but ultimately went with the right version.

That done, more cutting and tracing ensued, and I kept finding bits and pieces in the picture I had missed. But finally, all the coloured pieces were there:

Green Woman - all the coloured bits added

To get the final positioning right, I definitely needed the white foreground as well, so I proceeded to cut and trace that. Here she is with everything cut out and pinned down in its hopefully final position:

Green Woman - foreground in position

The bondaweb needs to be ironed on using a damp cloth, and of course the pins need to be removed first, so the ironing part was going to be a delicate operation. I had started to make a detailed plan for the order in which the ironing needed to be done, but somewhere midway I realized that it was actually easier to keep everything where it belongs if I did it all in one go. It doesn’t help that mistakes on that step are very hard to fix. I know why I usually prefer thread to glue! In the end, the only visible mistake is in a place where I did the step-by-step method and didn’t take the existing pieces properly into account when adding the new one. It’s not very visible, though, at least with a bit of distance. So, here she is, looking much closer to done now:

Green Woman - finished top

At the moment, she’s still hanging there, while I’m back to sampling. I need to figure out how to get the lady quilted! The quilting needs to do two jobs – first, all those raw edges need to be secured in some way, second, quilting gives me the opportunity to draw on top of the picture with needle and thread and add some structure. But more on that next time.

 

SAL Update: Prism Owls #7

May 10, 2020 at 6:58 am | Posted in Embroidery | 11 Comments
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Today it’s a game of “Spot the Difference”, since I put this project away for a bit shortly after the last update. I needed the space on my craft table for my Green Woman quilt, so the owl had to go into hiding for the moment.

So, here’s last time:

Prism Owls - 2020-04-19

And today:

Prism Owls  - 2020-05-10

I did get a few stitches in on the eyes, but am concentrating on the pupils for now, so it’s not very visible.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda, Sherrie and Helen.

 

Green Woman #8 – Decisions, Decisions

May 3, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Fiber Art, Patchwork | 3 Comments
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So, my delivery of Bondaweb and grey cotton thread finally arrived, so I’m officially out of excuses for not working on this. Still no progress on the actual quilt, since decision making needs to come first. After deciding to use Bondaweb to attach the white, I am also going to use it for all the small foreground bits and pieces, since there’s no need to introduce yet another technique for that. So, I copied those pieces on transparent paper:

Green Woman 8/01

(There’s some missing in that version, I found and added them later.) The advantage to transparent paper is that it’s trivial to then copy things to the backing paper of the bondaweb, which needs to be done mirrored. In selecting fabrics for these pieces I need to be careful not to go too much after the source image, but also to take the actual colours in the quilt into account. Frustrated by the lack of space to see everything, because I need the work table to cut and sort fabrics and trace things, I put up my improvised design wall today (an old flannel sheet in front of my bookcase) and stuck the lady there. Here she is, with the first of the itty bitty parts (roughly) attached:

Green Woman 8/02

This solution gives me the space I need, also she’s looking at me very ominously all the time, which makes it more probable that I actually work on her. The ironing on of all the Bondaweb-backed parts will need to be done in one go, since things are sitting over and under each other, and also need to be fairly precisely positioned. Getting that right will be fiddly, but first I need to prep everything.

Another thing I needed to try out was how to create the spirals of hair on top of the white. I was thinking to needle felt them, and I already had the equipment for that around from last year’s Raksura Colony Tree project, although I had never used it. So I gave it a try on the sample:

Green Woman 8/03

This one has a thin layer of red on top of a thin layer of brown. Worked well for a first try. Looking at the backside, I realized that needlefelting is definitely something to do before attaching the backing, because here’s the backside of that spiral:

Green Woman 8/04

The felting needle pushes lots of tiny fibers through the top and batting, which makes sure the wool is attached really well, but wouldn’t look nice on the back of a finished quilt. It’s one of those things that seems logical once you’ve seen it, but I was surprised for a moment!

I made a second try, trying to mix the brown and red wool a bit better and twisting the colours around each other:

Green Woman 8/05

I like this look much better than the first one. Definitely workable.

But then, with the decision to do everything with Bondaweb, why not cut the spirals directly from the white and let the background show through? I’m currently leaning in that direction in order to not make things more complicated than they need to be. I think I will explore incorporation needle-felted elements into my quilts further at some point, though, since the process is pretty fun!

Maybe next time I’ll actually have attached something to the quilt?

 

SAL Update: Prism Owls #6

April 19, 2020 at 6:28 am | Posted in Embroidery | 17 Comments
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Last update I had the green feathers filled in and just made a start on the pink eyebrows:

Prism Owls - 2020-03-29

Got quite a bit done this time, the eyebrows are almost finished!

Prism Owls - 2020-04-19

Next up: the eyes, which are in blues and purples.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, and Linda. Please welcome Sherrie to our group!

 

Green Woman #7 – Samples

April 11, 2020 at 9:37 am | Posted in Fiber Art, Patchwork | 4 Comments
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Here’s where we left the lady last time, and I’m afraid that’s what she still looks like:

Green Woman - pieced background

The next step was figuring out how to add the white foreground. As you can see from the original image by Iain Clark (he’s a 2020 Hugo nominee for Best Fan Artist, go check out his lovely work!), it’s quite a few leaves and twigs, including sharp inside and outside corners, which turned out to be the real problem.

Green Woman - Original Artwork by Iain J. Clark, used with permission.

I knew what fabric I wanted to use – I’ve got some of my mom’s old white damask tablecloths, and it’s a fairly dense fabric (good if you want to put it on top of coloured fabric). I choose one  with woven in florals that I think fits the theme of this quilt very well.

The big question was how to attach the white to the background to achieve the fairly clean lines I’d like to see here? I’d have to try different options, so I started by grabbing a few of the cut offs of the background fabric and sewed them together, giving me a background that’s representative of the real thing.

I then choose a bit of the upper left side of the white border to try things out with, since there most of the interesting features are present.

First option: machine appliqué with a facing fabric

A friend suggested this solution, and I liked the idea because it would put another white fabric layer between the damask and the colourful background. It also would give me a clean edge that I could attach with a simple line of machine sewing. So, here’s a few process pictures:

Green Woman #7 01

The lines get transferred to the wrong side of the facing fabric, then both fabrics are pinned right sides together.

Green Woman #7 02

Sewing is a simple case of stitching along the drawn line. After that I cut off the outside fabric, leaving a small seam allowance. Then I turned the piece, and here’s where the problems start:

Green Woman #7 03

You can clearly see the puckers on the negative corners at the bottom, and the sharp tips at the top are not sharp at all. I took the picture on top of the line drawing, so you can also see the leaf forms are not as nice as they should be as well. At that point it was pretty clear that I’d need to find another solution, but I still attached this to the background just to see if I like the look in general, and to have a base for trying out further steps, like quilting.

Green Woman #7 04

I top stitched it down using a dark grey thread, trying to imitate the outline from the original. It doesn’t look very clean, and as that’s the goal, on to option 2.

Second option: hand appliqué

The next obvious thing to try was hand appliqué. I’m not that big a fan, especially as it would be a fairly substantial amount of work on a piece that size, but if it is what it takes, so be it.

I transferred the pattern onto freezer paper and ironed it to the back of the fabric. Then I cut out the fabric with a seam allowance:

Green Woman #7 05

I like the freezer paper method for hand appliqué since it gives me a nice clean edge to turn the seam allowance around. Here’s the result:

Green Woman #7 06

It doesn’t look bad on first sight. The sharp tips are mostly sharp, but they’re a pain to get to look that nice. It’s the negative corners at the bottom that made me give up after half the pattern was done: there just isn’t enough seam allowance to make those look good.

At that point I had also decided that I most likely would put a line of machine couching with a grey thread right on top of the edges, which would hide all of the seams, and hand appliqué that’s not visible at the end is just not worth the time and effort. So, what now?

Third option: Bondaweb

This is not my preferred option, since it glues the white fabric directly to the coloured background, making things a bit stiffer than when purely sewing, and having the possibility of the colour showing through. But it was the only realistic option left, so I gave it a try:

Green Woman #7 07

I cut the Bondaweb away on the inside of the pattern except for a seam allowance, so I could cut away the background as with the other options. you can see a small dark area, but it’s not as bad as I feared. I then simply topstitched with a white thread, assuming there will be a dark gray couching thread hiding it later. Ignoring the rust spots (no idea what happened here, need to avoid it for the real thing obviously), this looks by far the best to me, so that’s what I’ll go with.

I’ll make the final decision once I’ve tried out the couching and quilting part, because that can still have an influence on what works best. Ordered lots of Bondaweb and a selection of grey cotton yarns online, and it will take a while to get here, because for some reason or other everyone’s shopping online right now. So I’m trying to have patience and am working on other stuff in between.

SAL Update: Prism Owls #5

March 29, 2020 at 7:16 am | Posted in Embroidery | 13 Comments
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Last time I had almost managed to fill in the green between the eyes:

Prism Owls -  2020-03-08

Just a little progress today, since I’m in the middle of a few other projects, but I finished the green (soo many colours in such a small area) and started with the red areas above the eyes. You can see some structure is starting to emerge:

Prism Owls - 2020-03-29

In other news, the roof has not quite fallen on top of my head yet, mostly because I have no problems keeping myself busy with the things that already live in my apartment. I’m also able to work from home full time, which is something I’m getting used to. Makes stitching breaks possible, though!

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, and Linda.

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

SAL Update: Prism Owls #4

March 8, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Embroidery | 14 Comments
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Short update today, since there were other handsewing projects to take care of in addition to adding stitches to the owl. Here’s last time:

Prism Owls - 2020-02-16

I did add a few more colourful stitches mostly trying to get the area between the eyes filled in. But don’t ask just how many colours will be in that tiny area!

Prism Owls -  2020-03-08

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, and Linda.

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

Green Woman #6 – Background Piecing!

February 25, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Posted in Fiber Art, Patchwork | 4 Comments
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I said I’d be a while, but it turns out it took me just over a month to do the sewing, which is not too bad in terms of project speed.

Here’s what I started with:

Green Woman #5 - background fabrics

Sewing the pieces together was a highly technical exercise, since every single one of the seams is curved. I relearnt what works best with this kind of piecing. Note to self for next time: Tight curves are much easier if sewn in two halves, which means half as many pins to stick yourself with at one time. Additionally, it’s much less likely that the fabric on the bottom will bunch up and end up under the needle of the sewing machine when it shouldn’t have.

So, here’s the result of all that sewing and ironing:

Green Woman - pieced background

I think she looks pretty put together already. I’ll add the fine details and some shading with the quilting, I think, which will fit the original line drawing. But first, I need to get the white foreground and the various vines sorted out. This will take some experimenting, so I’ll probably show you the result of those experiments next time.

SAL Update: Prism Owls #3

February 16, 2020 at 8:06 am | Posted in Embroidery | 16 Comments
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Last time I was still working on the black background for the first owl:

Prism Owls - 2020-01-26

Even if it doesn’t look like it, there are other colours (mostly dark greens) now, and I’ve started to fill in the area between the eyes:

Prism Owls - 2020-02-16

This is making slow progress, and that’s probably going to stay this was, since I have other projects on the go that take priority. I’m currently hand-stitching the binding for a big quilt, so I’m rewarding myself with a thread on this one after every thread for the binding.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ and Jenny!

If you would like to join in please contact Avis, who will give you full details.

One Month of Daily Drawing

February 1, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Posted in Drawing | 1 Comment
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After last year’s experiment with Inktober I promptly stopped drawing again. I still want to get better at drawing, though, so as a New Year’s resolution I decided to start a new sketchbook and try to do a small drawing every day. One month in, I largely succeeded, only missing two days, and those days were very much full with other things so I knew in advance I wouldn’t be able to find the time. I’m keeping my materials simple, basically ink pens in black and white with different line widths, and white or natural paper.

Just to keep myself accountable, I’m tweeting the results. You can sneak a peak here. I didn’t make any plans on what to draw each day, just wanting to get into the habit for the moment. As the month went on, a minor theme of transparent objects and their shadows emerged.

Here’s my favourite from that category, a fancy latte glass that got repurposed as pen storage:

#2020VisualDiary - 01/16

And my favourite overall, which isn’t transparent, but a ceramic frog from a friend’s collection:

#2020VisualDiary 01/18

I’m currently trying to figure out where to take this, but for the moment, daily drawings it is, no matter how small or how bad. I hope with some more practice, I’ll start to figure out what I actually want to get better at and then practice that.

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