The process of creating a quilt (or cloth) is long. Many hours of patient stitching are involved. It’s a kind of step-by-step journey from beginning to end. Each stage cannot be hurried, and each one involves much thought. Mainly about the technique required to do the next bit. And there’s always a next bit. My feeling is that when I’ve finally got to the part where the very edges of the quilt (or cloth) are being finished THEN I can say it is finished. Even then…..there maybe a few tweaks that can be done.
This cloth is far from finished. Each blog entry reprisents a different stage in the journey. There will be more…..as I’m intending to show the process from beginning to end. In the past I’ve only ever worked in a traditional way. Not that I’m a purist, but because that’s how I’ve approached patchwork and quilting. More recently I’ve been inspired by a few textile artists who work with stitching of all kinds. The inspiration has led me to some of the quilting on this Birds and Trees cloth. I’m using it as a learning and growing project.
Ok…the top (or right side) and the underside (or back) of the cloth have been laid one on top of the other, wrong sides together as they will be in the finished article. I spent quite a long time smoothing each out so that both layers were smooth and flat. The back is a little bigger than the front, but that doesn’t matter, as long as the back overlaps the front all the way around.
I then pinned with safety pins at intervals all over, starting at the centre and working out to the sides and corners. This stops the layers from shifting. I then tacked….starting at the centre and moving in a spiral outwards. Each line of stitching about an inch and a half apart. I removed the pins as I went.
Spreading the cloth on the table helped to keep everything flat and smooth.
When all the tacking was done I could then begin the actual stitching, permanently joining front and back as one cloth. The trees are made up of triangles, so I decided to work stitches around each triangle in a thread that fairly closely matched the colour of each. I’m using standard embroidery cotton thread….the kind that comes as 6 threads twisted together. I cut a length and separate one thread at a time.
The tree trunks have lines of running stitch, in a thread a little darker than the trunk itself. I am not worried about making the lines of stitching totally parallel….in fact I like the slightly haphazardness of tipsy lines. When the lines are all done, the fabric buckles a little and makes ridges…something else I like. It creates texture.
Then to add more texture I worked rows of stitches in some of the other sections of background to the trees. This time, because the areas are larger than the trunks, the ridges formed are more obvious….more texture.
The stitches in these areas can either go vertical, horizontal, or diagonal in either direction. I like to change the direction randomly. When the piece is finished this will catch the light differently when viewed as a whole.
The birds have been outlined in ecru thread, running stitches made just outside the bird on the background area. To vary this I outlined inside the edge of a few birds, using a thicker (2 threads) thread.
I’ll post the pics of the birds next time.