Three Naked Ladies
In my early years as a gardener, I was a plant hound. If I knew a house was to be torn down, I would ask to go in first, and dig out all the useful plants I could haul. Sometime in my scavenging I brought home some tag-a-longs. Several belladonna lily bulbs were planted along with daffodils, and it wasn't until nearly a year later when most of summer blooms were over that they magically popped up at the edge of the woods. Beautiful, pale pink flowers on leafless stems, hence the name, Naked Ladies!
"I believe that every thing we encounter, every skill we
learn, and each person we meet changes our path."
I've spent several weeks working on these improv blocks. I'd never done this kind of piecing before, but felt compelled to try. They are time intensive, but there is something soothing about slowing down, and developing a rhythm while making them. You cannot rush it, and it becomes meditative. Four days ago, I had an idea that took on a life of its own.
First I sketched. Could I use this kind of free form piecing to create moonlight? Could it radiate outward in a curving pattern? Joen Wolfrom's books keep delighting me with her concept of creating luminosity. Could I? I could try.
First I created some project limitations. They were:
...to use only my hand dyed fabrics created in the studio.
...to only use a rotary cutter or scissors. No rulers.
...to include some applique. I'd never done it.
...for it to be a smaller project to hang.
...a project to add hand stitching to.
Second, I auditioned a lot of fabric combinations, but had a hard time deciding. My first attempt at the halo of the moon failed miserably. I pushed on. The easy path was to start with the background so I strip cut many shades of blue. I laid them out on the design wall, and added some black. It wasn't until I added some low volume dyed blues that I saw the moonlight appear, and I was one very excited person!
Here you will notice that my projected design and my actual design changed dramatically. The amount of texture in my blue background demanded a simpler object in the foreground. The work started to feel magical in nature, and I thought an imaginary flower would feel at home there.
Freezer paper to the rescue, I drew out my fantastic flower. The hash marks are for registration, or making the parts line back up.
I cut into my beautiful amethyst shibori for the petals, and batiks for strata layers of the soil. It was interesting how the light areas in the fabric drew the eye in. I realized I would need a darker background for the lower section, and started editing the upper strips, too.
*You can see the outline of a pinned string in the above picture. This helped me visualize the intended size, but was also easy to move when I decided to make it a few inches smaller.
I was already throwing things up on the design like floating moon drops, and fiber from my stash. Looking closely at the moon drops, you can see they are not white, but tints of pale yellow.
The background begged for some color, and a little fuchsia made it pop for me. The strata needed a separating layer, and I added a color called "Dances with Raisins" from Dharma. (Someone there has a sense of humor!)
By the end of the third day, each background was together. I still had a gap, but I needed to walk away. I was exhausted, but happy.
Thursday: Fresh Day. Fresh Eyes.
I made more moon drops. I made leaves to make the flowers look more poppy-like. Neither added to the design. Taking things away is somehow hard, but necessary.
By Thursday afternoon, the whole piece was machine stitched including the perimeter. The applique pieces were fused, and I trimmed the background away from beneath the moon to keep it luminous. My workspace was in shambles! Cleaning was a welcome therapy.
Other projects are pulling at me as I walk by them, but I'll get my materials gathered up so I have a Go Bag for this project. I'm really looking forward to adding some embroidery before the quilting. That will be another first for me.
What are you doing to move out of your own comfort zone? Just about another week to finish up your personal #BraveQuilter challenge if you signed up for April. The May challenge sign ups are May 4-10. One lucky person will be randomly selected to receive a package of my hand dyed fabrics, and that could be you. See more details here.
Come on, Doxie girls.
Today we load a Hands2Help quilt on Axel the Avante.
Let's go sew.