Posted in embellishing, painting, quilting

Friday Finish: Creation Wall Quilt

Today I’m showing the finished wall hanging that I made based on a 13th century illuminated manuscript. The project got its start when I wanted to try out my new watercolor pencils on fabric. This link shows the original artwork that inspired me.

After getting the blocks sewn together, I quilted the sections in a dark blue thread. I was proud that my free-motion quilting skills were proficient enough to make swirls, wiggles, spirals, shapes and lettering.

Most of the fancy stitches were done on the pale grey fabric. In each of the four cardinal compass points, I stitched images that were in the style of those found on the medieval manuscripts. That style is typified by drawings of flowers, animals and figures worked into lots of filigree lines. I love the flat imagery and the primary colors used by the artists of the time. They were simple monks living a simple life.

The giant focal point, God’s eye, is sewn with spirals: symbol of the cycle of Life.

This quilt done, I can now focus my time on the Stay-at-Home round robin quilt. Right now I’m working diligently on a large number of flying geese blocks. If I stick to it, the border will be finished in time to post to the Linky party before it closes.

Posted in embellishing, painting, quilting

Experiment with Stitch and Slash

While perusing available art quilt technique tutorials, I discovered another use for my hand-painted fabrics. Carol Ann Waugh teaches a modern take on reverse applique in her class on Craftsy. She calls it Stitch and Slash. It was inspired by the traditional molas made by the Kuna women of Panama.

In Carol’s interpretation of the mola, four pieces of fabric are selected and layered together. Then a design is chosen, marked on the back of the pile and stitched into layers. The similarity with the traditional molas stops here, when Carol gets out her seam ripper and slashes away at the assembled fabric Instead of nice, neatly stitched edges, she ends up with frayed, textured ones.

Okay, I thought, I have the perfect set of fabrics to try this out.

The two painted pieces are layered with a dark green batik print and a brown textured print. You see here the back side of the brown fabric, which I will be using for the top layer. Nearly all of the this layer will be cut (or torn) away.

Here is the back of my piece, showing marks stitched through.

Getting started with the slashing: You see in this photo all the top layer is gone, part of layer two gone, and the center of the circles showing the bottom layer.

This ripping took more time and was a little trickier than I expected.

All the excess fabric is now removed.

I was excited by how well the painted design is showcased.

The next steps are really just embellishments. To start, various ribbons and yarns are couched down over the seams. (Couching is just a zig-zag stitch worked over the ribbon/yarn/cord.) After that, it’s time to explore thread and machine embroidery options. I went with metallic yarns and threads in warm colors and dark shades.

To finish up, I made a quilt sandwich with batting and backing and stitched it together using free motion quilting.

My Stitch and Slash sample suggests to me how much the trees are suffering from drought and temperatures above 100 degrees. I will call it Heat Wave.

You can find Carol Ann Waugh’s class here:

Posted in embellishing, hand embroidery

More Improvised Embroidery

Today I wanted another shot at embroidery on a watercolor painting.

I came up with a fantasy-like, pre-historic plant form.

Here are the stages of the work.

Tentative shapes, in two colors of thread.
Expanding on the theme.
Completed the thought. Added a few underlines.

Am I done now?

Just had to add a little more paint.

What do you think? Did I go too far? Or not far enough.

It could have been worse. I considered adding beads.

At least the activity was relaxing and restorative.

Posted in embellishing

Embroidery Experiment

Today I have for you two little paintings with a little something extra. After the paint dried, I worked some embroidery stitches into the design

Two Pansies:

Two Pansies with embroidered faces.

Test paper with additional glazes added. Semi-abstract.

Same painting embroidered with fly stitch.

The second painting was extra fun. I used a variegated cotton thread by Sulky. The thread was held double.

What fun stuff are you making today?

Posted in embellishing, hand embroidery, recycling

Visible Mending

Earlier this week, a friend of a friend asked me to help him mend the holes in his favorite jeans. He didn’t bring any patches along, so I just used needle and thread to weave across one of the holes as a demonstration. That got our conversation started about the concept of visible mending.

The artist I was thinking about is Celia Pym.

An article and some images of her work can be found here:

The conversation reminded me that I had set aside a pair of jeans of my own that were now holey at the knees.

Perhaps the universe is telling me it’s time to start this project. Despite having an abundance of UFFOs littering my studio, I began working on the jeans.

First of all, I wanted to incorporate patches over the weak-at-the-knees areas. Having been told in the past NOT to throw away fabric scraps, I was able to find some interesting scraps already coated with fusible glue.

It took me less than 30 minutes to fussy-cut some flowers that could cover the holes. I added even more patches just to create a colorful floral field on the denim.

Wow – shades of the sixties.

I do intend to embroider over the patches. This will serve to strengthen the patches and unify the design a little bit.

Getting started with embroidery – pearl cotton

It’ll take me a few evenings to get all the hand stitching done. But first, I wanted to address the torn logo on the back of the jeans.

These are Levis jeans but the leathery label on the waistband is nearly gone. I used a small pair of scissors with a sharp point to cut away the remaining bits and thread.

Next I made a label of my own and stitched it into place.


Yesterday I purchased a variety pack of pearl cotton thread in shades of pink, purple, aqua, blue and yellow. I’m really looking forward to jazzing up these tired old jeans.