Wednesday, May 11, 2022

More Than Black and White

 Our book club read, "The Help" by Katheryn Stockett. At the time we read this book, I was participating in a free motion quilting challenge each month through sewcalgal's blog. (Darlene has stopped writing that blog. Her current blog is "Creative Latitude.")  Cindy Needham was the featured instructor for June. Cindy shared a swirl or blob shape that she encouraged those participating in the challenge to quilt a variety of fills in the spaces.

Cindy talked about dividing and conquering the spaces. I had a little piece of a white on white fabric in my scrap bin. I layered it with a scrap of muslin for the back and a scrap of two battings. One batting was 80/20 and the other was 1/2 layer of wool. I used this sandwich as my place to play with the design. 

Because the fabric was light and I wanted my thread work to have a high contrast, I quilted with black thread. When I finished quilting the blob and background, I wanted to do more. Cindy's fill stitches inspired me to make a tiny quilt repeating one fill stitch. I decided the tiny quilt should be added to the project.

I added another chunk of fabric to the backing and to the top of the piece using the quilt as you go method. Fortunately, the batting extended so I didn't have to add more batting! I made this section the invisible sleeve. Then I added my tiny quilt to the center of the top. 

What was serendipitous about adding the tiny quilt was that I now had a place to add my label.

In the bobbin, I used cotton thread. In the needle I used a variety of thread and thread weights. I used polyester, cotton and metallic threads. I used the metallic thread to match stick quilt the top of the piece. I matched the color of the threads in the needle to the color of the bobbin thread. To make a darker and thicker line, I stitched over the area multiple times.


Reading the book, I knew I wanted to focus on the two colors: black and white. This little project then became my book quilt. The premise of the book was about life in terms of being privileged white or being black who served the white community. I named the piece "More Than Black and White." Too often we think of situations in black and white or right and wrong. In reality, life is full of a lot of shades of gray!

When I looked at the front, I felt it was too plain. As I have written previously, my grandmother taught me how to sew. To honor her, I try to use something from her sewing basket in each of my projects. Usually, it is the thread that I stitch around the outer edge of the project.

In this case, I used the black buttons that were in her button box. I added a few beads. Tom Russell inspired me to add the buttons and the beads. Tom died in 2015. I enjoyed reading his blog posts and watching the segment that he filmed with Sharon Schamber on The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. 

Again, my granddaughter liked this piece. When I photographed it recently, she wanted me to photograph her finger with the quilt to show the scale of the fills. I finished the piece in 2012.  It is small--9 1/2 inches wide by 15 3/4 inches high.


Anonymous said...

A big, beautiful "WOW," Terry. You nailed it again. What an artist you have become! Gail G

Rebecca Grace said...

What a nifty little piece your More Than Black and White turned out to be! I remember that Cindy Needham FMQ tutorial from the 2012 FMQ Challenge on SewCalGal. Hard to believe that was TEN years ago already -- where does the time go???