After the thrill of designing a new piece is gone you’re left with the more mundane tasks of quilting and edge finishing. I know some people stitch together two or three chunks of fabric and then revel in quilting them, but that’s not me. I enjoy the texture quilting adds to a piece, but usually I don’t go out of my way to do difficult quilting. Two recent finishes are perfect examples of my lax attitude.
For both quilts I sewed on narrow single fold bindings for a pop of color at the edges, although mostly I face my edges. Again, I find facings easier than bindings.
To continue with my corner cutting theme, I also took short cuts with the two latest fabric bowls I made. Instead of satin stitching over the seams or disguising the seams, I used fabric strips over the seams as decorative elements. I fused on more decorative bits and edges, and called them done.
At the rate I’m going, in 2 or 3 years I will simply glue everything together, and know it will last my lifetime.
“Less is more” and “More is more” are common design mantras. Each has its adherents. A recent design experience took me way beyond “more is more” to deep in the weeds. I’m writing about my recent failure as a lesson that sometimes going for broke can break the piece.
After my Tansy Hargan From Sketchbook to Wall class I was eager to use the techniques taught, so I prepared a smallish (roughly 20 inches square) fused piece which I planned to gussy up with reverse applique, hand stitching, and pen and paint. It started out okay, if a bit pink.
Then I added hand and machine applique, and a bit of embroidery.
I thought more stuff would improve the piece, and utterly overshot the mark.
Finally, I cut off some of the hand work and lightened some of the applique with a white marker. The machine stitched bits are impossible to remove as there is a backing fused on.
My intention was to evoke the playing pieces used in children’s board games. I wish I hadn’t gone down the embellishment road as the original piece was much more pleasing than the monster I created. I could always cut it up….
I am always happy when I find new caregivers for my pieces, so I was especially happy last week when my dear brother asked if he could have two of my quilts. I was thrilled to have him visit me IN PERSON after over a year, and his request was icing on the cake. A look-see at my work is often on the agenda for his visits, and so I subjected him to an informal show.
The appeal of art is so subjective. You never know how others will react to your work. I found my brother was drawn to strong color and line. Here are the pieces he selected. Good thing he had plenty of room in his suitcase.
Of course we did much more than look at my work. One of our jaunts took us to the Cleveland Museum of Art where I enjoyed exhibits of Panamanian molas, photos by Bruce Davidson, and woodcuts by Gustave Baumann.
I discovered a painting by northeast Ohio artist Julian Stanczak. The lines can’t be more than 1/8th of an inch wide, and I love the transparent effect.
Over the years I’ve built up a small stash of fabrics I call divas. Some fabrics are eager to be accommodating and show up in many of my quilts. They can seem cool or warm, light or dark, depending on their companions. Not divas. Their colors just don’t blend in, they demand your attention, and they certainly clash with each other. I have only myself to blame as I bought or created them.
However, I finally realized the divas can work with small, crafty projects like bowls when I came across Linda Johansen’s book.
I downloaded the free bowl project available at C&T Publishing, and requested the book from my library. I decided to start with the free project as the directions seemed less complex than the boxes or vases and I already had all the supplies needed.
I selected my diva fabrics and got to work cutting out circles of fabric, canvas, and WonderUnder.
I also had to make center circle sandwiches of the same types of materials. You are to put one circle each on the inside and outside of your bowl once you have adhered the fabric/canvas bowl disks to each other. I did this step wrong as I fused my inner circle parts together too soon. You’re supposed to adhere their layers on the bowl disks themselves. Oh well, I made it work.
The next step was to cut curved darts to make the bowl concave.
The darts are formed by overlapping the cut lines and zigzagging along the top cut. Then, if that looks okay, you satin stitch over every cut line. It’s a lot of satin stitching.
Finally, I trimmed the edge and satin stitched all around that.
I covered over gaps in the black stitching with my trusty black marker.
I was so happy to have put these fabrics to use and to have tried another way to make bowls. As I’ve written before, to date I’ve used Hilde Morin’s bowl creation method. Linda’s way results in a heavy bowl with a firm center. It involves much more stitching. I suppose you could add arty fabric bits like Hilde’s method suggests, but it is designed for single pieces of fabric.
For future bowls I may try a mashup of both methods, using Hilde’s for the construction and Linda’s for trimming out the darts. I have my diva fabrics picked out already.