Sunday, 26 April 2015

D&B - 10

Well, I answered my own question this morning, whether to do the final rows of dogwood on hooped netting or directly on the panel.
When I did a trial on material, the bush lost all life, there was no play between the top thread and the bobbin thread.
Now I know how to finish the foreground with these larger shrubs bursting into leaf.

I rediscovered first hand that my Janome thread paints differently that the Juki. So I had to adjust the speed to get the density. When you're not used to running your domestic machine at almost top speed it can be a little daunting. I had discovered quite awhile ago that when the Janome has had enough it quits.... until it resets itself..about 30 sec.
The other annoying thing about hooping with the Janome is, the hoops will not slide under the pressure foot. I have to take off the FMQ foot each time to put it under and take it out. Sigh!
But I persevered and did the largest of the dogwoods, about 6. I had used up a bobbin of florescent lime green and substituted just normal lime green. When there are together, the difference isn't noticeable.
Other than stitching it all down..... I think I can say the right side is finished. The front rows show that first flush of spring growth, just what I was after.
There is a long way to go with this yet. The rest of the trees need to be detailed and there are many more shrubs to be made.
I've looking at a rather busy week ahead so I think my time will be limited, between work, expected company, CLEANING for the company pre-cooking for the company AND the Quilt Show.
I don't foresee much free time for sewing and posting.
Maybe the next time I post .............. I'll post the finished piece.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

D&B - 9

When I sat down this morning to make another few dozen shrubs, I found my heart just wasn't in it. So I decided to finish one of the bigger trees  instead.

I finished putting in the dark streaks with grey, ran a beige/cream up the "shadow" side and white up the opposite side. I'm not sure there is enough contrast. The beige is not dark enough, particularly in the range of the bushes. The general effect is what I'm after.

However, this is a very hand cramping exercise. The twitch muscles use isn't much different, but I'm hauling the whole canvas in quick tight movements. .........

I think I'll go back to the shrubberies for a while.


Another 2 hoops of dogwood. (And one skinny trees..147)

As I come close to this front edge I'm thinking I would like to be rid of the netting for the last few lines of shrubs. I can always stitch right on the canvas but I thought I'd try using the wash away stabilizer.
I hooped a piece, stitched it and then washed it.

 Disaster! I was left with a ball of thread. That's how we learn.

The second time I pinned the piece, every tip to a piece of water proof board and washed it under a warm stream of water.

 Now I need to let it dry to see if this piece will hold its shape well enough that I can stitch it in place.

So here is one dry. I'm not sure its worth the time and effort just to have the branches clear of netting. And it yet has to be sewn to the background. I'm now thinking hand sewing would really be the easiest!?
4:30 pm
Well its been a busy day. I got a lot of things decided AND I managed to "disable" my Juki workhorse! ( I was cleaning out lint and pushed some thing that made an ominous "click" and now its stuck in that position..... sigh................)
But I finished the trunk of the six trees furthest to the right. Compare the first and last photo. Adding the grey gave it more definition. Now they have shape. Fortunately I'm only doing about 20, the closest ones. There are two very large ones I need to sleep on.


Friday, 24 April 2015

D&B - 8

There's a lot of stop and start and jumping around from here on in. And more shrubs.
As I move forward I have to add different detail, the bark of the birch trees. Not in their entirety but where they are overlaid with the dogwood.
I cannot foresee where other brush will fall yet so as a precaution I need to darken the boles of the trees.
Like a lot of the far background it may be covered over but.........

4:30 pm
I think I did 6 hoops of shrubs today. But the end is nigh! LOL
At this moments I have made 146 birch trees.........but I may need more.
Tomorrow will tell.
This is probably the finished size. I even dreamt last night about how I might finish this!
(That happens more often than I care to tell. And would you believe I've even been thinking a bout the next project? My brain never stops..........sometimes its not funny.)

Thursday, 23 April 2015

D&B - 7

I don't know how far I'll get with this today as I have to stop mid day to work but......

I cut and pined and then glue tacked at the top what I think will be the final addition of trees.
I'm switching now to working sections, placing the shrubs in the layers from the mid ground to the front. We'll see how far I get.
There is always the possibility of more trees!

I worked for an hour and a half this AM. I made 14 shrubs in two different colour ways and fastened 10 of them within the range of these 4 central trees. Red and purple and maroon and purple.
( I am getting a little tired of shrubs. I've done at least 100 and I may be doing that many more.
Oh well this was my idea! LOL )
Everything is held in place by a stretched blind hem stitch down one side of the trees. That's probably all the anchoring the shrubs in this locale will get.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

D&B - 6

I worked half a day today so it cut into my manic productivity of SHRUBBERY. LOL
They are starting to become more open and I need to pay more attention to their correct shape, colour and branching pattern. I'm doing these on white netting.

(And I'm starting to twitch when I trim them.)
But I'm at the point where I need to start planning the last few layers of trees. I cut ten? this morning with attention to the painted patterns and NOT cutting them straight and regular. The irregularities in the trunks are going to become important as they get bigger.

To get an idea of WHERE to place trees, I took a picture of the background and overlaid it with different size paper trees. I don't want to fill it completely. I want it to remain open and natural so we can still see into the distance. This is sort of where I'm headed.

This is going to be slower work as these trees need detailed application and side branches put in as well. And the shrubs need to be custom stitched for their location. I have my two sewing machines working here. One to loosely attach items in invisible thread and the other to add colour detail. A lot of thread changes too with the shrubbery changing from grey/pink to deep red.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

D&B - 5

Well the tree count is up to 125...really!
I should have kept track of the "shrubbery". (At least 100 and I'm sure I'll need that many more!)
The dogwood is coming into its brilliant red.
I scrunched all the cheesecloth up to about 12 inches so I think that limits the bottom. It adds some much needed interest to the backing and camouflage to the forest floor.
I layered it, too, with some dark netting. I needed to "tame" the material.
I think, however, I'm at the point where I need to mount this now with batting and canvas. I need to start thread painting tree detail and that will simply eat up the material it its not well restrained.

Monday, 20 April 2015

D&B - 4 Finishing the Background trees

To date, there are 88 trees on this piece already. LOL
I wasn't prepared to stitch branches for all those trees as I had for the smaller ones.
But I wanted to put shadow and a hint of fullness in the background. I considered a number of things, including paint and wool roving. This morning I settle on tiny shirt slivers of netting dribbled on and barely anchored with a line of stitching down the trunks. I held them in place with a removable stabilizer.
They will be further anchored by anything I place over them.......trees of course.

Moving forward involves a couple of things. LOTS more shrubs and more colour.
I tucked in some small pieces of green chiffon at the horizon but I can't use that intense colour in the foreground. The distance consolidates small bit of colour into a solid hue but in the foreground its broken up.
I also needed to address the forest floor. Too pale and too light. I took a whole sheet of cheesecloth and treated it with a combination of paint and ink. When this is used under the shrubs and trees it will give a more natural look to the colours on the forest floor.
The shrubs are getting pink and bigger as we more forward. It's almost time for another layer of birch trees but I know I need at least 20 to 30 more shrubs. I need to take frequent breaks when I stitch and trim them. 

When my cheese cloth was damp I ironed it to set the colour.

After tucking the cloth up under the stable shrubs it was scrunched on the remaining foreground. A dew of the pink dogwood in place and some tree trunks TWICE the size, we are definitely moving foreword.
Still no need to place this on canvas !


Saturday, 18 April 2015

Dogwood and Birch Trees - 3 - Lets Make Trees

About 200 I think.
Time to use the painted fabric.

The fabric I painted was a very tight weave Pima cotton. It's beautiful to dye but not fun to hand sew.
However it allowed me to cut strong strips 1/8 wide and narrower. The cutting was at right angles to the lines of colour. This gives every piece a "birch feel" with bits of black and grey and orange.

That jumble is ten strips, enough for twenty trees.

After they were positioned one by one I pulled off the shrubs so I could anchor the trees to the background. All I have done at this point was a dab of fabric glue at the bottom edge.

Another 40 trees and the shrubs are pinned back over the glued base. I have used about 4 inches of my fabric to this point. This picture was actually taken upside down. I've not decided yet how to anchor the trees themselves. If I stitch each in place with a narrow zigzag, it will distort the backing. I hadn't really wanted to stitch a line down each either. A blanket stitch is an option.

3:00 pm
In the end I decided to stitch ALL the little slivers down. I used a blind stitch and invisible thread. In the close up the holes from my needle show but that's unimportant, they will disappear under other layers. This will take awhile.....LOL

Friday, 17 April 2015

Dogwood and Birch Trees - 2

We had a light rain last night so I really couldn't do much in the garden this morning. I finished cleaning the beds but I'll let all the trash dry before I bag it. It gave me a little more time for the dogwood.

There is a feeling of solid shrubbery in the background. This is probably mixed and not just dogwood, so their colour isn't critical. Again at the back it will be almost entirely concealed. Putting it there is a safeguard for "holes" in the trees.

Using hooped netting I made 21 shrubs. As they will be so buried trimming them isn't really necessary.
Every time I finish a bobbin, I take a break because my "twitch muscles" stop working without a change of job. (Usually I eat........not always a good distraction.)

I made these with the same grey thread I used for the initial trees. However the bobbin colour becomes important here for subtly of colour. Using the grey in the needle, I used both cream and then smoky blue. Stitching on the netting allows competition between the thread colours. And the pieces can be reversed resulting in 4 slightly different shrub tones.

On to the next layer.

Still using the grey in the needle, I changed the bobbin thread first to a smoky lilac and then a pale green. I think I'm coming close to having enough fill.

The next step is to add some background birch but I haven't decide how to approach their branches. As they are still in the distance their top most braches will fill the sky.
Stitches? thread? Loose fibre? netted or wash away stabilizer?
I don't want to add the canvas yet because it will make this very bulky from that point.
I'm also thinking that the birch trucks will anchor all the bushes.

I hear birds in my garden.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Dogwood and Birch Trees

I had intended to get right to work on this piece after I returned from collecting a quilt last weekend, but other things took priority.
I decided to get the last of the "must do"s before the show out of the way. So I applied hanging sleeves to everything, made a few muslin bags for transport, added labels where there were none and tidied up loose threads on everything.
It's SPRING and some jobs can't be put off. In spite of the fact we tried to keep fairly active all winter at the gym, I am appalled and dismayed at how hard this first foray was. But that established my routine for the rest of the season. Early mornings are spent in the garden doing all those endless things and afternoon on my art.
I've also been haunting the sightings charts for Hummingbirds. They're almost here so I put out two feeders today.

We took a few more photos on the trip north just to get a better feel for how the two species mix in nature.

Before I left I had hand painted a background. Its very pale but most of it will be covered.

I spent a few days thinking on the size of this piece. I had made a whole meter and wasn't sure I wanted to make it that big. But as soon as I hauled out the material again it was decided for me.
The whole thing.
I cut a piece of light weight stabilizer for the whole sheet. There is a lot that will be applied to this before the batting and canvas.

I started by pencil drawing straight lines in groups to stand for clumps of trees. I will probably spend close to a week on this distant background. Even though a lot will be covered with the birch trunks it has to be there at the start. Several shades of greys and creams will go into this part.

This first round of bare trees went in. But this is spring and I want to show life returning.

When they were all stitched I went over the tips with an orange ink pencil. First flush of colour. Some trees are red, some yellow or orange and of course some lime green. Subtle colour, but there.

Hopefully I can continue this with a little more regularity. When I get started on a piece it like to work straight through. We'll see if this season allows that.