Thursday, April 29, 2010

Water and Dirt, the stuff of life - Karen

whole cloth quilt
16" x 20"

From the moment I saw this months photo I had big ideas! Now they have been scaled down. Sometimes life just throws too many things at you at once and that was how April has been going for me. I was going to do some strips and piece them together with some triangles and squares and rectangles representing the rocks and the whitewater bits. I started to sort through my fabrics. I wanted to use only the things I had on hand. I found enough of the right colors to get a good start going. THEN...I got sick. pneumonia. really sick...
Everything stopped and I had zero energy to do anything other then sleep.  Feeling better but with half the month gone I re thought my ideas.When I was digging through my fabrics I came across a piece of painted fabric from some years back that was just about perfect for this. I set about with a new plan. I could stitch while I was recuperating.  And here it is. Fairly true to the photo. Amazing when I consider that this fabric was painted years ago! I did some free motion stitching to set about the shapes of the rocks, water and land. The rest was done with hand stitching and cotton floss.

detail of the water.
the color is a bit of a teal blue. I stitched floss with blue, teal and a very green- blue green. French knots were added to suggest a bit of the whitewater. ( Ran out of time to add as many as I wanted ).

detail of the dirt.
I wasn't too thrilled with the orange free-motion stitching for the plant material on the upper layer so I added a bit of embroidery. Adding running stitches (kantha) with lots of earthy colors to give it a bit more oomph. I may go back at some point add add a bit more, but it would also be fine as is.
detail of the rocks.
The rocks were fun to do.They are also my favorite layer of this quilt. After doing the free motion stitching with the machine I added some lighter shading with oil pastels to give the rocks more depth. Then filling in the spaces between them with french knots in various shades of floss.
As with all the different layered areas  I could have kept on adding stitches but time ran out! The good thing about this piece is that I can always go back and add more later.
I finished the edges with a facing. It is not quite squared. I like that. A bit of an organic tilt. I think this would have been a great one to use Nellies edge finishing with yarns. Perhaps next time!


  1. Considering the adversity you went through being sick, and considering that you had to scale down your ideas, you did a nice job. The piece is very striking.

    Be well, and take care of yourself!

  2. This has lovely coloring, and I like the combination of machine and hand stitching. You're right about the organic tilt!

  3. Karen, it's a beautiful! It's like a musical sonata ... accommodating contrasting themes and sections in an integrated whole. The scale of it surprised me. I believe the impact would be just as strong if it was smaller. I can hardly imagine the strength/loudness if were "performed" on a grand scale. It would knock my socks off!

  4. I am glad you are better first off. This is a great result-it looks almost like you drew it. The stitching is just right and you could add more but I think things are fine as is.

  5. It has a lovely organic feel to it, and all the hand stitching you did adds to the detailing. I'm glad you are feeling better, and think you did a marvelous job of pulling this one off.

  6. Glad you are back amongst the living!

    Excellent piece and definitely fits the theme and the look of the picture. The textures created with the stitching are very effective.

  7. I too wish you good health from now on. That had to be terrible and performing artistically when you feel horrible is difficult and usually ends in disaster. But not for you. I am such of fan of great quilting and embroidery that I love this piece. It has some great ideas for me to use in future quilts too. Wonderful that you found the perfect fabric in your stash....was that an omen?

    To me it is good as is but perhaps you could push it further since you were on a roll but were forced to stop due to time. If you do, be sure to share the additions with us. Great Job!

  8. I love that it is a whole cloth quilt! And your attention to detail in it is very effective.

    Glad you are feeling better!

  9. I don't think I made it clear enough what a good job you did on this. I love the depth that the different threads and stitches created. And the fact that you had such a rough month makes it even more impressive.

  10. A striking piece, and I swooned when I saw the rocks! Very nice!

  11. I do love the rocks and all those gorgeous french knots! Stunning. I found myself lingering over them for the longest time.


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