Monday, April 27, 2015

Zinnias in the Rain

Zinnias in the Rain ©2015, 18" x 48"

My embarrassingly late entry for the "Thread" Gallery - where we were challenged to do something new, to us, with thread.  I chose to do some free-motion machine embroidery.  I'm not a big quilter, beyond the parallel lines and border stitching and thus have never taken the time to learn to free-motion sew very well.  So this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it!

Zinnias started by intuitively piecing neutral commercial cottons and linens with some green hand-dyed fabrics.  Rough floral shapes were cut from organza and sandwiched between the pieced background and silk organza and quilted with vertical parallel lines.  Then the sketchy, free-motion embroidery was done over the colored organza bits.  It got much easier between the bottom, where I started, and the top.    I felt like a gained a lot of control over stitch length and smooth curves.  My hat is off to those that can cover and entire quilt in intricate flawless patterns!  I've learned a lot - and still have a long way to go.

Back, before facing
When all was almost said and done, Lisa Walton, introduced me to bobbin work - a fantastic new thing (to me) to do with thread!  I love it and will definitely be practicing it again!  I added little bits of red pearl cotton from the bobbin and it was just what it needed!

Bobbin work, detail
Size: 18" W x 48" H
Materials:  Commercial print cottons and linens, synthetic and silk organzas
Techniques: Intuitive piecing, layered organzas, machine quilting, free-motion embroidery and bobbin work
Cycle: Seasons; Spring/Summer, Growth and Rain


  1. Martha, what a complex, intricately beautiful piece. The back is a work of art unto itself as well. Truly lovely!

    1. Thanks, Andie! Hope you're doing well and had a great Mother's Day!

  2. Wow, I love this piece Martha! It really could be a double-sided quilt, as the back is just as lovely as the front but each side has a unique tone and tells a different story. Thanks for sharing the close-up photo, the stitching is really gorgeous. Can you share a little bit more about how the bobbin technique works?

    1. Thanks, Kate! Unfortunately, the back you see is felt and seemed unfinished. I will share a bit about the bobbin technique in a post on my blog in the next couple days.

  3. What a lovely piece, Martha! I like the zinnias. I admire the techniques and creativity in your work. Thanks again for giving us this challenge. It gives me new concepts to try new things. It’s also excited to see Viewpoints 9 members create with new things!