Thursday, June 24, 2010

3 Creative Studios Challenge 2010 - 'Rhythm' theme quilt

"Heart Song" (11" X 15")
After much deliberation on how I wanted to interpret the theme Rhythm, I finally decided on heartbeats.  I kept envisioning heart monitor readouts as graphical music - depicting the rhythmical up and down beats emphasized in music.  Thus the title Heart Song.

The majority of my work was in the thinking stage on this piece.  Execution progressed quickly once I downloaded heart monitor images from the internet onto my desktop, dropped them onto a blank Painting page in Appleworks 6 on my iMac and then rearranged them before printing the page on Printed Treasures Ink Jet Fabric.

I applied fusible interfacing to the backside of the printed fabric, then added Tear Away stabilizer before machine embroidering the hearts with Rayon Embroidery thread using a free motion zigzag stitch.  A small satin stitch was used for thicker graph lines and tightly spaced straight stitching for the thinnest ones.  My color choices were black, gray, red and white.  Once all the embroidery work was done I carefully tore away the stabilizer.  I was less than satisfied with the semi curling fabric near the largest embroidered heart, thus forcing me into problem solving mode...

By cutting the large heart into an applique piece I freed the background fabric from distorting.  A  variety of rectangles were cut from the remaining fabric, using iron on fusible web to anchor each piece to the black plaid background.  Although the photos don't show the details all that well, this plaid fabric has red and white threads in the weave which adds to my 'graph' and color theme.

Large red rick rack reminds me of cyclical heart beats, as well as the red zigzag machine stitch anchoring each applique piece to the background fabric.  The striped black and white fabric was cut on the diagonal before applying as a binding, which I feel serves as great visual motion, interest and balance.

The backing was pieced from scraps used in my Passage theme quilt.  The heart label just seemed appropriate as a finishing touch.  Heart Song reminds me of the Rhythm of life and the people we love and who love us.  My husband and I both have parents who have had major heart surgeries so we are abundantly aware of those genetics in our own lives.  May our hearts sing strong for many years to come!

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