Embellishment – “THE FLATHEAD” Art Quilt

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I was born and raised in Montana; my father’s family homesteaded on the northern border of Montana, near the Canadian border, in the Sweet Grass Hills. My mother’s family homesteaded in western Montana, on the Flathead River.
 For many summers, I would pack up my boys and we’d travel 240 miles to go to the Flathead Valley, and spend a week with my Gramma Ila, enjoying the family farm, and picking what seemed like tons of raspberries, strawberries and more! My Aunt Vi had the most incredible Raspberry Patch… her huge yard was encircled with 4-6 rows of raspberry bushes that surrounded their home!  Fabulous! Sometimes we had time to go through Glacier Park too… but we always had to get those berries home into the freezer!

“THE FLATHEAD” landscape art quilt is lovingly dedicated to my Gramma Ila, who passed away in 2002. The Flathead Valley is shimmery lakes, sparkling rivers, lush fields and purple mountains majesty.

This impressionistic journey began by thinking of those beautiful images and sweet summer memories with my Gramma. This fabric has three color gradations; a mauvey pinky (berries) color on the bottom, then a periwinkle purple (mountains), blue and soft gray/blue/green (sometimes rainy skies!) on the top.

Here is a detail of the ‘feather’ motif I added with a free motion couching foot.  (The Bernina #43).  I loved this yarn, and it was a fun thing to do… and a bit unexpected!   The other embellishment I enjoy using is foil.  This happens to be silver leaf, the flimsy stuff, usually for wood crafts, and the like.   

How I love couching free motion style!  Such creative freedom it brings me.  To add more definition and presence to the silver leafing, I couched a deep purple yarn, which had a bit of golden flecks in it, and I loved the contrast and dimension it brings to this piece…. reminding me of those lovely, tall shining mountains, with rays of sun reflecting on the sparkling lakes and the cool breezes in the evenings.  (Not to mention the color of the berries!)  In the picture below, bobbin play detail.  See
Blog entires on December 15:  Bobbin Quilting and December 23: More Hints if you’d like to know more.
Hint:  I used white thread on my top so the silver bobbin thread would be dazzling…

My favorite silver thread was just calling to me!  And I decided to let it meander… just like the Flathead River through the steep mountain gorges… and of course, (below) there has to be just a glitzy touch of angelina fibers… it just reminds me of the sun and water, and fresh air!

In the pic below you will see a zig zag stitch; this is traditional couching over a fiber or cording, or something thick that cannot be sewn through the eye of the needle.
The picture shows where I’ve couched on wool roving.  The beading you see here was done by machine, without a foot… yes you can do it that way!  The exception however, is the triangle silver bead in this picture.. it was done free motion, but I did have a foot attached; the #29 (Bernina) clear free motion foot, which I turn to constantly!  I just set it for a zig zag… and carefully… ensure your stitch width accommodates the width of the bead hole to the edge of the bead by using your hand wheel first!  Then, at a slow speed, stitch your zig zag 3-4 times to secure the bead.
Questions? Please let me know and I would enjoy answering them! I love to demo this fun technique in the free motion classes I teach. I will be posting instructions specific to this technique in the New Year!

Beading by MACHINE… “look mom, no hands!”  Well…. not quite!  There is no foot, but I can bead faster this way than I can by hand, actually.  It takes practice of course!  Sooner than you might think, you can add a great many beads in a small space of time. It’s a big plus to know your machine, and have good knowledge of threads and needles.
HINT:  I always use polyester (Isacord brand) for strength, and size 2mm beads with holes that will accommodate a 90/14 needle, which in my opinion, has to be a microtex needle for sharpness.  An advanced technique, it also requires a great deal of caution and focus as you certainly don’t want to put the needle through your finger, (No, I haven’t done it with this technique!).

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