The detail stitch work is done. Today I worked on the asparagus field; it turned out to be easier to do than I thought it would be – I think the practice I did yesterday definitely helped. I also picked out the stitching for the small shrub beside the front door, and replaced it with something more recognizable as a small evergreen tree. I also added a few small evergreens just behind the house to provide a bit more Interest to the skyline.
Now I have to figure out how to “frame” the piece – I think I’m going to add a 2 1/2″ “frame” with piping on the inside edge (using the batik fabric I used as the underlay for the asparagus field). That’s for tomorrow.
Have I ever learned a lot about how to think about an art quilt piece. Some aspects of this quilt were done out of order – in part because Laurie was moving us along so we’d have the batting covered by the end of the workshop. I now realize the sky should have been tied down first – that would have avoided the big bubble in the sky fabric. The “woods” on the left were out of synch – the dark underlay should have been much less extensive so that the tree elements could have been positioned against the sky with sky showing through the trees. Also that would have allowed a more irregular skyline. The asparagus field in the foreground should not have been added until everything behind it was almost complete – I had to fight the free motion stitch work because the asparagus was already present.
Last, I came to realize in the beginning I was too tied to the tracing of the photo – this kind of art quilt needs a lot of improvisation. The original tracing is mainly to help set out the large areas of a piece – the details, however have to be invented as the work unfolds. It’s also clear that I need to carefully study a photo before I begin – just how carefully I didn’t appreciate before I began.
There will be one last photo once I complete the piece.
Made more progress today – I dug out my copy of “Birds of North America” to find flight profiles of some local birds which I used to create a couple of birds (remember I needed them to cover dark spots in the sky). I started stitching the trees on the left – the tree trunks, the foliage – realized I should have removed much more of the green underlay Friday night when I was taking all that stitching out! At the moment you can see the tree trunks close up, but they don’t show from a distance because they’re lost against that dark green underly. They need something to give them texture (not thread painting, I don’t think – although I’ll try a sample), in the end I may just live with what I have – this, after all is a learning experience.
Tomorrow – gotta tackle the asparagus field itself.
Worked on the trees and shrubs on the right side of the piece this morning:
Also added texture to the roof, although it doesn’t show in the photo.
Next, those trees on the left!
Oh, and I fixed the bubbling in the sky – I split the interfacing in the back to allow me to spread it a wee bit, enough to let the sky lay flat.
Took a close look at the quilt last evening and decided to do something about the MESS on the left hand side – it was 10:00 pm when I started to pick out the stitching (and there was A LOT). When I looked at the clock it was 3:00 am! This morning I looked again and thought about adding “sky” to break up the blob of dark green on the left – definitely better.
Later, I went to Atlantic Fabrics to see if I could find a bit of wide white lace to add bits to make it seem as if the sky were peeking through the leaves. I’ll do that now – after the doubles tennis match which Canada has just won – it’s now 2:1 Canada/Serbia in the Davis Cup tie. One more day to go – Canada “might” just win this series.
Here is the updated piece:
Here’s the project at the end of the afternoon:
I managed to get the entire surface covered, the “asparagus” in the foreground placed and tacked down. The big move forward this morning was the bare deciduous trees on the right side. I learned a lot doing that. I had some “eyelash” yarn which I sandwiched between a pale blue batik fabric and some tulle. I then tacked the yarn down and added to it with some free motion embroidery. THE problem, is that I should have used just the tulle – top and bottom; I’d intended the trees to be in front of the spruce behind the house – but when I tried trimming the backing fabric from the branches, I couldn’t get close enough, so I had to remove the branches on the left side, and extend the branches on the spruce to overlap the bare trees – a valuable lesson!
Then I played a bit with the trees on the left of the piece – what I’ve got there right now is a big mess. I have to spend some time looking at it and looking at pictures of evergreens to see if I can resurrect those trees, or whether I will have to cover them over and start them again!
The asparagus field now needs a lot of free motion embellishment – I’ve done some work on the path to the house, but the large expanse of field will need some experimenting – I want to maintain the featheriness of the asparagus, but there also has to be hints of the stalks. I will have to work on a sample to see whether I can get the effect I want.
I stopped at this point this afternoon, packed up all the stuff I’d brought. Time to stand back and think about the embellishing detail.
Finally, we did a “show and tell” – each piece pinned to a styrofoam slab, stood on a ledge, so we could stand back from the work and really look at it from a distance. We were all justifiably pleased with how the quilts look at this point – they all need a lot more work, but everybody got the surface covered, with the beginnings of the embellishing. We’ve agreed to finish the quilts, and send photos to Laurie and one another when we’re done.
It was a great five days!
It poured today. I have no pictures of Lunenburg. I simply came straight home after we finished up. I’ll post photos as I continue working on the piece.
The project continues. Today I worked on the house, creating a door, windows, and adding chimneys – by building up the elements rather than cutting into the building facade and placing the elements behind the openings – that’s because the raw silk I used for the building frays so easily.
Next I incorporated the house into the setting, stitching it in place with a fine monofilament thread.
I also stitched the tall spruce in place and trimmed away the organza from the edges – next time I’ll know to leave a lot of organza around the element – it was difficult cutting the excess away because I had little to hold on to!
I’ve also played some more with the asparagus field – adding in leaf vein pieces along the top edge and beside the path. I’ve added a second layer of the orange/gold organza to blur the detail of the fabric beneath – tomorrow I will need to stitch all of it in place to hint at the stalks, but not make them too obvious.
I have also begun working on the evergreen trees behind the house – I added tree trunks and a couple of major branches (which will be mostly covered up when I’m done) – I put a layer of cheesecloth over the trees in the background to suggest the spiky branches of the trees, it may need a second layer and something more in the trees nearer the house.
And of course, there’s still some kind of bare deciduous tress needed on the right side – still no idea how to construct them,
First thing tomorrow morning we’ll put our projects on display to see how far everyone has got.
My piece is really beginning to look like a real picture:
And a couple more pictures of Lunenburg – it was a lovely sunny day today – supposed to be a hurricane tomorrow!
Asparagus Field (North Canning, NS) – Photograph (by Judith Newman)
OK, I started “the piece” yesterday – cut the batting and stabelizer to size, prepared a piece of fabric for the sky, started to create a tall evergreen using free motion stitching on hooped organza.
I finished the tree this morning – Laurie in the meantime trying to push me to “get the batting covered.” By that, she meant start placing the fabric for the sky, put in fabric for the trees, lay out the pieces for the asparagus field… I traced the shapes for the main spaces, used the tracings as templates for cutting the fabric.
Next step – I stitched these elements in place, then filled each element with some widely spaced free motion work. ( The asparagus field in the foreground can’t be positioned and stitched in place until everything behind it is in place – the house, trees, shrubs…)
I next started on the house – the focal feature of the piece. More difficult than it first appears because I was using some raw silk for the building – it frays terribly so I had to back it with “steam a seam” (a paper backed iron-on glue) to stabilize it. Whereas the house made yesterday was constructed by cutting out windows and using fabric behind the openings, this building will have to be done with appliquéd windows and doors, each small feature created separately. I was able to construct the main elements of the house this afternoon – the details will come tomorrow.
The right hand side of the piece needs to be filled with leafless deciduous trees – I still have no idea how to go about that.
And a few more pictures of Lunenburg: