Thursday, August 26, 2010

"High Summer"...Flystitch Marathon

I decided to keep a tight rein on the seam embellishments for this piece, as I wrote in my last post.
I have always loved those old crazy quilts that use the same stitch on all of the I tried that here. Fly stitch and more fly stitch!
The colors were also kept under for the outer border, blue for the inner one.

First a close up...

I varied the weights, fibers, and thicknesses of the threads so there was some choosing to do as I worked...but those parameters were pretty strict.

Overall, I hope this approach helps unify everything, and not detract too much from the central focus...

What's left to do is some couching of some cording between the borders and a smaller thread couched around the central image, between it and the lace. This after I block the piece and hopefully get it all straight and square.
Then on goes the binding and it is done!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"High Summer"..Ready for Seam Embroidery

Oh, this has been fun!!!!
I finished the stitching on the central landscape image and then I got to piece and assemble the borders that go around it.
You all know how much I love crazy piecing...

Here's the work area when there was one more border strip to go.

If you could see the rest of the sewing room--and the whole house, for that matter--it looks like a bomb went off. Tomorrow I will clean it all up.
The stitched scene has been stretched and fused over Fast 2 Fuse craft batting. I've never done this before but it worked great: keeps the fabric flat, gives a nice edge, and you can still add more stitching by sewing right through it if you have to after it is mounted (which I did.)

The scene needed a few more flowers added so that it could hold its own better up against the borders.

It was great to use some thicker threads and warm colors at last.

To see how much importance the photo behind the stitching truly has, have a couple close-up looks...

It's amazing how the eye blends everything together.

It was a little tricky deciding what to stitch and what to leave as bare photo. But everything was aimed at maintaining a believable perspective of depth.

Because this central scene really needs to dominate the quilt, the borders had to be kept tightly under control. No warm colors, an all white inner border to really offset the center, and values carefully managed as well.
But I did have all the leeway in the world when it came to the weaves, textures, and fiber content in the border fabrics. This is one place crazy quilting comes into its own, I believe. Heavily quilted quilts just can't showcase this essential element of great fabric, IMHO.

Above is an example.
The borders have everything from burlap to felted wool to embroidered cotton batiste in them, as well as heavily woven silk jaquards, hand dyed cotton and silk, velvet, and even some hand crocheted lace....

It also took some extra work to make everything as square and straight as possible (my weak link)...but this isn't too bad.

Now to embroider all those seams in the borders.
My touch must be very light....again, nothing must distract from the central image. But this is a crazy quilt, after all, and those seams must be covered! I'm looking forward to it...

As a reminder, this quilt, which is 18" X 20", will be auctioned off at Quilt Festival in Houston this November. It is part of the Celebrity Mini Quilt Silent Auction with proceeds to benefit the International Quilt Association's fine work in promoting excellence and education in quilting. So if you'll be at Quilt Market or Quilt Festival, stop by and say hi to "High Summer"....and if you are so inclined, put in a bid!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"High Summer"...Stitching Almost Done

The embroidery over this printed photograph on silk is just about completed, which is good, as I am ready to move on!
Still, it has been fun to work my way towards the foreground of the image. Another day or two of stitching in the shade here (it's been blazing hot in the Northwest this week) and I should be ready for the next step, which is attaching the borders....

Click on the picture to see the details....

Hope you all are enjoying your High Summer too....

Monday, August 9, 2010

"High summer"...Background Stitching Complete

"This is going to be a big project: smaller scale, but lots of stitches."
So said my friend Barbara Curiel in her comment on her last post, and wow was she right.

I haven't had too much time for concentrated work on this, but even so, from looking at the back you can see how much stitching there is and how fine the thread is. It's kind of funny to be working at such a small scale that one strand of embroidery floss seems thick!

The colors are subtle and this will be the kind of piece where if you don't look attentively, you will miss what's happening. But that's fun too....

Do click on it.
I think it is usually a good idea to work from background through the midground to the foreground in these embroidered landscape/house portraits. The background is now done, except for a few tweaks later on.
For the midground I ordered some new threads from Evening Star Designs.

These are overdyed perle #12 cotton--with one rayon thrown in. This will seem huge to work with!
The flowers in the foreground of course will have the thickest threads. But I don't get to play with those quite yet....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"High Summer"...Stitching the Background

When you are using machine sewing thread to embroider with, progress is necessarily slow. But the scale is so small in this print that use it I must.

I've been working on the tree area at the back of the garden, and the even more distant plantings behind the grassy area to the left of the tree.

Click on the photo to see if you can...but this is pretty subtle, tiny stitching, except for that "huge" Kreinik metallic on the right part of the tree, where the light is hitting it. All this will play a supporting role to the larger, flashier flower embroidery up front, but that comes last.

Still, I had to try it on a little sample, just for fun.

One can only stitch with dark green machine sewing thread for so many hours without a break into color. There could have been more added here, but back to work I went.

This is just a small section of the piece (as you can see by referring to the first picture.)
It is all taking longer than I thought it would, but I just have to see how the whole image looks when enhanced this way....