"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

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Grass Stains on a Gown

Seems like the past couple of weeks it has been one thing after another distracting me from working on Lady Melinda.  It hasn't been anything major - just distractions.  I've had art classes.  We've had company.  I spent a couple of days folding fabric and tidying up the studio.  I worked on some Christmas ornaments and those are time consuming.  Evelyn has been gopher hunting and a couple of days were devoted (attention wise) to learning about gophers and what to do about them (we got a pretty mean trap).  I spent a couple of days working on bindings and attaching them to UFO's.  Still need to hand stitch them down.  One night, owls showed up after dark and serenaded us for a couple of hours - just way too cool.  They were Great Horned Owls and I had to read about them the next day.   Of course, we had the election, yesterday, so I voted and then cruised the internet looking at the returns instead of doing what I should be doing.  Then on another day, I got it into my head that I wanted to try making polyclay dolls so I spent several hours researching how to do it and ordering some books and supplies.
Like I need more projects.

I will let you know what I think of the books.  I really want to try my hand at it but with Husband underfoot all the time (he works at home), I am not sure when I will get around to it.  I don't think it is fair to him to drop another hobby on his head.  He has been enormously patient but he must have a limit, somewhere.  The dolls might finally help him find it.  :)

But to get back to Lady Melinda, another reason I haven't moved forward is because I'd reached a point where I knew it was going to get dicey.  I decided I didn't like this pennant:
I shopped in my stash and decided I wanted to go with these fabrics, instead:
You might not be able to tell, but I also decided to go with a three-D effect on the staff and the flag.  The reason some of the edges are funky is because the fabric is just pinned on the quilt.  I think I may wait until it is quilted to attach it. 

But here is the big problem.  I wanted to paint the background to add a light sunrise/sunset feel to it and I was afraid it would run and ruin it.  With good reason.  Here are a few photos, in progress:
 The photo, above, is before the paint dried.  The ones following show less yellow and were taken after the paint dried:
 I should have made the light horizontal instead of diagonal.  The dramatic effect of looking like some saintly halo appealed to me, originally, but a horizontal sunrise/sunset would be more reasonable - more like this:

Compared to our Oklahoma sunrises, this one looks washed out:
It looks pale above the torso because that is where the head will be stitched/painted.  I am not sure if I will just paint in the hair or try to incorporate yarn or wool. 
I am happy with how it looks, over all.  Still, I made some mistakes.  I put wax resist on the edges of the fabric that I didn't want the paint to cross, but forgot that there was muslin attached to the back of it that I hadn't yet cut away.  Long story short, the muslin acted as a wick and there are paint stains several places on the dress. 
A large green stain is right in the middle!
I guess it could claim it was a grass stain if I wanted to make a narrative about it - but I am not sure why she'd have a grass stain on the hip, lower thigh and knee.  I sure don't want to have to write a story about it to accompany the quilt.
She also has a "grass stain" on the cape and belly:
To convince someone that those grass stains were part of the story being told by the quilt just leads in a direction I don't want to go with this. 

I am not horribly worried about it. I'll soak it in water and get some of it out.   Moreover, it is pale enough that I think I can cover it up and it won't be particularly noticeable when I get it quilted, anyway.  More troublesome is a spot on the sky that has stubbornly resisted taking paint.  It is on the left side of the pennant, near the tip:
I think it is where the fabric was originally folded but no amount of pressing and stretching has helped.  It keeps coming back and I have painted it and re-painted it.  When it is all said and done, I'll probably go back with colored pencils and hide it so, again, I am not too worried about it.

Next step, after trying to get out the stains (which will take a day or so to allow to dry, afterwards) is to heat set it.  Then, I will do my best to draw in the face and arm with water soluble marker. 

Pray for me. 

I'll also draw in quilting marks on the dress and cloak. 

After that, I'll square it up, put in double layers of batting (poly on top) and hit it with the longarm. 

Still have a long way to go. 

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


Florida Farm Girl said...

Your commitment to this piece is remarkable. And it all comes from your wee brain!!! Way to go, you brave girl!

Anonymous said...

I took several classes from Maureen Carlson in the poly clay. Her books are wonderful and helpful. She is in MN, you might have to go there for a class!


Penny said...

FFG, you crack me up! Wee brain, indeed.

Elaine, I need to beg you to tutor me! So you have dolls you've made? Photos? Share, share!

Carol OklaTwister said...

If you have any Color Catchers in your laundry room, you might try wetting one then trying to dab off the grass stains under a paper towel. I have not tried this myself, but seems like it should do some good.
I like your sky.

katiemedarlin said...

Penny, your work is just incredible. I've just loved following your work on Lady Melinda - she is a beautiful piece of art. Beautiful job.

Anonymous said...

I took those classes in clay, many many years ago. We were doing mostly animals and some faces for fairies, etc. Her push molds for the faces were great, have you seen those? She also has hands, feet, etc. I will see if I can find her website.

Anonymous said...

Maureen's website is: