The Self-Portrait #1 Project is finished except for binding and label. The label is on the computer waiting for the page to fill up and I haven’t decided on the binding yet. This was a challenge quilt with my art quilt group. We hope to put all of our self-portraits onto black fabric and perhaps enter it as a group quilt. We’ll see. Progress has been slow with the other members. I was excited about this quilt because I actually had an idea, using a sugar skull rather than a real-life likeness. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned. The problems started when I went to quilt this project. I had used Lite Steam-A-Seam II and it was all working out well. I followed the directions for permanent fusing, steaming for 15 seconds. I didn’t realize that it had not fused properly until the needle kept gumming up. Break out the alcohol swabs and one broken needle later. When I went to clean my machine, I noticed that the outside of the bobbin case was gummed up but luckily there was only one bit of goo that went further than that.
Because the needle was gumming up, some of the quilting was not stellar on the back, especially where I used mono-poly clear–little nests appeared. I just finished the project and it will hang in my studio. In the meantime, I contacted the Warm Company and they told me that the new directions are to steam for 30 seconds. Fine, but my directions didn’t reflect that. Anyway, I’ll get over it and you can benefit. Of course, it always helps to do a trial with any fusible. For Self-Portrait #2 I took scraps of all of my hand dyed fabrics and fused them without much success for whatever reason. I also took leftover flowers and fused them into a little wall hanging and had very little stickiness on my needle. I steamed for 30 seconds on the front of the project (protecting with parchment paper) and then again on the reverse. I used this project to practice matchstick quilting with letters. Here it is–also needs binding and a label. I’m still figuring out how to do lettering.
So back to the self-portrait. I remembered I had some Kreinik iron-on ribbon. I could not find this anywhere so it must be a discontinued item. Originally it was sticky on one side so you could put it in place and then iron it down. I didn’t know if it would fuse and which side had the fusible but at this point it didn’t seem to matter. I used my small craft iron to outline the green flowers on the face as well as the outside edges of the face, stitched it down for insurance and then cleaned up the fusible afterward. Just use Bo-Nash Iron Clean–works great on your regular iron, too. You can find this on a number of sites including Amazon.
Next, I basted the little sunflower petals down so I could pull them back out of the way to free-motion the larger petals in place.
After free-motion stitching the small petals down, I fused the brown center. I embellished this with a new product I found on my trip to Paducah: YLI Quilt Highlights. This is a braid that you can sew on flat, or pull one thread to gather it up. I got a neutral spool (used here), a rainbow spool and one in white that I can dye any color I want. Yeehaw.
Here I basted this down just to see how to sew it–then unsewed it and resewed it to my project. You can also see my practice quilting. I didn’t need much practice–I have made two sunflower quilts previously.
Next I tackled the face. I used a white-on-white fabric that is covered with flowers. I brought out my Tsukineko inks and decided I had better used my Fabrico fabric markers instead–much easier-there were a lot of flowers to color in and I wanted paler colors. I’ll be experimenting more with the inks on Self-Portrait II.
After I finished all the quilting, I added some Angelina fibers. I did not do any fusing with them but left them loose. I stuck them under some flower centers and quilted them in place. They remind me of fireworks but one is the planet formerly known as Pluto.
I used a lot of threads for quilting. The one on the holder gave me problems until I put it on the horizontal spindle. Some threads are picky that way. Here is the quilting I did on the background.
And here it is all finished.
I almost forgot–one day as I was listening to space age music and quilting, random thoughts kept running through my head so I finally stopped and wrote them down on a blank page in my Wreck This Journal.
After I’m gone, when my job here is done, I’ll be buried in my mushroom suit, and weird wildflowers never before seen or named will sprout up along with daisies and Icelandic poppies and wind anemones and Johnny jump ups will play all day long and maybe into the night and Pluto will once again be a planet and you’ll find tan m&ms in your Halloween candy because they taste the best. In my new world there will be eclipses every month and stars will nova every night, everyone will be kind, color blind and rewind. More people will be artists of some kind and have Fun Fridays and Silly Saturdays and stuff like that. 4.30.2016.
I’m going to print this poem out and put it on the back with the label. I really had a lot of fun with this project and tried a lot of new things.
Till next time, embrace your weird.