Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Spring--Eighth Finish 1st Quarter 2021

The embroidery for the project

Our book club read, "A Single Thread" by Tracy Chevalier this quarter. I enjoyed learning about the bell ringers of Winchester cathedral as well as the needle women who stitched kneelers. I like reading historical fiction.

While I was working on finishing my "Summer" wall hanging, I thought it would have been a good choice for this book; but, another book, "The Vinegar Girl" by Anne Tyler was the inspiration behind that wall hanging. I decided that I would stitch a second wall hanging and call it "Spring."

Two borders almost stitched
In the Chevalier book, the character finds working the stitches therapeutic. She meets new friends and she ultimately finds a purpose for her life. I thought spring when the first blooms appearing after a dark winter would be a good starting theme for me. The pansy embroidery seemed a great choice for the project. I definitely find stitching therapeutic!!

Auditioning a binding
This time, I wanted to make the wall hanging a bit larger. I thought about a checkerboard border; but, instead opted to paper piece strings using the colors that were in the embroidery. Sometimes, I repeated fabrics and sometimes I didn't. There wasn't a plan and perhaps, I repeated a fabric because there was another piece of it. The strings are mostly from my friend Martha's stash. Yes, there is a piece of my granddaughter's skirt because she is dear to me!

After I pieced two sections of the string border which finishes at three inches wide, I squared the embroidery and auditioned the string border. I liked what I saw. I stitched a couple more string borders. Then I sewed them in place.

Close up of the embroidery
English gardens can be formal; but, they can also be informal. I like the informal ones best. I like plants tucked in almost on top of one another. Pansies blooming next to daffodil shoots developing into blossoms which give way to a later blooming plant. I enjoy gardens that have color year around.

Quilting can be a formal and an informal process. One can use a few fabrics or a lot. Of late, I've been letting the design process happen. I've been playing with the parts and letting them speak to me. . .although sometimes, I disagree with I'm hearing. Sometimes, I miss the message all together! I'm liking the results of being spontaneous.

 Once I stitched the borders, I auditioned a fabric for the binding. While it is a fine choice, I decided that I didn't want to "fence" in my garden so I decided that I would finish the project with a facing. I also wanted to hand embroider "Spring" on the project. 

Quilt back
Again, the lettering is from my hand. I wrote "Spring" a number of different ways until I had one that I liked. Using a pencil, I lightly traced this the option to the project. In other words, I didn't use a particular font or enhance the image in some way. I used a stem stitch to embroider "Spring." Mary Corbet has a great tutorial on how to stitch the stem stitch. I do like this stitch because of the way the stitches are formed, tight curves look beautiful.

I used another of Cindy Needham's stencils from her Ultimate Background Stencil collection for quilting the background of the pansy. I used two layers of batting because I wanted a lot of definition in the pansy background. 

Once I had drawn the pattern, it looked too formal so I opted to place a few lines to denote an area for dense quilting around the word and the embroidery. Having an area of dense quilting will draw my eye into the piece. The shape sort of reminds me of a bell.  Perhaps, I will linger a bit when I walk by this piece when it hangs on the wall! I 

also opted to draw those lines organically because I like the result better than trying to achieve a formal balance.

Using a blue 50 weight cotton thread, I quilted the curved grid lines. Using a light blue silk thread, I quilted a stipple around the embroidery motif and letters. Using a cream silk thread, I quilted pebbles between the letters. Using a 50 weight cotton thread, I quilted straight lines in the border.

After I finished quilting, I soaked the piece to remove the marking lines. I did use a little Dawn dish detergent. Again, it took a long time for the marker to disappear; but, it did. I blocked it. I created a label and I stitched a sleeve. I cut the strips for the facing and applied it to the edge of the quilt. The facing fabric is leftover bits from a project long ago. . .pre 2000! I still have a little left; but, much less! It went well with the backing that I picked up from the free table.
Quilt front

This is another project where all the supplies used were on hand and mostly scraps. I have some needles and thread as an expense. I used 3/4 yard of fabric. This brings the total yards of stash used this year to negative 1/4 of a yard. This was goal number four on my March plan. This was goal number nine on my 1st quarter list. It is my eighth finish for the quarter.


Luann Fischer said...

Such a sweet little wall hanging! Enjoy the flowers as they start blooming.

BJ said...

This is simply delightful. i love the design, the colors, and the light feeling of spring. Well done! said...

Thank you, Luann. I'm enjoying daffodils now. I love the happiness of the yellow! said...

BJ, I wanted to capture the feeling of Spring. . .I'm so pleased to read your comment that I did!

Rebecca Grace said...

I love how you combined the embroidery with coordinating fabric strings in the pieced border! Very successful finish. Happy Spring! said...

Thank you, Rebecca. The coordinating fabric strings were a happy accident. I love it when happy accidents happen!!