I hope you are enjoying a lovely day with friends and family. Let's also remember those who are in difficult circumstances today and hope they are reunited with loved ones soon.
I have been busy this spring and early summer! Here's another challenge project for this year. This time it's the local Central Oregon SAQA group challenge with the theme "Threads that Bind". I really didn't have any good ideas that fit the theme exactly, but it did sound like one of those quilt challenges where anything goes, so I decided to just do whatever I wanted.
This quilt was created in a roundabout way and if I were to do it again I'd probably do something different. In this case, I got together a bunch of green silks and cut strips that I pieced for the background. I then layered them with batting and backing and quilted the heck out of it with dense straight line machine quilting. This piece measures 18" x 40" (our standard size for these SAQA challenges), so it was very easy to do that quilting. I put on an audio book and just stitched away for a few hours.
I decided that it would be an abstract meadow, so I added the silk stems with machine stitching. When I was at QuiltCon this year I picked up some kantha quilt scraps at one of the vendors. These scraps were so beautiful and truthfully, I was kind of horrified to see the vendor cutting up perfectly good kantha quilts for this, but in the end I was glad to get those scraps and decided to use them for something special. I cut them again into the flower and leaf shapes and hand appliqued them to the completed top. Did I mention that sometimes I don't fully think things through???
Well, that was a horrible idea. It was really hard on my hands and wrists to try to hand sew through all that. In the end, I did complete the hand stitching, but it took a long time. My original plan had been to hand embroider over the flowers and stems to add some texture and color, but the experience of the hand applique cured me of that notion right away. I knew I had to do something.
I decided I'd machine stitch some defining lines on the leaves and flowers, but when I did that the edges started to stick up and it did NOT look good. Horrors! I finally decided to machine stitch around each piece I had hand appliqued. The hand stitching was mostly obliterated, but it got the job done.
In the middle of the kerfuffle I came to hate this piece and that's one reason it sat on the design wall taunting me. In the end it actually came together beautifully and I really like the result. Sometimes we just have to suffer for our art, don't we?
I proudly machine stitched my name to the front, added a facing using my favorite technique by Terry Aske. I added a handwritten label and a sleeve and it was finally done. Whew!
This SAQA exhibition will debut at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show this July 14. I wasn't able to attend the quilt reveal, but the SAQA special exhibit is always one of the best, so check it out if you're there!
I have finished several slow cloth pieces to add to the shop. A couple have sold already, so if you're interested, please check it out soon. Speaking of the shop, I've also added a bunch of new items including original paintings, hand painted greeting cards, stickers, printed greeting cards, and some hand stitched wearable art cuffs. As a reminder, handmade blank art journals, project bags, and pillow covers can be found in my KMS Handmade shop. I have changed all shipping options to free for domestic shipping and a small upcharge for Canada and Everywhere Else. I hope that makes it easier for those outside the US to purchase from my shops. If you feel so moved, I'd love it if you'd share my shop info with friends. Thank you!
These handmade cuffs were fun to make with vintage linens and some hand embroidery. Check them out in the shop to see all sides.
Frog Lady is the last of this series of faces in fabric. She came about because my friend Erin wanted to come over and make a face with me. I went through each step with her until we got to the hair and she had to go. It was a fun afternoon!
Erin is doing a self portrait for our Undercover Quilters group. She loves bright colors and especially purple, so it was really cool that she found the perfect Australian print for her hair.
I wanted to have some fun with the hair, so I pulled this African print from the stash and fussy cut the curls to do a wild hairdo. I had also just finished with Maria's frog shirt and had some scraps lying around. It seemed natural to add the little frogs to her cheeks, though I did just pin them on for a while to make sure I liked them.
Below you'll find a bunch of hair photos that all look a lot alike. I spent quite a while tweaking the curls until I got them just so and could fuse them on.
Finally it was time to quilt it. I really have come to like the adventure of the quilting. I no longer worry about whether I'm doing the "right thing" when it comes to the quilting lines. I just do it and each one is a little different. I have to say, though, I love the pink eyelashes on this one!
Maria in the book is a young girl so I wanted to do some hair that was carefree. According to the book, she has short red hair. I found one of the faces in Melissa's book that had the sort of hair I wanted so I followed that idea by using one fabric as the base of the hair and another fabric cut up to represent strands of hair.
First I did some auditioning of background fabric and hair fabric.
Then I trimmed around her neck, face and hair line.
I thought the striped orange fabric was what I wanted, but first I cut rectangles to audition in case I didn't care for it. I also auditioned a couple of sky fabrics and a couple of shirt fabrics. I was looking for a combination that went well together. In the end I decided to go with the orange stripe hair, turquoise sky and yellow frog shirt. I liked the colors together and the frog fabric just felt perfect for a nature loving girl. I didn't have enough of that particular turquoise, so I went shopping to get a large piece of something similar to use for the background.
Once I cut a shape for the background hair I used the ombre orange fabric in photo #2 to cut the strands. That was a good choice because there were several values of russet orange to choose from and I could easily add highlights to her hair.
I spent a fair bit of time refining her hair, cutting the strands just so and figuring out how to place them. When I was satisfied I used my large square ruler to carry the whole thing to the ironing board to fuse it.
I didn't get photos of this, but at some point i decided her neck was too wide, so I trimmed the sides and added the brown lines again.
With the whole hair and face fused I could work on the rest of her body. I made tracing paper templates for the bird and her arms and shirt.
I made the bird and fused it together, then the shirt. I think I did cut that from the pattern.
I purposely put her arms behind her back so I didn't have to worry about her hands. and once the shirt and arms were ready I fused it all to the turquoise background.
My next task is to create the flowers and maybe some butterflies or dragonflies and then I can quilt it! It's been on the design wall for a while now, but I plan to work on this in July because it's due in mid-August. I am also contemplating adding a little marten face to hide in the flowers. Updates will certainly be on Instagram in the meantime, but I'll do at least one more blog post about this quilt eventually.
That's all for Maria, but I have one more fabric face to show you next time. Stay tuned!