Tempus Fugit: Time Flies!

Lynn Schoeffler 2012

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"But meanwhile it flees: time flees irretrievably, while we wander around, prisoners of our love of detail." * Truer words have never been spoken with regards to a late block!

So pleased to be invited by Maureen Greeson to exchange small blocks, I knew immediately that I would portray Tempus Fugit, one of my favorite maxims. I found a couple of great images from Lunagirl (1) and Graphics Fairy (2), and used my fledgling Photoshop skills to merge them together.

The dress on the figure was originally red, which I changed with the Replace Color tool to midnight blue to correspond with the beautiful background from Temari at the Stockyard (3). Because I wanted a bold statement, the image was almost a third of the useable 6" space.

After the fun of piecing the fabric around the image, I have to red-facedly admit to falling into a pit of procrastination--it just seemed to go all downhill, starting with the dragonfly. Although I had already made it, inspired by the pattern I purchased for Shibori Girl's wonderful pin (4), I couldn't seem to make it land anywhere on the block.

The heavy black lace on the top left corner was so dramatic, but a problem to balance on the rest of the block. I cannot tell you how many trims, laces and border stitches I auditioned before finally finding the netting along the lower patch; originally copper which I painted black with fabric paint. It was still not enough to hold its own against the black lace. I stewed and stewed before I hit upon the black butterflies, and only figured them out because I found some vintage black nail head beads in my stash that reminded me of butterfly body shapes.

I loved the golden pearl shapes for leaves, but I felt that the vine was too dark in color, finally I added a lighter color threaded through. I thought the vintage buttons sewn with different patterns were fun, but they seemed to fight everything else.

The blue/purple rose seemed to be the correct color, strangely, because I never make blue roses; it just doesn't occur to me that roses are ever blue!

The making of the roses then became the challenge. I've been seeing a lot of crumpled l/2" rayon ribbon in different stores, and have been wanting to find a use for it; it has a beautiful vintage look. Unfortunately, as I worked with it, all the wrinkles kept smoothing out.

So I tried wetting the ribbon, crumbling and smooching it up; then letting it dry. That didn't work, so I tried setting the crumbles with a hot iron; they still fell out. In desperation, I saturated the ribbon with spray starch, rolled it up in my hand like a tiny ball of clay and left it to dry. Voila! The ribbon was somewhat stiff as I stitched it into a Rolled Rose, but it lost some of the stiffness as it was worked.

To make my rose, I tied a knot in the end of the ribbon, leaving about a l/2" tail. Much of the ribbon was doubled over unevenly from the crumbling process, which added to the body and texture. The ribbon was rolled and pleated around the center knot, and stitched together at the bottom of the flower with short stitches in matching sewing thread. When the rose was large enough, the ribbon was cut, leaving enough ribbon edge to turn under and tack down. The rose was stitched to the base fabric, using the needle and thread to further sculpt the shape. Alternatively, you can stitch the knot to the fabric first, and then Couch the ribbon around it, twisting and pleating the ribbon as you go; I actually found this easier to do as I played with some other ribbon colors.

The leaves for the rose are made with Prairie Points of l/2" rayon ribbon. There are many internet instructions for Prairie Points, including several videos. I like to leave ribbon edges uppermost on my leaves because it makes them a little larger and because I think the ribbon edge looks like the leaf vein. Again, use a needle and thread to sculpt the bottom edges of the leaf under, if necessary. See the (long) stitch placement in the photo above for instruction. You can also see where the ribbon end was threaded into a large darning needle and brought to the back of the fabric, normally much closer to the leaf bottom.

The rose buds are simply large knots, the ends tucked under and stitched down. Rayon ribbon is great for making larger size flowers and leaves. It takes any kind of dye very well, and it holds up to a lot of manipulation. Not to mention that it's much more affordable than silk ribbon!

Because I needed a heavier vine for these larger flowers, I used a medium weight cording. To maintain a nice curve, use an unevenly spaced Herringbone Stitch for Couching heavier thread to fabric for a natural look.

Many thanks to Maureen for waiting while I searched for my CQ muse! Here's the lovely block she sent to me:


* Quote: Wikimedia.org

1) Lunagirl Vintage Images: http://www.lunagirl.com/

2) The Graphics Fairy: http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/

3) The Stock Yard: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1418467@N21/

4) Shibori Girl Dragonfly pin instructions: http://shiborigirl.bigcartel.com/category/downloads

For short lengths of Shibori ribbon, try Maureen's Vintage Acquisitions, where several different colors are available in l/4 yard lengths.


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