Thursday, January 26, 2017

'Tis Done!

An exacerbation of my arthritis slowed things down, but now, the latest reliquary is finally finished.  Since things didn't always go well, and I did a lot of "flying by the seat of my pants", this actually turned out to be a lot more fun than a overly planned , "by the book" process.  I had fun, and didn't worry about everything turning out perfectly, so I have titled it "Frivolous Intent".

I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network, and Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Friday

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Change of plans

Just over a week ago, I noticed that the last joint of my left index finger was tilted to one side.  This is a pretty important joint to those of us who do hand sewing.  This had happened once before to a different finger, and at that time, it was determined that I had ruptured a tendon. This lead 9 weeks with a splinted hand, and while I have a functional finger, I also have a permanent deformity.
So when it happened this time, I didn't fool around.

So hand sewing, on the reliquary or anything else, has been put on hold.  There is no tendon rupture, but rather hard use, old age, and arthritis, have all resulted in a loose joint that tends to "sublux"and may do so for the rest of my life.  That's what 60 years of intricate hand stitchery gets me!  I have been given a splint to use, and it's been suggested that I give the finger a rest. So far this appears to be working, but then, I haven't been doing any hand sewing since.

Rather, I took the opportunity to work on a project for a gallery show next November.  My main piece is finished, but all of those displaying have been invited to produce a 12 by 12, inspired by the 4 by 6 photograph of a prairie sunset.  I decided to take the opportunity to try my hand at needle felting, using an embellisher.  I've done this before, but not for years, and my work has always been somewhat abstract.  This time I wanted to try to actually reproduce the photo in the larger size.

I created a pattern, collected both yarns and rovings, and prepared an interfaced polyester felt substrate.  Then I copied the pattern on tracing paper, and, sewing from the back, transferred it to the prepared backing, with machine stitching.  Then I prepared a vinyl overlay to use in placing the yarn and rovings on the front surface. 

Here is the front of the piece after the sky and water had been felted.  You can also see the original photo and the vinyl overlay. Looks pretty awful, at this point.

 Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a either roving, or a suitable yarn, in my stash, for the black bits.  Hard to believe, but these things happen.  I figured finding black dyed roving would likely be both difficult and expensive, so I hit the local Michael's hoping to find a suitable yarn and really lucked in.  I needed one with a soft twist, that I could take apart and use as I would roving.  This one was perfect, and I spent one full evening turning it into roving that I could use for the darker parts of the picture.

Then felting it took most of today.  This is what I ended up with, before adding the FMQ'd details.  Not perfect, but I chose to allow myself to accept pretty good instead of fretting over perfect, about a year ago, and haven't been disappointed yet. 

Next the fine details were added with FMQ'g, and the piece trimmed.  Wanting to press it before adding the backing, I turned over.  Oh my Goodness!  I wonder if I don't find the back more appealing , from an art perspective, than the front.  It's certainly a softer, more peaceful mood, which reflects the mood of the original photo better.  What do others think?

I plan to link this With Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Fridays, and to The Needle and Thread Network

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Getting ready to bead

I do a lot of beading, and have learned--the hard way--to frame up my projects, so that I can have two hands free to handle the process.  Normally, for quilted items, I use an old set of Q-snaps, that have stretched out a bit, but the the reliquary was too long in one direction for that, so I had to find a wooden frame--not easy since DH took most of my frames to the thrift store.  I attached narrow strips of cotton to three sides, and then used crochet cotton to actually tie the points to the fourth side of the frame.  I use a lot of crochet cotton in my work, buying it at thrift stores for, usually, less than a dollar--cheaper than string, or even thread.  Here's what the piece looked like before I started.  The frame weight will hold the whole thing in place while I work.

My arthritic hands won't let me do a lot of the things I used to, and thumb tacks are one of the ones I don't really miss, ever since I bought myself the "Tack Jack", that you can see beside the frame.

Here is the first section beaded. Although you may have to enlarge the image to see them, I have added gold metallic beads in some of the sections of the vertical braid that outlines each section.  I'm also toying with the idea of adding bright fuchsia beads along the braid at the bottom.  Unfortunately, I've been sick as a dog the past couple of days, and haven't got any further than this.

I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network, Nina Marie Sayre's  Off the Wall Fridays