What Am I Doing? - EQA Picture Swap Challenge Update

Well, I’m delighted to say that there has been progress on my EQA Picture Swap Challenge, whoopee! In fact, my half of my photo is complete : facing, label and everything. I’m thrilled with it.

You’ll remember that I’d decided to pixelate an image, of sweet peas from my garden last summer and piece it in silk. Well, that went reasonably well – thank goodness for fusible interfacing – and I was about to commence the quilting. I really wanted the glorious glowing colours of the silken blossoms and the modulating greens of the leaves and stems forming the background, to shine through and speak for themselves.

An all over or edge to edge quilting option might have slightly muddied the colours, so the only option was to quilt each area separately using a matching or harmonising colour thread. Lots of stopping and starting but I think it was worth it. So, I decided to ‘scribble-quilt’ the sweet pea flower areas using mainly Rayon threads, for shine. In the green areas I used a beautiful Madeira 40wt rayon variegated green, which worked really well over all of the different shades of green silk….but how to quilt?

I wanted a contrasting form to the scribbles but was unsatisfied by all of the options I thought of : back and forth, pebbles, wavy lines, straight lines…none of them appealed, somehow. Now, I have been known to quilt text in the past. I enjoy it and I like the idea that the quilting isn’t just texture, that there might be a message there too. So, I began to think about quilting text into the background, perhaps relating to my enjoyment of the garden last summer. This seemed somehow incomplete. In the end, I found a short poem called Sweet Peas by Alfred Noyes, which is dreamy and whimsical….and crucially, the perfect length to fit into the piece!

So, that was that. Having made a plan, I started, as a good quilter should, in the centre and chopped and changed the thread to quilt each area. I’m really quite pleased with it. It is now bound with a faced edge, the hanging sleeve is attached and so is the label. And now for my partner’s photograph!

N.B. the photo is only a teaser as I can’t do a big reveal until the challenge is complete.

Sweet Peas

Under the sweet-peas I stood
And drew deep breaths, they smelt so good.
Then, with strange enchanted eyes,
I saw them change to butterflies.

Higher than the skylark sings
I saw their fluttering crimson wings
Leave their garden-trellis bare
And fly into the upper air.

Standing in an elfin trance
Through the clouds I saw them glance….
Then I stretched my hands up high
And touched them in the distant sky.

At once the coloured wing came back
From wandering in the zodiac.
Under the sweet-peas I stood
And drew deep breaths. They smelt so good.

by Alfred Noyes