Sunday, May 01, 2011
3CS April Journal Quilt : Red Wing Black Bird (Mock II)
This is the final installment (?) from the Red Wing Black Bird series that began as a simple sketch in my Sketchbook Challenge notebook. It later morphed into a paper collage, and finally grew into this full-fledged journal quilt.
Requirements : Use some of my hand dyed fabric.
* The green background was dyed in Feb 2009
* The green cheesecloth was dyed in Feb 2008
Size : about the size of a fat quarter
Notes : The cheesecloth is free-motion stitched to the wintergreen background fabric and batting. I just followed the crinkles and folds in the cheesecloth. My aim was to secure the cheesecloth down. My regular open-toe free-motion foot did not work at all with this cheesecloth. It kept catching on the strings. The open-toe zig-zag foot worked much better because it's sort of curled up at the front, like a ski; That way it's didn't catch. The real backing came later ... You can see how much I thread painted the grasses at the bottom. Unfortunately, they don't seem to show up much on the front-side. I am considering going over them with Neocolor 2 water-soluble crayons to make them stand out more ...
I liked the scrubby, ragged edge of the hand-dye and couldn't bear to trim it down when adding the backing fabric, so I managed to preserve that textured edge by attaching the back to the batting layer. It's a basic turned binding, envelope style.
The rock was made with a scrap from a pair of wool trousers that I managed to felt (by accident). Since I can't wear them anymore, I've discovered the fabric makes fantastic rocks. I just sort of crumbled it into a rock shape, pinned it in place and stitched it down. Then I added some yarns to add depth to the crevices. It's a great perch for this red-wing!
The bird is made from black felted wool. I started to attach the red/white patch on the wing by needle-felting, but soon realized that it would distort too much. So I went with Plan B : applique the wing at the shoulder and thread paint the red and white patch. That worked! The bird's wing is attached only on the shoulder side. The wing-tip can pull away from the bird body. In this picture you can see a slight shadow under the wing ...
If it had been a smaller quilt, the bird on the rock would have been enough of a focal point. But it looked like the bird was watching something in the sky--it needed something up there for balance ... but what? A dragon fly? A green marsh star? I considered beading something to put in the sky, but I knew that was likely to add years to finishing this piece. I am not a confident, nor an efficient beader. Plan B : Try to find a suitably hideous brooch at the thrift store. Enter this Emerald beauty found at the St. Vinny's in Madison, WI (They have really "good" junk there!) It's just the thing to balance this piece.