Once the foundation pieced background was completed I started to add details for the rain forest, starting with tree trunks cut from a striped commercial batik which was just perfect for this purpose. I then cut snippets of fabric backed with Mistyfuse to create leaves and foliage.
I used the snippets to help blend the tree trunks into the background to creat an illusion of depth. Snippets in browns, reds and golds give the impression of fallen leaves at the base of the tree trunks and brighter green snippets provide contrast and give the impression of new growth and sunlight shining on the leaves near the top of the quilt.
Once the leaves were all fused in place I then used free motion embroideryand various plain and variegated threads to stitch them all in place.
I also added plants in the foreground and hand couched some cotton yarn for tree creepers.
Having printed a number of designs using the splatter painting technique I chose the negative image of the tree creeper to finish and embellish. I used three different shades
of cotton variegated thread and one variegated silk for the hand quilting, and a box of mixed ‘bead soup’ for the embellishment.
I started off with a dark variegated thread near the base of the creeper, quite dense scatter stitching to replicate the density of the paint splatters and darkness in this area. As I moved upwards and outwards I gradually used lighter threads and less dense stitching.
To begin with I found that I was consciously thinking about where I was making each stitch but as I went on I got into a rhythm followingfrom dot to dot, adding a bead here and there where there were bigger splatters of paint.
Towards the outside edges of the piece, where there were far fewer paint splatters I used mostly the lightest threads and more random stitches.
I finished off the piece with a narrow binding and hanging sleeve and as I enjoyed the process so much and find the hand quilting very relaxing and easy to pick up at any spare moment, I’ve started quilting and embellishing one of the other pieces.
view of the back
I have recently completed several large projects and so felt like taking a break and working on something much smaller and quick to finish. I’d had the idea in my head for these bougainvillea flower inspired fabric postcards and had even made a quick sketch while I was working on something else so this was the perfect project to work on.
I started off with some hand painted ‘sky’ fabrics left over from other projects, then couched down several strands of hand dyed embellishment yarn. I used a free motion zigzag and invisible thread for the couching. I took some scraps of hand dyed and batik fabrics backed with ‘Misty Fuse’ to make the flowers and leaves.
I cut the fabric into tiny random snippets with sharp scissors. I’ve only recently started using Misty Fuse but so far I have found it very good to use as it is light weight, bonds well and doesn’t gum up the needle.
These were applied to the background stems using tweezers as the pieces were so tiny.
The leaves and flowers fused in place ready to be embellished with free motion stitching. I used several different shades of green rayon thread for the leaves and then several different pinks for the flowers. Bougainvilleas come in a wide range of colours here in Brunei apart from the standard bright pink that you mostly see across Europe, so it was a good opportunity to play with some of the fabrics I don’t tend to use so much and make a series of cards. Once all the stitching was complete I backed the cards with Fast 2 Fuse, trimmed to size and then zigzagged the edges using variegated thread.
I made some more fabric postcards last week and this time I chose plam trees as my theme as I wanted to practice my free motion embroidery and also I had some more of my hand painted fabric scraps that I wanted to use.
To make the palm tree I first drew out the basic shape on a piece of water soluble stabilizer and then assembled a sandwich consisting of a layer of water soluble stabilzer on the bottom, a piece of fine tulle and then another layer of stabilizer on top with the image drawn on it. I used a fine polyester thread in the bobbin and then a thicker thread in the needle with a free motion foot and the feed dogs down. I sketched a basic outline first and then went back filling in the detail and using different threads for detail in the palm fronds and trunk.
I used the same method for the palm tree above but just using black threads for the sunset silhuette. These cards are such a good way of using various bits of leftover fabric. This is from a piece I painted some time ago and didn’t really like but it works well in this small design.
For the third card I stitched directly onto the fabric using stabilizer and a hoop but this one didn’t turn out so well because there was a bit of puckering around the edges of the palm fronds.
I was going to discard it, but then I wondered what would happen if I quilted it, no harm in practising some free motion quilting. I layered it up with some thin batting and using invisible thread I did some fairly fine stippling in the sky area and I was pleased to find that all the puckering disappeared.
This week I have been working on this gecko wall hanging, using the same fabrics as I used in my a previous design but this time the wall hanging is embellished with needle lace leaves and the geckos are machine satin stitched with a hand dyed variegated cotton thread.
I made the needle lace leaves using a technique I learnt in an online course at Quilt University: ‘Machine Embellished Surfaces’ with Susan Brittingham.
The leaves are first drawn out onto dissolving stabilizer with a permanent pen and then layered in an embroidery hoop with organza. Then using a free motion foot and the feed dogs lowered you stitch round the outline of the leaves and veins using a straight stitch. For these leaves I used a variegated rayon thread in both the bobbin and needle.
Detail showing the veins stitched first.
Detail showing the veins stitched and then the outline of the leaf. After the outlines are stitched you remove the fabric and stabilizer from the hoop and trim away the organza being careful to trim closely but not so close that the fabric will fray when you do the next stitching.
Next using a free motion zig zag stitch and the organza on top you stitch over the straight stitch outlines using a narrower stitch for the veins and a wider one for the outlines.
Once all the leaves are stitched you trim away the excess stabilizer and then rinse the leaves to remove the rest.
The completed leaf ready to be stitched onto the design.
The finished design.
trees and foliage
I have been continuing to work on my rain forest design this week. This time I tried a new technique for adding leaves or foliage to the background, I applied fusible web to the back of small scraps of fabrics then snipped them into small pieces and applied them to the background. When I was happy with the placement I fused them in place and then used variegated cotton thread and a free motion zig zag to stitch over them. I was pleased with the way this turned out because it makes the background trees recede into the background and look more realistic. i did the same for the fallen leaves in the foreground, very time consuming but effective.
detail of forest plant
I added a small jungle plant in the foreground and embellished it with rayon threads for the leaf veins. The design is now ready to be quilted.
While I have been working on this design we have had some quite stormy weather here in Brunei, and I’ve been taking advantage of the windy conditions to get out on the water and do some wind surfing. Borneo is known as ‘the land below the wind’ because of its location near the equator and the fact that luckily we are out of the typhoon zone. This means that we don’t normally get strong winds but over these last few weeks we have been getting much better conditions than usual and a number of us have been able to get out on the water.
local beach view from the water