I’ve been calling it Arches, but I’m hoping for something a bit more clever. Here’s a detail.
After a nice break to think about things, I started hauling out the thread possibilities for the sky.
Too light–too dark–always gives me trouble–ah ha! The one with pink and yellow looks perfect! Oops! Not much on the spool, but we’ll take it as far as we can. It’s not a color combination that I’d use very often and I sure don’t want to buy more!
Tension test and a tryout for a variation on the swirl quilting idea–
And I had enough to finish the sky! Hooray!
Okay–step away from the quilt! It is done! Well, except for the binding, but that’s easy now. I intend to get that part finished this week yet so that I can post an actual finished project. I only need a good title now…
Started the quilting on the stone part of the arches. Simple lines…and then I decided that simple was just right.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy with so little stitching!
Then I had to figure out the quilting on the peach ‘sky’ part. What kind of design did I think I wanted? Something curvy to contrast with the straighter lines on the stones. I don’t usually do too much planning on quilting designs–I usually just go for it–but this piece has required more thought all along. I actually got out a couple of transparencies and tried a couple of different things! So unlike me…
I ended up liking one of my ‘standards’
because I couldn’t think of something better for what is supposed to represent sky in between rocks. Not entirely happy with the concept, but decided to go with it.
And then came the thread question…nooooooo…too much…too much. Time for a lunch break and a long walk.
Time to start thinking about the details. These arches are supposed to be made of stone, so I added the “mortar” using my favorite couching foot.
The yarn or ribbon or whatever you are couching goes through the little hole and is sewn down. I use a zig zag stitch, but I’m pretty sure you can use most any stitch. Couching is such an easy way to add a detail.
It’s so easy to steer the foot right along the line you wish and the result is a nice, thick line.
There are spots that are not exactly on the line, but those can be filled in with other stitching.
It’s starting to make the stones individual.
Even before I do any quilting, I’m adding quite a bit of stitching. I’m not using a stabilizer; just the foundation fabric, the fusible and the color on top. I’m outlining each stone with black thread, free motion. The thread kind of pulls the fabric up, pulls things out of shape, not smooth any more, and that is exactly what I want for this piece. Easy texturizing!
It’s all ‘texturized’ and ready to be sandwiched for quilting!
Don’t know how I’ll be quilting it, but that’s nothing new for me. Don’t know yet, either, when I’ll steal some more time from Christmas stuff, but this one is calling at me, so I’m sure I will!
Detailing…that’s an auto term, right? Cleaning things up, right down to the smallest detail? Well, that’s where I am with this arch project.
Spent lots of time selecting fabric for each stone.
Only did this twice…a pretty good percentage out of those 59 pieces. (Another note to self: don’t complain about 59 pieces. Many artists use hundreds of pieces; teeny, tiny pieces!)
I certainly enjoyed seeing the little pile of scraps growing. It was proof that I really was making progress.
After I had it all fuse-tacked, I was almost afraid to move it to the ironing board. I just knew that I had missed pieces somewhere and they would fall off on the trip across the room. It never even ocurred to me that I could move the ironing board to the edge of the light table and just slide it across and iron. Duh!
Now I’m ready to start all that detailing…mostly the mortar between the joints and I think I want to outline everything…yes, all 59 rocks! Then I get to do the quilting. I’m really looking forward to that part.
But I couldn’t wait to see it up on the wall, with a dark border. The actual end border may just be binding, but this gives me a general idea of what I’m working toward.
And it will mostly have to be put on the back burner for holiday time. Hmmm…maybe not so much…I don’t bake, the shopping is mostly done, decorations are up….AJ loves to help with lights and decorations! If I don’t do any cleaning (oops, sorry for that profanity!) I should have some time to sew!
If not, it will be time spent with family and I’ll always treasure that the most.
The easy part of the arches project is done. I made a decision to go with the quick sketch, as is. No worries about correct perspective or size…this is a fantasy idea and should not look realistic. Next step was to make a copy to use for cutting out the rock pieces. It’s very important that you do not cut up or destroy your master drawing! Ask me how I know!
Traced out all the rocks…see that number 59 on the right hand side? Yeah–that’s how many rock pieces I have to have.
Decided that I would make the actual pattern pieces out of paper-backed fusible, rough cut, since I thought I’d probably be using a different fabric for each rock. I had to remember to reverse everything so that the fusible would end up on the back side of the fabric. I’m a little challenged when it comes to reverse-the-image projects, so it took a little while to figure out what I really needed to do.
Finally, here are my little pieces, all 59 of them, ready to start fusing to the fabric.
I had thoughts originally of using some silk, and scrunching up some fabric for extra texture, but when I looked at the pile of little papers, I got real again and knew that it would be about all I could manage to find fabric, fuse and cut these little things! There is a reason I don’t do applique and like to piece with BIG chunks of fabric!
When I started, I thought I’d build one arch at a time, choosing light and dark as I went along. That lasted for about 10 pieces.
My ‘better’ plan was to go for all the light first, fuse the parts down before I lost the pieces and actually just choose the order at random. It worked pretty well.
A seldom used treasure in my studio is an industrial light table. It’s big enough to trace a body if I needed to. I do not think that I could complete this project without having that light shining through the master drawing. It makes it so much easier to place my pieces where they need to be and since it’s a glass top, I’ll be able to tack fuse my pieces in position before I have to move it. The table really belongs to my daughter, but lucky for me, she doesn’t have room at her house so I get to use it!
Decision time for the darks is next. The first bunch that I pulled all looked too purple to me, so I have to go back and re-assess before I start fusing. Believe me, I am NOT going to fuse anything without a trial. I don’t want to have to cut out a bunch of pieces a second time. Random selection will not work for this part–I couldn’t get that lucky again.
I’m also coming to the conclusion that I will not be making this piece again in the opposite colorway. I may explore arches and doorways further, but it will not be with dozens of tiny pieces! There are other avenues of exploration…why, I painted it once on paper. It might be easy to paint a version on fabric, too.
But I need to do all those dark fabrics first! My cutting hand might get just a bit sore before this is all over!
Here are a couple more sketches of what I’d like to convey with my arches. With some help from my daughter, since I don’t have any paint software, I could look at this drawing with the ideas of the light coming from the front or the light coming from behind.
Thinking of using this for the background
and I have all kinds of ‘painterly’ fabric to use for the stones in the arches
Don’t know yet if there is a single project in this group or if this will be a multiple piece series, but I’m thinking I’ll be making all three of these. If I try to narrow it to just one, I’ll have so many decisions to make that my brain might explode!
Eager to get started cutting some fabric…I have one decision already made. Those rocks are going to be fused on! No applique for this girl!