Using stash stuff–again!

I think I’ve shown this tub of silk to you before, but I’ve done several projects from this fabric…

and it is STILL mighty damn full! I’m gonna hit it up again for another project, but I’m betting I won’t work it down very far this time either.

I love flying geese, so I’m going to make some……….70, because that’s how old I am today! I might end up with a totally different number, but that’s a good starting point. The largest piece I’ll need is this big.

It’s less than 12″ square. And this is how much fabric I have.

Yeah…..I’ll use it up………sure! Anyhow, I’ve decided that I love all of the colors, so I’m going to make this bright and colorful.

My ‘goose’ is going to be this nice light gray, but it has a lovely stripe along the fold line.

This must have been sitting around for a looooong time before it was given to me. I’m glad I’m not using it for garment making ’cause that would make it UNuseable!

And here is what I have already prepped for use.

The rest of this is going to be a pain, but I’m sure I can figure it out. I always pre-wash because silk always runs and it’s stiff (with seracin, I think it’s called). I only need a strip from each color to start with and then I’ll use fusible interfacing before actually sewing with it. Because silk shreds!

And that pre-washing and pressing is all the further I got, but I think I’m going to like where this is going.

Simple, regular shapes and no improv for this one. I’m going to make it easy on myself and only play with block arrangement. Simply because I want to play with this silk!

Center of attention

That’s right–the center of the undersea piece, the intended focal point is very, very bare.

 

I have some simple quilting lines in it but it’s not enough. I’m planning on adding some type of thread or yarn, but I don’t want something that will cover up the beauty of the dyed fabric that I fell in love with.

I’ve already eliminated several choices and the colors don’t show up very well in this photo. The top turquoise has a sparkle of gold, so I think that will go in. And the bottom one that looks white is actually a nice light turquoise. I’m really leaning toward that darkest color and the sparkly one. Just a few lines across the quilted surface should do it……………at least, I sure hope so.

I might have two finishes by the end of the weekend! That will feel very, very good. But if I get distracted by plants……………….

Only one project?

Occasionally I get completely absorbed in a project and work almost exclusively on that one until I can’t stand it anymore. That’s how it’s going with the undersea picture. I have everything I need to create it as I see it in my imagination and nothing else seems to capture my attention.

Look at these wonderful threads and yarns…

I finished the kelp with a layer of dyed cheesecloth and an extra row of silk ribbon. I may add a couple more strips of just the ribbon later on for more detail.

I started on another one of the coral sections, blue-green this time. Couching that coral section was so easy that I decided to do the same thing here. Only I didn’t do ‘traditional’ couching. That is done with a small, straight stitch across the thread being couched. I chose to stitch diagonally so the final looks more like a whipped running stitch, but it’s quick!

I have the outline done and I know I’ll add more. I’m just not certain what, yet.

I sure am anxious to do some of those orange and yellow colors, though!

Growing my coral

Silk ribbon and cotton yarn…the perfect combination for growing a coral branch. I got the embroidery started on my undersea garden patch and I’m couching down the thicker threads I’m using. Lots of new things for me here.

Silk ribbon is not a product that I have used before but I had some in my stash of threads, and it was the color that I wanted to use. There was also some variegated, and that’s always a winner with me.

The cotton yarn was some that I had dyed with no end in mind and it turned out to be a really good color mix. It’s a beautiful sport weight yarn that lays very smoothly on the fabric.

I have done tons of couching by machine and really like it but this project needed to have the couching done by hand. Haven’t done that, other than to learn it and I thought it would go slowly. Actually, it goes very quickly. I used a bright magenta perle cotton and I’m really liking the effect.

The first–and my favorite–of the undersea plants is in place.

Not sure if there will be more stitching added to these plants as I go along. I have to see if the overall picture needs more detail. Right now I want to get the basic shapes and defining characteristics of each plant embroidered. One step at a time.

But that silk ribbon…oh, my! I love it. I checked with my friend Denise and she carries it in her shop (Timeless Stitches). And who knew that it comes in two different widths? I’m thinking I’m gonna be gettin’ me some of that there stuff! Wooooo–pretty!

Free day for stitching on Thursday so I hope to get another plant added to this garden. I thought this one was going to be very, very slow but it feels like I’m zooming. Hope it stays that way so I don’t get bored and quit. I don’t want these fabrics sitting on the shelf for another 10 years!

 

Looking for coral

No undersea scene is complete without a little coral and a few weeds. I found lots of drawings and thought I was going to stitch a ton of them on my ocean. However, in playing around with them, I decided that I liked just a few great big ones.

After getting them onto the paper, I had to figure out what the best method would be to get the images onto my fabric. Trace, cut out and pounce like a stencil…My go-to method is to lay out the paper and stitch it down. That’s a one-time use, though, and I wasn’t sure I only wanted one of each kind. Duh! How hard would it be to make a new one? Not!

So I played around and made a layout I like. I didn’t even use all the ones I traced, so I certainly did not need to worry about that one-time use!

I show this quite often, but it never hurts to see things more than once. Thin paper, like tissue paper is best.

Sometimes I have to follow the lines exactly, but not on these. They are only for the purpose of getting the design on the fabric in a manner that won’t disappear, won’t stain and ultimately won’t show after the hand stitching.

Sometimes it’s a pain to get that paper off, but this method still works the best for me.

And I stitched each one in a different color, as I reflected on what colors I want each plant to become. Visual reminders so I don’t forget the plan!

Now my hand stitching project for the next who-knows-how-long is all set to go. What am I going to do by machine down in the studio?

I have a huge bag of little strips that I love to play with. I’ve made a few different things with them. All the black and white jumped out at me and I couldn’t help myself…

It might be fun to do a skull but I think my brain is aiming¬† in another direction…sunflower, maybe?¬† Or another distraction may jump out at me when next I head for the studio!

Yep–decisions!

Making artistic decisions has always been difficult for me, because I see so many possibilities and don’t want to eliminate any of them—until something is suddenly just right. Then you wonder why making those decisions was so difficult!

I loved those burgundy trees on that rich brown fabric. Yet, when I placed the trees on the heavy linen fabric, it was just right.

Now I have to figure out the next steps in the assembly process. I’m thinking couching branch shapes under the trees, going over the edges from bottom to top…and trying to select from a variety of yarns with which to do that.

And suddenly that was NOT right. I love the simplicity of those trees on that plain background. Perhaps making those branches with thinner thread will work, but I’m not there, yet. I will be using these threads.

A bit of variety, but no heavy cords. That would detract from the center, I think. I’ll lay some threads out and see what a simple thread sketch from top to bottom would look like, but I’m pretty sure plainer will be better.

And it’s school days again so it’ll be a couple of days before I get back to it. And that’s a good thing ’cause it gives me time to think about those decisions some more!

Planning out a new one…

With all the projects I’ve got around that need to be finished, the last thing I need is to add a new one. However, since I put fabric up on the design wall for inspiration, I guess I have to answer when it comes calling. Besides, there are no other visitors coming around right now!

This strip of stenciled trees has been around for what seems like forever, but it’s probably been a couple of years.

I had some others up with it and thought I would use some of them together. Not so much. The more fabrics I pulled for tryouts, the less I wanted to pair this strip with anything else.

Many more fabrics tried out for a spot on this team than I’ll show you, but I have come to appreciate photo taking before I make decisions. Let’s take a look at the top contenders.

I thought I had it narrowed down to one of these two and I pretty much liked them equally.

But it was still not quite right so I kept looking. And found this luscious, rich brown.

Just the right golden tones to complement the tree background.

I had tried a few other light fabrics but had to give it one more shot. I don’t know where I got it, but I uncovered this heavy weight linen strip. I love the fabric on it’s own but it looks pretty good with the tree strip, too.

Hmmmm…light or dark? I really don’t know. There was a thrift shop find that maaaybeee would add something to the discussion…

And maybe not.

As usual, there comes a time to walk away and think things over for a while. Glad I have some quilting to do on one of those sample projects!

I can stitch and take looks at the design wall and dither and think and dither some more while the quilting is going on. And eventually the quilting will be done and I’ll have to pull the trigger on one fabric or the other. Always happy to have you weigh in with your opinions, of course, if you like one over the other. I’ll just dither, dither, dither for a while…………..sigh!