Two almost finishes, Plan A, B, C…… and yes, I have a problem
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It has been a rough week but I did get to do some quilting – probably because I am massively behind and absolutely need to catch up! Now that is a lovely problem to have and although I did not finish anything, I did make some progress.
First up was my SAQA Auction donation piece, a 12″ X 12″ piece. The annual auction is a major fundraiser for SAQA and I am a passionate supporter of SAQA so I feel the need to donate. I think this is my 6th consecutive year? One year my piece went for $1,000 and one year for $125 so you never know. I want to do my best. Given the limited time I have available, I used a technique I am familiar with.
This was my first attempt. I started with wool hand dyed by fellow SAQA artist Linda Waddle. The fabric itself is a work of art! I have used her wool before and found that splotchy wool works really well with cutwork because you are cutting out so much of the fabric. This completed piece had several problems: the background silk was a super bad choice – not enough value contrast. Funny thing was, I auditioned a green background and thought it would not have enough contrast. I also tried white which gave fabulous contrast but I thought it would look incongruent with the piece.
The other problem was that the wool was way too splotch for this piece. I tried putting pieces with less contrast atop the offensive areas, but even with that, the rest of the quilt just did not have enough value contrast. So, I took my loss and moved on.
A little bit about the process here: I Misty Fuse two layers of fabric together to create the backing and then add the hand dyed wool atop that layer. I mark the back and quilt from the back, through all layers with the top thread in the bobbin.
To set those straight lines I put on my walking foot and chose the triple stitch on my machine, using Superior Magnifico (40 wt 2-ply poly). This is where a machine makes a difference – look at that stitch! It’s like a row of pearls. My BERNINA does that beautifully.
Once all of the stitching is done from the back, I flip it over and begin cutting. You must have the right scissors for this.
Making progress, but I begin to see I have another value problem. But hey, I haven’t removed all the cutwork yet, so maybe it will work out? Note that this is wool from the same batch but I flipped it over to the more subtle side, much less blotchy. I think this is probably the side Linda intended to be used.
Um no. There is no value contrast. AGAIN! This is not that hard a concept – you’d a thunk I’d have figure it out by now. Okay, I was running out of time. I needed to make this work. Hmmmm, what could I do?
I went over the center panel and scallops twice again with a darker thread and I got much better definition. But, it is still not there. I got my beads out and I will add some beading and stitching to further define the center panel as well as bring it out to the edges. Are you keeping track? This is Plan C and adding the beads and stitching will be Plan D. I hope I don’t need a Plan E.
I plan to do stitch the beads on this weekend. My son and DIL are coming to visit! This will be a lovely and peaceful thing to do during our down time.
Leaving no moss to gather under my feet, I quickly turned to the next fire drill – creating a new class sample for Free Motion Quilting – Start With a Square that I will be teaching next Jan at Craft Napa. I wanted something new and fresh and Pokey needs it asap for promotional purposes.
I started with my inspirational fabric and randomly cut out 3 squares and auditioned 3 backgrounds. I posted this photo on FaceBook and asked for opinions on which background to use. I think the green won out but the blue on the right was a close second. Out of 75 responses (!), I think only 2 chose the middle fabric. Although I loved the way the green worked with the inspiration fabric, I ultimately chose the blue on the right. Turned out that I didn’t have a good selection of threads for the green, but did for the blue.
I started out by snugging a curly feather into the bottom left-hand corner. And yeah, once again, I did not like it because there was not enough value contrast. Do we have a theme going on here? Forehead slap.
So I ripped that out, no easy task as those feathers were stitched pretty densely.
I forgot to take in-process photos but this is where I am now. I am ready to begin my fill work – yippee! I love fills. The center part was super fun too! When I was in Jr. High and early High School I would doodle paisleys. I felt like a kid creating those daisy-like motifs. I should be able to finish this tomorrow.
I hope to finish both of these pieces by the end of the week. I need to get back to stitching my trapunto piece. I love that piece and can’t wait to return to it. I’ll be linking up with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday. Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter below – this week’s letter will be very newsy!
Mj Hill says
Your willingness to be so transparent with us gave me the motivation to RIP out . Oops..”unsew” a whole quilt block that just dis not turn out well. It took 6 hours, a magnifying glass and a powerful light. Half way through I’m crying..but when it was all done, I was so relieved. Everything else is looking so good on the quilt, why have one block that made me unhappy. I’m trying to make a prize winner, even if just for my local fair. Thankyou for your beautiful work, your teaching and willingness to share. Your quilts are beautiful and inspiring.
Mj I am proud of you! It does take courage to rip out sometimes. When it comes to piecing, I’m much more likely to rip than I am with fmq. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Leslie Mankoski says
You are such a creative person, my friend
Leslie you are so sweet -thank you! I have too many deadlines to stop!
Betty Jo Tatum says
I truly love what you are doing here with both pieces. The green silk and hand dyed wool are fabulous. Of course, everyone has their own sense of what needs to be for their own pieces, but I think the contrast is lovely…not too little, especially with the defining stitches. The beads will probably be a lovely addition. Also I love what’s going on with the blue piece. Blessings!
Betty Jo I really appreciate your thoughtful comments. I guess I’m feeling a little insecure about the splotchy one, thinking that most viewers would not like it. The blue piece is coming along well. I hope to post both this week
Marlette Louisin says
Jenny, Your work is beautiful and you energy enviable!
Might just be me, but I really like the first wool quilt you did….maybe more than the current one. But, in any case I love the idea of the design.
I also agree that splotchy fabrics are often the best choice to do cutwork or, even, appliqué’. I like batiks for doing similar work.
Looking forward to the finished class sample. I like paisleys a lot as well.
Thank you for your thoughtful comments Marlette. I actually like the 1st one also but felt like most people would think it was to splotchy.
Beautiful work. Sometimes it takes a deadline to make things work.
Thank you Amber! Yup, the deadline thing definitely is motivating.
I love both projects, and I’m looking forward to see how plans C and maybe D will turn!
Frederique I hope to post photos of both quilts finished next week! Thank you for reading.
Pam Marbourg says
Very free and spontaneous
I love that comment Pam! That’s exactly what I was going for.
Diana Roberts says
Thanks Jenny for all you Share! Fun to see you on the quilt show.
Thank you Diana! It was a blast being on The Quilt Show.
Norma Schlager says
I think it is beautiful and the lack of contrast doesn’t bother me at all. You are so brave to quilt from the back. I’m sure if I did it I would have bunch of snarls on the front.
Reminds me that I have to finish my SAQA auction piece.
Norma I hope you finish your donation quilt in time. hope to see you at conference! Thank you for your kind words – I guess i’m feeling insecure about it.
oh how wonderful
Thank you LeeAnna!
Absolutely love your cutwork!! Thanks for the inspiration.
Thank you Lynda!
Cindy Loos says
I just saw you on “The Quilt Show” and fell in love with all you are doing. Your work is so authentic and sensitive, and your techniques and style of teaching are just marvelous! I am a follower!
Cindy that makes my day! Thank you for reading and watching.