Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Full Autumn Craziness...Plus!

As promised...Here is a photo of the full autumn block finished for Thearica!
You have seen closeups of most of this block, but now you can see how it all went together. And looking at it, I thought I'd talk a little today about my thoughts regarding "layering" items on a project. I think that the more layers you have, the more texture and dimension (and "life") you will achieve in your block. Layers might be an odd way to think of a block...but, you really are "building up" from the fabric block...in layers of thread, ribbon, fibers, buttons, lace, etc. For example...If you examine the seams on this block closely...you might notice that:

Some seams are only partial because a motif is covering the remainder of the seam.
Some, seams are complete and motifs were stitched right on top after-wards. [This is easy to do with minimal seams and silk ribbon embroidery. It is harder to accomplish with thread embroidery or another flat style application. Lace could also be used effectively for this.]
And, certainly, there are some seams without any motifs crossing them. Motifs are stitched between the seams, across the seams, and over the completed seams. The seams that have beads or ribbon added are also "layered" just by themselves. The motifs and seams were stitched in unison, like a dance....the first thing I did was determine where the dog/pumpkin patch would be. That was a major focal point! Then the tree was planned so it would be similiar in scale...and I decided to move it above the dog so it would appear to be in the distance...and to the right of the dog...so it might seem that he was looking at it in the distance. I actually stitched the tree first. Then put the embroidered patch of the dog down...then the pumpkins. Then some seams...and some motifs...other seams...other motifs. See, a dance!
I love button clusters! And they are a great example of layering. I love to start with a doily, a piece of lace the size of the space to be filled, or even both! The shape of lace also helps me to determine a general shape of the button cluster. If you have lace pieces that you have dyed, and they didn't turn out "exactly" like you wanted...they are perfect candidates for button clusters...because most of the lace will most likely be covered by the buttons!
In Thearica's Autumn block, after the lace was stitched in place, the next layer was large sequin leaves which helped to bring even more of the Autumn colors into the block. Then, large buttons...3 of them all laying next to each other to form a triangle. Can you see them? One of them is a large dragonfly...which I treated like a cabochon by cutting the shank off...and beading around the edges in peyote stitch. The second is the lemon yellow, and the third was the large green with four holes. I labeled the layers in this photo for you.
 [A Note: After I stitch a "hole" button down, I thread some seed beads on the needle and do the last couple of passes with them. They just dress up a plain button!] Once, I had this triangular base of large buttons stitched in place...I add shiny buttons, beads, and charms. I have been know to tuck a silk ribbon or two (pre-made because it's near impossible to do SRE around all these buttons!) into a cluster. All of these things adds to the texture and dimension of the cluster. Here is another example of a button cluster...with the layers labeled. Can you see the layers? You have my permission to print or save these labeled photos as they will come up with the label shown and website name is in the photo.
I love to add unexpected things to my button clusters; and they are a good way to insert little personal touches...as in Thearica's little piggy charm. AND...Clusters do not have to be limited to buttons!...here is a flower cluster made from Velvet Leaves, Wired Roses, Charms, and Beads.
So, do you enjoy doing clusters? What are your favorite kinds? Do you mix other things in your button clusters?
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