Sunday, 31 July 2016

Background (Europe 7)

     Found some beautiful Robert Kaufman fabric for the background. It wasn't what I was first looking for ... I had seen fabric with maps and stamps and travel pictures on them, but realized they would look too busy or overpower the work that I was doing.
     The photo doesn't do it justice; it is soft and feels luxurious (& probably a little too expensive for the background, but I'm blaming the price on the lousy exchange rate we have with the US) ; the colours are a multi soft blues, beiges and greys with a little bit of darker blue. Kind of resembles the mix of sky colours we had while traveling. I've added a medium-weight fusible interfacing to the back.
     After pinning the completed pictures and maps I have so far (Switzerland will be done by tonight), I think I may have to revise my plan a wee bit or I will end up covering most of the background fabric. Perhaps in some areas I will outline sites in navy or shades of grey-blues directly on the background. My plan was to complete another picture for Holland (perhaps the canals), another picture for France and possibly one of Venice.  Maybe a gondola would look better as an outline ... Hmmmm.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Florence (Europe 6)

     I thought if I could master the Eiffel Tower, then I could try a similar approach for one of basilicas  that we saw ... create more of an outline rather than a lot of little fabric pieces. Originally I was going to use a cream-coloured fabric, the original colour of the church, but our guide talked to us about buses now being rerouted away from the building since the vehicle pollution had caused much of the building to be covered in grime ... and they were in the early stages of cleaning the building. The background fabric is a pale grey with darker grey smudges.
     I traced the outline & some main architectural lines of the building from my photo and using that as a template, began to sew in a light beige thread. Once the outline was done, then I drew in extra lines, and went over everything in darker greys, blacks and beige threads and a touch of red on the tower to the right. The final part was much slower ... using a gold metallic thread to outline and cover many the arches and doorways. (discovered if you want to pick up speed, the metallic thread stretches and breaks!)
     Drawing with pencil is sooooo much easier. Sewing machine needles are not meant for curves. Trying to get all the little arches done on the windows was difficult to get them all the same.  And I figured it was totally impossible to add the little statues inside the arches, so left them out. I ended up using black fabric marker for the doors.

     Lots of people hanging around; there were even a number of army personnel and trucks nearby standing guard (one just to the left of my photo and a group behind me ... you never knew if you should be worried because they were there and expecting something to happen or if you should be happy they are keeping the place safe!)

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Switzerland and Italy (Europe 5)

     This is going to be one very large wall-hanging. 7 buildings are completed. Originally I pulled out 26 photos for consideration, narrowed it down to 20, decreased it again to 15 .... and will probably need to drop the number again ... I don't have enough wall space to hang something this big when it is done!!

     This building in the Swiss Alps, we saw on our walk down from Schilthorn Mountain in the Lauterbrunnen Valley ... we took the gondola down 2/3 of the mountain then walked along a hiking trail, stopped for lunch and took another gondola down the last 1/3. Since the mountain is close to 3000 m, I am glad we didn't need to walk up or down it!!
     The quilt will need some small pieces for overlapping so this house is a stand-alone.  It still needs some trimming ... 4 hours to complete.

     On to the Cinque Terre in Italy ... the village of Manarola
     Auditioning fabrics; there are more white houses in this section of Manarola but I wanted to be able to show the separation of the buildings.  The turquoise on the right is actually green screens covering a renovation site. Not sure what I will do for the railings on the balconies ... either find some fabric with close stripes or sew individual posts.
     [Found a piece of fabric at Atlantic Fabrics that had overlapping sections of 'lined paper' that worked great for railings!]
     The photo was enlarged and I traced many of the houses onto Vellum or Tracing paper to use as templates. The coloured bits are cut from fabric with fusible web, ironed on to a background fabric. This time, because of the number of windows, I decided to outline them in black thread and colour them in with fabric markers. I had a little sample of one of the fabrics and tried all my marking choices to see which worked best in this case (Fineliner, pencil crayons, Inktense - dry and wet, Ultrafine Sharpie, Fabric Markers and Papermate Flair pens).  There are a lot more balconies in the photo, ... yeah, wasn't going there!! Artist's choice to quit or modify when necessary!
     Also decided to add a bit of colour on the railing sections to reflect the buildings behind them instead of the white of the fabric. Completion time: 8 1/2 hours.
     All the Cinque Terre villages were adorable and picturesque.  The people must have very strong legs as everything you do requires going up and down hills and stairs! I think this is the village we walked quite a ways up to get to the church.

PS ... the collection of hours. Non-quilters always ask, 'how long did it take to do that?' ... this time I will have a close approximation of the time although sometimes I begin to work and forget to note the start time. 

PPS ... in the end, the house in Lauterbrunnen Valley didn't make it to the quilt top ... it will have a special place on the back side with the title & date.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

A bit more of Europe 4

Europe continues to grow.
     I've added the map of Germany, highlighting the main highways / autobahns.
The maps are done on hand-dyed fabric with a fusible interfacing. At one point I was tracing the map onto tracing paper and decided that was nuts, time-consuming and inaccurate, so I went to Staples (copy centre) and copied & enlarged the maps and used them as the templates.  Using a very small stitch length, the paper map tears away easily.
      The next picture is Rothenberg, Germany, facing the clock tower.  Smaller pieces  are fabric with fusible web and the background has fusible interfacing.
      Except for the Eiffel Tower, all pictures are approximately 7 X 10 inches.
     If you go just beyond the opening in the tower, there is a little dress shop to the left where I bought my granddaughter's hand-smocked dress. 
     The original picture ... I eliminated the dormers on the roof and combined two store fronts on the left for the fabric picture.  I am finding little windows really annoying! By the time I add sashing and crosspieces the fabric starts to shred.

     Off to Italy for the next picture ... the Colosseum in Rome
     I eliminated some of the detail behind the openings on the first floor and by the time I added the stitching, I opted out of some of the finer details in the stonework. Usually I layer every thing on top of the background piece but this time, I cut openings in the face of the Colosseum and inserted the inside of the arches and the background.
     And of course lots of thread ... used the satin stitch for the columns. I think I used 7 different thread colours to try and capture some of the stone shading ... there are a couple areas I may add a bit more, but for the moment it shall 'sit' pinned to the mat until I decide final placement.
     My 'mat' is the flannel backing on a tablecloth, hooked over a door in the studio.  There are 3 more countries to produce (France, Switzerland and Austria) and I am not sure how many more pictures to complete ... that will depend on how big I want to make the final product!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Europe 3 ... a beginning

A couple more pictures to add to the Europe quilt ...

     Rothenberg, Germany, a beautiful village in Bavaria surrounded by a town wall that I walked around taking random pictures of roofs and grey skies. Our first evening we walked with the Night Watchman who recited a humorous history of invasions.  This building was in the town square.
And the original:
     I am leaving the dormers off the roof since the tiny pieces of fabric shred too much. My copy of the picture took 8 hours to complete.

    We visited 6 countries on Rick Steves Tour ... my version of Italy took 2 1/2 hours and Holland took 1 1/2 hours to complete the outlines and the major highways.
      Italy had a little mishap while working on it on the back deck (a container of bubble solution fell over and drenched it); it has been rinsed but needs to be re-ironed!

     The pictures are approximately 17 x 22 cm (7" x 10"). Each piece has been backed by fusible interfacing; the larger pieces of fabric are placed in position and smaller pieces have fusible webbing on the backs; and of course, massive stitching holds everything in place.

    The next one is the windmill in Haarlem ... 7 1/2 hours to finish the top. My original picture seems to have disappeared from my computer file ...

     Not sure yet how I'm going to put all the pieces (maps and pictures) together; I am thinking I might make skinny white borders on the pictures to match the way photos used to be printed ... once I get all the pictures done and see how big the piece is going to be, then I can make final decisions on assembling.