Sunday, August 22, 2010

Trash Bag Quilting

Yesterday I attended a class taught by Diane Herbort. In town to give a presentation to our local quilt guild, this talented fiber artist is also teaching two workshops. I signed up for both!



Yesterday's class was on 'trash bag quilting', which is Diane's signature technique. Basically, you lay all your various scraps on a piece of batting in a pleasing arrangement, then embellish by laying on bits of lace, yarns, threads, buttons...whatever...then cover the whole thing with tulle. You use a gazillion pins to pin the heck out of it, then take it to the machine.

THEN the sewing begins!

And THAT is where I am now...ready to begin the sewing! While some in the class finished TWO pieces (Jeanie, I am talking about YOU!), *I* wasn't able to finish even ONE! Yes, I work slowly. But I also, I cut my batting to the size in the directions, while others made theirs smaller (grin) and it takes longer to do a larger piece! But also, I am way too ambitious...instead of just doing a nice abstract piece to learn the technique, I decide to make a landscape.

Crazy!

I don't know why...it was like a personal challenge or something! I just wondered *IF* I could do it, I guess! I dunno...but that is what was in my mind, so that is what I attempted to design with my piece.


In order to bring it home, I had to cover it with the tulle and pin every other inch or so, all over the piece! I had to have help and borrow pins (thanks, Etta!), because it took WAY more pins than I had imagined and I hadn't brought even half as many as needed. Also, my tulle was precut at home, and darn if it wasn't a little too small once I had covered my whole batting with fabric (as opposed to leaving a border around the edges, as I had planned. So in placing my tulle, I had scooted some of the fabric pieces out of position. But it was time to go...I had to pin it down.

Also, standing back and looking at the piece, I was NOT thrilled with the left side. It was too heavy.


So once I got home, I removed all the (thousands of) pins and took off the tulle. I removed the embellishments/yarns/threads from the left side and began replacing some of the background pieces, changing the colors, to bring some 'sky' down to the horizon to be seen through the trees (rather than just have a big blob of landscape that goes from foreground to treetops...a solid blob). This sort of lightened up the left side and allowed the eye to move past the trees, giving more depth. Or, at least, that is my story and I'm sticking to it! I also redefined the shoreline as it apporached the horizon, adding some rock-shaped bits and outcroppings. And I added some darker areas to the top of the sky.

You can see the 'before' and 'after' here:



Although I am still not sure about using that dragonfly...it is quite 'cutesy'!...I decided to leave it there, as I do like having a bug in the sky. I have a frog and lizard in there, too. Originally, they were quite brightly colored, but I put a thin layer of brown paint over them and let them dry while I rearranged the background. Better! Still visible, but not "in your face".
I also added several old metalic buttons and geegaws from my resource center (a.k.a.stash) that I had not had with me at the class.
I cut a new (read: larger) piece of black tulle and again covered the piece, being more careful this time not to dislodge anything underneath. Then I once again began to pin the heck out of it. But this time, I don't have to transport it anywhere....just move it from the cutting table to the sewing table. My home sewing machine is in a table so the sewing surface is flush. The piece will lie flat during the quilting, so it shouldn't require quite so many pins as it would if I were transporting the piece or if I were sewing on a machine with a raised bed (where some of the quilt would hang over the sides, and thus, gravity might dislodge something). To move it, I pulled out a large piece of cardboard and slid it under the piece...this enabled me to easily carry it the 3 feet from table to the machine.


So now I am ready to sew!


Wish me luck...I usually quilt by moving the machine, not the fabric!...so this will be a new experience for me (lower your expectations!).

1 comment:

Laura said...

This is really cool, Trish! I hope to someday make something like this. It "LOOKS" like it would be easy, but I know that's not necessarily the case! Sometimes it's hard for me to "let go" from the prim and proper rules of things, and just be "abstract"!
I like the dragonfly. Right now here in Iowa, we have a seriously super-over-abundance of mosquitoes. (We've had an incredibly rainy summer, including many areas of repeated flooding.) Dragonflies (and toads, frogs, etc.) are everywhere also, as I do believe they EAT mosquitoes!!!! Nice dragonflies.

Good work Trish!!

 
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