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Chickens and Candy

Being creative does NOT mean that everything you attempt will turn out successfully.  Sometimes, my ideas just don’t work out like I thought.  Today was one of those days, but I learned a few things in the process, and that’s always a good thing.

Over a year ago, I started a large art quilt that was going to be for a SAQA show.  The theme was “Upcycle,” and my idea was to create a piece using an old feed sack and somehow incorporate candy wrappers into the design.  In my very first post here, I featured the feed sack that I chose, and you will see how the candy wrappers fit into the project.

I have yet to finish the quilt, today I thought I’d try an idea I have for the candy wrappers.  My original plan was to quilt the piece with thread sketches of chickens, and add the candy wrappers as random accents.  A few days ago, I thought I’d try making collaged chickens using the wrappers and applique the chickens to the quilt.  Using one of my own drawings, I first traced the drawing onto a piece of Foundation Stuff, and made another tracing onto paper to create a pattern.  I numbered and cut out the paper pattern pieces.

Next, I used lightweight fusible webbing to bond candy wrappers to additional pieces of Foundation Stuff.

Using the pattern pieces, I cut out pieces from the bonded candy wrappers, then assembled them on the Stuff with the drawing.  I often use a glue stick to tack pieces in place before sewing, once dry, the glue presents no problems to sew through.  However, I discovered that the glue does not work well on Foundation Stuff!  The Foundation Stuff is a new product to me, so I am learning the capabilities of it.  I was able to slather both sides of the parts I was trying to join, and weight them down until the glue dried.  Then, I carefully took the developing chicken collage to one of my sewing machines.

I use an 80 or 90 universal or topstitch needle and quality 40 or 50 weight thread when sewing with paper.  Use a long stitch length (straight or zigzag), and remember that paper will dull your needle very quickly.  I sometimes save needles that I have used for a little while, but are still useful, for sewing paper.  Once you finish your paper sewing project, discard that needle.

So, here is my trial chicken.  It is an interesting concept, but in the end, I just don’t like it.  I don’t like the candy wrappers, they overwhelm the chicken.  This isn’t going to work for the feed sack quilt.  At this point, I don’t even want to put the candy wrappers in the quilt at all, not even in my original plan of randomly stitching them across the surface.  Since the quilt is no longer for an upcycle challenge, I am fine with this.  Now, I am considering making 3-D fabric candy pieces for this project.  I won’t know how that idea will work out until I try it.

Later this week I will have some musings on music and trying to capture the moment that you first hear or see something that just rocks your world.

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Going in a Different Direction

A week has gone by, and I still have not started quilting either of my Upcycle entry candidates.  I have been working on something else entirely, something with an earlier deadline:

What are these little squares?  Some of the pages to an accordion-style fabric book that  I am attempting for another SAQA entry, the 3-D exhibit that closes at the end of the month.  I still have some other parts to the whole entry that I have not even started yet.  I don’t think that I am going to get it all done for this entry, but I will be able to use it for other shows someday.

I am almost ready to start quilting the gravestone rubbing tablecloth quilt that I discussed in my last post.

This is a wild experiment.  I have made line drawings of old buildings in and around my rural home onto water soluble stabilizer.  I will use these drawings as guides to quilt this piece by thread sketching.  The attempt could end in disaster, or turn out fabulously.  What will happen?

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Welcome to my website!  Building this site has been and will continue to be a long, slow process.  I am planning on moving my Blogspot content here, and opening an online store in the next few months.  I am learning as I go, this will take time as I’d rather be stitching!  Please keep checking back for new content.

I usually post on Tuesdays and Thursdays, look for progress reports on art work, ramblings on the creative process, announcements about where to find me at upcoming quilt shows, and occasional tangents on some of my other varied interests.

Currently, I am working on two potential entries for upcoming SAQA shows: Upcycle and 3-D Expression.  I’m also hoping to have some entries for a few regional art shows as well.  Here’s a detail of my Upcycle entry-in-progress:

What is upcycled about it?  It is a collage that started with a chicken feed sack that long ago, a youngster with a terrific sweet tooth made into a gigantic trick or treat bag.

I added pieces of vintage printed feedsacks and parts of a vintage tablecloth printed with fabulous 1950s style chickens.  My next step is to start quilting with thread sketches of chickens.  I will go over the lettering in the above image with hand embroidered stitching, then add some candy wrappers to make this a mixed-media collage and keep with the trick or treat sub-theme for this piece.

Next time, I will show a bit of another large art quilt that I have in the works.