Saturday, March 7, 2015

Looking Ahead, Stuck Behind

Now I am in limbo.  I am quilting my quilt with Kimono Silk thread from Superior, which is lovely thread and nice to work with.  The downside is that I have to order it online.  I ran out of the thread for my border three inches from the end of the last side, on the final side of a feather.  So my quilt sits sullenly on my sewing table waiting for the thread to arrive for the five minute finish.  What is a girl to do but start a new project?  I am a "finisher," but never averse to a fresh start when circumstances dictate.

The new project is a Phoenix that I adapted from the beautiful artwork of my 15 year old granddaughter, with her permission.  She had decorated her father's iPad with it so I took a photo, made some minor changes so I can sew it, enlarged it and have admired it basking in it's own paper glow on the sewing room bed.  With a 20% rewards discount and a $20 gift card I spent an hour in the candy - I mean quilt store and bought my fabric for about half price.  What a deal, and I am so eager to get started.

What am I going to do?  I am going full bore into thread painting this gorgeous red bird.  I have never done any serious thread painting so I am using the pattern of one wing only to experiment with the process.  Am I the only one who starts a new technique running instead of walking?  Wish me luck!

First I used my new Inktense pencils to "paint" the background as in the original artwork.  I will fuse the Phoenix onto this background and then thread paint.  The bird is made up of many feathers, which I will cut from batiks and fuse to the background.

Here is the process as suggested by Lea McComas:

Trace a line pattern on freezer paper from the full-sized, printed design marking with little red arrows where extra fabric will be cut to fit under the adjacent piece.  The color of the fabric to be used is noted on the pattern piece.

Full-sized pattern (color at 50%) with line drawing on top.  This will not be cut.
Cut the freezer paper pattern apart on the drawn lines (sorry no photo before I cut it apart).

Iron fusible material to the back of the fabric.  I use Soft Fuse, but I hear Misty Fuse is excellent too.  Press the freezer paper patterns to the right side of the appropriate fabrics and cut them out.  I love this method as you don't have to remember to reverse the pattern as you would do if you were marking the fusible itself.  That would drive me nuts on a complex piece like this.

Left: front side with freezer paper patterns. Right:  fusible material on the back side of fabric.

Pattern piece cut with extra fabric as needed to go under another piece.  See the red arrows?

Lay the uncut line pattern on a light table and tape it down securely.  Cover it with a teflon sheet (you can see through it) and arrange the pieces on it.  Carefully lay another teflon sheet on top of the arranged pieces to protect your iron from errant fusible gunk.  Iron it all together, let cool, and lift the fused fabric off the teflon in one solid piece to the background fabric.  Iron to the background fabric.

Test piece for practice.
Create a quilt sandwich so you can test the quilting process and threads.

This small piece (12 x 18 in) is strictly for testing, but it has taught me a lot already.  It consists of one full-sized wing of the bird on a full-sized example of the background.  I will use pencil to lightly mark the outlines of some of the feathers and thread painting will blend and shade colors as needed.  What did I learn so far?

1.  I need to make the line drawing twice on freezer paper with all the markings.  One will serve as reference and the other will be cut apart.

2.  This is an insane puzzle so I need to number each little pattern piece to avoid spending so much time trying to figure out where the pieces go.  They don't look the same when the extra fabric is included on some sides, but not all.

3.  I need to allow for better gradations of color from light gold to red.  These fabrics are from my stash and are not the ones I will use for the real quilt.  Some are woven and some are batik.  I have some really luscious, blendable batiks, but I didn't want to use them up on the tester.  I also wanted to see how woven fabrics work with the thread painting.

4.  I don't want the background to show through any fabric (see the yellow on the right).  I need to use a darker fabric, or line the light fabric, or not paint the background where the bird will fly.  The latter is my choice.

The next part of the project is to try my hand at thread painting.  I also want to see how my fabric markers work on the painted background, but now my blue, silk  thread has arrived and I must finish my other quilt.  I'll come back to the Phoenix while the other quilt dries on the blocking board.

TIP:  Take the time to test if there is any uncertainty of the results.  It is well worth the time it takes, as you can see.  A little extra practice is never wasted.

Stay tuned to find out what other challenges surface with the tester that have to be addressed before making the quilt.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this will be spectacular! I'm looking forward to seeing the quilt. Have fun with your other project. It's wonderful that you don't ever have to wait very long for Superior thread orders to come through.