Couching Potato

I’m looking ahead to a long hot summer here in Tucson; save for a week in July in Wisconsin, I’m here for the next 3 months of tedious non-stop heat.

So, given that I’ll be spending a lot of time indoors (sewing, what else) I ordered MLB Extra Innings from Direct TV, which means I can watch an insane amount of baseball while I sew.  I really have a hard time just sitting down and watching TV; I generally need to be doing a task with the TV on. Only the Daily Show, the Colbert Report, a handful of great TV shows (The Wire, Rescue Me, Battlestar Gallactica, Big Love, Dead Like Me)  and a few brilliant movies are an exception to this no-couch-potato-rule in my home.

Yesterday I was able to watch a Red Sox/Oakland from Fenway and  a Giant’s/Rockies game. This is what I got done, shut in against the heat with the TV on and my pedal to the….sewing machine:

Everything is couched with yarn or silk cord. For a nice example of good couching technique check out this nice fiber-arts blog here.

This is a close up; I’m leaving some of the white from the glue-resist technique, I think it’s a nice effect, there’s not too much of it:

I just started peeling the stabilizer off the back; you can see all the knots I’ve tied!

Tomorrow night I’ll start quilting it; then I’ll cut it around the prickly-pear shaped edges, zig-zag it down around the edges, and finally put yarn or cord down over the zig-zag stitch for a different and unconventional binding.

Couching My Yarn, As Opposed to My Words

Haven’t been very inclined to write due to a plantar fasciitis flare-up; if you’ve never had to deal with this, count yourself lucky.

Have made headway on the the prickly pear piece, the one that started as a sample to try out school glue as a resist. Here are the 2 panels; the one on the bottom has been couched with silk yarn and silk cord, to outline the prickly pear pads. The one on top still shows the white resist lines:

Here you can see the couching better: it’s just a zig-zag stitch using polyester transparent thread (nylon thread is also transparent, but will yellow with age) over either hand-dyed thick silk cord or  silk/cotton yarn:

As explained in the previous post, the pink fruit-shapes are not couched with yarn, they were outlined with silk yarn using a bobbin-drawing. Here’s the back of the fabric, where I tied lots of knots–once zig-zagged down, the ends of the yarn or cord are brought to the back of the piece courtesy a nice big needle, the size of a darning needle, just sharper:

I sewed both panels together; once I’m done couching all the shapes, I’ll put some batting and backing underneath, quilt it, then trim so that there’s only prickly pear, no sky or anything. Then I’ll zig-zag around the edges, add silk cord where needed, and put on a sleeve. This will have a very non-traditional binding!

Here’s a better view of the overlap between the 2 panels, you can see where I top-stitched them together.

Hope to get more done soon! I’ll have one foot in a bucket of ice and the other on my sewing machine pedal. Of course, if I get things confused I’ll risk electrocution….for the sake of art I suppose I’d be willing to make that sacrifice. It would at least be a good story! Told posthumously, but still good.