We have some unexpected mild and sunny weather here in Western Scotland at the moment, despite a few snow flurries a week or so ago. Spring really is beginning to feel closer and the snowdrops down through the garden look thicker and whiter than ever.
I have just a couple of pieces to show you today as I am trying to sort through a pile of unfinished projects. One or two went wrong, some just need a little tweak here and there, some need quilting and some need binding. After a while it gets annoying to have so many sitting about in various stages of unfinished, so it’s time to deal with a few at a time.
Even the two I am posting here have been in the pipeline for over a year. I am amazed how long it takes me to finish something. I think that it’s down to having too many pieces at different stages at the same time. However, I see from posts on an online EPP group I joined, that this is nothing unusual. We all seem to get excited about the next project and make a start on it before we have finished the one we are already working on. From now on I am going to start fewer projects at one time, with a view to finishing them more quickly – ha, well, that’s the plan.
The first of my finished pieces is ‘Down in the Glen’ which I completed months ago but I wasn’t satisfied with how it looked. I thought that if the trees stood out a little more the scene would have more depth, and so I decided to unpick them and stuff them with some cotton fluff, of the sort that you stuff soft toys with. I couldn’t face unpicking all the trees and sewing them down again after after having just painstakingly sewn around each one, so I put the quilt aside for a while.
Eventually I felt ready to make the changes but found that the stuffing I intended to use gave a rather uneven, lumpy result, so I used a medium loft quilt batting/wadding instead. This gave a more even finish and it was fine for the house roof but gave a flatter look to the trees than I wanted, so I think perhaps a higher loft batting might have worked better for those. I didn’t want to start all over again with different batting so I will just keep this in mind for the next time I do a project of this nature. It is now finished and the above photo shows it being ‘auditioned’ in a frame. It hasn’t been stuck down to the backing board yet, so it’s not evenly placed and tending to crumple towards the bottom as it tries to stand upright. I need to attach a label on the back before I stick it down.
I have become increasingly unhappy with my bindings, which seem to chop off fussy cut piecing at the edge of quilts, as in ‘Dog Log’ above (also recently finished), or show too much of the binding inside a frame or mount. I have got around this with some quilts by altering the size of the centre space in a mount to hide the binding, but In future I am going to add a further pieced border around my mini quilts for the binding to fold onto, so that this stops happening. I have now unpicked ‘Dog Log”s binding to add a border and binding that will allow the dog house at the top to regain its rooftop and for the dogs and the fence to be seen in their entirety on the other sides.
The second piece I have to show you is the first ‘Luckenbooth’ design that I created, finished just in time for Valentine’s Day this year (see my 19 March 2018 post, ‘Update – Work in Progress’) for more about the Scottish Luckenbooth and its purpose). An online friend said the colours gave it a soft look. This was intentional. I wanted to get away from the hard reds and pinks we usually associate with hearts on Valentine’s Day. This love token is not about passion; it’s about something quieter and more lasting.
The heart and the crown have also been stuffed with a piece of low loft batting, cut to fit each shape – 3 triangles for the crown and a whole piece for the heart which was then embroidered down the pieced seam on the upper right with feather stitch. Again I think I could have got away with a higher loft batting, especially since I am going to put it in a box frame. A good press and a frame and it will ready for someone to put on their wall. I would love to think this little quilt could represent a symbol of lasting devotion between two people. That would be so gratifying. There could be a secret message on the back.
The method of stuffing fabric as a decorative feature is called Trapunto quilting, from the French meaning ‘to stuff’. However, traditional trapunto is more complex in that it uses two layers of fabric and cutting and stuffing is worked from the underside, to create a raised surface on the front. My, much easier, fake Trapunto is more like a simple stuffed appliqué which can give fabric pictures a little more depth and interest in a fraction of the time.
It was my hope to open an Etsy shop this January but I have come to realise how much more I need to do, gather together and pay for (more frames and mounts, perhaps my own domain, a way for people to pay easily, packing materials and lots more), if I am to be as professional as I want to be and offer a great service and I just can’t afford it all at the moment. Next year is probably more realistic. I am disappointed but I will go on adding a few pieces to my Folksy shop from time to time and of course I am always available for questions, which I will answer as best I can.
My next post is going to be a brief step away from Scottish themed quilts to something I have wanted to experiment with for a while; a fabric picture based on one of Deborah Brochart’s design guides: Third Plus. I also want to talk about the value (or not) of copying designs and following formulas as opposed to charging off on your own path. And I’d like to know what you think about that, too.
So, until next time……