Monday, March 22, 2010

Finding time....

Time, time, time. Decisions, decisions. There are the gotta dos, work and essentials around the house – feeding the cats is not optional, then when you have time to be creative, what do you do?

For most of February my sewing time was tied up with making table covers and new window treatments for our restaurant. Not unpleasant (except for the part about using the floor to cut the vinyl), but not exciting either. But they look great now that they are finished and hanging!

Next it was finishing up some small art quilts. Each of these was an effort to work with a different technique, though I did all the free-motion work on my 1930s Singer 15-30 treadle.

The first was a lighthouse, done with fusible applique. I cut out each of the pieces for the water, sand and marsh separately and fitted them together like a puzzle, so there wouldn't be too much bulk. It worked pretty well, but next time I would draw all the pieces on the fusible's paper, then cut it apart, so they would fit better. After fusing, I layered with cotton batting and backing, then free-motion embroidered/quilted the palm trees, water, grasses and shading on the lighthouse, using various rayon variegated and solid threads. Then I free-motion quilted the sky background, and finally added beads and buttons, including the seagull, as embellishments.

Next was an experiment in thread sketching. I layered my fabric for quilting and sketched the palm trees, horizon and sand, and grasses, using a rayon thread. Then I used watercolor pencils to shade the beach, water and sky, and the palm trees. The pencils gave a nice, soft effect, maybe because they were soaking through into the batting. I decided I wanted the finished piece to be larger, so I stitched borders to the top of the piece, butted batting up against the existing batting and added a single piece of backing over the entire back. Then I free-motion quilted the border and added some waves to the water, securing the center of the piece and adding a
little more detail. Some tiny shells from one of the local shops finished it off.

Finally, my puzzle. In January I signed up for the challenge at Three Creative Studios, and the first challenge, for Jan. and Feb., was to create a quilt inspired by the word puzzle. I came up with the idea, but with my other deadlines, didn't get it finished in time for the challenge. I started with a scene I had photographed on Tybee Island, modified the picture, including drawing the puzzle piece outlines, and printed it on fabric. My first thought was to make the puzzle as a layered quilt, and stitch all the edges with decorative stitching, but it made for a very messy look. So I printed a second picture and fused this one to stiff interfacing, and used applique scissors to cut apart the pieces.
I found the fabric for the table in my stash, layered it and free-motion quilted following the fabric's pattern to suggest wood grain. Then I attached the puzzle pieces by free-motion stitching, following the lines of the grasses, building, shading of the palm tree.

And now it's on to other projects, I've layered and started quilting a Disappearing Nine-Patch I started last year, and am busy working on publicity for our guild's first quilt show, the High Cotton Quilt Show, which is coming up in October. I've set up a blog and Facebook page for the show, and designed the logo for the show this weekend.