Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Rule of Three


You're familiar with the Rule of Three, aren't you? The Rule of Three states that however long you think a task will take to complete, multiply that number by three for the actual time you'll spend on it. Don't laugh; it's true more often than not, at least for me. So when I said I was looking forward to spending the other day completing the quilting on my Willow Leaves, I should have known I'd be working on it for three days, not one.

(Please note, when I say "day," I do not mean 24 hours, 12 hours or even a typical work day of 8 hours. My "day" is sometimes as short as 2 hours, but usually 4 or 5.)

I wanted to better define the center vein on each leaf and thought I could accomplish that during quilting. It was the first thing I tackled, using a 35wt cotton variegated thread. The plan was to quilt down the center, then around the outside of the leaf. I did several this way and realized that I did not like the look of the stitching around the leaf. Spoiled the whole effect of the embroidery. So I took out those stitches. I was also reminded that this particular thread is heavy enough that I prefer to pull the thread to the back, knot it and bury the tails. Argh! That takes a lot of time, but I forged ahead anyway. (I'm nothing if not stubborn.) I tried stitching around several more leaves running the stitching within the embroidery which worked very well on the first one but not on the next one. More ripping. I finally gave up and just stitched the centers. A few of those came out and were redone too because I misjudged which color of the variegation would be coming through. So you see why the rest of the quilting didn't get done that day.

Yesterday I had to go out in the afternoon, so spent the morning on housework and starting to tie off and bury those tails. I finished that tedious task last night in front of the TV.

I refuse to let this project slop over into next week so I've finished the quilting today. Not without fits and starts though. My first thread choice showed up more than I anticipated and I thought it would detract too much from the leaves. Thread two - black rayon - blended better but I still didn't like the look. The effect I'm going for here is texture of a blacktop street, perhaps looking a bit wet. It dawned on me that what I really should be using then is my smoke monofilament thread. It always glints a bit, but otherwise takes on the color of the fabric. Tried that and it was perfect. However, I had about a 2" square section each of the other two colors to rip out before I could proceed.

I powered through the rest of the quilting and here is the result. I don't usually quilt this heavily, but I like it for this piece. It makes the leaves look very realistic. It has distorted the piece quite a bit though, so major blocking is in order.

It's been snowing lightly all day, by the way. Very conducive to being inside quilting. But now I have to feed the dog and walk her before it gets dark. That's ok; I'd much rather walk her in the snow than the rain and I need a break.

2 comments:

Dale Anne said...

Your leaves Sheila are looking LOVELY!

margaret said...

To bury the threads, take a length of thread about 12" long that's a colour that shows up against your background. Double it, and thread into a needle. Insert the point near the threads you want to bury (they've been pulled to the back, right?), and re-emerge some distance away. Use the loop of thread to lasso the threads and take them into the fabric. If they're short enough and the needle is long enough, they'll disappear; if not, just trim where they emerge.

margaret in london