Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Vantage Point

Quilt No. 72
April 2010

Famous last words. “Okay, I’ll go into the store, but I won’t buy anything.” I admit it. I actually said this before going into the antique store, Aged to Perfection, located on Third Avenue in downtown Timmins. I’m not a big fan of antiques - I’m always worried it’s just a euphemism for “used”. I’m also not a very frequent buyer of jewelry. I rarely buy it unless I think that maybe I could squeeze a quilt idea out it – then I become the proverbial moth drawn to the flame. That’s pretty much how I ended up with a spectacular seven inch long crystal-encrusted gold scorpion.

As soon as I spotted him in the showcase, the flyswatter of my desire descended on both of us. I not only bought the scorpion, I happily purchased several other jewels that were basking in the showcase with it. The scorpion apparently had a previous life as a “shoulder brooch” whatever that might be. I suspect that anyone parading around with that giant scorpion pinned on their shoulder would part the crowd in a room like Moses did with the Red Sea. There would be running and screaming.

But what to do with such a scorpion? Real ones mostly wander around in hot places, generally at night. This scenario suggested a black velvet background would be needed. Since I had little experience with velvet I was foolish enough to use it. It is quite possibly the least ideal fabric for quilting – unless you consider burlap. Velvet has a stubborn pile-like nap that makes everything you try to sew to it travel over its surface. Nothing ever ends up where you planned. Any material that isn’t velvet is almost “repelled” as though it was a magnet with an opposite polarity.

A scorpion wandering around at night needs a purpose. Finding food or other cute scorpions isn’t very visually inspiring. But fireworks! Now there’s a suitable drawing card for such a regal scorpion.

Quilting Notes
The fireworks were machine quilted with variegated rayon thread. This required using tracing paper on the back of the velvet, since the surface of velvet does not easily take up fine markings. I then hand basted along each line to make them visible on the front of the velvet. Next I machine quilted along each line while holding my breath. I can now outlast most pearl divers in breath control.

The foreground, done in two shades of blue velveteen (no blue velvet available at the store – what a mercy!) was machine quilted prior to being attached to a hedge made up of layers of gold organza, machine quilted and decorated with glass beads.

The scorpion was sewn on by hand with MonoPoly (Superior Threads), my favorite “invisible thread”.

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