Another Instalment

Two weeks ago I wrote about making a book to hold the stitchings I did at workshops during the recent National Quilt Festival. This week I have another signature to show you. It contains examples from two of Elaine Barnard‘s classes: Textile Flowers and Creating Incredible Trees Using Water-Soluble Fabric.

The double page spread from the Textile Flowers workshop. Stitched into the centre fold is a booklet of the nine different fabric flowers we made during the class. The hydrangea decorating the left page is the first flower we learnt to construct. There is a pocket on the right side page (concealed) that contains the patterns for the flowers. Below is a view of the opened booklet of flowers.

The workshop kit was beautifully packed in a box and I was struck by the clever thought that went into it — from the specially designed booklet where we could stick the examples for future reference, to the carefully chosen and delightful fabrics, to the pattern sheets. The class itself was inspiring. Apart from deftly teaching us how to make this bouquet of blooms, Elaine urged us to make flowers to brighten things up and said they can be used to decorate cushions, clothing, quilts, etc. She had examples of these suggestions but I was too busy cutting and stitching to take photographs. I can only try to describe how, for example, she tranformed a plain, manufactured cardigan into something unique by adding felt daisies down one side of the garment.

The nine flowers we learnt to fashion out of the variety of textiles contained in the kit. From left, by row: hydrangea, rose, strip flower, poppy with a fabric bead centre, rag flower, daisy, yoyo, lilly, and rosette flower.

The pocket containing the patterns for the textile flowers.

Elaine’s tree workshop was more challenging. We were supplied with the tree diagram, water-soluble fabric, netting, fabric beads and springy waste thread. The brief was to first sandwich the green, brown and blue bundles of threads between the netting and the water-soluble. Easier said than done. It literally did spring out of the confines of the flimsy fabrics. The next step was to hand stitch the tree trunk and foliage on top of the sandwich (of netting and water-soluble with the unruly nest of threads between them). I fear that understanding this paragraph has also been challenging! Hopefully this photograph will help explain the process.

Here is the tree when it was nearly complete. The white fabric at the top of the image is the water-soluble fabric and beneath it is a nest of blue threads. The tree was hand-embroidered on top of the surface. I learnt fly-stitch at the workshop and finished the fronds at home, where my stitching became a bit neater. When at home I also machine stitched over the background to hold down the green and brown mass of threads that wanted to escape from between the layers. I tried and failed to contain the brown mass of threads to within the tree trunk and branches. It spilled over into the surrounding green bed of threads.

I am not paticularly proud of my attempt, but am pleased with myself for finishing the project.

The final tree (right) after the water-soluble fabric was dissovled (with water!).

And here is the tree, stitched into my book of examples, along with the class description and an image of Elaine’s accomplished tree.

18 thoughts on “Another Instalment

  1. I would imagine keeping those threads encased in that netting and stabilizer was tricky. I’ve used a similar method to contain trimmings, but used my machine to sew them down. Much easier than trying to do so by hand! The flower project is lovely and looks like an enjoyable way to spend some time stitching!


  2. Kudos to you for taking on these challenges! I’m amazed at the difference in colors of the tree after washing. Looks great! Did you enjoy the processes enough to use them again?


    1. I was also surprised when I dissolved the wash-away fabric. I greatly enjoyed making the flowers and will make them again if a project arises. Am also glad to have mastered fly stitch but will probably not make another tree using this method. Appliqué is easier!


  3. I recently got a kit as part of signing up for a class and was amazed at how much it helped just to have the materials I needed all provided in a neat package. Your flowers are lovely and I’m glad you are saving it all in a book.


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