I completed my latest piece, “Poppies”, on Sept 2, barely in time to submit for consideration in the Pacific International Quilt Festival. It was a wild ride, down to the wire. I will hold off on photos of its completion until it shows, but I do want to share some of my “learning curve”.
Believe it or not, this was the state of affairs 20 days before submission. I had another idea in mind and had started that piece, but realized I did not have a clear view of what I wanted. So my Plan B was to work on this poppy piece.
My design inspiration came from a photo I saw in print, but I’ve been charmed by the California poppy since I arrived in California and saw big, glorious swaths of them. I thought I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do, so it seemed doable in 20 days-or so I thought.
Nothing ever goes as planned and I ended up just a week before the due date with my background quilted, the design planned, but no actual stitching of the design. My process for this piece and the others in this series, is to create a quilted background that implies movement and wind. There is a tremendous amount of quilting done before I even begin to lay down my design.
Only a week to go and I hadn’t even laid down any of my design-yikes! At this point I had to make a decision: try to make the deadline or give it up and take a rest. I pressed forward, thinking that the toughest part was over. Hah!
I began to lay down the design. It may not be evident from the photos, but the reason the design stands so prominent is that I stitch over each line many times. It is very time consuming and a little boring.
I planned my poppy heads and the foliage, knowing that the stems would come later. I had a hard time visualizing the poppy placement so I cut outlines of the proposed poppy heads and pinned them to the surface to see if I liked their placement-very sophisticated, huh?
I practically chained myself to the machine for a week. I have never quilted so much in a week before. It was a little brutal on my body even though I was careful to stretch and maintain a balanced position. My neck was killing me but everything else was okay.
I finally gave up and bought a photography light kit. I am so glad I did! I know I can’t take truly professional photos, but frequently I need photos of my work before I can get the piece to a professional.
The light kit greatly improved the quality of my photos. Note that the photo above where I am using construction paper for my poppy placement was taken before the new lighting-there is a huge difference in quality!
I’ve got a lot more to say about the process and what I’ve learned, but I’ll save that for when I post the final piece. So for now, I’m just hoping I’ll be juried in!