Sunday, December 19, 2010

Completion and catharsis

Today, the second banner, "Growing in God's Grace," is completed and ready to be presented to the United Methodist Church of Hartford.

Next:  an entry for Volusia:  Wrapped in Fiber.  Deadline:  Tuesday, December 21.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Now, it's a quilt!

Now that the quilt top is completed, I layered it with batting and backing and tacked the three layers together.  Then it was time to stitch the layers together.  I decided simply to follow the outlines of the branches.

Wanna know what it was like to cram this whole creation into the tiny throat area of my Viking Lily?
 It was difficult!

But look at the beauty of the stitched outlines on the back.

Once the quilt stitching was in place, the next step was to finish the edges by folding the front edge over the back and carefully hand-sewing it down.
 So, while I was hand-sewing the edge to finish it, I listened to Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay, The American Scholar, on my IPod.  Well, that essay is pretty dense, so I decided I needed to follow along on the printed page as well.  I dug out my old college copy of Emerson (it cost 75 cents), held it open with the coffeepot, and started reading along as I sewed the edge.  Multitasking.
I hope you're impressed.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The creation creeps toward completion

Today I added twigs to the tree, using brown thread and satin stitch.  I also sewed down the edges of all the fused-on branches, as a precaution lest the fusible web dry out over time and leave the branches flapping.
It's almost ready for me to construct the quilt sandwich and then quilt it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Birth of a Banner: The Saga Continues

The second banner for the United Methodist Church of Hartford is coming along.  Today, I cut out the tree pattern that had been chalked onto the tree fabric before I painted it brown.  Fortunately, the chalk lines were visible through the rust and brown paint, so once I bonded Steam A Seam to the back of the tree pieces, I was able to cut out the tree images on the chalk lines and place it on the prepared background.
But before I could bond the tree to the background, I needed to put the foliage down.  So it was time to choose the greens for the leaves.  Who knew I would have this many green fabrics in my stash?
In the background of this photo you can see the tree image I'm using for design inspiration for this banner.
Next I had to cut those green fabrics into confetti-like pieces to scatter across the blue sky:
At left in the photo above is a photo of one of the murals in the church.  I'm taking my color cues off it and the other two murals in the chancel.
My rotary cutter and Omnigrid ruler were essential for that.  I ended up with piles of tiny pieces. 
Next, I used old towels to transform my cutting table to an ironing board.  Then I spread the blue sky fabric onto the towels and covered it with Misty Fuse,  a heat-activated adhesive with the consistency of a spiderweb.  By putting Misty Fuse onto the sky background, I was providing the glue that would fasten down the confetti-like leaves.

Once the Misty Fuse was down, I could sprinkle the "leaves" onto it.  If I then cover the whole thing with a layer of tulle and apply an iron, the Misty Fuse will melt and bond the leaves and the tulle to the sky background.  Can you see why they call this process "entrapment"?  Many thanks to Laura Curran for teaching me how to do it.
Now the confetti-like leaves are sprinkled on top of an all-but-invisible layer of Misty Fuse, a heat-activated adhesive.

I put a layer of tulle over the leaves because when the Misty Fuse melts, it will bond both the leaves and the tulle to the background, with the tulle holding the leaves in place.

If I didn't cover the whole thing with parchment paper before ironing it, the adhesive would melt directly onto the iron.

So I set my iron to cotton and apply heat with a little elbow grease

Once the leaves were bonded down, I placed the pre-cut tree images over the whole thing and bonded them down.

I think it's looking pretty good.  Next step:  sewing down the trunk and branches, because you never know how long the glue of fusible bonding will last over time.