After a bit of steaming, Masks is all nice and flat now. Time to add some squares to make it a little more interesting, squares with eyes on them. There are only certain parts of this batik that work with my quilt, and I had some strips that were wide enough to use. For once, it didn't take me forever to figure out I didn't need to cut one big piece the size of my freezer paper, but could just iron the strips to it and place my jpgs in the print layout accordingly. Worked really well.
I had a visitor yesterday (more on that in a bit) who asked why I was adding these squares with eyes; she could understand adding some beads but what's with the eyes? Good question. Took me a minute - I've been mulling this idea for a very long time and I just know at some point adding eyes made sense to me. Hiding behind masks while eyes try to seek you out may be one scenario I had in mind. But one never knows if an idea will actually work, just have to plunge ahead and see how things look. I remember a long time ago taking some leftover squares and randomly placing them on my painted fabric and liking how they looked. Now with it all quilted up, the random placement of squares became problematic.
Which means I spent a very long time today arranging and rearranging the squares, not to mention having to reject some of them because the color just wasn't right. At one point I realized they might work better if they were slightly smaller so started trimming them down. I'd backed them with Decor Bond, both for stability and to keep any texture from the background quilting from showing. I think I've finally got an arrangement that adds to the overall design and have started securing them to the quilt top with cross-stitches along the edge. As always, what color thread to use is always a question. First I tried the reddish Oliver Twist thread, thinking I wanted both the tie-in with the bit of reddishness in the quilt and for the stitching to show up quite a bit. But I found I didn't like the closeness of the x's nor the contrast.
So I moved to another square and tried the medium-value blue thread. You can see why I chose the cross-stitching finish, a link to the cross-stitching across the eyes and mouth picked out in the quilting. I think this is more what I had in mind - a softer approach that matches the subtlety of the rest of the quilt. Once the squares are attached, I have some elk horn buttons to try out, ones that look like faces to me. Yes, I know, there are times when my imagination is quite vivid!
And for those who still might question my sanity for willingly hand quilting instead of choosing the speedier machine quilting, you can only get this kind of ripply texture with hand quilting, and I just love this look. I think the color in this pic is closer to true than most of the other pics I've shown. Neither of my cameras seem willing to capture the nuances in coloration, and this has been adjusted in software.
As for my visitor, that was Susan who went to the Timothy Ely exhibit with me last year. She popped over for the day to see the exhibits before they come down on Friday, and came bearing gifts! The personalized box is as lovely as the hand-dyed fabric that was in it. She also brought a loaf of divine rosemary cranberry bread from Petit Chat Villiage Bakery. I am so blessed to have such generous friends.