Saturday, May 4, 2013

Minis: A Look Back To Results

OK, so I haven't posted in a while. That means I've been very busy. This post could have been made two weeks ago, but I was preparing for a trip to New Mexico for SAQA and was then away for a week. I have a few posts to make to catch up to what I have been doing in the studio. First one here is about the minis I started before I left. To the left is the third Medusa mini which is prepared to stitch. This one remains unfinished and waiting in a line for the machine operator. (me)

To the right are all three Medusa minis on the work wall, all ironed, some with stitching begun.

Here's a look at the army of snakes coiled behind Medusa. A major design element on the large quilt, the snakes find their way not only as pattern but as stitching throughout the quilt. As the minis are also samples for me to try out ideas, I have been playing with skin color for Medusa. I have decided on the color of the face on Medusa Awakens (below). It is so lusciously vile! I only hope I have enough of it for the whole body. It's going to be tight.

I started early in the week with 'Medusa Awakens' and worked my way up to the quilting on the face. It gave me a trial run for the large quilt. A bit frustrating, I finally got the hang of it, but not before I ripped out a few runs.

The unthinkable happened when I finished stitching 'Medusa Awakens' and I began to cut her down to finished size. I like to wrap the fabric on the back over to the front to create my edging. I pull my backing as far as I can under the quilt and use a rotary cutter to get a clean edge on the batting and top layer. I'm usually very careful but this time I caught the backing and cut a whole in it. I had to cut it all down and create a binding. I hate putting on bindings. Boy, will I be careful from now on! Ultimately, no harm done, just wasted time and energy doing something that should not have been necessary.

Moving back and forth between minis as the thread colors overlapped, I began with 'Serpentine.' Stitching is sometimes tricky with the minis. I needed to layer, stitch, and then top layer before finishing the stitching.

Medusa Awakens
7" x 9"
April 22, 2013
Commercial batiks, machine stitched
embroidery and beads

7" x 9"
April 19, 2013
Commercial batiks and hand-dyes
with beads

The two finished minis were done before I went to the SAQA Convention in New Mexico. I took them with me along with the three mermaid minis so that I could get a bit of feedback. A fair amount of people had trouble orienting Serpentine. Her body must need some definition in order to make it more obvious. The stitching of Medusa's face is a shade too light on the top, making the definition of her nose almost impossible to read. Other than that feedback was very positive. Most everyone loved the hair in Serpentine and the colors in the snakes of Medusa Awakens. Only one more to complete to finish my minis for Medusa.

All in all, I gained some powerful and helpful insights into how to progress with the large quilt. Medusa has been in my head for so long it is cathartic letting her out and seeing her come to life. In my next post I will be talking about the many wonderful experiences last week at the SAQA Conference in Santa Fe.


  1. Hi Nancy,

    Love the way your minis are shaping up. I've taken to matting mine -- don't have to worry about bindings then! If I don't quilt to the edge, or quilt densely, I occasionally run stitching around the edge to hold it fast before matting, but that's it. You might try it to see if it suits your work.

    Great to see you in Santa Fe!

  2. Thanks for the tip Margaret. Rolling from back around to front is so easy. I usually pin and run a machine stitch around. Done! But I gaffed and to make it look like the others, I needed to bind it. Hope to see you again in a couple of years on the west coast!