My improv piece is finished. Last chapter, I removed the sequined ball because I just didn’t like it. It will land somewhere else eventually–nothing goes to waste.
I found some bits of green crochet thread I had hand dyed at some point and made a small medallion and beaded it with single seed beads.
Next I added some encrusted beading–my standby of loading three beads at a time close together, knotting after every three groups.
I also took the last piece of useable lily fabric and hand appliqued that in a blank space.
Now to finish the edges–I saw this no-binding binding somewhere but couldn’t find it again so did this from memory. I used a 1-inch strip of fabric the length of each side. Stitch it on with 1/4-inch seam allowance, flip it and stay stitch it in place. I meant for the back side of the fabric to show but put right sides together on the second side. Just a reminder–that you pay for two sides of fabric so you can use either side as you see fit.
Press under 1/4-inch and bring the entire flap to the back; blind hem stitch.
For the bottom edge, I added about 1/2-inch to each end so that I could fold it in and cover up the raw edges on the sides. Note that I trimmed the corner–this gets a little bulky. Blind hem as before.
I still have not decided how I will hang this piece, which is approximately 8.25×8-inches so I decided to make a casing at the top for a dowel or branch or something. I cut this strip at 1-1/2 inches and turned under the short edges so that it was slightly shorter than the top width. Blind stitch the long edge, leaving the short edges open.
Here is the finished piece: Whisper of Lilies.
Give improv piecing a try and then try some different embellishments. When you have a small project, you’re not investing a lot of material or time. If you ruin it, cut it up and make some art pins and abandon them on your favorite walking trail. Check out this Facebook Page:
Someone in town is painting rocks that say “Bella Vista Rocks.” I saw one at the hospital parking lot the other day and left it for someone else to find and enjoy! Why? Because I think the article about this project suggested that the rocks were meant for visitors. I belong to the above group but still haven’t decided what to make and abandon. It’s on my bucket list. My bucket overfloweth.
P.S. I tend to think in cartoons and this was going through my mind yesterday. I’m going to use it as a free-motion quilting exercise and see if it turns into something. One never knows, does one? Have a great weekend.
As promised I’ll take you through the embellishments I have added to my small improv pieced quilt.
I will take you through making a wool ball but so far, I’m not very good at this so search the internet for tutorials. I used two types of wool roving. The first does not felt well for me and the second works better. Note the yellow roving has longer fibers – pull the fibers rather than cutting them.
The green roving is more wooly.
The only other thing you need is hot, soapy water. Basically, you form a loose ball, wet it, gently roll it between your palms until a ball forms and then start applying pressure until the ball becomes dense. My ball looks like brains instead of a smooth ball so I will tell you how I fixed it, somewhat.
Anchor the ball to a pincushion. The barbed needle is really sharp and you don’t want to jab your hand with it.
First I worked the barbed needle into the crevices so that the ball would not fall apart. Then I added some dry roving to make it look smoother. After loosely working roving into the ball, I then used a tool which has five barbed needles.
This helped but I didn’t really like it so I added sequins. I will go back and glue the pins in–otherwise they might work their way out. I think I forgot to mention this little piece of cheesecloth I added yesterday. When I dye fabrics, I add a piece of cheesecloth to the container at the end and get a matching pastel.
Moving on, I added some beading in four different places. First, I stacked three beads on top of each other. Bring the needle up through three beads, skip the top bead and go back down through the bottom two beads.
Next, I beaded the little starter/ender using bugle beads with seed beads on either end. You can bead with bugle beads alone but they tend to be sharp on the ends so adding a seed bead to each end helps protect the thread. I made a knot on the reverse after each 3-bead unit.
Next I added a small bead with a seed bead. I like to add odd or one of a kind beads from my stash to my projects.
Lastly, I added some beaded fringe. I took some of the same yarn I had couched down previously, tied a small piece to the middle of a longer piece and tied some large beads on. I attached this unit by sewing through the yarn knot and adding another bead. I generally use Superior Bottom Line thread for beading. Make a rather large knot and when you bury it, tug on it to make sure it is anchored before you start beading. Additionally, I take a few stitches before I start adding beads. Be sure to knot your thread after every three beads if you are adding a lot of beads. That way, if your thread breaks, you’ll only lose three beads and not a whole afternoon’s work.
These are just some larger, rather ugly beads that worked well for this project.
Next, I made a fabric bead–one of my favorite embellishments. Here is yesterday’s fabric bead, dupioni scraps and copper metallic floss.
I learned this technique in Fabric Embellishing, The basics and beyond by Ruth Chandler, Liz Kettle, Heather Thomas and Lauren Vlcek. Look for this book at your library or here:
You need three fabric scraps, decorative thread, a glue stick and a dowel (1/4-inch).
Fabric 1: 2 x 6 inches
Fabric 2: 1 x 5 inches
Fabric 3: 1/4 x 4 inches
Wrap fabric 1 around the dowel once and put a pin in the fabric.
Glue all of the fabric above the pin on the wrong side. Roll the fabric evenly around the dowel and make sure you have enough glue to secure the ending edge of the fabric. Move the fabric down the dowel just to make sure you haven’t glued it in place.
Glue the entire piece of Fabric 2 on the wrong side, center it and wrap it evenly around. (Sorry I forgot to take pictures–and my hands were full of glue.)
Glue the entire piece of fabric 3 on the wrong side (I used a scrap piece of ribbon here); glue and wrap. (In the first ribbon, I cut Fabric 3 1/2-inch wide).
Now wrap thread around the center and place the bead and dowel in a container to dry overnight. I used organza ribbon instead of thread for this bead. Remove the bead from the dowel and glue to your project. You can wrap wire around your bead, bead it, add micro-beads to the edges or let the edges fray. Make larger or smaller beads by cutting smaller fabrics and using a smaller dowel or a straw.
My project is almost done. I feel like I need to add some hand embroidery and then finish the edges and think of a decorative way to hang it. Now I’m going to spend the rest of the day cleaning my studio because it is one big mess. May all your messes be happy! Till next time–