Monday, March 30, 2015

Ode to Spring

This is a crazy time of year for me.  Kids are busy with school. And I am taking off for 5 days next week to teach 4 classes and attend MQX in Manchester, NH.  I think I am mostly ready for my classes, but those thoughts of doubt always creep in.  I don't like surprises much so I have spent a lot of time thinking of lots of different scenarios for the classes.

This is also the time of year I typically start to quilt one of next year's show quilts too.  The kids' summer vacation (though hard to envision with a foot of snow STILL on the ground) is less than 3 months away, and my quilting comes to a screeching halt then for a few weeks.  Now's the time to get that show quilt started - especially good idea since the one I am ever-so-slowly piecing on is not anywhere close to done yet!

I have started a lavender silk whole cloth that for the time being I will call Ode to Spring.  The name may change, but right now, this seems good.  I drew the design iteratively over 2-3 months, on a 8-1/2" x 11" piece of paper.  It was heading in a slightly different direction, when the brick wall seemed to lift, and I decided that it looked good with flowers on it.  Sometimes fighting a design you are trying to make work just isn't worth it.  So I take the 45degree triangle that I draw the design on, and mirror/copy the design until I have a square design.  At that point, it is obvious where I want changes to the design.  I had Staples blow up 1/4th of the design to a 30" square.  The quilt should finish slightly over 60".  Here's a peek at one corner...
The fabric is a gorgeous purple, but is sure is difficult to get the blue pen visible.  I went through about 6 of the blue washout pens transferring the design.  I had to use the light-box attachment to my dining room table (AKA - replace the leaf with plexiglass and a light) to transfer it.  The last whole cloth I did which was ivory was MUCH easier to transfer because the design showed through the fabric!  Notice the hot pink at the bottom?...that is the backing!  I abandoned the prints this time.  A whole cloth just needs the courage of a solid backing.  Assuming the tension stays good, this will gain me something, someday, in the judging.
And on Thursday morning last week, the needle hit the fabric...Right now, I am stitching the major motifs -- basically what is marked on the design.  The backfillers won't be done immediately.  I have a deep rose, dare I call it fuscia, 40wt Glide thread.  I like being able to see the thread, and it will tie on to the pink backing.  Backfills will likely be done witn 100wt matching (lavender) silk thread.

Top border has what is probably my favorite spring tree - dogwood.  We don't have these up north, and is one thing I so look forward to seeing in Paducah in 3 weeks.  This flower is quintessential southern.

The scrolly motifs are painfully slow to stitch, doing some of them with templates to keep the curves smooth.  Many areas inevitably get ripped out due to my anal nature.  They will look awesome when the fills get done to really pop them.
 These ones are in each corner (below).  They are deceptively large.  There is also a proverbial ton of stop and start, knot and bury here too.  It is definitely a "what was I thinking" type of design!
The design has some flowers -- tulips, petunias, a sunflower and the dogwoods, and lots of leaves worked into the feathering.  The scrollwork and the lacy frames give it a light sense.  You can see one of the dragonflies (above) - I am holding off stitching these because they may be done in a different thread.  I'll come back to them.
There's the center!  I am past the center today, but not far enough that I will reach the bottom tomorrow.   Getting closer though.  I am back to the corner designs which are very tedious!

I'm not sure when I will have more of this to show, but happily it is started.


Vicki W said...

It's going to be amazing!

Anonymous said...

It is hard to tell scale, but those motifs look tiny! And gorgeous. I look forward to seeing how the quilt develops.

Joy said...

What a beautiful whole cloth! I love your design. Your idea for a light box is ingenious too.

Amy @ Amy's FMQ Adventures said...

Love it! Gonna be a jaw dropper as usual. I love how you let us know that you may rip out portions and re-stitch. It's so easy to look at the finished piece and think that it was done in one fell swoop instead of stitch by sometimes agonizingly tedious stitch.

The plexiglass in the place of a leaf in the table is brilliant. We now have a table I could use for that, if I can keep sticky fingers off of it long enough.

Debbie said...

Incredible! Love the dogwood blooms and the tulip center!