Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Winter Trees II

This is my second go-round with the winter trees theme. I'm calling this embroidery, although I suppose it's also applique.

Here's a photo of the back.

So you can see the white linen is the ground fabric, and I added the negative space with the black to create the birch trees. I both machine-sewed and hand-stitched the pieces. My intention all along was to blanket-stitch the edges, which were left raw, by hand, but I was concerned about shifting, so I zig-zagged them on the machine first.

Here's a detail:

I do think it's hard to get the feel for this just through a photo. Every here and there I added some longer blanket stitches extending in, and in a few middle areas I satin stitched and then snipped some threads, to give the feel of peeling birch bark, and the naturally fraying edges contribute to that too. It worked out more or less like I'd hoped it would, when I was figuring it out in my head. It is, I think, deceptively simple looking--and actually, rather simple in execution, once I had the shapes the way I wanted. (Although since my main time for handwork is after dark, I nearly blinded myself stitching on black linen with black floss...luckily a couple of weeks ago Joann's had Ottlites on sale and I bought a small floor lamp to go behind my chair. So I'm not completely blind yet.)

I haven't forgotten my embroidered trees. My challenge to myself this month is to enter something in a local arts center's open show. (Drop-off is actually in early April, but I need to have something ready.) Last year I asked my older kids if they wanted to enter something--it's truly open to all, if you're willing to pay the entry fee, which is only $5 for kids. They both did, but I chickened out. So. This year I'm entering something. It needs to be 12"x12" and ready to hang, so I considered various ideas, in consultation with my sister, on how to get the embroidered trees to comply. This is the solution I like best:

I'm basically matting it with fabric (black linen again). I cut into the black piece and folded the sides back to have a neat edge bordering the embroidery. I'll sew that by hand, and this way I'm not cutting the embroidery fabric. I'm going to wrap a 12"x12" canvas with the black fabric, centering the embroidery. I prefer that to framing it. What do you think? Opinions are welcome, as I haven't done anything beyond pinning yet.

If I can get the birch trees into 12"x12" format, I may enter that one as well. We'll see. I just need to follow my children's example and proceed fearlessly and confidently...

Shared with our creative spaces.


Carolyn said...

Nicely done! Yes, you've now done raw edge applique. The technique you're using to frame the small embroidery is reverse applique. You're actually quilting, so you can cross that off the "someday" list!

Notchka said...

I loved that you showed the back of the piece - its almost as interesting as the front. I love the reverse appliqué technique

lamina @ do a bit said...

Very effective!! I really like the back as well.. it looks really good too :) That's great that you are entering an art open show... how excellent.. good luck!

Rose Red said...

I like winter trees II very much - both front and back!

I also like the idea of framing the first one with fabric. I like the black, but I wonder what it would look like with a colour? Or even with grey, so the embroidery sort of seems to grow out of the fabric? Or White? So that the embroidery pulls all the focus?

Shell said...

Love the birch trees Amy.
I don't know if I could manage all the black on black sewing myself, I'm already as blind as a bat.

Michelle said...

I love the frayed effect on the new trees! So beautiful! I was thinking a gray too for the matted one . . . hmmm
maybe not exactly the same shades as the trees, but something a little lighter than the black . . .

Either way, you rock. They are gorgeous.

Fearless is always good. :)

Donna Lee said...

I think that's my favorite piece you've done. Maybe because I have a fondness for birch trees. It is just beautiful.

And my OTT light has saved my sanity and my eyesight! I am so grateful for it.

Bells said...

i love jane's suggestion of a gray frame - but also the black sets it in relief in some way too.

I learned needle turn applique in my class last week. It's nice to see the way you're using it. I made the photo bigger to get a good look.

Love that you're setting challenges for yourself. I really like it.

Madde said...

Great piece! For me embroidery and applique is like wins, sometimes hard to be witout the other. This piece is like it´s done here, in the north of Sweden - our town is called "The city of birches" . There are birches all over :)