I must be feeling better. I let myself get enticed into signing up for TextileArtist.org's 5 day "stitch camp" - free of course so what is there to lose but some time? I rationalized it many ways: 1) I really do love hand stitching and haven't done any for quite some time; 2) it was billed as doable because of the way the project was divided into small segments over the 5 days; 3) I might see something new or a new way of doing something I'd already tried - you know, transferring parts to something I already do; 4) I could always just watch the videos and if nothing appealed, I wouldn't have to actually do the project; 5) did I mention it was free? Yeah, a lot of rationalization. And even though "mark making" was part of day one, something I've never liked doing in any medium, I was intrigued by the idea of "seeing things in the marks" to drive how you would add embroidery. That's pretty much in my wheelhouse, "Masks" being one of my best examples of seeing images to be picked out in stitch.
So I grit my teeth and did day one's assignment of mark making. One good lesson was the suggestion to pick just two colors (one medium, one dark) plus a light neutral. That really does simplify things. I chose teal and yellow and searched my stash for fabrics of that color as well as threads and floss for embroidery and paint for making those marks on the "winter white" kona fabric. The resulting painted fabric was of two kinds, one with dense marks and little white showing, the other with the marks farther apart with more white area. Accents of the opposite color on each area helps with a bit of cohesion. I did the dense marks first and really didn't like what I did, partly because I was learning how the paint was working with the various "tools" I tried. Before I did the less dense marks, I'd scrolled through the dedicated Facebook page to see what others were doing and spotted some really cool marks made with fork tines - I'd totally forgotten about that, so I got marks I liked better on that piece. (You can see the results and my pile of threads and other fabric in the photo above.)
But no matter, this painted fabric wasn't supposed to be a lovely composition because it would be cut into 2-1/2 x 3 inch pieces (don't ask - the teacher gave no explanation for that dimension and also said we could cut them any size we wanted). Pick and choose what to pair, looking for connections from one square to another, then overlap slightly and tack with small running stitches. Yes, no seaming here as the simple embroidery stitches suggested are meant to "blur" the joins. She was putting together up to 4 squares into a strip, but I could see others in the group were breaking from this idea of making a long strip to use more squares in rows, which is what I wanted to do. As you can imagine, after I pulled those 3 dark teal squares together as something embroidery could help make the marks flow one to another, I spent quite a bit of time arranging the other squares around them. At one point I actually had a second piece going, but dang, I couldn't help myself. I managed to use every single square in this one piece. No leftovers for this gal!
|Favorite marks are the thin parallel lines made with a fork and the concentric circles from a spool end|
Unfortunately (or possibly fortunately depending on your viewpoint), those of us with larger pieces immediately realized we would be adding embroidery stitches on them long past the day specified for the embroidery. But we don't really care. I enjoyed tacking the squares together, that rhythmic running stitch, and am equally enjoying pondering what to stitch where. Day 4, if one was done with embroidery, was to be time to assess the piece to see what bits of applique might be added to additionally blur joins and make the piece more cohesive. The last day talked about how to finish the piece, and I particularly liked an example where a piece like mine could be laid on a piece of fabric extending beyond like a border and where embroidery stitches could extend into it. I could see this sort of piece being framed.
This exercise of blending marks from one area to another reminded me of a quilt I made prior to 2006 I believe. A friend had challenged me to do something with a small piece of 60's polyester fabric with a bold print. I had some bias tubes left over from a Celtic applique project and they became the connectors between rectangles of that fabric, over the solid hand-dye. I'm getting a bit of the same vibe off my stitch camp piece.
Well, with watching the daily short videos and doing something each day on the piece, that took me through Friday, and knowing I could set the stitch camp piece aside, I spent some time Saturday and Sunday working on the baby quilt. Extra incentive, I was having lunch with a quilting friend today, and I'd told her the last time we'd gotten together about my plans so I really wanted to have something to show her. I completed the 4 light blocks and 8 split blocks with dark centers, plus one from the split block with the light center. Here are the rest of those blocks with their squares all arranged and ready for joining, so half plus one done. I must admit that I feel Judi over my shoulder, telling me to quit so deliberately putting the different patches in place, to loosen up like she did once when we were on retreat and I was working on a mystery scrappy quilt. She "caught" me matching up fabrics, which I denied. She wanted me to just pull pieces out of a bag. a way of working that I do find very hard to do. So while I arranged these squares, I just told her to shush, important not to have two of the same fabric side by side! I got the impression she wasn't convinced. ;-)
No shooting, please! You had me at yellow & blue! I love that color combination! The marks are interesting to look at, especially the spools & the wider zig-zag lines. You did it & most likely will apply some of the ideas in other projects. So, free is good...and time well-spent doing something out of your usual zone! Jan in WY
I thought I had this under control, Jan, signing up for free classes when I have so much already waiting in the wings. And realizing that a lot of what I was watching the last few years really wasn't that helpful when I looked at the big picture. Focus! But then again, all work and no play makes for a dull girl (paraphrasing) - lol - and realized as I stared at my resolution word sign on my studio door, that this indeed might fall under "continue" as in continue living and exploring life. P.S. I didn't mention that I painted another piece of fabric in a different color palette and was thinking about how it could be cut and pieced differently. This stuff can get addictive!
I wish I had known about this class, as it's right up my alley! It's certainly out of the box for you, though, and I was glad to read that you enjoyed the meditative aspect of stitching.
Oh my goodness you have been busy. I guess it is a sign that you’re feeling better. I do like your mark and stitch piece. I really like the yellow stitches inside the blue circles. I’ve always loved the look of stitched circles.
I also find myself thinking about things I’m working on as I fall asleep or wake up in the middle of the night….it can be ornaments, rocks, buildings, etc. Crazy I know. I does take away some of my sleep when I’m really busy. I used to do the same thing when I was a. Undergraduate working on hard physics problems. Once I even dreamed the solution to one I was struggling with before I went to sleep. So maybe sleep is a good quilting time as well!
Chris, I was uncertain about stitching in those blue circles but since this is all about experimentation, I decided to give it a go and was truly surprised at how much I liked it. Normally I think I would have done the spiral with a solid stitch but since this running stitch was one of the options they highlighted, I decided to go with it. I think the other dark circles are too small to stitch inside of, may only be able to outline them in yellow but we will see.
Love to find out that you too use that time just outside of sleep for problem solving, be it what you currently work on or in your past academic life. I've never dreamed solutions or designs, but friend Judi said she did, often waking up from a dream of a new design in her head that she immediately made notes about. Nope, my designing is never that easy and only seem to come to me when I'm wide awake!
Sherrie, I've always enjoyed hand embroidery even as a child and did a lot of cross stitch and crewel work before I got into quilting. Hand quilting provides the same kind of meditative stitching as those days of hand embroidery. It is nice to get back to embroidery and it is reminding me about the quilting as well which I haven't done much of since my back started acting up. Mark making not so much! It still tenses me up.
Hi Shiela! It's Cathie (Clevelandgirlie) remember me?! Love this. Nothing more satisfying than creating your own textile and then making something with it. By the way guess who is finally moving to Idaho!? I bought a house in Meridian and am moving 4/13.
Of course I remember you Cathie! I was thinking about you not so long ago actually, and every time I run across that bundle of batik scraps you sent me that I still have some of. I've missed seeing what arty things you've been up to that you used to post on your blog. Do you do that on Instagram now? I'm not that familiar with the area around Meridian but it's Idaho so it must be great - lol Congrats on finally making the move soon. Are you still motorcycling? So glad you popped into my blog. I need encouragement like yours when I veer off into unfamiliar territory like with this stitch camp piece. Happy happy to "see" you here.
Post a Comment