My friend Deb found this pattern in Montana when she was there on holiday. She sent it to me and asked if I'd be interested in making for her. *The really funny part was that she also included $5.00 for return postage should I decide it was too 'beneath me' to do!* I will admit; making someone elses (meaning the quiltmaker's) pattern was kinda limiting but it turned out to be just the impetus I needed to get back into my sewing room & play with my newly tuned up and repaired sewing machine!
This one block 'Hummin Blossoms is from the Pine Needles studio by artist McKenna Ryan. . It measures 14 1/2 x 39". It is from an 'At Home in the Woods Block of the Month.
I admit to being daunted when I opened up the instructions and saw all the tiny pieces that were to be fused and fussy cut but if you knew my friend Deb and all she means to me I simply put that aside and dove right in!
I could see right off there would need to be some adjustments I would need to make. Primary was that Ms. Ryan quilted her entire block (& I'm presuming the entire finished quilt) in monofilament (clear fishing line type thread). I completely understand that for the sake of speed in cranking out a pattern for the block of the month clubs. However, since I had more time to spend on this one piece and want to make it as special as I possibly can I am machine quilting it with every and any color I want. After all, my machine is all cleaned up and breaking it in with over 30 thread color changes is just what it needs :) I mean seriously! Don't those tiny jeweled hummers just beg for metallic threads??? I will also be adding some free motion designs that aren't on the pattern itself as well as adding some hand embroidery with my newly acquired Laura Wasilowski hand dyed Perle cottons. (hhehehehheeee!) I'm all goosepimply just thinkin of it.
I had cut out all the pieces, fused them all down, sewn all the borders on and was ready to start quilting it when I was invited to see Dave Matthews Band playing at the Irvine Verizon Amphitheater. It was a wonderful experience and I was overwhelmed with how great they are live!
On the Sunday after the concert I had taken a nap & when I was just starting to wake up some ideas came into my head. I remember watching cartoons when I was little (back in the late 60's and early 70's) Many of them had fun illustrations put to music (think Fantasia) and in my mind I was still remembering the music that washed over me the night before with all the bee bops, blips and crescendo's and the incredible Violin/Fiddle playing boy Boyd Tinsley.
The visions in my head reminded me of the early Pink Panther movies & and how the credits were done up in cartoon fashion prior to the movie starting. (Much the way they honored the illustrators with the Steve Martin remake; I often put the DVD in just to watch the magic of the opening credits) anyhow; with DMB's music in my head; I flew into my sewing room & grabbed some silks & attempted to re-create the old cartoon illustrations to music in fabric. The blue one was first; I loved how the orange dots just floated across the background and the long embroidery lines added later gave a grounding effect. *click on images to enlarge*
Then, carrying the idea further and trying to make a mirror image of sorts, I created the blue's opposite with this gold one. I was just too in love with the ellipticals to stop after the blue. I don't think I would still put the blue & green bars across if I were to make this into a big piece but I had fun digging thru my silk scraps & playing with Mistyfuse & the Goddess sheet! (If you don't have one I highly endorse getting one! It's truly what to my mind Mistyfuse has needed all along. Much cleaner edges & less 'hairy ends' hanging off the cut work in addition to being able to tell the really shiny side where the fusible is!) I used it on the fused commissioned one above & my fingers have been thanking me each time I embroider something onto the batik surfaces and don't have to use pliers to get thru the wonder under.
I was thrilled that after my 'lull' artistically I just jumped right back in and created some small 'experiments' like these and was happy with the playtime. And Deb, if you're reading this, your piece is coming along nicely and I will finish it over Labor Day weekend!