"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

Friday, November 5, 2010

Falling Stars

I made some sausage making progress on Lady Melinda, today - the type of progress that is messy but not obvious to someone looking at the final product. 

In constructing her, I stitched together the dress, gown, boat, hillside and water.  After that, I turned under the edges and attached the whole thing to a piece of ready to dye white cotton.    What I probably should have done at that point was to run a blanket stitch with clear thread around the edges of the white cotton.  I didn't, however.  Instead, I skipped that step and went on to the next one - I put wax resist near the edges and painted the background with transparent fabric paint.  If you read my blog, regularly, you are aware of all that but I wanted to get us all to the same point before I launched into the next steps. 

Because I wanted a little stability in the fabric, I didn't take off the wax paper templates before I painted.  Nor did I trim off the excess cotton from the back.   Those were both mistakes.  The cotton, and to a certain extent the templates, served as wicks.  The paint I used on the background seeped underneath and floated up onto several areas on the dress, gown, boat and hillside. 

That is where I began, today.

Here is the back of Lady Melinda, showing the the cotton:
First thing I did was backtrack and run clear thread in a blanket stitch around the edges that I'd steam a seamed.  I just don't trust the fusible web to hold.
I used white thread in the bobbin.
After that, I roughly trimmed away the excess cotton on the back.  
It is pretty much just hacked off but it is not going to show or cause a problem once I put in two layers of batting.  I didn't cut too close to the stitches in an abundance of caution.  I can always trim it closer, later, if I change my mind.  You can see where the templates are still on the back of the fabric.

After trimming the cotton, I peeled off the freezer paper templates.
Next, I heat set the painted background with my iron.

Once that was done, I needed to think about how to get the "grass stains" out of the dress, etc.  My good buddy, Carol, suggested I try using some color catchers, which I think is a great idea.  I went to the grocery store earlier today but forgot to buy them.  But once I got home, I noticed that I have some Shamwow!s in the cabinet.
I decided to put the Shamwow under the stains and spray it thoroughly with water to see if it would draw them out.   
Lo and behold, after an hour or so, I went back to check and half of the stains had vanished.  I flipped over the Shamwow, repositioned Lady Melinda, then watered her back down to try, again.  I'm a little concerned that the painted background may run but, so far, I haven't seen any signs of that.  But paint is tricky and untrustworthy so it could still go bad.  I worry that the shape of the Shamwow! will show up on the background from leeching out the paint. 

Once I get those stains out (and we'll see if Shamwow works), I will sketch in the face and arm with water soluble marker.  I'll also draw in quilting lines, square her up and load her on the longarm with two layers of batting.  Double layered batting covers a multitude of stitching sins because it puffs up and covers the stitches. 

Until I went to Virginia, I had only seen a couple of shooting stars in my life.  I am not sure why I didn't see them as a child since we lived away from most of the city nights.  I think we didn't see them when I was living in a suburb of Oklahoma City because we were too close to the city lights.  I saw shooting stars a few times in Northern Virginia but that may be because I liked to sit outside on our deck at night.  Still. it was rare and I only saw 3 - 4 in ten years. 

Since we got home, I see them all the time.  I have seen many small ones, several amazing, huge shooting stars and a few that were large as stars and appeared to tumble and fall towards the horizon.  I expect it is a product of where the house is located.  The city is east of us and most of the shooting stars I've seen were flying/falling east.  It is fun to get up in the middle of the night if I can't sleep and step out on the patio.  As often as not, on a clear night, I will start to see shooting stars as soon as my eyes adjust.  I have always enjoyed the night sky and recently found an app for my Iphone that shows the planets and constellations as they appear in the sky.  I've thoroughly enjoyed it.  I will miss being about to sit outside as winter sets in. 

This morning, I spent a little time reading one of my new books on making polymer clay dolls.  I am not sure when I will get up enough nerve to actually try one.  Nor am I sure when I am going to be able to find the time.  But it is something I'm looking forward to.  By coincidence, one of the Oklahoma art guilds just opened a show featuring dolls.  It has its public opening this evening and I hope to go see the exhibit in the morning. 

Off to go make some cheese nachos...

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


terificreations said...

I'm enjoying the progress on Lady Melinda. She'll be quite beautiful when finished.


RockinBobbin said...

Lady M is coming along nicely.
As far as the dolls - Penny, you're a very creative person. Just be a kid again. Forget about rules and how things are supossed to be in the adult world...these are dolls afterall! Fun, cute, whimsical - maybe go for creepy...there all yours. Design without inhibition; the ultimate feeling of creative accomplishement! Oh, and have fun too!

RB said...

Oops.."there" should be "they're".
my bad.
and no "e" in accomplishment.