Nellie"s Needles

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Silk Roses

This is the second of my three entries in the SMQ Guild Show. It is awarded 2nd Place in the "Pieced Wall Hanging" category.

Silk Roses - 28"x 45"
I had hand-painted the center panel of silk 5-6 years ago. I didn't have roses in mind when it was painted. The more I looked at it, the more obviously they were there. Four years ago I pieced the top and began the hand-quilting. A dark brown Japanese silk twist thread and a larger than usual stitch was used. To increase the size of the center panel I strip-pieced home decorator fabrics. I chose ones that created a diffused sparkle ... kind of like a dewy, sunshining morn ... around the panel of roses.
The backing for this piece is fabric printed with a subtle leaf pattern. I quilted around some of those leaves from the back in the side panels using the same silk thread and size stitch as for the roses.What was I thinking? There was NO CONTRAST between the stitch and the front surface fabric pattern, nor between their colors. To make the leaves visible other than the pouf of fabric that resulted from the quilting, I wrapped the quilt stitches with a fine metallic cord (see "Whipped Quilting Stitch" post). That helped, but it was not the solution. I lightly colored the leaves with a metallic gold oil stick pastel and set it into the fabric with heat (using that tiny iron seen in the previous post). I doubt I could have found, or created up front, fabric that worked more perfectly than my problem-solving solutions.
I ended up machine stipple quilting a tiny loop pattern between the leaves in these panels as well as between the roses in the center. I don't recall seeing a combination of hand-quilted motifs surrounded by machine stippling. Surely, I'm not the first person do this.

The bottom panel is a dark brown chintz fabric. The background is shiny while the rose and leaf pattern is a matte texture . I hand-quilted one of the roses with the same silk thread used in the top parts of the quilt. It just did not work here. I repeated with a finer black thread. That didn't work either. Machine quilting around every flower and leaf with black cotton/poly sewing thread was perfect. The density of this quilting led me to stippling around the roses and leaves in the top of the quilt.
All that machine work distorted the dark gold leaf strips down each side of the center panel. I had previously decided to couch yarn at their edges to carry the dark brown from the bottom up into the top. That couched yarn also served to disguise the wavey edges of those strips.

I can hardly comprehend that this quilt took so long to complete. It is one of the most elegant pieces I've ever created.


Dianna in Maui said...

Wow, Nellie, your stitches are so even, elegant and beautiful! When I see work like this it makes me miss handwork. Thanks for the post on the Turtle Soup cards! Let me know which one you want and I will set it aside for you. I'd love to swap for another of yours...Aloha, Dianna

Beverly said...

Lovely and elegant, and such a contrast to much of your other work. I've never been much for handwork, but seeing something like this could make me change my mind--

joyce said...

It's absolutely amazing. Your handwork is impeccable. Elegant is the right word for it.

Karen said...

Elegant! This and your flower postcards,lovely Nellie!

teodo said...

This is more elegant, more beautiful and I think that while you were working at it slowly slowly you could see that it was becoming a masterpiece.
ciao ciao

kay susan said...

This is really beautiful. A lovely piece of work. I think it is reminscent of Rennie MacIntosh and the Glasgow School!

arlee said...

tres tres jolie!!!!!!!!!!!