Sunday, May 20, 2018

Embroidered Applique – Love Birds

Embroidered Applique - Love Birds
I have been asked by several people to teach my method of Embroidered Applique Art, but as I work 2 jobs already – one FT, the other PT, there is just not enough of me to go around.  I am currently working on my larger pieces as a wedding gift for my niece.  I usually just free-form cut my applique figures from fabric scraps, but I wanted this to be more defined.  I had the idea of what I wanted to use as the design starting point – more on that later -  but I wanted to ensure the design would fit a standard frame and mat size.  This really cuts down on the expense and frustration when completing a piece.  I settled on a gray frame with a charcoal mat, so I did the background ‘blank’ in grays and silvers.

Step 1:  Cut a piece of craft felt 1-2 inches larger on each side that the finished size.

Step 2:  Arrange scraps of fabric  on the felt  in any desired fashion, making sure none of the felt backing shows through – I overlap a quarter to half inch on the pieces.

Step 3:  You can either pin in place or use a glue stick to hold the fabric in place.  I should mention, this is a raw edge technique, without any fuse medium to hold the fabric  down,  You could use a fuse or spray basting, but  I makes the hand embroidery harder to do.

Step 4:  Randomly stitch the fabric in place using several colors of coordinating thread.  In this case, I used 2 shades of gray, an off-white, and some silver metallic.  For a piece this size, 12 x 16, I used about 4 bobbins – 1 per color to stitch the base.

Step 5:  Determine the boundaries of your design by setting your mat over the base and pin-mark the size.  This is important.  For example, an 8x10 mat, for a 5x7 photo will have an opening  this is only 4.5 x 6.5!  So that is your design area and plan accordingly.  Live in learn from my mistakes!

Step 6:  Start auditioning colors for your project and cut out the shapes.

Step 7:  Pin in place, keeping in mind the mat size opening.

Step 8:  Pick out your floss colors and start stitching!

Design Inspiration for the Love Birds
My first thought was to make the project using  the bird design from an 1860-ish Red & Green Appliqué Quilt having Pomegranate Plants, with a Bird Border.  The original quilt was made by the family of Pat Birchall, of Endicott, NY.  She inherited it from her mother-in-law.  The quilt was part of the New York Quilt Project 1988-89, an effort organized by the American Folk Art Museum in which more than six thousand quilts made before 1940 were documented. Forty-five “quilt days” were held throughout the state over a twenty-one month period.  This quilt was documented on 9/21/1989, with the notation OWE-84.  Pat lent the quilt for a vintage quilts exhibit I curated for the 23rd annual Binghamton Sertoma Million Dollar Antique Show held in 2005 at the Binghamton University Event Center.

In doing some design source research for a small 1885-86 redwork crazy patchwork piece in my collection, I came across a Tidy in Crochet in Peterson’s September 1876 Magazine .   The design concept is more what I had in mind as the wedding gift. 

I ended up using the bird from Pat’s quilt and the arrangement from the tidy.  My floss is picked out, and I am ready to start stitching!

Their names and wedding date will be embroidered on the branch the birds will be resting on.  I am also making one for myself to celebrate my marriage, back in 1995, to my husband Kris.  The finished pieces will be posted once  they are complete.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Artfully Squared - Orange Crested Blue Bird

ARTfully Squared - Orange Crested Blue Bird
Here is my submission to the 2018 Artfully Squared collaborative art exhibition supporting the Tioga County Council of Arts in Owego, NY.  The opening is First Friday, April 6, 2018 - come see all the art, and for $20 this or others could be yours!  
Originally posted 3/31/18, then on April 1st - known as Aprils Fool's Day - is when I noticed an error in my ways...I put a single letter in each of the tiled squares (ie spell check would not catch any spelling errors)...Squared is not spelled correctly!  Oh well, such is life - it happens when you are under a time limit!  Cheers anyway, Louise

Friday, October 13, 2017

Wool Fiber Dying, Visitors and Drying

Wool Fiber Dying with the Southern Tier Lamb to Loom Fiber Arts Guild
This past summer my fiber arts guild met at one of the member's farm to do some fiber dying.  I am not a spinner, but I like to do needle felting.  I wanted lots of colors - but didn't need vast quantities of any one color.  I chose to do a rainbow in some of my mom's old canning jars.  While watching my pot simmer (not boil), I thought I was alone in the barn, much to my surprise I heard noises from behind and saw that I had a visitor!  A couple of furry ladies also peeked in to see what I was up to.  After waiting 24 hours and some gentle rinsing, I hung out my roving to dry on my front trees.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Apple Blossoms from the Same Tree

Grandma Ruth and Granddaughter Louise - Same Family Tree

This past week my son and I went to visit some relatives a few towns over.  I hadn’t seen my cousin in a few years and wanted to show her my crazy quilt, The Velvet Hex and some of my hand embroidered fabric collages.  As we sat around the table show each other our latest projects – me my stitching; my aunt Lydia her wool woven scarves; and my cousin Katie her ‘ceramic tile’ tent she was planning.
Our grandmother Ruth visited the V&A Museum in the 1920s, and Katie was using her designs as inspiration for her tile motifs.  A couple of Ruth’s sketch books were at the table, so my son and I flipped through them.
Much to my surprise, I felt I could have been looking at things I would have sketched.  I had just shown my angler fish applique (which my son Walter has claimed once completed) and could not believe how similar her subject matter was to mine.  As we continued – more drawings showed similarities!
The funny chicken had me laughing – I have several on my quilt.  The rabbit on my quilt was seen on the crazy quilt in Hawaii, at the palace where the queen stitched it while under house arrest in the late 1800s.  The little dragon-like creature was the first motif I stitched for my CQ background. 
As they say, the apple doesn’t fall from the tree – in this case, so true!  Almost 100 years ago my grandmother sketched things she found interesting. Today, I am stitching motifs I find amusing – and they just happen to be the same!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Duo of Birds Plus an Owl

A few weeks ago, my friend returned to work and I presented her with two of the framed birds (the third one was done, but not framed yet).  I had to laugh, on her first day back, she wore her owl shirt - the one her husband was quoted as saying "Advertising?" when she showed it to him.  When I saw what she was wearing, I literally ran to the car and got out the owl I had just finished the day before, and was going to call just that!  So the Trio of Birds is split up, and an owl is taking it's place.  Welcome back!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Trio of Birds

Here are some birds I embroidered for a friend of mine who needed some cheering up.  They are free-form cut and raw edge appliqued, to a machine stitched fabric collage, using DMC embroidery floss.  They are approximately 5x7-inch in size.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Valentine's Crazy Quilt Postcards

Crazy Quilt International Valentine Postcard Swap
Here are the postcards I made for the 2017 Valentine Postcard swap hosted by the Crazy Quilt International Yahoo Group.  I made two, one to swap (top) and one to keep (bottom).  I always regret sending in something for a swap, since what you made is gone forever - but by making two, I have one to share and one to keep, so everybody wins!  These were done almost entirely by hand, as my machine of 16 years made its last stitch as I was making the base of these postcards.  I only got one piece stitched on, when the motor died....oh well, I have another one to replace it - I just have to take it out of the box.
I have included two fabrics that hold special memories.  First being the white with gold threads - it was used when my son Walter was in grade school for the Odyssey of the Mind competition costumes and the second being the red sequins that was used for making a tuxedo jacket for one of his high school marching band performances.  
Oh, and I just noticed a third significant fabric - the cotton with gold hearts - it was used in Walter's Mojo Doll - see my 2010 post on Meet the Mojos.
The top one is headed off to the Netherlands on Monday.