Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Bridge and the Ballons

Christmas already feels like a long time ago, so it seems a little strange to be talking about a Christmas present even though it was opened less than 3 weeks ago! This is one of the gifts that I made my Mum for Christmas, and I think that it might be my proudest Christmas gift of 2017. I had the idea to do a free motion embroidery after admiring the artwork I saw whilst on an Arts Trail. Needless to say, the artwork in question was incredibly intricate and sewn with hands far more experienced than my own! This picture was very much an experiment, and I'm delighted that it worked out so well as at the time of starting I was half expecting a complete fail. I dapple in machine embroidery, but it is not an area of sewing that I feel as confident in as, say, dressmaking.

One of the techniques that I noticed at the aforementioned Arts Trail was the use of fabric cut in circles and then sewn on top of each other. I absolutely love the effect this gives, and used five different shades of green fabrics to create my foliage in the picture. Although its a fiddly and somewhat laborious process, I actually really enjoyed sewing in swirls using my darning foot. You really have the power to create anything with the thread! It was easy to spend hours sewing on each piece of fabric individually. I also included pops of my favourite Liberty fabric, of which I own but a very meagre amount and so it is used only on very special projects such as this one! I think that the spark of pink looks lovely admits the green.

Other details include the two hot air balloons (both in Liberty fabric!) and the houses. I love both of these extra touches and I think that the colours brighten the picture nicely too. I sewed it all with black thread, and when everything was on I felt that something was missing underneath the bridge. Originally, I considered adding boats, but decided not to overcrowd it, and went for the seemingly obvious: water. I wasn't sure how to do this at first, but I'm so happy with the end result of it. I used a blue coloured thread to sew some more swirls, which I drew on using an iron-off pen first and then sewed on top of. I'm really pleased with the delicate touch that this brings, and I like the way that the swirls of water echoe those in the foliage.
I also really like the idea of framing things in embroidery hoops (see my Jam Jar patchwork for proof!) and so I bought a 10" hoop to go around my embroidery. I couldn't be happier with the finished result, and my Mum loves it too! Once again, the benefits of making things for family members is that I still get to see them, so it doesn't really feel as though I've parted with this, instead it feels as though I'm sharing it!

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