Friday, 12 November 2010

No sewing machine

My machine has had to be rushed off for an overdue service.  I meant to take it when I was going to be away during the summer but it fell off the bottom of the list.  Last week it started objecting to the quilting I was doing: both the in the ditch with a walking foot on Zelah's quilt and the free machining on my latest journal quilt.  In between it agreed to piece.

I had decided to try one of Kathleen Loomis's tutorials on very narrow piecing.  I quickly realised that I had done seams with 1/8 in. seams before but it is trickier than you think and I ended up with some very wobbly lines. I chose to use over-dyed fabric that had no real purpose in life.  This was the first piece, made from a fat quarter with insets of commercial fabric including one of the V and A museum's pieces from the quilt exhibition earlier this year and a lovely piece of green I bought from the Hungarian people at Festival of Quilts.  (can never remember their name)  I planned to cut it to the journal quilt size but then I decided it looked better in its original form so I have pinned it up so that I can think about it.  I have plenty of the commercial fabrics so could add to it in some way.

Then I did a second one which is going to be a journal quilt.  Again the lines went wobbly but I plodded on as far as starting to quilt it.  That's when the machine gave up so I have had to put it away until I get it back.  You can just see the beginnings of the quilting in the bottom right hand corner.

As I was seventh in the queue for servicing I don't expect to have the machine back for another week.  I once owned two sewing machines but the second one was very basic and I never used it so I sold it to a friend.  I can't really justify having two, just for the odd occasion like this.  I have been wandering round the house feeling a bit lost, even though I often don't machine for days on end.  I could and should use the time to do some more printing etc.

However, I had already started on a totally hand stitched journal quilt.  A couple of weeks ago I rediscovered a large piece of cheesecloth that I space dyed a couple of years ago.  It is calling out for wholecloth treatment but I have a feeling it is not going to go through the machine without pulling badly.  I had a couple of other pieces of the same cheesecloth, different dyes and smaller pieces so I thought that some experiments were called for.  The design has been very random.  I began by selecting a load of variegated threads from my collection ( a few more were added after I took this photo).

I put three layers together and then just stitched with matt threads.  No designing!  I just followed the lines of different colours.  Then I added glossy rayon thread.  I always find this a bit problematic as if you cut the pieces too long they start to fray.  Also I did not have the same range of colours.  The next stage was to add some embellishments of beads and sequins.  In order to keep some sense of where they were placed as they all roll off with each stitch, I 'designed' them and then took a photograph.  I left this on the camera and just turned the photo on when I wanted to check what I was doing.

I think it is nearly finished but it will have to wait for the return of the machine for its binding and I may add a little more colour at that point.
It is a very quiet piece which I am calling 'Coastal Currents'.  Every time I drive down the hill to Tesco I see colour patterns like this in Mounts Bay.  It is a view to die for with St Michael's Mount and the Lizard Peninsular visible in the background, but obviously you cannot stop to take photographs on a ring road with no pavements so you will just have to believe this is my inspiration.

1 comment: