It doesn’t take an exotic embroidery stitch to make my day. I have found that simple stitches give surprising results.
Here is a good example. To create the bark on this tree, I’m stitching short wavy lines of your basic Stem Stitch with a size 12 pearl cotton thread. The thread is a variegated blue called True Blues. But before I stitch the bark lines, I use True Blues to stitch around the tree trunk with a Chain Stitch. This gives it a finished edge. Chain Stitches are placed right next to the tree shape so I’m actually stitching into the background fabric to outline the tree.
As I continue up the tree trunk to the branches, I swirl the Stem Stitches to make knots and to add echoing lines around the knots. The combination of wavy lines and variegated thread color gives you the feeling that the tree is alive.
A Note about the Fabric
The shapes in this design are made with fused silk fabrics placed on a fused silk background. The silk fabrics are hand-dyed or over-dyed and have Misty Fuse Fusible Web on the back. Why use silk? Silk is easy to stitch through, and although it has a tighter weave, it doesn’t fray as much as cotton fabrics. Also, it has a lovely glow about it.
It’s so wonderful to have a local arts center! The Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles, IL has offered encouragement and support to artisans for decades. Classes include weaving, ceramics, jewelry making, painting, and more. They also have a gift shop and gallery.
The Kavanaugh Gallery at the Fine Line offers about four different exhibits each year. And on October 12 the exhibit, Not Your Mother’s Quilt, opens with an artist’s reception from 6 -8 pm. I plan to be there along with my entry (above), Loose Threads.
These three silk baskets hold thread ravels from fabric and stitching thrums collected over decades. They are a reminder of all the colorful textiles that pass through my hands. Gathering these loose threads together gives me great joy and connects me to my artistic life.
Are you using decorative blades in your rotary cutters? Decorative blades make wonderful embellished edges for your fused art quilts. They come in wave, scallop, and, my favorite, the delightful pinking blade.
But beware! Decorative blades can damage your cutting mats. Here you see a cutting mat on the right that has been scored by decorative blades. See how the decorative blades have gouged into the mat?
When you cut with a decorative blade you have to push a little harder to cut cleanly into the fabric. This means the blade will etch into the mat and mess up your grid lines.
Save the grid! Flip that mat over and cut your fabric on the wrong side of the mat. You’ll save your mat and you can use a pinking blade to create fun fabric edges like these.
Check out how I’ve used the pinking blade to create this decorative fused binding here.