At the last minute I wanted a hand stitching project to take along on our recent vacation to Reno NV and Berkeley CA. I still had several of the small needlefelted pieces I started as step outs for the Quilting Arts video shoot last year. I took one of them and added some borders, pulled some likely embroidery thread colors, and packed it up and stuck it in my carry on.
I worked on it a bit on vacation, and spent a lot more time thinking about it. We began our trip on the summer solstice, which was also our wedding anniversary. A few days prior we had been to the Susquehanna River in Columbia to take pictures in the clear soft light of late afternoon. The mood of the piece was trending towards an early summer colorway, so I decided to embrace the theme.
I used a simple running stitch to add line and flow to the river portion. I’m calling it simple, because it’s just a running stitch, in and out of the fabric in a line. But as I worked on it I realized that it was reflective of years and years spent hand stitching and hand quilting. I’ve gone through countless spools of thread and hanks of embroidery floss. I’ve literally worn out many needles over time. My stitch at this point is definitely an expression of “the hand of the maker”, where I strive not only for technical excellence but also for a unique signature.
I used a variety of other simple stitches to add to the “fields” and “woods” surrounding it. I enjoyed the slow pace and improvisational spirit of stitching process very much. I then layered it and added some quilting. I am now contemplating adding beadwork.
As is it measures about 24” square. I am planning to use it as a center panel for a larger quilt, like some of my other recent river pieces. (See Ice Jam and In Dreams I Learned to Swim.) I’m still thinking about what that will look like.
I have a lot of works in progress right now.On the one hand I think I should focus and finish a few of them before proceeding. On the other hand, I am grateful that the inspiration and ideas are flowing freely, and feel like I need to go with that flow.