All of my previous posts have been about my work from the past. This is a current project.
I made this needlepoint for my Dad in 1978. I was finishing up college, and for some reason made needlepoint projects for my family that year. This was from an illustration in a farm magazine!
As a tribute to him, I decided to do this in fabric – pieced – about 6 squares per inch – then quilted! I know, crazy! This is hanging on Mom’s wall, so all I have to work from is this photo.
Here is the completed sunflower from the lower left. You can see how tiny the squares are!
Here, I’ve worked my way up to the cornstalk. Even doing some strip-piecing, this is tedious, painstaking work!
The squares are cut 1/2″, then trimmed slightly after piecing. After the squares are sewn into strips, the strips are added to the slooooowly growing piece. I try to match every single seam – 22 seams per strip in this section. Here is a strip pinned to the right side of the piece.
Then I flip to the wrong side…
and stitch, using the previous seam (not the raw fabric edges) as a guide, with my needle in the far left position.
Then I check the right side to see if the seams line up. At least half the time, there are sections of the seam that don’t, so I have to take out some stitches and re-stitch. Now mind, these stitches are only 1mm long – they have to be that tiny to keep the eensy weensy seam allowances from fraying. And they are stitched with Superior Threads Bottom Line thread, which is a very fine 60wt. poly thread. I use this fine thread because I wanted a thread that took up less space in the seam than regular 50wt. piecing thread. I did what I could to reduce the bulk, and the Bottom Line is strong enough for this particular piecing. Those stitches are hard to un-stitch!
Once everything is lined up as well as I can get it, I trim the seam allowances a bit, then press those seam allowances open on the wrong side. Oh, by the way, the seam allowances on the squares were pressed open, too. I thought the ridges created from pressing to the side would be too noticeable on these tiny squares. Again, not an easy task! Each seam allowance is 3 layers of fabric, and I’m pressing them open over the previous seam allowance. Altogether, each square is 9, yes 9, layers of fabric thick.
I found that running my thumbnail down the seam, separating the seam allowances, then pressing with lots of steam worked best. Here’s the right side of that strip.
Then repeat, and repeat, and repeat, seemingly ad infinitum…
I have finally finished the sunflower/cornstalk panel. Twenty-three squares by ninety squares – 2070 squares, and this is only about one-fourth of the project! Whew!
I have a great ability to tolerate tedium, and I usually work on only one project at a time, but this calls for a break! I embroidered, pieced, and quilted my Craftsy quilt in less time than this 4″ x 16-3/4″ panel took!
So for now, I’m putting these teeny, tiny square away and working on something bigger!