Piecing It Together

Well, normally, I just buy a big piece of fabric and that is my background. I iron all my bits together and plop them on top. So the background tends to be, well, not very busy, because it would detract from the image. There are some pieces I’ve done with busy backgrounds, and mostly they read well…this one, for example…

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The background has crazy details (this is 3-Piece Family, by the way…far back in the Kathy canon…circa 2009)…but it still works.

I’ve pieced a few backgrounds…sometimes on purpose, like in FishWife


I didn’t have enough of the pinks, so I had to piece it (I actually did stitch and flip for parts of it, a la crazy quilting…it’s on a muslin background), but then while I was figuring that out, the rest started to make sense. I think the waves were in the original drawing, but the rest of it was improvised.

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A truly strange piece that has been in many shows.

I pieced this one for a similar reason: not enough of the background fabric…

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This picture shows the overlap between the two fabrics pretty well.

I have never pieced a background quite like this one though…I have pieced strips and one larger block and then lots of smaller units that probably belong together…and they’re not all from the same quilt. This does not bother me. I started laying them out last night…

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See, most of them are blues and browns, but there’s the weird purple bits too, which I really like. This kind of piecing is more about the pattern and the fabrics than about showcasing the image, which is why it’s outside my realm of expertise. I mean, I’ve made pieced quilts before, mostly for babies, who really don’t care about my piecing skills. I could do the strips on the bottom, but it would hurt my head! Anyway, the layout above was OK, but not quite right…so I tried again…

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I like this better. I think. Maybe with another row at the top? Of course, it will all shrink down when I piece it together. I did consider just going through the boxes and finding more strips and strip-piecing the whole background like that one section…but that’s boring (and easy)! Hell, if I’m gonna piece this thing, I’m going all out. Besides, Mariah did most of the work already. Sort of.

I found the drawing for the 2nd recycled piece…

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So I could check sizing. The image will have to be strong to stand out on the background at all. I think I can do that. I’ll probably need to do some more piecing for the larger sections. It has 160 pieces in it…more detail than the last one. That’s why I didn’t want to do it in upholstery fabrics. It would be too difficult. Plus my machine wouldn’t go through all the layers. It was having issues with more than 2 layers on the last one.

OK, well I’m working towards a decision that involves my sewing straight lines (aack) and filling in weird spaces between strips that don’t quite match up. It’s a good thing I’ve been sewing with a machine since I was 8. Or so. Can’t remember. Because I need a background before I start picking fabrics out for this one, so I know what will be behind each piece. Maybe I’ll offset the strips more so they don’t line up at all. Because that’s not like more work or anything.

After I messed around with all that for a while, I sat down and kept cutting things out for the Ventura quilt for another couple of hours. I had to steal my computer back from the girlchild, who had left multiple tabs open with prom dress websites (ugh). She has gotten into one college so far and is waitlisted on three others. She is treating those as rejections, while I see them as opportunities (one of them quite a nice opportunity), so the tension here is thick…but at least we have one acceptance and no rejections so far. I’m sure the rejections are coming, but they are somehow easier to take. It’s not a wishy washy “we sorta want you…maybe,” but a definitive “no.” So the drama continues.

Cutting…six hours in…

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The cut-out pile on the right is significantly larger than it was…well…6 hours ago. There doesn’t seem to be much left, but it’s all the tiny stuff from the bottom of the quilt (elephants and apples), so it will probably take longer than the size of the pile indicates. What did I guess? Twelve hours? I don’t think it will take that long…but if it did and I keep on my 2-hour-a-night streak, I’ll be done by Wednesday. Earlier than I originally thought…nice.

One hiccup in all this…last night, I managed to flip the container with all the cut-out pieces all over my chaotic desk. I think I’ve found all the pieces, but then again, I know I haven’t. How do I know? I thought I had found them all last night, and as I was staring to the right of my computer, deciding if I was done writing this post, I saw another piece in a box. Fuck. Dammit. I’m gonna be hating life when I go to iron this beast together. Oh well. Shit happens. That’s what I get for being a klutz.

By the way, one of the things that really helped me in the last week was having some down time over the weekend. I did some totally useless stuff and hung out and got recharged. I feel much more ready to face the week than I have for the last few Mondays…it’s a real relief. Yes, I did schoolwork too, but I didn’t have to do a lot…just enough to feel like I’m not buried in it this week. And I worked on non-deadline fabric stuff. And I got connected. So that helps. Good thing really…it’s the last week before Spring Break, so the kids will be braindead (they already were on Friday). Plus we have a field trip. So I need all the help I can get.

One Response to Piecing It Together

  1. That background has such strong value changes, so different from your usual backgrounds. Have you considered giving it a transparent wash of a fabric paint, to unify it? If it was an already opened jar of fabric paint, would it meet the recycling requirements?


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