Saturday, March 07, 2009


One of the things I wanted to wrap up this week was Jockeying for Space, but I ran into a snag. When last you saw it, I was ready to attached it to a batik background and wrap it over a 12 x 12 stretched canvas (see here). I measured around the frame to determine how big to cut the batik, applied Decor Bond to stabilize it, centered the quilt on it and stitched it down with a narrow zigzag stitch with monofilament thread. Next came couching the two slightly twisted together yarns using the same thread and a slightly wider zigzag stitch.

This is where things started to go downhill. The couching flattened the yarns more than I expected, making their twisting look quite different than my audition of them. It was difficult but important to follow the arcing curve of the edge of the quilt, but I had not factored in the slubbiness of the sari yarn which did not maintain that smooth arc on the inner most visible edge. When I pulled it out of the machine, not only was I disappointed that the yarn did not read as strongly as I thought it would, I was also disappointed that the arcs had flattened out a bit.

But I was determined to get this done, so I began wrapping the piece around the frame, using small tacks partly inserted until I was sure things were centered properly. When I flipped it over, the quilted part looked uncomfortable in the 12" space; not enough batik showing around it. My overriding thought was that it need more breathing space! I had some 14" stretcher bars put together, but had already determined that was a bit too much batik showing. Besides, I hadn't allowed enough extra when I cut the batik to wrap around 14" stretcher bars. But maybe, just maybe, I could add a little strip all around to make it work.

In reality, I knew what I needed was 13" bars to stretch it around. As I recall, this was the size I'd determined I needed back when I first went looking for bars or stretched canvas. But none was to be found. 13 is just an odd size not available, at least not at the sources I checked. I laid the piece out on the table and masked it off with strips of paper to see how the 13" size would look, glancing at it now and then as I worked on other things. Then I upped it to 14" and did the same. You wouldn't think an extra 1/2 on a side would make that much difference, but to my eye, 13 just looked better than 12 or 14.

So I reluctantly went to plan B - wrapping it over foam core board and putting it in a frame. I did NOT want this one framed, but sometimes you just have to give it up. I cut a 13" square of the board and pulled the piece around to the back, temporarily securing it with tape, and leaned it up against the wall as you see above. Decided I needed to live with it for a few days to be sure this is what I wanted and that there wasn't something else I needed to do to the piece before final framing. This merely enforced my desire to have it unframed. Sigh...

An art quilter friend called that night, so I had a chance to grouse about this, especially the fact that she had a husband who could make custom size frames and stretcher bars for her and that of course I had to make a piece needing a custom size. I heard some paper rustling in the background and then she was reciting out of a catalog to me - a source for 13" stretcher bars! So last night I did a web search and was amazed to find many sources of 13" stretcher bars, plus a source for 14" x 14" stretched canvas - another item I'd not had luck finding previously.

So quandary is over. I'll order my supplies and soon have Jockeying for Space ready to hang on the wall.

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