Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sampling Continues

Yes, I picked the layout I liked best, and I began to stitch.

Sulky (R) Colour #4034
First I fused the sky, earth and grass to a foundation fabric (light muslin).  Then I attached the strip of recycled  sweater, using Sulky Blendables 100% cotton thread in "Soft Blacks", using a zig-zag stitch, my stippling foot and the feed dogs up.

Sulky (R) Colour #4011
Sulky (R) Colour #4019
Next I added some thread painting between the hills and grasses, first with Sulky Blendables 100% cotton thread in "Milk Chocolate" and "Forest Floor".

Then I sandwiched the piece and fused the tree trunks, tot-stitching them down with a straight stitch, feed dogs down now, leaving a rough edge.  I stitched the first two with "Soft Blacks" but didn't like the harshness of it against the fabric.  Looking again in my stash I found a hand-dyed cotton thread that I bought several years ago from -- I think -- Stef Francis.  It bears no label, and I couldn't find it on her website, so I'm not sure she even makes it now (if she ever did).  Sigh...

The good news is that I've hardly made a dent in the spool, so I'll have enough of it for the larger assessment piece if all I use it for is stitching down the tree trunks.  :-)

Wanting to add some texture to the grasses (the brown section is grass that has died down), I debated: machine or hand or combination?

Above you see a section of the grasses free-motioned with a jerky stitch that I thought would give an interesting texture.  It was tiring to do on this small piece, so I can't imaging doing it on a larger one (I'm working on a domestic machine).  I kept reminding myself, "it's just a sample" and went on to play with hand-stitching.

First I tried adding some seed stitch to the already-quilted green area.  The dense machine quilting had made the piece relatively inflexible, so it was a bit tough to get the sharp needle to go through it.  I was using wonderful over-dyed cotton embroidery floss -- 2 strands -- "Celadon" from Weeks Dye Works -- a gift from my friend Jeannette Douglas when I went on a stitching cruise with her in 2009.

I like the way this makes the green grassy area look less stiff; somehow the hand stitching gives it life.  However, I liked this bit even better -- the hand stitching alone.

Here's an example of both, side by side.  I'm liking the hand-stitching alone more and more. (The brown is stitched in Gentle Art Thread's "Wood Rose", another gift from Jeannette.)

I thought about adding bits of painted fusible web to the trees for bark texture, but have yet to try it.  arlee's wonderful hand-dyed fabric is so effective that I'm not sure it needs anything else.  However, to be on the 'safe' side, I might just do it...just to see; just to answer the "what if?" :-)


arlee said...

Definitely a combo of hand and stitch--more depth, more texture and a real foreground/middle ground/background effect. I was admiring the tree trunk fabric when i scrolled down and saw where you got it --too funny :)

elle said...

I'm agreeing with you about the hand stitching.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Love the hand stitching too!

scraphappy said...

What a fun collection of textures. I like the hand stitching, but the machine version gives a nice effect as well.

rtquilter said...

Looking great, Margaret! I like the hand stitching too. How about really sharply pointy, more vertical machine stitching for the green areas?