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Playing, with purpose

I have been playing with fabrics this year, playing and stitching and fraying, to create abstracted tree tops.

I have been thinking of them as samplers, because then I didn’t have to worry about them being something real, something finished. There were smaller ones (10 x 10 cm) that I liked, larger ones (20 x 20 cm) that lacked tension and then 20 x 15 cm ones that I felt worked the best.

Then, I put a couple of the 20 x 20 ones together and thought “Hmmmm, how about three of them next to each other?” And they worked in a row when they didn’t work as singles. (Apologies for the terrible photo.)

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I put batting behind each square

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and then pinned everything onto the backing material ~ pins everywhere!

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Then it was time to tack it all down

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and hand stitch.

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You can see that I have continued the running stitches between the two panels. It was needed to unify the piece.

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Now, I can hear my quilting bloggy friends thinking “Ah, yes, I wondered when Anne would realise she was a quilter at heart”! There are certainly quilting aspects to this piece, and I have enjoyed putting it together.

I have a question for those quilters (and anyone else who wants to throw in their opinion into the ring 😉 )….. what do I do with the back of the piece? This is what it looks like, so you can see why it needs to be hidden. I am thinking of covering the back with the same fabric, but happy to take suggestions about something else ~ felt? I don’t want to machine sew it, and am sort of happy to hand sew it. But would some form of glue work? I don’t want it bleeding through to the front. Any thoughts very welcome.

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By anne54

Botanic artist

23 replies on “Playing, with purpose”

mostly I think the back is covered, sometimes in progress – but here, you’ve basically got something different going on. Don’t forget too that if it’s be be hang you may need a ?sleeve that takes a rod…
and of course you will need a label with your title and name/date etc.
Do you think it could do with stablisation if it’s be hang or weighted or something…

heck just throwing suggestions, and btw – love the work. I often think something isn’t ever going to work until I did what you have done hmmmmmmmmm I wonder – then you have linked them with thread. Great

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I am glad you like it Cathy. It’s funny how something doesn’t seem to be working, and then you reach a point where it clicks into place and you know it is going to be okay.

I did create a sleeve for a rod, but hadn’t thought of a label with my details. Good reminder, thanks.

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This is a sweet little piece Anne. Personally, I would have to have a backing on there, even if you won’t see it when it’s hung on a wall. It would have been better if you had had a backing in place so you could sandwich front, batting and backing together when you did your quilting stitches but I’m sure you could put a piece of fabric on the back by turning the edges under, mitring the corners and hand stitching it to the navy blue fabric already there. Somebody has already suggested a hanging sleeve which would be useful to add if you are going to use it as a wall hanging. I think it would be a shame to use glue after all your hand work and it could bleed or mark the fabric if you’re not careful.

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So the reason to quilt is to stabilise all the layers. That makes sense. I have plenty of the blue fabric, and can attach it without too much difficulty. Thanks for steering me away from glue. I have added a hanging sleeve when I was setting up the backing material. Just as well as it would be tricky to do now!

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I do think it needs a backing, and you’ll need to attach the backing to the other two layers. Since you haven’t stitched it on earlier, with the quilting, the easiest method will probably to use spray baste. First cut a piece of fabric the same size as the main piece, but with a centimetre extra all round. Press this extra down to give a finished edge. Take a can of spray baste (spray mount will do too if you don’t want to fork out for spray baste from a quilting shop) and lightly spray the back of your stitched piece, taking the usual precautions when using spray adhesive. Take your backing piece, and offer up the top edge of this to the top edge of the front piece. Press down the top edge, and then slowly let the rest down onto the glued surface, smoothing it flat up and down, and side to side. I would then use a very fine hem stitch to attach the backing permanently all around. Without the spray, the backing will sag and bag. If you wish to add a way to hang it, stitch on triangular corner pockets at the top corners and use a piece of dowel. Alternatively, you could sew a channel into the backing piece to take a dowel rod before you stick it and stitch it down. It needs to be about 3cm down from the top edge. I knew you’d be quilting sooner or later… 🙂

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“I knew you’d be quilting sooner or later…” That made me giggle!

Thanks for these wonderfully detailed instructions Kate. I hadn’t thought about it sagging, so the basting spray sounds perfect. Luckily I had thought about the sleeve for the hanging rod. Phew!

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Love the way you’ve brought the piece together with the running stitches, it’s a bit like Kanthe embroidery! Re the backing, I was thinking of spray basting, then I read Kate’s comment and she puts it so much clearer than I could 🙂 Using triangles to hold the rod look great, Tialys showed us a hanging a couple of weeks ago using them.

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Thanks Margaret ~ two things to follow up, the triangles to hold the rod (because really I don’t get how that works 😐 ) and Kanthe embroidery. While I have been doing these running stitches I have been thinking about Japanese stitching. Mine is much more freeform and random.

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You are so clever, Anne. I like the way your smaller pieces come together in the tryptic panel. I agree that a backing will finish off the piece nicely. If you don’t want to use adhesive, you can probably pin it in place, then “stitch-in-the-ditch” along the blue fabric to get a quilted effect.

It’s fun exploring your art and craft using different mediums. This is lovely.

Happy new year, Anne. xo

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The samplers seemed to flow when I saw them together, they belonged with each other. But it does need to be backed. I will try Kate’s suggestion of the spray baste. She is such a brilliant quilter that I know her advice will be good.

You have a lovely new year too, Alys. I hope it is a more joyful one than 2017. xox

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It may still end up sitting in a cupboard, but at least it will be finished! I find samplers good to do, as I don’t start with any grand expectations. They are just however they turn out. Glad you like them.

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I love that your samplers have turned into something so great! I’m glad you thought to string the small pieces together the way you did, it really works. And the hand stitching! I’d go with Kate’s suggestion for handling the back, especially if you don’t have issues with the spray glue. If you make a rod pocket (sleeve) you won’t need the corner triangles but to see what they’re all about you might google ‘fast finish triangles.’ I talked about how I use them for labels as well as hanging devices in the final paragraph of this post: https://sewingmagpie.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-tortoise-finishes-another-race.html
Here’s to a happy new year!

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Thanks for the link, Sue. It explained the label to well. It looks good tucked into the corner. I can see that if I do something similar again I will have to plan out the stages before I start to make it all up.
I hope you have a good year too, Sue ~ and especially a healthy one.

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