|8 of Cups Judy Coates Perez 24" x 60"|
I felt like it needed a strong graphic element, so I added a large 8. Then I used a gold paint pen to add decorative details to the scrollwork design.
The cups still blended into the background, so I added a rough and bumpy (like the road in life) outline to the cups, mimicking the style of the 8 and bringing them forward visually.
Eight of Cups: Moving on and letting go. Time to change direction in life. Dissatisfied and disappointed, wanting something entirely different, but not knowing what. Finding courage, taking time to rest and heal.
Preparing the finished work for quilting
I wanted the quilting to have less loft and dimension and instead have more stitched illustrative details, so I used wool felt instead of batting. Luckily I had a big piece of yellow felt that a friend gave me during a recent purging that was just the right size.
I placed a layer of Mistyfuse between the felt and the painted top and did the same with the back. I wouldn't do this with batting because the fusible web penetrates the batting, glueing both the top and back together reducing the loft of the batting, but for this project it's not a problem.
For the back I used left over fabrics that had mistyfuse already adhered to them from the Agave quilt I made several years ago. I don't do fusible applique very often so the fabrics have just been sitting on the shelf not getting used.
For the quilting on the cups, I am using back thread in an illustrative way adding strong black lines to echo the illustration style of the vintage anatomical heart with monofilament in the needle across the middle of the cups.
What I learned...
Because I like experimenting and trying out things differently, I always learn something new with every project. Sometimes I discover a great new way of working and sometimes it turns out that my initial idea created unexpected challenges or wasn't as successful as I'd hoped.
I used wool rayon felt instead of batting, because I wanted a flat smooth finish for this piece. I used felt a friend had given me that she most likely had sitting around for about 15 years. I had two issues that popped up from using this.
The first one was the stiffness of the felt, compared to batting, made it more difficult for manipulating under the harp of the machine. I think 30 inches would be the widest I would recommend working with felt. Wider than that and I could see some definite limitations to quilting the surface smoothly. I had to roll and fold the piece to work the central areas which sometimes got a little cumbersome.
The second issue came about after I fused my top to the felt. I had a fair amount of rippling of the top due to it not fusing completely in all areas or staying fused for the duration of the quilting (it's possible there may have been a finish on the felt that kept it from adhering), as well as some possible shrinkage of the felt by the high temperature and steam used while fusing.
After the cups and flourishes had been quilted there was a significant amount of buckling in the white areas, I don't think the fusible web was even sticking anymore at that point, luckily the open areas were not very large, maybe 9" at the widest so it didn't present too much of a problem and it all smoothed out nicely with the quilting.
Conclusion: would I use felt again? Yes, but I would take size into consideration, if I was working on a particularly large piece I would probably use a lightweight batting instead. I would also pretest the wool to make sure I didn't have a problem with adhesion when fusing. I think a newer piece of wool felt wouldn't have had the adhesion problems that this one had, I suspect it had a finish on it.