I'm so proud of myself. I actually did most of the sampling that I said I was going to do a couple of weeks ago!
My major focus was to experiment with different ways of joining my "quilt" blocks together. I don't want to use a traditional method of quilting, since I don't want to have to add a batting and a backing. Therefore, my seams have to appear finished from the back.
The first sample that I did was of a traditional method.
Mainly I did this one to get the hang of joining blocks together. I've never actually quilted anything. I've only ever done a couple of log cabin style samples for a fabric construction course I took once upon a time. The seams were not as visible from the front as I thought they would be (laminated paper can sometimes be quite transparent), but I am still going to rule out this option for the same reasons mentioned above.
For the second sample, I flat felled my seams after sewing them together. I like this method because my seams are finished and you can see a little bit of the stitching on the front (I thought this was an interesting detail). However, I don't like this method because not all of the seams will be able to go the same way, which means some square will visually look smaller than others. For this reason, I am ruling it out.
The third sample I did used the same method of stitching as traditional Korean pojagi, which is similar to sewing a French seam. I like this method because you can see the stitching on the front and the seams are distributed equally. However, because it was new technique, it took me a while to get the hang of it and there were some challenges with this method of construction. First, since the stitches are visible on the front and the back, they have to be very even, very neat, and you can't pull the stitches tight or it will pucker and the seams won't lie flat. After I did this sample, I wasn't ready to commit to this technique quite yet, so I did a couple more.
For the next sample, I painted the squares first with watercolor. If you read my last post, you know that I had not committed to a method of adding color to my materials. I knew I wouldn't be able to use dye since the laminated paper doesn't hold up well with the harshness of that process. I was fairly sure I wanted to use watercolors, but I was also toying with the idea of using acrylics. I decided to sample the watercolors first since I was almost certain that's what I wanted to use. I'm glad I did because I essentially ruled them out. No matter how many samples I did, I could not get the grays I wanted. They just kept coming out too blue.
This sample also uses the same method of stitching as the last one, but here I used a contrasting thread color. From what I've read, this is pretty common with pojagi, so I figured "why not?". I couldn't find my true red thread (go figure because I think I have every color), so I settled on this burgundy. I like the idea of the contrasting stitches, but I really need to work on my stitching if I'm going to make it a part of the piece.
Then I got a little frustrated with the pojagi style stitches. It was just not doing what I wanted it to do, I was still struggling with pulling the stitches too tight, and I was still mad that I couldn't find my thread. So I sewed the seams normally and then whipped down each side of the seam. Okay, the seams are evenly distributed, they are finished, and you can see the stitches on the front. But, it just seemed like so much extra work. So, I ruled this one out too.
By this time, I settled on the pojagi method. It was going to do what I wanted and look how I wanted, I would just need to do more samples (and get different red thread) to perfect my stitching before I actually start in on the piece. For this last sample, I was also experimenting with color, but this time I was using very watered down acrylic. I had to compromise some of the transparency, but I am much happier with the color. And my stitching is getting better!
These next couple weeks I want to continue my sampling. I need to go buy some more acrylic and I want to experiment with making textures on the paper (with tissue paper?). I have some sample blocks drawn out that I want to play around and make sure that when I sew them together they are square.
I also need to go ahead and make my paper and order materials if I need them. Like I said a couple of weeks ago, I am fairly sure that I will not have enough organza for the entire piece.
I'm feeling a little more motivated and productive, so hopefully this will get done quickly. I think once I get all of my sampling done, my goal will be to sew at least one square together a day.
I've been busy, but I did manage to get a little bit of work done over the past week.
This piece is based on the flying geese quilts that I love so much. Called "Fly Away Home", each of the geese is supposed to symbolize me heading towards the idea of 'home'. Therein lies the problem.
I feel like I don't know what 'home' is or where it is. Initially, all of the 'geese' were supposed to point in the same direction, but now I feel like I need to change that in order to convey that uneasiness. I sketched a small sample where the columns alternate and upward and downward direction, but I have already cut each block out of paper and drawn it out, and that seems like it would take a lot of time and effort to change, especially since I want the 'geese' to kind of line up.
So now I'm thinking that I might break this piece down into three pieces and have the first one point up, the second one point to the sides, and the last one point down. I think I would achieve the effect and reduce the amount of time I'd have to spend drawing out two separate additional pieces or changing this one.
This week I want to play with how I want to put this piece together and what materials I want to use. I know that I do not want to stitch the blocks together with traditional quilting techniques because I don't want to have to add batting and backing. I want the piece to be semi-transparent and convey a sense of lightness. I think that I want to experiment with the traditional way of sewing Korean pojagi, because then all my seams will be contained and finished neatly.
I also want to play with how I am going to add colors. I know I want it to have a monochromatic black, white, and gray color scheme and I'm thinking I'm going to use watercolors to add color. I've done a lot of dye samples recently, but I know that the silk laminated paper cannot stand up to the dye process very well. I also toyed around with using acrylics, but I think that will also take away from that sense of transparency.
If all goes well, and I find the time (and motivation) to get those samples done, I want to go ahead and start laminating the paper for this project. I am almost positive that I do not have enough organza to complete this. If I'm remembering correctly, I have a yard or so and some scraps left. If that is going to be the case, I want to go ahead and get it ordered so I'm not waiting too long on materials. I'll need it for other plans as well.