Friday, July 01, 2011

Hang-ups and the Kiss of Death

If you've been paying attention, then you should be asking, hey - what happened to that last piece you were making for your ArtWalk exhibit? I had to face the fact that it just wasn't working and that I'd run out of time to fix it. This is what I get for saying I know what I'm going to do with it, it shouldn't take very long, no big deal, then drag my feet about working on it. Kiss of death.

I quilted around the freezer paper leaf templates with a safe choice of thread, the one on the left. Safe in that I'm always concerned that the thread color will show too much and take over. No worries here - I did my usual erring too far on the side of caution. The orange thread on the right is a sample that came with an order of Sulky Threads. It's their relatively new 60 wt PolyLite. Now I like a lightweight thread, but that bright orange made my eyes hurt. Couldn't imagine what I'd use it on and chuckled that of course, the wildest colors that probably aren't moving would be the ones sent out for free. I had to chuckle again at how perfect it is against this fabric, and thought it would show just enough more than the other thread to help bring out the quilting. So I echoed around the leaves with it and alternated it with the other thread in the vertical lines. I really like this thread a lot and see how it would be wonderful in the bobbin for machine quilting. I never trust myself to keep things straight without marking, and used this chalk marker to space the lines about 3/8" apart.

With the quilting done, it was time to couch decorative thread around the squares. I changed my mind about the dark chenille thread and chose a more variegated strand of 3-ply rayon floss from the same Oliver Twist hand-dyed collection. With a brown Sulky Ultra Twist rayon thread in the needle and this nifty narrow braid foot, the thread was easily couched using a blanket stitch.

But again, I seem to have erred too much on the side of caution. It doesn't strike me as being as dark as I thought it would be and thus doesn't make the squares stand out quite like I'd anticipated. But it does make my choice of binding work better.

After each addition of quilting or thread, I'd hold up the quilt, sigh, and know that it needed something else. Too matchy matchy on the thread, quilting not showing up, big empty spaces around the squares that I envisioned being filled with those quilted leaves that now can't really be seen. Balance off, proportions off, something off...

I was down a day and a half to solve this problem, and decided to give it one more go. Maybe once the binding is on it will look fine. If anything, it may have looked worse. Remembered a trick I've used before of couching a decorative thread next to the binding to mimic piping. In this case, I just wanted a tie-in with the couching around the squares. Better, but still not good enough to stand by at the exhibit. I really need those leaves in the quilting to stand out more, so I gave them the same treatment that I gave the stamped leaves on the squares - I quilted around and through them again using the dark brown Ultra Twist.

Finally, the leaves were starting to show a bit, but not enough to balance things out. I hit upon one more idea, but I was tired, it was late, and even if that worked there were hours more of things to be done to it to make it exhibit ready. I finally saw reason and let it go. This needs more mulling and a fresh perspective, and there will be other exhibits for it if it ever recovers from the Kiss of Death.


RHONDA said...

Sheila, one of my favourite embroidery tutors is Effie Mitrofanis (you can find out more about Effie here - )

Effie once told me never to bother trying to undo something that isn't working, but to just keep embroidering over the top until it looks right! Now, while that isn't always possible, it's a good precept to keep in mind. Effie's bold use of colour is also worth noting. Maybe you could try being a little less "safe" in your colour choices? It's worth a try, anyway!
Hope this helps.

The Idaho Beauty said...

No maybe about it Rhonda. This conservative use of color thing has been a problem forever, and I well know it.

Not familiar with Effie so thanks for the link. Yes, I'm about ready to pile on more thread - it definitely needs more!

bj parady said...

The other thing I've learned about using thread as part of the design--value is more important than the actual color. And any color of thread that catches your eye is worth trying.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Oh, dang, bj! I knew that but I never remember when I actually get the thread out.