Thursday, 11 January 2018

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 168 - May Landscape

Reality in thread - to my eyes anyway.  This is the first landscape that I have stitched from a photo, and it was an entirely different experience to the usual Never Never Land that I have always stitched before.  This time accuracy mattered.

The annual 12 x 12 exhibition at Midsomer Quilting kicked me into action last October.  The theme was "Where in the World?."  Some of the fabulous quilts on show can be seen here.

Although I was tempted to try a scene taken on holiday in Ireland or Spain, I decided to depict a scene only a few minutes' walk from our house.

I chose the photo I wanted to use and made a tracing of the horizon, trees, hedge and tractor tracks.  Then I machine stitched (with no thread) through the tracing paper, placed the tracing paper over the fabric and rubbed blue tailor's chalk over the holes to give a faint line of dots to use as a guide.

Once I had plotted the perspective, then I started to build up the colour with parallel lines of stitching.

The tractor tracks in the foreground were relatively straightforward, but the faint tractor tracks in the background to either side of the centre were particularly time-consuming.

To give the right effect, they needed to be underneath the yellow stitching.  I hadn't drawn guidelines, so I had to make frequent trips between the sewing machine and the computer to plot the ends of the lines with pins and then stitch the parallel lines by eye.

The next stage was to work on the rapeseed plants in the foreground, and then fathom out how to link the foreground with the background.  This had me stumped for a while, because in the background the crop is built up with horizontal lines of shades of yellow, whereas in the foreground there is a lot more detail, with changes of colour and direction.

The solution was to work a tightly packed scribble in yellow and green variegated threads over the foreground, taking it just into the background so that the middle distance blended in.

This scribble technique was also very useful for the tree at the left, which has young leaves just beginning to bud.  A thread with streaks of yellowish May green did the job perfectly for this tree...

...whereas the tall bare trees on the skyline needed a mixture of pastel and pale neutral shades.

Then I tackled the sky, filling it with horizontal lines of mainly blues and greys, making a streaky grey cloud to the left and keeping the right hand side clearer as a background for the birds.  The birds are hand sewn - just six quick stitches for each one.  I have decided that they are crows.  We get plenty of crows flying over, and even more jackdaws, but these look too big for jackdaws.

Here is a peep of the back.  For the sky I used blue or white in the bobbin, and for the field and trees a brownish neutral mix.

Now for
the technical details:- 
The picture was free motion quilted with my 1945 Singer 15K treadle on natural coloured cotton backed with thermal curtain lining.  I used Gutermann Sulky Cotton 30 in variegated colours, and applied fray-check to the cut edges.

All it needs now is a good frame.  That's my husband's department.

And a title.  If anyone has any suggestions, please leave a comment.

And finally, many thanks to De, Chris and all at Midsomer Quilting for holding a fabulous exhibition in their wonderful new premises at Chilcompton.  Without them I am not sure I would have stretched myself to produce this landscape.  Furthermore, I would not be the proud owner of the two fabulous quilts that I successfully placed bids on.  I took plenty of photos at the exhibition, and shall be featuring several of them in a post tomorrow.

Here goes for Week 168.

Many thanks to Afton for being the first person to link up in 2018, showing her beautiful Arrow Head quilt.
  If you haven't seen her blog post yet, nip over now and have a closer look.

If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.

Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post.
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.

So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland and Brazil have taken part. 
The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.

Linking up to Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and Nina-Marie's blog Creations... Quilts, Art... Whatever for Off The Wall Friday
and Amanda Jean's blog Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday.


  1. Wow! What detail! I suggest 'Peaceful' as a title. If I was at that place, it would be peaceful to me.

  2. Kudos! You and the 15K make a pretty picture! I restored a treadle 3 years ago and have yet to make it sew a stitch. Maybe I'll give it another whirl. Good luck with your mini quilt!

    1. Oh no Donna, not sewing yet? Time for some serious tinkering.

  3. Your thread picture is just beautiful!! WOW, just lovely.

  4. Just amazing. The thread truly is magical. I also sew on vintage Singers. Never thought to try FMQ on my treadle. You made an outstanding work of art.

  5. Lovely work! I feel like I could walk straight into your landscape and enjoy the view! Susan

  6. that is stunning. Thank you for sharing

  7. To say that my jaw is dropping is an understatement - that's amazing and beautiful all at once - it looks as though it has been painted and it couldn't be more stunning :)

  8. It's so beautiful, Muv! I'm in awe of your thread painting skill! And I love that you chose this serene, local pastoral scene to stitch :)

  9. Beautiful. The back looks great too! Rather Monet style!

    1. Glad you liked the back, Kerry. I managed to keep it relatively lump-free this time.

  10. Thread painting is true art! Your piece is stunning!

  11. This is fabulous! And it's so interesting to see your construction process.



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