Sunday, November 25, 2012





People get so hung up on a making a project  perfect.  It is so much more fun to have a dialogue with your project, sometimes it speaks to you while you are asleep, or at the art museum and you have an "ah ha!" moment and can move on to the next step.  The hardest part of this quilt was figuring out how to teach someone who can't draw, how to make realistic animal designs with felted appliques.  That eureka moment came when I learned how to make stencils from my patterns.

I sent the Wannabees (above) to a quilt show in Oregon this summer and the comment that came back from the judges, was that I should be more careful at the beginning and endings of my quilting stitches.  (I have no idea what they are talking about!) It didn't matter to them that I was quilting a large 6 lb. quilt on my HOME SEWING MACHINE and that the quilting was not the outstanding feature of the quilt.  They didn't seem to notice that I was doing something that nobody else is doing with my 2-D and 3-D realistic felted appliques. The quilt came home with its tail between its legs because it didn't win a ribbon.  It has been sulking ever since.

That makes me hesitant to quilt the New Flock (above) even though  I don't plan on sending it out to competitions.  It's job is to sell patterns when we are vending at shows. This quilt top is a smaller project at 31" x 37", and yet people are still asking for a smaller project to start.

There is a group in Delaware that wants me to teach a class in Felted Applique and they thought Designer Seashells would be a fun pattern to try, so I made up a small sample.  It didn't work.  I think it is because they don't have eyes, so I researched fish in Delaware waters and they are almost poisonous, the waters are so polluted.  I saw warnings about only eat them once a month or, good grief, once every three months.  Then I thought of doing a seagull...they are abundant along the shore and they would be a unique theme to try.

This is a close up in the center of the New Flock of Sheep (at right).  This shows the 3-D effect that you can achieve by putting more roving down the center of the face to make it a bas (pronouced Baah! like sheep say, meaning low) relief.  The embroidery is done using six basic stitches.  When you combine them, feather and colonial (a variation of French knots) stitches they make symbols of flowering plants, not copious copies.  If you take two different orange size 5 pearl cotton threads and make a colonial stitch in a tree, you've got peaches.  The more you do the embroidery, the more observant you become and the ideas keep flowing.  I usually change colors of green when the thread runs out when I make grasses or weeds. Once you have the techniques you are only limited by your ingenuity. There is so much to learn, and try. It doesn't always end up in success, but that is part of the learning experience. You learn from your mistakes too.

4 comments:

  1. It would be a terrible shame if you let the experience put you off quilting. I think that your quilts are absolutely stunning and that you have done a wonderful job. I would be SO VERY proud of them if they were my quilts. Your appliqué and embroidery are second to none.

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    1. I am proud of my quilts, but I think of them more like extensions of me rather than objets d'art. They keep my mind sharp. My work is a compilation of experiments, and I see steady growth in my techniques and complexity.

      When working on my blocks, I don't talk to myself in English, The language is visual, and I do let the piece I am working on to tell me what it wants to become.

      I still haven't quilted the New Flock of Sheep. I am working on another one which has more space between the appliques, so there is room to quilt. I am having trouble not filling in all the empty area with embroidery!

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  2. I just found your blog tonight when I did a search for embroidery around applique. I really like your work, especially the New Flock of Sheep! Which shows do you vend at?

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    1. I am finding how much fun it is to embellish on basic embroidery stitches. I use the feather stitch a lot, then add French knots or fly stitches to the spokes...and herringbone stitch. Here is a great resouce for embroidery stitch variations:http://www.embroidery.rocksea.org/

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