Life is for the birds

Back to bird art…. just a little playtime after the serious business of making tetraspinners

Squat little oystercatcher… trying out a new (to me) embroidery pellon/batting under the single layer cotton background…. not entirely happy with the result, the stitching has pulled in I think in spite of hooping it to stitch, maybe the cotton shrank when I washed out the watersoluble stabiliser… hard to know. Note to self: wash all new materials and fabrics to find out if they shrink, and how much, and to remember to preshrink them before adding stitch….  Actually this bird is on a slight 3/4 angle anyway, but still, he looks squished up more than the original drawing I did….

Watch for more to come! I have to do some fish as well, so there are busy days ahead for me. Keeps me out of mischief while I wait for the tetraspinner fabric to show up…




Beginning to think it is easy to take leave of one’s senses and to become completely obsessive…  I have been exploring 3 dimensions as a mild diversion from the landscape art quilts, precipitated by a void as I had run out of the wide stiff bag wadding which I use as a base for that work. Since I had to wait about three weeks for it to come in to my local patchwork store, and the fact that it also coincided with the sudden and irrevocable demise of both of my vacuum cleaners (yes I had two!)  within days of each other, which then negated all possibility of my filling my time with housecleaning, AND of course I had to do SOMETHING. I am not a gardener. I wish I was sometimes, it would keep me fit and think of all that lovely fresh air in my lungs…. but the dog likes to ‘help’ and she is more of a hindrance.

Having been somewhat fascinated for some time by cyclic tetrahedrons, and as I always relish a challenge,  that is what I thought I would tackle next….  having enough stitch-n-shape on hand as an ideal stabiliser, I set to work figuring out how to do this. My other great love affair (the one with the computer) had me thinking I could do this and print all the 24 triangles I was going to need…. on fabric, just need to work out how the design would need to be…. but that was taking a long time, and eventually the upshot was, as I couldn’t at that point get my head around how to actually get my designs ready to print as a pattern on to fabric, (well I did my head in trying to master kaleidoscope patterns… which was a deviation from the tetrahedron idea…) I concluded it still might just be quicker and simpler to do it all by hand…. as you do. Sometimes I am quite old-fashioned. After all, I only wanted to make one….

Th process:

  1. draw the designs
  2.  trace and redraw them in Illustrator – just to get everything nicely symmetrical, (and it’s playing with magic)
  3. print out and trace them on to fabric
  4. back with stabiliser wadding
  5. quilt
  6. colour
  7. embellish
  8. stitch together

EASY! So I thought… 4 weeks later, I do have the finished article, and I did have a lot of fun on the way. It satisfied my desires to piece, to paint, to quilt! It’s really an art quilt form, this cyclic tetrahedron that I call a TETRASPINNER… This one is approximately 17 inches x 17 inches, and 8 inches high – really rather large but it seemed to me it might be easier to make at these proportions. I was actually wrong in this. It gets a bit tricky at the end…

You can see a VIDEO HERE of the finished item.

I have a fabric print in the pipeline for making a smaller version that would be much easier to handle, and will save anyone wishing to make one the hassle of designing and painting the triangles needed to make it up. While waiting for a proof swatch to arrive, I am working on a pattern that will be downloadable and printable on A4/letter size paper, and which will be available in at least two sizes; similar colours to those you see here, and also the black and white outlines so you can choose your own colours. Instructions for comstruction in fabric and on card will be included.

In the meantime, these are some progress photos…  (the last one is a fabric design I am experimenting with… )