Friday, November 30, 2012

Another set of wings

Sets of wings keep suggesting themselves.
I added extensions to the small triangles with an outline stitch in purple sewing thread, 2 strands. I'm not using embroidery floss on this project because I have so much thread in so many colors inherited from my mom. If I don't use it who will?
And then, I feel an obligation to use up all that thread. I can imagine my dad saying to my mom in the next life: "But WHY did you buy all that thread????" Having lived through the depression, he was a frugal person. Now she can reply: "Because our daughter needs it."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Stitching Pomegranates, 3

Most evenings before dinner I sit at the machine and do free motion stitching on pomegranates for about an hour and a half. The machine's motor heats too fast to do more than that.
I keep adding more stitching because the colors of the threads please me so much.
The next sketch to go under the needle: Less stitch gives a different look that I like as well.

More visible fabric.

I find I like the possibility of viewing the work on the blog page as I go along. Gives me some perspective.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Roses, 1.

  Went outside and sketched roses with white colored pencil on fabric sewn to sketchbook page.
Then had to immediately stitch the design since the pencil was rubbing off. Did this in light pink and light green thread. Camera is reading it as white. Tough to photograph dark fabrics.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bird's Eye View

The Wing Cloth seems to be emerging as a bird's eye view or Icarus's view as he looks down below him. I basted the tea-dyed strips onto three different dark brown fabrics for backing, but I like the contrast and will probably let the backings show. Then I hand stitched all the seams with a running stitch that shows.
I like the emphasis of the pieced seams, which gives structure. Then I began adding stitching and a few pieces of fabric prints here and there for fields
 and roads
and mountains. A pyramid? Might have to add to that to make it look like a mountain.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Oil Tin Mosaic: finished gluing.

Used tiles. Didn't sand off the backs enough resulting in uneven surface. Sometimes that's an interesting look, but I really prefer a smoother time.

The other sides, pretty much the same. I'll use an almost black grout. The grout makes such a big difference, brings out the mosaic design.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Portable Sketchbook.

My more traditional sketchbook, 8"x6"/20cmx15cm; small enough to carry in my purse. I usually sketch in lost moments when out in the car. Not a daily practice, maybe once a week. I glued on fabric bits, then machine stitched. A bit of a trick because of the wire spiral.
Played around with markers on the reverse side of the stitching.
For me, there doesn't seem to be much crossover between sketchbook and fabric maybe because I don't give the sketching much thought. Here's looking out the dentist's French door balcony windows in an older section of Tunis, March 2012.
It occurred to me, however, that I would like to hold in my hand a sketchbook where one side of the page is drawn and the other side is a fabric interpretation.
Glue and a stack of fabric bits. This is working really small. I like it, but it's a bit finicky. Haven't progressed much on this idea. I'll get to it eventually. I also have a looseleaf notebook of the same size which I will use when I fill up this sketchbook. I can take the pages out and sew on them.

These are the ideas that preceded my Textile Sketchbook, which I will probably stick with because it's more idea-driven. I can get a better grip on it. The purse sketchbook (and any sketchbook I've done to date) is rather random. The Textile Sketchbook also serves to illustrate my main blog, giving it purpose. Random. I don't think "random" suits me very well, maybe because I feel like I must justify my use of time, which comes from a pronounced work ethic. Finding purpose may be the way of getting around the work ethic, or putting the work ethic to creative use.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Adding to Wing Cloth

I had tea-dyed some small white scraps, then machine pieced them together in bands. They were just sitting in the stash, and in the back of the mind. Thought I might use them with an antique Japanese silk rectangle given to me by a friend, but they seemed good for the Wing Cloth.
 I machine pieced together sets of wings with the blue pinstripe, which makes the wings stand out when appliquéd to the blue background. Then added triangles. Set them on the top. With leftover scraps of the tea-dyed cottons, I made triangle shapes that became shadows.
A flurry of wings. The tea-dyed bands are on three sides, which are not stitched to the center yet.
The theme of wings brings to mind the story of Icarus, whose father, Daedalus was a master craftsman. They needed to escape from Crete, where Daedalus had built the Labyrinth to contain the Minotaur, therefore he built wings out of wax and feathers. Icarus did not heed his father's warning about flying too high and too close to the sun. His wings melted from the heat and he plunged to his death in the sea. What interests me, then is the creative idea of constructing wings. No bodies necessary, it's the wing itself that counts.

So tea-dyed bands = Land, Crete. The blue pinstripe = sea. The blue skirt fabric = sky.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Cleaning out the garage remains a low priority because the junk has accumulated and multiplied as to be unmanageable. I've finally decided to do it bit by bit. Here's what I found the other day.
My mother-in-law's copper mortar and pedestal were nearly black. They must easily be 60 years old. My copper collection didn't exist when I banished them to the garage some years ago. They are very heavy, can't believe they're made like that anymore. Glad I found them because I now have a place for them and their beauty and history please me.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Beginning of Wing Cloth

Going backwards a bit because I'd like to document the Wing Cloth. Although I've been reluctant to take on-line classes, I decided to sign up for Jude Hill's Spirit Cloth Diaries because a) it's not really a class but rather a visit to her creative world, b) I like her thoughtful/analytical approach by which she peels back layers to examine her methods, inspirations and art, c) I knew people would participate in the forum, d) I wanted to be able to talk to people with similar interests and e) I wanted to push myself in some new directions, learn, reflect.
         So I adopted her wing theme ("filter") just because I already have enough of my own, and decided to use her methods of making "cloth".  Found a soft blue fabric (flea market used skirt) in my stash with the thought of working rather small (hard for me).
         I machine sewed straight seams in the fabric to make a shadowy 9-patch with an X from corner to corner, creating a grid or structure to work on. Then I hand basted this to an old piece of white cotton for backing and hand stitched down the seams (should have stitched the seams first). Nice pucker effect.
 The round edge of the skirt left room for a pinstripe fabric to fill the corner. I tried using a navy blue to sew the seams, but it shows very little. The central square contains the possibility of wings made from triangles. Just a basic structure.
I'm not sure I'll ever do so much hand work at the beginning again. Much of it is not particularly visible and will be covered up. However, testing out the techniques expands the possibilities of construction. Methods to be filed away and used later if desired.

Note to myself: Looking back at the pictures, I realize how much that blue fabric speaks to me. Could use what's left of it for another piece in blues, maybe with a labyrinthian needleturn appliqué or stitch and appliqué into it like a coloring book.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Apple Blossoms

It was going to rain so I took pictures to sketch from. For me, this is cheating, but there wasn't enough time to draw as I had to finish cleaning up the garden before the storm hit. And hit it did. Tunis was flooded. We got lucky although there was a lot of stagnating water in the low end of the orchard. And of course, the rain knocked off a lot of the petals. I found this particular photo striking with the dark background (I have no idea how I managed this photo. Luck).
After sewing the green plaid background to the drawing paper, I used a white colored pencil to sketch from the photo, which rubbed off easily. So I sewed the design.

Decided to work within the lines this time. Mostly because it was too hard to trace or transfer anything because of the dark background. Pinned fabrics down.
Then stitched them down. A cloisonné effect. Or I felt like I was doing a mosaic, that feeling one gets when doing a puzzle, fitting the pieces together. Very satisfying.
I found a light blue with a lot of white in it that worked well for petal shadows. Then the free motion stitching using 3 pinks and 2 greens.

The wording is much easier to sew when the letters are rather large and roundish. I work it upside down, seems easier. Need more practice. Maybe next time I'll just stitch the words without writing them first.
Photographing the dark fabric proved difficult. The fabric actually reads darker, almost black. Had to edit the photo more than usual.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Finishing quilting wings

The white sashing on this old quilt is looking sad so I started adding very light fabric triangles and rectangles. Really like the effect. The more soft colored fabrics, the better. Gives it a patchy look, yet doesn't interfere with the wing design. May or may not add stitching...haven't decided. Or maybe later. Need to move on to the next part.
Really liked doing the blanket stitch in a circle around a hole . Fairly fast and the effect is interesting, intricate.
Lots of time spent on the stitching, every night after dinner.
Seeing squid or sea anemones too. This could become a series of interlocked wing shapes. They keep suggesting themselves.

Turquoise Wings

More buttonhole stitch. The background/border fabric is so faded that it reads as a neutral gray.
Split backstitch for embroidered tendrils. I thought I would do them clear across, but it doesn't show up well. Not worth it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pomegranate Background.

For the background of the pomegranate tree, I made six panels, 28" x 28" more or less. Jaggedly cut strips sewn one on top of the other with newsprint as stabilizer. It took an hour and a half per panel just to sew all the strips down. Used black thread. Paper not removed yet.

Mostly cotton fabrics. I bought several reproduction fabrics while in the States last April. Brown is a bit difficult to find, at least the browns I wanted. Also two scarves included (the gray/black zigzag fabric and the green and brown paisely-type fabric).
I'll eventually cut the panel in to 6" or 8" strips and sew them back together again. I have no idea whether this is going to work or not. I can always use it for something else if it doesn't but that would still be a bummer because I need a background for the pomegranates.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Stitching Pomegranates, 2

Throwing in some pinks and yellow with the red. Craving pink.

Maybe a bit too strong, the solid red fabric. Looking like a radish, but I think it will work in the group.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Quilting Wings

Finished quilting the corner appliqué, more or less. I suppose I can come back later.
However, I'm not quilting clear through to the other side, although I'm quilting the interior batting. It quilts like butter, very fast, and I like the visible running stitch. If I'm going to put this much effort into it, it had better be visible. I like the movement that the stitching adds. A liberated wing, also Medusa's hair, an anemone. In the other direction it might suggest jelly fish strands.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stitching Pomegranates, 1

Slow job. A bit tedious because there are 11 pomegranate branches and some of them are rather large.

Yet, exciting because of the colors of the thread. Building up the surface keeps me going.
One can hardly see the original base fabric--I can't seem to resist adding more colors with thread.
The extending red fabric creates a sort of reflection, a shadow...
The contrast between sewn pomegranate and unsewn leaves is interesting, maybe I won't sew them all down.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Make Lemonade"

Process on fabric sketchbook: fabric sewn to sketchbook page.
At first this felt like an assignment and I dragged my feet, but then I began playing with the background and it became fun. Laid down glass fabric (white-gray plaid) first, then auditioned fabrics for tile effect. Had some gray strip squares but really didn't like the darkness. Craving pink. Dug up a painted fabric (thinned acrylics).
Realized I needed some yellow on the left. Then wrote text with permanent marker.Should possibly have written text later. 
One painted fabric with commercial fabrics from flea market clothing. Framed up each piece with free motion machine stitching. Thread colors: maroon, hot pink, salmon pink, pink-pink, orange, yellow.
A comment from Henrietta in Spirit Cloth Diaries: she saw a calendar...yes. time passing.
A sunny composition. Lemonade really is that light yellow. The ice cubes are a print with little yellow flowers. Decided not to cut off the shadow extending on the bottom right.
And I finished the glass of lemonade before I finished drawing it. It was good, very good.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mosaic container and quilt stitching

On my work table for mosaicking, uneven circular movement:
Tried splatter painting on some white tiles, but unfortunately it scratches off easily. Cool look.
Began quilting around the 2nd maze.
 Brought back a memory of the original patchwork by stitching lines over the appliqué where the old design was.
Used outline stitch because I like the way it is slightly raised. It's a bit wobbly because of the uneven surface, but I find that adds to it's shadowiness. Keeps the appliqué from flying away.