Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Memory of Summer

Here is the finished piece, A Memory of Summer, 16" x 23". When I posted it, this week, on Facebook, there were questions. I'll try to answer them here.

I'm pretty happy with this piece, especially my decision to change my mind about appliquéing those branches and instead, embroidering them directly on the pieced background. It worked well and did not take as long as I had feared. The branches were done freestyle—I just made them up as I went along, after studying some real branches and getting a feel for branch structure.

The bowl and the berries were embroidered on separate pieces of fabric, then appliquéd onto the background. I did it this way for a couple reasons. First I wanted them to really sit in front of the background, without being affected by the texture of the background and second, to incorporate an outline of darker fabric around these pieces.

The bowl was cut from white fabric, minimally attached with washable school glue to a dark gray fabric, then backed with tear away stabilizer. I used three shades of perle cotton to embroider the bowl, again in an unplanned way, shading inward from the edges.

This part was pretty labor intensive and done over many evenings in front of the TV. While I am pleased with the result, I'm not sure it was worth all the hours spent. I have some ideas for different, less intense, approaches to something similar.

This photo illustrates how I made the berries (rose hips?). The shapes, cut from fabric, were lightly glued to the gray background, backed with stabilizer, then embroidered over. I cut them out, with a gray margin around each, then stitched them in place on the branches.

This uses ideas I want to continue exploring. I was able to avoid, or work around, many of the problems I am still experiencing with my vision, except that my attempts at clean, accurate machine quilting of the background fell somewhat short of my usual proficiency. I need to rethink that part. Rather than being a stumbling block, I am finding a joy in discovering that I can still work at something I love, and rediscovering something I have always known—there is no one right way to do something.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, December 15, 2017

Trial and error, moving forward

I am working on a new piece, using the same general scheme as my last—the pieced background with embroidered elements as foreground. In my last post I showed what I had started for this new one. I was embroidering branches that would be embroidered on a separate piece of fabric, then cut out and appliquéd to the background. I was doing it this way, rather than embroidering directly on the background to give it more dimension and in order to create the dark outline I so love. I spent hours and hours on those branches and then when I started appliquéing them on the pieced background they looked terrible.

They are thick, hairy and clunky. Not at all what I was envisioning. (You can also see, in this closeup that I am still having vision problems. Machine stitching is still so hard to see as I work...)

I remembered that on the previous piece I embroidered the roots directly on the background, so I tried a bit of that.

I think I like it much better! Will it work with the berries that I intend to add later?

Yes, I think so!

I am working in a new way that seems to accommodate my current visual limitations and I am enjoying the challenge! Maybe we all need to get thrown a little off balance occasionally in order to exercise our ability to adapt and find new ways of doing what we do and being who we are. That is really what life is, right? Two steps forward, one step back is still progress!

And sew it goes...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad