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.