Wednesday, July 18, 2018

'Tis Done At Last!

"Adrift" 24" x 26" - Sheila Mahanke Barnes ©2018
Another exhibit, another open house on the horizon and "Adrift" is ready! I dropped it off this morning, along with another piece, my contributions to the summer exhibit at The Power House - "Ode to Water". As the call for entry stated, "We are looking for works that celebrate water, Lake Pend Oreille and the boating season" because, well, we're pretty much all about the water come summer. And as I think I said before, I needed motivation to complete this quilt which I have worked on in fits and starts and long gaps in between since September of 2014. The shibori fabric was done in August of 2013 and a year later I'd paired it with the hand-dyed piece at the top. I let it intimidate me off and on over the next few months as I slowly got a handle on how to quilt it. In February of 2015, I was asking my art group for help, knowing that it needed more than the quilting and a few leaves floating on the water. In March 2016 I was back with the art group with a breakthrough but needing more help.

The original willows leaves were ditched for these batik ones

I brought it home from that meeting, rolled on a pool noodle and found I could not face it time and again. But with this enforced deadline and a renewed attitude, it was time to get it out again and resolve those demons that kept me second guessing every step of the way. That two year hiatus was worth the wait because I had not been idle in my thinking about the leaf placement up in the left corner and my foggy mind had cleared. It was pretty much full steam ahead, and with a purpose.

But boy did I cut it close! I spent more time working on it on Monday than I've been able to make myself work in a day in a long time. Sunday's output made it clear that the hand-couched grasses were taking longer than anticipated plus I kept needing to add more (and actually having fun with this part). I refused to quit until they were all on and then addressed the edge finish. I simply could not leave that for Tuesday, my last day to work, along with attaching the sleeve, taking pics and filling out paperwork. I'd already done a loose zigzag stitch around the outside and planned to stitch the braid along the edge, but that zigzag turned out not to be enough. I experimented with a few ideas geared to attaching the braid to something that would wrap around the edge, but ended up just doing a round of more tightly spaced zigzags. It was tricky keeping from stretching the edges as I did a double row of straight stitch through the braid, but luckily, it came out fairly even and any ripple steamed out.

detail of bushes stamped on after quilting

Still nervous about my shrinking timeline, I saw I had just enough time left to cut and stitch the sleeve. It had been so long since I'd layered this up that I had no idea if I had more of the backing fabric left. But I had set aside what I'd cut off during the squaring up process and low and behold, as I unfolded the backing that had been turned over the batting to the front, I found that I'd taken care of the sleeve issue by leaving enough extra backing on one side to cut the sleeve from. That was a hallelujah moment for sure! The sleeve was quickly cut and sewn and pinned to the back before quitting for the day.

Couching stitches atypically showing on the back.

And so on Tuesday, the day before it would be delivered to the exhibit site, "Adrift" got its sleeve sewn in place, was given a good steaming and a photo shoot, and its label inked on the back. Yes, I keep thinking I am getting lazy about some of these things like making a separate label to be sewn on the back, but maybe it is just being more expedient. I'm surely not quite as neat and tidy on the back as I used to be when I knew a quilt would be inspected both front and back by quilt show judges. There was a time when I definitely would have carefully traveled that couching thread between the top and backing so that it did not show. The busy backing print helps disguise some of it, but in truth, I could hear my "I don't care" mantra kicking in as I couched away. Time was of the essence!

My other entry - "Far From the Midwest Prairie" ©2007

So it was with a great deal of pride and relief that I loaded up the car this morning with quilts and paperwork and dropped them off well within the time limit. It really is a bit of a boost to my ego when I can meet these deadlines and am happy with the work. Of course, I KNOW I can do this sort of thing if I just apply myself, but it doesn't hurt to prove it to myself every now and then!

If you are in the area, please stop by the opening reception on Friday and say hi.



The Inside Stori said...

Sheila….I love everything about this piece… did good!!

Living to work - working to live said...

Yep - you did good!

Seriously, it's a lovely piece and has come together beautifully.

Hope you're well.

Hilary xx

Anonymous said...

'Adrift' is beautiful! I like reading about your process, long or short! I'm down to labeling my art quilt group challenge that's due in early August. WHAT is it about that last step??

Charlton Stitcher said...

‘Adrift’ is just beautiful - colours, balance and stitching. You must be so pleased!