Saturday, November 28, 2015

Reflection - Thread Sketching and Play Time

As I was pondering a maze of thoughts about how I was going to approach a new themed quilting challenge, my mind became a swirling mass of disparate ideas going nowhere.  A swath of white, voile fabric lay on my work table, so I picked it up and started free motion stitching--all without direction.  I was allowing myself to play without an objective.

This led to a day not only of creating this 12" x 12" work but also to a day of pure and simple playing.  By the end of my play day I had come to a direction for the non related, large work that would evolve.  That work will need to be shown later.  This post will show the process of how this particular piece evolved.

I first backed the small swath of voile fabric with water soluble stabilizer, inserted it into an embroidery hoop, lifted the free motion foot, put the embroidery hoop under the needle and started stitching with a narrow zigzag stitch.  Much to my surprise, a figure evolved.
The wonky hat seemed to define this figure as a male and the cloak seemed to me to have an Asian feel.  To define this idea further, I stitched something that looked like bamboo.  Because the eye line was looking downward, I stitched a flower shape to convey that this was a positive moment, not a depressive one.  I then used a red Sharpie marker to color in the flower.
My original thought was to merely stitch on the voile to make a transparent image.  When I held it up to the light coming from a window, I did not like the images that came through.  If this were a very large work, it might be spectacular, but not something this small.
As I looked at the stitching, it almost miraculously it reflected how I had been feeling when I was trying to figure out what I was going to create for the larger themed work.  Although the stitching could have been finished at that juncture and put away as merely an exercise, I had begun to identify with it and wanted to document this.   I lightly penciled in the word, "Reflection", and set about stitching it.  To underscore an Asian feel I stitched a little block at the bottom right that contained my initials in script.

By this time I was unwilling to stick it in a drawer as an exercise.  I liked it and needed to make it permanent so I laid the stitched voile fabric atop batting and white, cotton backing fabric and set about quilting the piece.  The quilting reflected the black stitched bamboo shape.
This was no time to stop.  To confirm the permanency of this work it needed the edges to be treated.  I did not want to bind or face it.  To bind it would have visually boxed the image in and I wanted to maintain a somewhat limitless feel.  To face it would have reduced the size.  I chose to edge it with a cording that I made from Gala mixed fiber "yarn".

This was done, as follows.  I first cut three lengths of the yarn that would go clear around the work and then zigzag stitched of the bundle of three yarn lengths with a cording foot.  The cording foot is shown in the picture below.
Starting at the middle of the bottom of the work I laid the cording next to the edge of the piece and zigzag stitched the cording to the fabric.  It was completed with a 4" hanging sleeve and a label.

                           And here it is--"Reflection"--playtime that opened mental doors.

                                                            My thought for today:
                                                 Always give yourself time to play.
                         It's good for the mind and body and creates a fertile ground for creativity.
Always remember, never fear to experiment.  
Sometimes wonderful things happen.
© Linda Friedman 2015.  All rights reserved


  1. Linda!!! This piece is so amazing! It conveys reflection is such a calm, peaceful way. I love seeing what comes from your playtime!

    1. Mia, you of all people, "get" the need for playtime. Glad you enjoyed the post.