Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Sound of a Summer Evening -- the Details

I've gotten a few requests to tell how I did this, so here goes:

I started with a large piece of batting, about 38" square, and stuck that up on my design wall. I added a large piece of dark green for the dark upper background (general evening foliage) and a lighter piece of green, for the lawn. I pinned those on.

Then, I sort of randomly cut shapes of bushes from a green hand-dye, a color in between the grass green and the dark background, and fused those over the gap where the lawn and background joined.

I cut small random clumps of a red hand-dyed fabric, and fused those on for flowers. Then, I fused the sprinkler and hose, until it all looked like this:

At that stage, I turned to the machine and quilted down the bushes and the lawn. (I did a sort of swirly loopy overall pattern on the bushes with a little loop in the middle of each flower, so they look actually sort of rose-like up close.) I didn't quilt on the upper dark background at that point.
Here's where it got dicey, because I proceeded to do what I knew I shouldn't do in the first place. (Isn't that always the way? I'm my own worst enemy.) I had this sort of irridescent, gently sparkly white nylon organza that I thought would make great water sprays. I applied Wonder Under to that. (I can see Melody shaking her head and wagging her finger at me...)

Then, I cut thin strips of the organza, from about 3/8" to 1/4" wide. Sitting at my table with the quilt spread flat in front of me, I gently cut snips off of an organza strip, letting them fall in a spray pattern. I'd do a bit, put a piece of Wonder Under release paper down on top, and fuse it down. Bit by bit, that's how I created the look of spray.

Now I KNOW that a man-made fiber won't fuse permanently or nearly as well as a natural fiber. I knew I was pushing my luck...But my thought was that if it held just long enough for me to sew it all down, it'd be okay. So I snipped and fused, snipped and fused, snipped and fused...You get the idea.

Well, I got it to where it looked just great. So, I loaded up my machine with white thread and started to stitch spray lines over the fused bits, to hold it down and create more spray pattern.

You know, you'd have been amazed at how efficiently the darning foot on my machine just bumped those little organza bits up and off of that fabric before the needle reached them! If I'd wanted to come up with a way to get them off, I couldn't have dreamed up a better solution. Of course, that was NOT what I was trying to accomplish.

So, plan B. Persisting in thinking that the fusing would work, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary, I snipped and fused a bit to replace the bits that had fallen off (and were drifting off each time I moved the darn thing.)

Then, I remembered that in my vast stash of stuff, I had a bag of tulle in various colors. Luckily, I had a piece of dark green tulle -- just the right size. How often does THAT happen? I laid it over the top part of the quilt (covering the sprinkler on up), and pinned, pinned, pinned.

At that stage, I went back to the sewing machine and sewed white spray lines up and out of the sprinkler. I switched thread to that flat, irridescent mylar thread and did a few of those lines, too.

At that point, it looked good but was a god-awful, distorted parallelogram from the dense quilting on the spray lines with nothing in between. So, I went back with dark green, and quilted between the sprays and anywhere else there wasn't quilting, in the same loopy "foliage" pattern I'd done on the bushes.

Miraculously, it flattened out and the tulle disappeared into the green but held the organza bits down.

I blocked it on the bedroom floor for a day (which means I sprayed it with water and pinned it all down, square and flat). When dry, I trimmed to final size (approx. 35 x 35) and applied binding.

I'll do beads next, when I have a chance.


  1. I'm reading this and I'm screaming when you're describing the bits of organza jumping up and off the fabric...ARGHH!
    Very cool that you figured out how to make it work.

  2. It turned out FABULOUS!!!Persistence wins in the end. Hurray!

  3. Wonderful. What are all the white dotty things? (I fused some man made fibers yesterday too. Don't tell!)

  4. This piece is so neat. Makes you just want to step right in and cool off. I'm glad you figured a way to make it work.