Nellie"s Needles

Monday, February 28, 2011

"Unraveled V" Finished

Four hundred and forty-eight ... that's 448 ... knots later, plus 28 shisha mirrors and yarn edging sewn in place ...
  and this piece is finished ...

Here are before and after pictures ...
The knotted strands hang "skinny" ...  there's a more controlled quality to them than the unknotted ones in the "before" photo.  The shisha mirrors have the effect of bubbles floating in the depth of the background.  The bright slashes of color on the rich dark background with the mirrored "bubbles" and the loose yarns floating off the surface creates a drama that I find amusing.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Unraveled V" In Process

I was so excited to get back to working on this one.  Those sparkling squares of silk on that upholstery fabric background have been a siren while number IV was being finished for the upcoming SMQ Guild quilt show.  Lengths of the most intensely colored of the four yarns were pinned in place to get a feel for how they'll drape.
I chose this yarn because it had a tighter twist of the four plies.  Most of the wool, or wool-like, yarns have a looser twist that makes them too fluffy and fly-away for the effect I'm after.  My favorite is the heavy and thick drape of the silk sari yarns.  I'm playing and exploring options at this stage.
After couching those pinned yarns in place, I could see that the coverage of these thin yarns weren't what I had in mind.  So back on the design board where another line of yarn was pinned across the center of the silk squares.  I'm loathe to pick out stitching unless I absolutely have to.  Also, I very much liked the fact that those silk fabric samples just happened to echo the woven squares in the background fabric.  That additional row of yarn helped.  However, it still wasn't the coverage I had pictured in my mind.
Soooo... I "unstitched" the bottom half of those that already had the yarn couched around them and cut the squares in half.  I would never have guessed that I'd like these shapes and their arrangement better than my original plan.
Now there are enough edges for the couched yarns to hang from for the coverage I have in mind.
Unraveled V   18" x 40"

The shading of the yarns didn't work the way I intended.  Each of the four yarns have different lengths for their colorways.  I had expected them to be the same, or at least close.  In spite of that, I'm pleased with the result.  There is a gradation from strong to weak intensity of the yarn colors as the eye moves down the piece, which was my intention when I selected these yarns. 

Since the above photo was taken all the loops have been cut.  I'm busy knotting the ends to give the yarn tails a bit of weight.  I also have an idea about adding something more.  Come back in a day, or two, to see this one finished.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ready For the SMQ Guild Show

I finished sewing the buttons in place ... but not outside on the deck because the weather turned a bit cool.  The yarns look a mess as a result of working on the piece while it lays flat.
I flipped it over to hand-stitch facings to the three raw edges.
A hanging sleeve was also stitched in placed on the top edge.

Unraveled IV - 24" x 48"

Last evening all the clothing tags were over-painted with a mixture of gold metallic pigment and acrylic gloss medium.  This coating lessened the contrast between the bright white ones and the background.  In the photo above a light is reflecting off the surface of some.  In reality those reflecting the flash of my camera appear like the ones at the top of the piece.  All the labels have a soft sheen as well as a glaze of gold to give them a commonality.  They are now truly secondary to the loose yarns on the surface.  The initial reaction is no longer, "Wow! Labels."  The lettering draws attention to bring the viewer in for a closer inspection.  The buttons add visual "punch" as well as a more regular rhythm to the compositon.  I knew they belonged on this piece, because I missed them after they were removed in preparation for sewing them on.  The one thing these photos don't show is the depth of the loose yarns.  In the lower half the "hanks" extend an inch and half out from the background fabric.

I'm pleased with the resulting piece and look forward to it being in our upcoming guild quilt show.

PS: This piece was awarded 1st Place in the Art Quilt Category.
       Woo Hoo!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Unraveled V" ?

Last evening I put together the beginning of another possible unraveled piece.

The colored squares are old silk noil fabric samples that had come from the imported fabric shop owned by my mother-in-law.  The background is a left-over piece of upholstery from an interior designer friend.

I had purchased the yarns with the intent of using them for this unraveled concept.  I want to control the flow of intensity from pure colors to neutral.  I'm still thinking about the pathways for doing that.

Instead of beginning another unraveled piece I should be getting started on my entry for this year's ArtPrize exhibition in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It is forming in my head.  But I am so enamoured and excited about this newly discovered concept.  From experience, I've found it's best to stay with a project while the proverbial "iron is hot".  There are plenty of long hours of just plain work involved in crafting fiber art.  So I'll dig out some batting, find a backing fabric, and enjoy this "rush of infatuation" for another few days.

In the meantime, this afternoon was good outside on the deck for finishing the sewing of the rest of those buttons on "Unraveled IV".  If this spell of warmth continues, I'll be out there hand stitching bindings over the raw edges on its back side as well as a sleeve.  Then it will be finished and ready to be delivered on March 9th for our Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild Show.  That show will be at the Maryville College campus from March 18th through the 20th.

PS:  Patty inquired in the previous post's comments as to whether Elvis makes an appearance in "Unraveled IV".   His image doesn't, but his name does.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Time For Buttons

Over the holidays I was given a collection of old buttons by a cousin of a friend.  It was a big grundgy box holding some treasures.  Among them were about 100 silk and wool fabric covered ones.  I pinned 91 of them in the open spaces between the labels.
To keep track of this button arrangement, I used Press'n Seal to store them by rows.  I tore off a long sheet, positioned the buttons by rows, then folded the Press'n Seal over and pressed it together between the buttons.  A Sharpie pen was used to write the row numbers on the top sheet.
Today was beautiful and I didn't want to spend it in the studio sewing those buttons on.  I set up to work out on the deck.  
A working surface was created with a piece of fabric affixed to a PVC pipe quilting frame.  I just needed something to support the quilt while sewing the buttons on.

These wonderful old cloth covered button don't have shanks.  I cut a length of polyester buttonhole twist thread,  The thread was brought up from behind the quilt, threaded through the padding on the button back, then the thread needled to the back side.
All the buttons in a row were positioned in this way.  Then I folded over the quilt to tie the thread lengths together with an overhand knot.  I prefer this particular knot because it can be tightened close to the surface by sliding the needle down the loop of the knot.
All was going well ... until I dropped a button.  Of course, it would slip between the cracks.  I spent half an hour fishing it out.  Luckily the needle was stuck through the back.  I don't think I would've been able to see it eight inches down in the dark without the glint of it.  Taping a magnet to a length of thread finally fished it out.  Whew!  There were no more buttons of this size.

So I did what should have been thought of when I was setting up ... put a sheet over all those cracks waiting to swallow precious buttons.
I hope tomorrow is as nice so I can finish sewing outside.


Friday, February 18, 2011

All Unraveled

 24"x 48"
... and that pile below is what I've unraveled from the base fabric as well as what is trimmed from the warp and the added yarns to shape the bottom.  This part is done, but I'm not finished yet.  Stay tuned for more.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New Sofa

Woo Hoo! We have a new sofa!  It's upholstered with a micro-fiber that I'd swear is a brushed suede if I hadn't seen a separate piece of the fabric.
 About twelve years ago we had gone looking for a replacement for this one ...
We ended up getting it reupholstered because there were none that we liked enough to spend so much money on.  Recently we did a bit of furniture rearranging which exposed the raggedy rattan on the end of this couch.  So two weeks ago we went looking again.  There's a lot of over-sized furniture out there, but we also saw quite a few "normal" sized sofas.  As I recall on that long ago shopping trip, everything we saw was just too big with wide armrests.

It came this morning and I've had fun playing with decorator pillows and moving art pieces around to accommodate the shape and color of this new piece of furniture.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

Two layers of card stock with a heart shape cut away in the top layer.  Hand-painted silk and padding layered in.
Metallic thread couched around opening.
Metallic silver Sharpie pen.
4 valentines made for my grandchildren.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Back To "Unravelled"

Unraveled IV - 24" x 48"
I'm still excited about my newly discovered concept.  This is where I am in the process of creating number four.  Most of the clothing tags are couched to the raw silk base fabric.   More yarns will be added as that part is finished.  I've controlled the colors and values in this piece following this sketch.
Here are close-up photos of each section ...
 top section
 center section
bottom section

There's a lot more work before it will be finished.  This will be my only entry in our guild's show that takes place in mid-March.

PS:  I'm honored to be on Sharon B's Pintangle "Time for the Letter N" list.  Check it out.  I'm in good company.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Say "Cheese"!


Now you know where my loyalties lie.  I'm wearing one earring from each of the two Packer sets that I own.  We even have an actual "cheese head", but it was left at our cottage in Michigan ... if we had only known ...

My husband did have the foresight to purchase this towel when we were in Milwaukee during Christmas time.
For the past two weeks he's been wearing a different Packer shirt everyday.  He says he'll be wearing each of them again for the next two weeks.  He's a HUGE Green Bay Packer fan.  His first paycheck from his first "real" job was used to purchase 2 sets of tickets to become a season ticket holder.  The next year he purchased two more season tickets.  He still has them, although they're now in our grandson's name.  The waiting list for buying season tickets today is 955 years!

We're celebrating by listening to the Pack's past glories on this old vinyl record I dug out of storage last week.
A BIG Woo Hoo for the Packers and all my fellow cheeseheads!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

"Interpret This" Group Wrap Up

My year of "IT" challenge pieces

Over this past weekend each of us members in the "Interpret This" online group wrote a final post summarizing our participation in this year long challenge to interpret a photograph each month.  Go here to read an overview of what the challenge entailed.  Then scroll down to read the individual posts.  It's interesting to see the particular piece each of us chose as the one that best exemplifies our year's work and to read about discoveries (both personal and technique-wise) as well as how this experience impacts current or future work.  The comments at the end of each post makes for an interesting read, as well.

If ever you receive an invitation to participate in a group that offers the opportunity to stretch outside your comfort zone, I advise you to take it.  It's a chance to go in directions that you may have not considered if it weren't for the challenge from an outside source.  I'm glad I accepted this one.

PS:  One of the members, Karen, had to withdraw due to time constraints.  Go here to see her submissions.