It Takes This Long to Make It

windycity6

Windy City #6 (9″ x 12″) by Laura Wasilowski

A few days ago I asked if you could estimate how many hours it took me to make this small quilt, Windy City #6. And, as an experiment, I tried to keep track of the time to complete it. But honestly, my skills at time keeping stink! It seems I go into a zone when making a quilt and lose track of time.

Below are the stages of creating the art work and an estimate of the number of hours to complete each stage. Let’s see how close you were in guessing the total time.

  • Hand-dyeing the fabrics-  .5 hours
  • Fusing the fabrics-  .5 hours
  • Designing the quilt-  1 hour
  • Adding hand embroidery-  6.5 hours
  • Machine quilting and binding-  1 hour
  • Photographing and documenting the quilt-  .5 hours
windycity6detaila

Windy City #6 (detail) by Laura Wasilowski

The total is about 10 hours from start to finish with most of time spent on hand embroidery. Now, what you don’t see in this list is the hours of enjoyment I got from making the art work. That’s really hard to measure.

How Long Did It Take to Make?

What’s the most frequently asked question you receive when you show your art work? I bet its “How long did it take you to make it?” We’ve all heard this many times. My cheeky response has always been “A life time.”

windycity6

Windy City #6 by Laura Wasilowski

But not any more. I decided to actually keep track of my time when making Windy City #6. It measures about 9″ x 12″, is made with fused fabric scraps, hand embroidered, and machine quilted. Can you guess the total time it took to create this quilt from design to the final stitch? Give me a few answers and I’ll let you know in a few days.

Improvisation: The Only Way to Design

improv10Lucky me! I just came across this set of pre-fused fabric scraps and collages for art making. (Note to self: clear my work table more often.) Sure some of the pieces are 10 years old. But like starter dough, these scraps have great art making potential.

improv20But first, a batik background fabric is selected to provide a base for the design work. Working on a background helps you choose the colors for the elements in the design and gives you an idea of what size it will be. This set of odds and ends are pulled from the “fused for your convenience” scrap pile to kick start the design. 

improv21And here’s the design made with some of the fused fabric shapes and other shapes found in my mound of pre-fused scraps. Improvising is the only way to go! Next up? Hand embroidery, of course.

Interior Landscapes?

prettyplanetpalmtreesWe’ve reached that time in my gardening life where I shut myself up in the house. Why, you ask? Because mosquitoes roam the earth looking for blood, my blood.

prettyplanetpalmtrees1So what’s a gardener to do? Why work on a landscape indoors, of course! Here you see a quilt sample from my defunct Pretty Planets class being turned into a small piece of art. All it lacks is some machine quilting and a few tiny dots representing…. mosquitoes.

Transformation of Old to New

littlelandscapestitch1

Little Landscape (pre-stitched)

It’s not often you get a chance to transform something old into something new. But like a magician, I shall soon turn this old quilt (2005) into a snappy updated version. And all through the magic of hand embroidery.

littlelandscapestitch2Can you see it changing right before your eyes? Good, cause it’s taken me several hours and several TV shows to get it to this point. This is a small piece (9″ x 9″) so I’m using fine, size 12 threads on the rather small elements that make up the design.

Improv Stitching on Wool #3

sheep1In keeping with the theme that I’ve lost touch with reality, my embroidered sheep acquires green fleece. French Knots and Bullion Knots (Size 8 Lime Frappe pearl cotton thread) placed closely together resemble the curl of sheep’s wool, don’t you think? These stitches also have the advantage of lifting off the surface of the fabric evoking the cushy texture of a woolly sheep.

sheep2This is what I love about free form embroidery. Like a good mystery novel, you discover as you stitch. Each stitch gives you a clue as to what the next stitch should be. And as you progress through the embroidery, you become more confident of how it will end.

Stay tuned for more fascinating sheep stories soon.