Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hugs and Kisses Quilt

Many of you wanted to know about the embroidery that I've been doing so I thought I'd give a few details here.

In January, Lorraine in Australia visited Japan and showed my quilting group her beautiful quilt called Fairy something... by Hugs and Kisses (Sorry I forgot the name.) It was just stupendous work and as much detail as I've seen in any quilt in a long time. We were absolutely floored at the beauty and skill and more than a little surprised to hear how the technique is done... by using colored pencils. A few weeks later, Lorraine sent the group the whole set (fabric and all) of the Hugs and Kisses' series, Neenie's Garden.

Well now, this is a lot of work and maybe too much work for just one of us (though Lorraine could do it). So our group decided we would give this a try (not too confident about our ability) and if the combined efforts were good we would make this quilt as 2010's kindergarten bazaar quilt. At least we had enough time to ponder and consult each other.

During the summer a couple of us spent hot days iron transferring the designs and then we used the colored pencils that Lorraine had also sent (and the sealer and the threads). To be honest, the coloring wasn't that interesting, sort of a color by number sort of process with not too much room for individuality, but between 4 or 5 of us we had all the blocks colored in a few hours.

The next step was to seal the colors in with normal textile sealer (that my friends said could even be easily bought in Japan so I suppose you might find it in the tole painting section of the crafts shop). We were pretty liberal with the sealer and the colors ran a bit. We should have followed the directions to seal one color at a time, let dry and seal the next color (6 times? Sorry, we don't have THAT much time). A weave/web backing (also provided in the kit) was applied to the back of the blocks and the next step has been the embroidery. That's where I am now.

The threads used are very sturdy and silky and seem stronger than normal embroidery floss. Here again, I am just following the instructions so there isn't a lot of creativity but I do better with repetitive work than I do with inspiration and originality. This is just my cup of tea.

The next step is to sew the blocks together with a lot of added trim and frills. I'm not sure our group is up to that either. We are sort of playing it by ear...

The pencils that Lorraine sent are Derwent Studio pencils (from England?) And the thread is called Presencia Finca #16 (the instructions say that DMC can also be used.

There is still a lot of work to do on this quilt. For some reason Mrs. Furui handed me ALL the blocks that still need to be embroidered and ALL the thread! Do you think she is hinting that I should commit myself to embroidery for the next couple months?

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