Monday, March 19, 2012

Welcome Spring!

We've been enjoying some beautiful spring weather here in the Northeast, and it's delightful and distracting at the same time! Several times last week, I spent an hour or more in the afternoon outside with the girls and the dog soaking up the fresh air and sunshine. It's great for the spirit, but not so conducive to getting indoor things done!

I am still plodding away at my "totem" piece which is due in early April. I bought a couple of yards of this sheer sparkle tulle when JoAnn's was having "coupon commotion" and knew it would be the base fabric for this piece. It will be viewed from both sides, so I figured the sheer quality would be an asset. I thought I could stitch on some wavey stripes of these other sparkly sheers to create the look of water, but as usual, things don't always go according to my vision. For one thing, the sheers both have so little body, that it's hard to pin them or keep them from shifting and pulling while stitching. I tried fusing one piece with Misty Fuse, but it doesn't stick well to the tulle and it's visible, which I want to avoid.
Since everything will be seen from both sides, choosing matching bobbin thread is important. I chose a metallic thread for the top and put a matching rayon thread in the bobbin, but even with a metallic needle, the top thread was making my life difficult. I ended up switching the positions of the threads, even though I had already wound the rayon thread onto a bobbin. After that, the sheers were easier to work with.
I decided to use three different colors of seaweed to match the three seahorses. I found just enough of this batik in my stash to make three long kelp-like leaves. The batik is also great because it looks the same front and back. I added a little veining with the machine but ended up hand stitching them in place. I'll go over everything with the machine when it's all positioned.
With the beigy-brown-copper seahorse, I had trouble finding a good material for the seaweed. I found this great "vintage" lace ribbon in my stash, which I thought I could dye or paint, but there wasn't enough yardage and I couldn't find it on the internet or anywhere nearby. I've been making a real effort to use what I have, rather than running to the store anyway, more to save time, gas, and storage space than money!
I thought about it for a day or two and ended up going with this sheer fabric that I layered with a coppery tulle and stitched with yarn by hand and with thread by machine. I ended up with a decent looking seaweed-like plant that I think will work for seahorse #2.
Because of the way this piece will be layered, the next things I need to work on are cutting some small fish out of the ribbon below. . .
. . . and making some jellyfish out of the assortment of white sheers, laces, and yarns seen here. Luckily, I just found out I have an extra week to finish this. The days just fly by and I'm lucky if I get an hour or so to work on it daily. I'm kind of glad this is the last big project that I've committed to. I'm starting to feel like I need some down time to just read, lie in the sun, or nap if I need it!

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