Friday, September 16, 2022

How Many Samples...

 How many samples could a sampler sample if a sampler could sample samples?

Good question!  

My Sampler September 2022 is full of samplers, samples and sampling!  😆  It's been my focus for the last couple of weeks, that's for certain.

In my last post I wrote about the September 'feeling' of "Back to School" and "Back to Work", and mentioned I had both in my life this year.  

I've started my online (Zoom) theology class on the subject of hermaneutics -- a fancy word for "the interpretation of Scripture" (or the process of interpreting any text, for that matter).  Our textbook is dense and replete with quotes, references, cross-references and suggested additional reading, which I've neither time nor motivation to do!  Still, I ploughed through the first two chapters, completed the assignments and got a 'thumbs up' from the later today it's on to chapter three!

Of greater interest right now is my sampling and sampler-stitching.  I spent the better part of a couple of days in each of the last two weeks, creating samples for the "meadow" piece I want to create for the Art in the Park (AITP) exhibit that goes up in February 2023.  I had a vision in mind and wanted to see what would work to create it.  

I found myself waking in the wee hours with ideas, unable to get back to sleep until I'd started to work out possible techniques.  Whoa!  That's not happened for me in over 2 years!!

Maybe my "art mojo" is returning -- what a blessing that would be!

My initial thought was to create my own fabric using water-soluble film and/or fabric -- a la Jan Beaney.  I have a good supply of Sulky's products in film, fabric and 'sticky' fabric which have been languishing -- protected by well-sealed plastic wrappings -- for ages, and a terrific collection of well-thumbed books written by Ms. Beaney and her partner in "Double Trouble", Jean Littlejohn -- so I dug them all out, plus a stash of assorted beads, wools, ribbons and threads, and set to work.

First I constructed grids with my sewing machine, on water-soluble film and fabric with and without an embroidery hoop*:

Grids constructed on w/s film without a hoop

Grids constructed on w/s film with a hoop

Grid constructed on w/s fabric - no hoop

*I just used a regular hoop I use in hand-stitch; I don't own an embroidery-focued sewing machine.

While watching In Action, the "Double Trouble" DVD, I decided to apply some assorted beads to one of the grids on water-soluble film -- completely unrelated as to colour, to the eventual project piece.  I added some additional embroidery floss in part of the sample, to see if it would be more effective in holding beads in place.  It was painstakingly slow work, but I did achieve a measure of success:


The film's been dissolved -- leaving 
a beaded and unbeaded grid

My second sample took a slightly different approach.  Based on another technique used by Jan and Jean, I sandwiched bits and bobs of fabric and threads between a piece of Sticky Fabri-Solvy and a piece of (non-sticky) Solvy film:

I backed it with a bit of cheesecloth and stitched it with my machine, free-motion. 

Here's what it looked like from the back:

And here's what it looked like from the front -- after the water-soluble fabric and film were washed away:

All of the pieces held together -- none of the beads fell off , and I lost only a few fabric bits off the second sample -- but the time it would take to create a large enough fabric for an art piece would be prohibitive, given my deadline of early January 2023.  Beaney and Littlejohn take on commissions that are two and three years out -- I've got a bit more than 4 months!

I then thought about printing on Sticky Fabri-Solvy (yes, you can do that) in an 8 1/2" x 11" size on my inkjet printer -- and seeing if I liked the results.  I didn't.

Finally, I tried it using TAP (Transfer Artists' Paper), transferring it onto a piece of fine-count white linen:

Not impressive!  Too much like a fabric photograph, poorly transferred -- and far too 'literal' for my taste and style.

Next up: painting an impression of the meadow, including more of the original background (I'd cropped out some ruined stonework and a tree trunk) -- and then checking out adding quilting and hand-stitch.  Stay tuned!

Aside from making samples, the stiching on samplers continues apace.  I've not done quite as much on "Ann Turtle, 1810" as I'd have liked -- but I am progressing long the third side of the outer border.  

In doing so, I discovered that the chart had some inconsistencies -- which is lovely, as they were likely errors made by Ann when she stitched the work over 210 years ago, and reproduced accurately for the chart:

Here's my progress as of September 7, when I was making my way down the left-hand side:

As mentioned, I've done a great deal more work on this in the last week -- finishing the left side and the bottom of that border, and starting up the right side -- though I've not taken time to photograph it.  I've had to switch from using my hoop to working in hand, because...well...the fabric provided with the kit didn't leave me as much leaway as I'd thought.  Turns out, that I was expected to start 1 1/2" in from the upper left corner -- and I started 2 inches in (which is a fairly common practice these days).  So...I've only about 1" of fabric left on the right side, after stitching the border.  That's going to make lacing and mounting this piece more challenging but I'm darned if I'm taking out all that work to shift it over!!

In other Sampler news, I've moved farther along my red sampler, "Ruth Gibb, 1882" -- from here I left it in June to here in this past week:

I'm really enjoying this stitch!

For my birthday, I started the September Needle Roll from The Victoria Sampler -- a kit I'd had in my stash for over a decade:

The photo doesn't do justice to my work; I've done more than that now -- but again, too busy sample-making and sampler stitching and studying to take a photo!  Ditto for the red-and-black-on-white "Quaker du Japon" sampler that I'm doing up for my son for Christmas.  I picked it up yesterday for my early morning stitch, and have made good progress -- finishing a large motif, a tiny motif, and almost half of a second large one when I put it down to write this post.  

Of course, all that activity doesn't preclude my planning other stitching!  I've decided to do the November Needle Roll (also from The Victoria Sampler) for a friend with a Big Birthday in November.  I had all the materials on hand but the pattern, for which I purchased the PDF.  And yesterday -- well!!

Yesterday was a Road Trip with my good friend (and fellow quilter and stitcher) C. -- we went up to Edmonton for our very first visit to The Craft Connection.  Oh. My. Goodness!

I had a very short, disciplined list of purchases: a piece of 36 count antique white Edinburgh linen for this piece, for which I bought the pattern last week -- and for which I had the DMC threads in stash:

This will be a gift for an older cousin of mine who married a Spaniard and has spent most of her life in Sevilla.  Our family visited them in 1992 -- I'm still recovering from the fact that that's thirty years ago!  She turned 80 this year, and was widowed in 2021, so when I saw this on a floss tube, I knew I had to do it up for her.

I also planned to purchase a small piece of 28 count white linen, just to have on hand, as all I have in that vein is scraps -- some even too small for "smalls"!

I was feeling rather gratified that in browsing the shop I'd seen the up-close patterns for a couple of 'wish list' items and realized that I really wasn't so very taken with them.  

Patting myself on the back for my restraint was short-lived, however -- because then I came across a copy of Blackbird Designs'  A Heart Remembers -- #1 on my wish list -- and that was that.  It got included.

And then, in a display case, I saw models for cubes or blocks, which I've been wanting to try.  One particularly caught my eye, because it was constructed entirely with patterns from Jeannette Douglas' "Take Time" series -- all of which I have in my stash! These are older patterns (I've had them over a decade) so they're no longer readily available, but they're delightful -- and most of the ones I have on hand, I've not yet stitched.  In addition to the patterns, I have the threads and embellishments for most of them.  What's not to like?!

Well...I didn't have the right fabric, of course!  So...the shop clerk cut a piece of 32 count Lambswool for me.  It's slightly stiffer hand will be just right for constructing a cube.  She even drew me a layout, so I'd know how to place each section on the fabric!

This morning I selected the stack of patterns I want do do for this -- so that project is ready to go when I'm ready to do it.

What?  You might be asking, "Why don't you start it now?"  Well...I can be restrained about some things!  I've got more sampling to do for AITP, more theology to study, and I've these other gifts to start and/or finish -- and next week the samplers will be set aside to focus on "Growth Chart", so I can get it finished in time for Xmas 2022 as well!

Oh -- and the garden won't put itself to bed for the winter to come.

Why am I still typing away on this post?!  Time to get going! 😆  I'll leave you -- per usual -- with a link to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall FridayThis week she's talking about motivating yourself to Get Things Finished.  Sounds exactly like what I need to keep me on track these days!

Be well, stay safe, take time to create -- and have a terrific couple of weeks!  Till my next post...'Bye!


Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Margaret, thanks for sharing your samples on the Solvy. It really has lots of potential!

Bethany G said...

Good morning sunshine... and welcome to fall... 2022 has flown by and I have been LOVING the connections, and exciting new work you are sharing - the energy you exhibit and the finished work that always just blows my mind! I love reading your posts and yes, we have some problems with receiving posts from time to time here in my area of Canada that we individually love, but I know how to search and find the posts when I have the time to just sit down and travel through life with you!

Be well, take care and I am so excited that you have been awakened to that wonderful creative path you have rediscovered after two PLUS years of this dratted pandemic. You can count on me to be following along!