The Sky background is finally finished! After spending a week stitching the main decorative designs into the Sky, I finished off the wide open blue areas with a small meander.
For the main designs I used Aurifil cotton 40 wt. #2715, but for the meander I switched to the same color in 50 wt. so that the meander blended into the background, while letting the main designs pop a little.
The last time I tried to use the 50 wt. Aurifil on this quilt it gave me fits while sampling it on a scrap. So when I knew I wanted to use it in the background, I decided to change the needle to a 3.5 just to see if that would help. Today. It didn't seem to help before, but that was Before. Never mind how it decides to work one day and not another on exactly the same quilt... that's another rant for another day.
But today the thread behaved perfectly. In fact, this entire quilt has had 99% perfect tension - especially on the back! Since I've blamed fabric for bad tension on the back in the past, I will be woman enough to credit the fabric for the fantastic tension on the back of this quilt.
The lighthouse got the "beaded curtain" treatment:
After completing all of the meandering, I was annoyed by an area where the meander wasn't consistent. It seemed to be too large. My eye kept stopping in that area, and I could hear myself making excuses. So I unstitched it. Notice the holes left in the fabric:
I quilted it over again, disregarding the previous stitching holes, to a consistency I liked much better:
Here is the new stitching area an hour later:
The holes will not go away on batiks unless water is applied. It's very scary as a quilter to have to face this. But it's inevitable - or at least it is for me. So I ever-so-carefully dabbed all of the teeny tiny holes with a damp piece of cotton batting, making extra sure the water didn't soak onto the backing (which is very dark blue). Thankfully this light blue fabric is mottled throughout with several shades of blue - similar to a typical sky. It looks "watery" already. So at times when I shivered at seeing a dark spot, I realized it was only the fabric and not my attempts to hide holes. Whew!
And now for the neglected Blooming Nine Patch - just waiting for me to finish putting the squares together. So far I've completed stitching a large corner. The next few rows have already been stacked up next to my sewing machine for when I get a few moments to sew them together. It sure looks odd in the meantime:
My Mom and I were brainstorming this morning about taking some classes on color. Specifically value. We are both seriously challenged in this area. As quilters we have been winging it for so many years, with some success. Our handicap has never stopped us from making quilts. However, like the stripey mishap on my BNP, we have quilts that don't get out much because we used one or more "off" fabrics - because we don't understand value.
But today she was beaming about the Art Quilter who spoke at her guild this week: Grace Errea. It seems that Grace has a wonderful ability to teach color (specifically value), and that's because she took a color class at the local college that changed her life. My Mom bought Grace's newest book "Impressionist Applique" and is now charged up to try her hand at Art Quilts.
Mind you, I somehow managed to get a "standard" art gene from a distant ancestor - but not from my Mom. She's the first to admit that Art Quilts are beyond her. She knows herself well, and I know that I've never in my life seen her stand back and tilt her head and look deeper into any work of Art. She experiences Art at purely face value, and moves on. But thanks to Grace Errea, who encouraged all of the quilters at the guild meeting to "try new things always", my Mom wants to learn to be an Art Quilter!
And because my Mom is inspired, I am now inspired too.
My Mom doesn't read this blog, she's a busy lady. So what are the chances that I would whine about my artistic shortcomings on one day, and be inspired to take an art class on the next! I tell you, only my Mom can bring that stuff out of me. And she didn't even know she was doing it!
God bless her.