"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Monday, October 18, 2010

Indian Summer

Fighting a cold (or maybe allergies) and went to bed, early, last night.  Woke up around 2:30 and couldn't sleep so got up to read.  I managed to get back to sleep around 4:30 and Husband was sweet enough to let me sleep in.  I didn't wake up until nearly 8:00, which is nearly unheard of, for me.  That sort of threw me off, this morning, but only a bit.

Some quilting books I ordered came in and I drooled over them for awhile.  Then I managed to make some time to work on Lady Melinda.  I have been putting off the next step because it involves fusing and there is no going back, easily, once something is fused.

I don't like fusing.  For small pieces it works well, but for larger pieces I think it makes the fabric stiff and I don't like the way fused fabric looks when it's quilted.  So what I do, instead of using a large piece of fusible web on underside of a particular piece of fabric, is turn the edges under as if I were going to applique (slightly larger than a typical quarter inch seam allowance).  I mark with a water soluble marker, then put pieces of steam-a-seam right along the edge and overlap my pieces before pressing.
This is a photo of where I put the steam-a-seam:
After the fabric is fused, you can still quilt on the edge without hitting the cooked glue and most of the fabric isn't glue infested.
I will often go back with invisible thread BEFORE QUILTING to make sure the pieces are going to stay if I am worried about them. And during the actual quilting, you can also make sure your pieces aren't going anywhere.

Today, I fused most of the pieced part of Lady Melinda to a large piece of RTD white cotton.
I just pressed the cotton flat, then placed the pieced parts right on top of it where they needed to go and fused along the edges.  It worked out pretty well.  Later, I will trim away the extra layer of cotton where it is not needed (for example, behind the dress, cloak, boat and water).   I still need to fuse on the pennant but I am not sure I want to go with these fabrics.
I thought the metallic gold would look cool but I find it a bit jarring - and I feel the same way about the other side of the pennant.  I'm considering going with a purple.  What do you think?

I stitched the staff and am pretty happy with how it looks. 
I think I may wait to attach the staff to the quilt after quilting the quilt and go for a 3-D effect.  I could stuff it with light batting to round it out.  Still thinking about that.

It looks a little funky in this photo because I haven't turned the edges of the pennant under, yet:
If I am going to 3-D the staff, I will need to figure out how to make the pennant curl around it. 

I deliberately left the cloak ends raw (although I need to trim them up).
I think I may put something up under the bottom of the cloak so you can see the boat and the water beyond it in a 3-D effect.  I will need to keep that in mind when I am quilting it so I don't quilt it down without thinking about it. 

After I fuse the pennant to the cotton, I will draw in the face, hair and arm with water soluble marker.  From there, I will likely add invisible thread to a few places that look like need it.  The next step after that will be to add some resist to the edges of the clothing, body, and hair, then paint on a light background.  Probably just a light, light blue but I haven't decided, for sure.  After that dries and I heat set it, I will draw in the quilting lines on the dress, cloak, boat, water and hillside, and take it out to the barn to the longarm.

More fun bluebird photos from the birdcam:

We are getting a bit of a cloud build up, outside, the air is feeling frisky and we may have some thunderstorms, tonight.  We actually have several chances for rain, this week, which is good because we are so dry.  A cold front is supposed to come through that should push our highs back down to the seventies.  That is still higher than average.  Usually, it is in the sixties, by now.  We've had several days of mid to high 80 degree temperatures, recently.  I suspect winter is going to slam us, right on time, but we may feel like we've been ambushed due to this long, drawn out Indian summer.  It's been heaven.

My son and his lovely wife (and my grandson due in February) are taking a fall vacation on the coast of Maine, which is where her father lives.  He has posted several gorgeous foliage photos and I have enjoyed them, so much.  I don't miss Virginia's  climate but sure enjoyed the fall foliage, every year.  Our leaves around here are mainly turning brown and yellowish.  They will soon fall off, looking dried out and elderly.  Probably could use some Boniva and Fish Oil.  

Due to the early winter winds, most of the leaves in your yard in Oklahoma didn't start out there.   In contrast, back in Virginia, the leaves would often fall straight down, making a yellow ring around the tree.  It used to remind me of the children's story about Little Black Sambo (the title of which drives the politically correct wild but I don't know what else to call it - hope I don't offend).  In that story, a tiger treed him, then walked round and round in the hot sun and melted into butter (Which Sambo put on his pancakes).   When I would examine the fallen leaves in Virginia,  they'd feel plump, robust and full of stunning color.  It was always surprising to me that they would fall off the tree, anyway.  I mean, I knew they would, but I associated the dropping of leaves with age for some reason.  Leaves dropping in much of Oklahoma look like they have fought the good fight but are giving up the ghost.  Old soldiers.  Leaves dropping in Virginia look like they are all dressed up to go dancing. 

Off to go sit on the back patio with a glass of red wine and feel the air push up the thunderclouds.  I hear thunder rumbling and Pearl is having a canniption. 

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


Dee said...

Your art quilt is turning out great! I love that you're sharing each step of the process. I think you really have a talent for these.

Carol Twister said...

Cording might work in your staff, instead of batting. You could probably feed it in from the back and just draw it up the staff with a bodkin. I also don't like the heavy feel of fusible but I forget that I can trim out the middle. Glue sticks and spray baste might work too, but taking the time to turn under the edges will really give it a solid foundation and look better.
Melinda is turning out nicely!

Penny said...

Carol, what in the Sam Hill is a Bodkin? No wait, I'll google it. There is so much I don't know since I don't come from a garment sewing background.

So, what do you guys think about the colors/fabric of the pennant?

Paula said...

Wow!! She's coming along beautifully. I liked the pennant until you said purple. Now I'm wondering how the purple would look? Did I say WOW already?


Miriam said...

Wow!! Lady Melinda is looking great! The wood grain look fabric looks great for the staff
I agree that the metallic pennant isn't quite right, but I'm not sure about purple either! Not much help, am I?? lol
I love the idea of being able to see the boat and water under the cloak.
Ohh...I remember Little Black Sambo!! I loved that story!

Anonymous said...

Hi Penny.
Lady Melinda is coming along brilliantly. Thank you for sharing your process. As for her pennant, I don't mind the gold. Maybe the second color is the same as the sash around her waist.....her "clan" colors maybe?
But yes, I can see the pennant in burgandy-purples as well. I can't wait to see the facial expression you give her -she's already so beautiful.
My sis and I loved the Little Black Sambo story.