Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lights of Las Vegas

"What is important is to keep learning, to enjoy challenge, and to tolerate ambiguity. In the end there are no certain answers."
Martina Horner

I'm not sure I enjoyed every part of this challenge, but I did keep learning while working through the process. I was reminded as I so often am that when working with quilts as my medium, there are indeed no certain answers, but many options that might work equally well. The key is to remain flexible and open, taking cues from one's source of inspiration, not becoming married to it. I tried the mantra, "It's only fabric," and I am getting so much better about cutting into "special" pieces, and more importantly, discarding them for something else if they are not working as anticipated. I still cannot discount my time invested, so after a certain point I find I cannot abandon a piece that is going awry. Giving up is not in my nature; I must work through to a satisfactory resolution, and many times I am so glad that I did.

Case in point: I could see that the bottom portion of the quilt was lacking definition - those squiggly lines merging into a more or less equal value section. Mere quilting would not pull out the separate sections, yet the individual colors were exactly what I wanted. To define them better, I used a rayon embellishment (narrow tube or braid) from a collection of Oliver Twist "One Offs'." I've used this before, stitching it down with a zigzag and didn't like how it changed the look of the braid. Although very narrow, I decided I could straight stitch down the center with invisible thread and maintain the flat look of the braid. Although a rather slow process, it worked!

The sky also needed more than just quilting to make it balance better with the rest of the design, and I happened to have that same braid in blue. I liked the idea of bringing the curves of the lower section up between the straightness of the rays by quilting the braid in an undulating line. The whole thing has an art deco feel to it, which seems appropriate for thoughts of Las Vegas.

It was easy to apply the braid along the edge of an applique piece, but I needed a guideline in this sky section. I drew it on using a Clover White Marking pen. I've used this before on quilts I knew I would wash, but this is the first time I've tested its claim to disappear with the heat of an iron. By golly, it does just that. I have my training wheels, I mean my walking foot on, and I was surprised how easily I could guide the braid and hold it in place with the tip of my seam ripper while the walking foot assured that there'd be no "snow plowing" or shifting of the quilt top. In places where I was not applying braid, I used either a navy thread or a dark invisible thread, all with the walking foot on.

So it is done...I think. As I studied it this morning, I wonder if I should run more navy quilting lines in the side triangles. And I haven't quite decided if this will go in a black frame like some of the others in this challenge, or if I will bind it. I'm leaning towards a dark blue binding, applied above through the magic of Paint Shop Pro. The plum is also an option, as well as something similar to the off-white & brown accent fabric. What do you think?

And again, for comparison sake, here is June's inspiration, "Seeing Las Vegas 2". All pictures click to a larger version.

Related posts chronicling how I got from June's painting to my finished piece:

Breaking a Block
February challenge progress
Bit of a breakthrough

1 comment:

bj parady said...

Very, very cool.