Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bonus FMQ Tutorial - Susan Brubaker Knapp - Part 2

Back in September, I posted the photos taken as Part I of the Bonus Tutorial presented by Susan Brubaker Knapp for SewCalGal's FMQ Challenge .  You can see that post here.

The focus of Susan's tutorial was to find quilting design inspiration from everyday objects in one's own environment.  This Bonus Challenge has been inspirational and fun from the very beginning, and as you're about to see, also very challenging, at least to this novice!

I decided to attempt creating a quilting design from two photos, one more successfully than the other, at least for the time being.   The first one was from this photo of a wall plaque we found in a back corner of a local garden art shop many years ago.  I've always loved this rather rustic rendition of the Menorah.
The print of this photo was too dark to trace through to the fabric, so I deconstructed the printed picture and traced around the outline of the major parts with a blue water soluble marking pen:
Stitching around the major outlines, using two layers of very thin poly batting, Aurifil 50/2 thread in both top and bobbin, the first day's efforts looked ok, if not great.  The stitching appeared somewhat wobbly to me, probably in part due to running the machine very slowly while doing the outlining, and possibly also because of the extra layer of batting. 
Then I began filling in some of the background, attempting to add some light and dark shading effects.  While I'm fairly happy with the ultra-tiny pebbles between the candles, the area around the lights is definitely not pleasing to my eye and is now - very slowly - being ripped out stitch by tiny stitch.  Here's what it looks like at this stage:

I thought the fill work on the printed back created an interesting texture.   Onward ...

The second photo that was crying out to be stitched is this one:
Here again, the printed version would be extremely difficult to trace onto fabric, so this time I sketched the design directly from viewing the computer monitor, this time using a Bohin ceramic pencil.
This one was very easy to sketch, except for the center which I never did get "right" either drawn or stitched.  The central design stitched up in about 30 minutes time last evening.  This time I experimented with a slightly heavier Aurifil 40 weight thread, along with the double layer of batting, and was very pleased with the outlining produced with the heavier thread.  Note in all the photos following, the stitching was actually done with a light bright green although my camera refused to read it as such.  The bobbin thread remained Aurifil 50/2.
This morning a few additional design elements were sketched and stitched.  Here are the results, both front and back, photographed between rain showers.  This piece is not finished, but I'll need to think about dividing and conquering the background areas and experiment with some additional colors.

As for the Menorah piece, I'm now undecided whether to continue ripping out the unacceptable areas, or rather to start all over again.  I'm tending toward starting again and using the 40 weight Aurifil for the outlining since I'm really liking how it defines the shapes.  The filler shapes could then be completed with the 50/2 weight thread.    But, before anything else is decided I  HAVE to get back to completing the two large quilts that need to be finished before November 30!  Not to mention tackling the other tardy monthly FMQ challenges.   I'm thinking it's going to be pretty busy in my little sewing room come December!

Many thanks to Susan Brubaker Knapp for this interesting and fun bonus tutorial!  I really enjoyed every minute of it - well, except maybe those couple of hours already spent ripping out those teeny tiny stitches!   Thanks SewCalGal for this year of intensive FMQ learning - I for one sure hope it doesn't end in December - hint, hint!!


  1. Very good! I really like both of your designs. I need to get busy on this month's challenge and I think I need to do 2 make up ones. Like you, I have lots to do!

  2. Your quilting looks great! I agree that this bonus tutorial was inspirational and fun. It was a little eye opening for me as I never thought to look in my environment for motif designs. ~Jeanne

  3. I'm not sure about the Menorah ripping/unsewing 'thing'. I think you could continue quilting and decide later on that one. The flower is coming along so nicely!! Huge progress in your FMQ expertise! Those tutorials/FMQ sessions have been beneficial for so many of us.....huge thanks to all!!!

  4. Your designs are wonderful and so interesting. I love how you are working on the Menorah and adding so much stitching between the candles. Ugh...I hate the unsewing part. I would be tempted to continue with it and just sew over it. How about dividing the background of the flower with the tile technique from a earlier month to fill in????

  5. I'm so happy to hear that I'm not the only one who's racing to get caught up on past challenges before the end of the year! I really love how your Menorah looks from the back side. I vote that if you redo it, you use a different fabric on top. I don't think you have time to cozy up with your seam ripper for hours and hours over this.

    And I LOVE your other piece -- I thought for sure it was from a dahlia photo when I saw the quilted piece in the FB group. So pretty! This challenge is on my "to-do" list, too.

  6. The Menorah is a great piece - makes me think about inspiration in something other than flowers and leaves! I loved the tutorial, and your work is really grand! I too hope the tutorial continues after December.

  7. The menorah is breath-taking, ESpecially the back view!!! Stop right now and just continue your work with whatever adjustments you feel necessary. The way the density of the lower areas gradually lessens as the stitching moves toward the flames....wonderful! You need to take some steps back and appreciate what you created in its effect. It need not be perfect to have impact. I felt inspired. The 'back' is the front, IMHO.
    Please post more pix!!

  8. I was working on my challenge yesterday. I hope to finish this weekend. The menorah is really great.


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