Backed and quilted. The texture really shone this morning in the low light.
I sighed as I felt the softness of the red and orange damasks from Deb. Now that they are quilted down, they are soft and strong. I am so pleased.
After a trip out early to the market, I wrapped the edge of the backing around the whole cloth and stitched it down. Now it feels whole and done. Ready for gift-giving as a bookmark. I played with rolling and unrolling it.
I also decided to add some thread beads to the moon, it just needed some more texture. Using Jude‘s technique of sewing in the ‘in between’.
And from last night, some weaving.
I’ve been working on this piece over the last couple of days.
I needed to go to the city yesterday. While there I visited one of my favourite places, the Nicholas Building in Swanson Street. It’s a glorious small building, with an old cage lift, internal arched stain glass ceilings and little details everywhere that surprise. It also has four GREAT shops: Buttonmania, Maria George beads, L’ucello and Kimono house. I visited the latter and bought some vintage japanese fabric. If you’re a crafty person visiting Melbourne, you HAVE to visit this building and venture upstairs.
And THOSE stairs.
It’s been hot and humid for a few days. The blueberry plants seem to enjoy this, but I don’t.
Javi has been struggling to stay cool. But then he does keep pressing himself into the warmest places in the apartment. The windows are hot.
I’ve been stitching. I’ve been embellishing the bird book pages in an attempt to create a sense of place for each bird. And I’ve been naming and ‘verbing’ each bird. To suggest story, but not with any planning, just going with it. And not to over-tell a story, but to allow a child to weave their own.
I admit that I put myself through hell embellishing Walter. That brown sheeting is so tight, it’s not fun to hand stitch.
And I don’t usually do this, but I have another project on the go. One evening when the light wasn’t so crash-hot, I started randomly piecing some scraps. And I liked the base it created.
Then I thought it was such warm, dark colours: maybe it’s a place a cat could curl up. And dream. So that’s what this is becoming.
I worked on it some more last night, now the dream is twining more and there is a moon.
Today. Stitching in white.
And in the background, a beautiful pile of soft, vibrant fabric from Deb Lacativa. Soon to become birds and critters.
A few days with stuff going on and some health issues, so making small stitching progress.
I’ve been working on my free-pieced piece. I have an idea for embellishment that highlights the meeting points. I’m enjoying it so far, even if I am taking it slowly.
Or maybe *because* I’m taking it slowly.
Enjoying the details.
Enjoying how it’s just happening and taking me along with it.
Birds are on hold for a bit. They will be back.
And I’m still working my way through Small Journeys. I don’t want it to end.
Well. I’m not happy with where I took this. I’ve embellished the moon much more, spirals in the sky worked well, but the black grass around the figure… not liking it. So not sure if I will continue.
But i AM happy with this so far. Just… joining things. Scraps. Making them into something bigger.
I have a plan for this. A simple one. I will start tomorrow. Many stitches.
And I’ve found that randomly piecing CALMS me. I love it. I don’t know, I never expected this.
I think my birds are done for now, in terms of embellishment. I need to back them and quilt them. But I’m putting them aside, while I start my next thought.
The last bird was very much a What If bird for me. Jude Hill encourages lots of ‘what-iffing’ in her cloth embellishment, so I tried to push myself outside of my comfort zone a little.
My What ifs:
- What if I use some variegated thread? That was okay except I used some hand dyed indigo thread and against the white fabric that was a mistake as it rubbed terribly.
- What if I just outline the back wing rather than use another appliqué? I think that could have been successful if I’d made it more wing-like. But I’m happy with the idea.
- What if I make the legs really sketchy? And even don’t connect the back leg? This was also aiming to match the wing effect. I think it could work – I wish I’d varied the line more by stitching the back leg with one strand of thread, or a dark grey.
- What if I use satin (wrapping) stitch to make the tail? I think this was okay, but again the blue-bleed does effect the surrounds.
And he has a red eye as he started to remind me of the choughs we have here, which are very much a what-if bird for me too. I do like the way he’s flying off the edge of the cloth… more what ifs, possibilities, futures unknown.
Here’s the back of the cloth – which will become the ‘in between’ once I’ve backed it.
And so I’ve started on the next train of thought, brought about by Jude’s Patchwork Beasts workshop. She evokes such beautiful faces for her beasts. I’m inspired, going back to some sketches I drew a while back as ideas for hand-puppet faces, and will use these ideas to practise rendering some of my own characters in stitch.
So I’ve been preparing a base cloth, an old worn sheet, soft and thin, basted to some thin loosed weave backing.
And some two inch squares coming together for creature faces.
I’m excited to see where this will lead.
I spent the morning out at breakfast and markets. I noticed these beautiful flowers at the cafe we had breakfast. Thinking I could do this in stitches somehow:
And for lunch we had nordic bread and cucumber lassi. Honestly that bread is the most amazing food. And lassi ‘a la’ the other half. Goes from this:
To this! Yum.
And I tidied our balcony garden. Spring! So everything is humming along 😀
And then a morning of Jude Hill’s Patchwork beasts. Followed by some stitching time.
I finished the ‘ears’ of the owlet, and started a bird in the top left… which I prompted unpicked. I then put the piece away and walked to the botanical gardens and back in the sun. Feeling refreshed and inspired, I stitched the blue bird in the top right, which I thought of as a little wind spirit.
And that’s where my bird sampler is at. I’m excited to start some more expressive beasts next, based on what I learned this morning from Jude. Two more little birds though first.
I’m starting to worry that the squares are little cages. Note to self: let the birds roam around a little.
My first bird somehow became a little parrot.
Javi is looking outside for birds. But they are right here!
I’m treating this as a technique sampler but also challenging myself to try different sizes/shapes/poses as I go as well. I’m interested that the birds are creating their own characters as I go. In a way that feels like they are coming from a part of my imagination that I don’t reach by simply thinking: I need to MAKE in order for these characters to emerge.
Anyway, I have bluebird to finish. Be back later!