Tuesday, November 20, 2012


size does matter.  That's one of the lessons I learned from this bit of sampling.  I really wanted to do some sort of free-motion quilting in the grassy areas, but quickly realized that creating the sharp-pointed 'stippling' in a tight space was tough on my shoulders.  I wasn't keen on doing it over a larger area.


A larger area... Of course!  The final piece is going to be at least twice the size of the sample!  What could I do in that larger space that would be effective?  I decided to consult FMQ guru, Leah Day, via her FMQ Project -- and I found Lesson #37 -- "Jagged Lines".  Perfect!

To get an idea of what they'd look like, I tried them in the tiny space left on my sample -- see that brown area on the far left?  (Yes Carolyn, you and I were on the same wave-length here. :-)  Thanks for your comment! )

Then I added some hand stitching to see what it would look like (sorry; this one's a bit blurry).  I like it!

The 'what ifs' continued -- next with the sky.  Now, I'm not fond of stitching in the sky.  I'm always concerned about over-doing it.  However, I did try this:

It might work in the larger piece if I can get into the rhythm of the sky fabric, where clouds 'need' to be.  I know that others stitch in the sky, but they're not always working on batting.  (For example, I believe that Monika works on two layers -- fabric and some sort of stiff backing -- Timtex or some such thing that's not batting.)  When you have a stiffer substrate, your sky stitching has quite a different look to it, right Monika?  :-)

So...I reserve judgment on whether or not I'll stitch in the sky on the final piece.

There there was the bark.  I did go back in and play around with tiny bits of painted fusible web, with very ho-hum results, so I decided to try a technique I learned in a workshop with Anna Hergert in Edmonton in the spring of 2010:  stitched, painted and distressed paper napkins!

First you stitch a grid on your favourite paper napkin.  This one is from an inexpensive pack from a dollar+ store, free-motion stitched with whatever I had in the machine (brown, I think):

Next you paint the grid with textile paint.  I had brown textile paint (Jacquard) and black artist's acrylic, so I mixed 'em, diluted with a bit of left-over brown dye I'd mixed up a while ago:

You let that dry.  Then you spritz it with a water bottle, and distress it with your fingers to get this:

Actually, I think the plastic in the black acrylic paint kept this from being as distressed as it might have been.  On the other hand, it enabled me to get a firm tug on a piece, tear it off, and apply it to my tree trunks.  I used a touch of glue stick for the sample, but on a larger piece, I would stitch it down.

See the dark bits on the centre tree trunk?  See how much more effective it is than the snips of black-painted fusible web on the other tree trunks?  See how on a larger piece you'd have to be very judicious in your use of this material so it wouldn't overwhelm?

Yep; sometimes size matters!


elle said...

You really are showing the value of a sample. Thanks, Margaret.

Margarita Korioth said...

It is always nice to read and see how you do your art dear Margaret.
I love to do small pieces and try different techniques and composition and then decide what to change, add and do a bigger piece. I like your tree trunks details, new to me :)

Linda A. Miller said...

Great experiments! Like the variety of stitches you are trying out...

Judy Warner said...

I am going through your earlier posts as I haven't been on your site for way too long. I love this bark technique. Just amazed at your creativity!