Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Upcycled Vintage Stumpwork


I'm headed off to Sisters for Gwen Marston's "Contemporary Medallion Quilts in Solids" workshop, and Gwen and Sue Spargo's "Contemporary Folk Art Quilting Retreat". Doing pieced quilts in solids with Gwen seemed doable, but doing applique with mixed materials in the retreat seemed like it might be too advanced.

Fortunately, we'll be working with wools, which may be more forgiving than cottons when it comes to hiding stitches. I've been experimenting upcycled vintage stumpwork flowers from an old top riddled with moth holes. These flowers are cut out and arranged on pieces of fabric from overcoats purchased at Goodwill. The little pom-poms will be used as the centers of the flowers, and the yarn will be braided and used as stems or vines. I tried to applique one of the flowers to overcoat fabric, and it worked. Stitching the pom-pom through the center also worked.

Any other embellishment would be icing on the cake. Perhaps some embroidery in the background with pearl cottons in rich colors. Maybe even some beads. Hopefully they'll let me work on it at the retreat. It could be a good canvas for practicing applique, embroidery, and embellishment - even if I did cheat a little by getting a head start and using vintage stumpwork.

So, what do you think? Am I cheating by trying to plan ahead and using pre-made, vintage materials? Or am I really on to something?

18 comments:

  1. Where did you get vintage stump work.
    Enjoy your classes and remember there are no rules! Do what ever you feel looks good.

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    1. I found an old top, never finished, several years ago on eBay. It was riddled with moth holes, and I had to figure out what to do with it. When I cut away the fabric in each block, I'm able to get rid of the moth holes and keep the good parts.

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  2. Barb in southeastern PAOctober 17, 2012 at 3:52 AM

    I love the idea you are saving the stumpwork flowers. I admit I'm a traditionalist, and will need to adjust to the idea of pompoms. I think it's the mixing of acrylic and wool that stops me. Maybe you could make your own wool pompoms using wool yarn. Or find some old cotton drapery fringe and cut the pom poms off that. The centers make them more flower looking. And I like the braided yarn idea -- again, I'd lean toward using wool or cotton. But I realize many mix media. Hope you enjoy the classes. Sounds like a fun weekend.
    Barb in PA

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    1. Before I go with these pom-poms, I will try some other ideas. The finished piece will be smaller than what you see here, maybe 9 flowers total. So, I could possibly bead the centers, use buttons, or create my own pom-poms. The other idea is to embelish with thread that coordinates with the hot colors, which would tie them in a little better.

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  3. "Cheating?" Absolutely not! These will be a great jumping off point; they will love your creativity. I'm looking forward to seeing your finished piece; those stumpwork flowers are yummy.

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    1. They are yummy, and they look so much better without the moth eaten fabric around them.

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  4. Love the idea of upcycling the stump-work...there is no cheating only new ideas! BTW saw a tutorial somewhere out on the net on using a fork to make pom-poms (wind the yarn around the fork then thread the tie through the opening...anyway it works great in case you decide to make your own!)

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    1. I've actually made pom-poms before, a long time ago, as a kid. I don't remember using a fork, though...

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  5. I think it is going to be terrific! I wouldn't consider it cheating at all!!

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    1. Maybe one day I'll learn to make my own stumpwork flowers.

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  6. I think it's great you're doing some prep work. I'm kind of with Barb on the pom poms - they look a little jarring and imho detract from that awesome stumpwork. Yummy indeed! Think you can you get ahold of any vintage buttons to try instead of the pom-poms or mixed with? Too bad I can't send you a jar from my mother's collection. She's been saving buttons for about 70 years... o.0

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  7. Love those flowers! I'm very fond of using older things to make something new! HAve fun. ;)

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    1. My friend mary Kerr has done a great book called "Vintage Revisited" - it includes several artists who use vintage pieces with modern materials to create contemporary quilts. That's where I got the idea.

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  8. Sue Spargo is a wonderful teacher. If I were you, I would soak up everything she has to share. She will bring hand-dyed wool with her that could be the perfect compliment to the stumpwork.

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    1. The hand-dyed wool sounds lovely, and maybe I'll buy some. I think wool is a good choice for someone like me who is learning applique. Since it's a thicker fabric, you can hide the stitches easily or include decorative stitches as the applique stitches.

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  9. Not cheating at all! Love your use of old clothes. Gwen and Sue are the best. I'm sure you'll have a blast!

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    1. I was trying to figure out how to get through the class materials list without spending all my money. Reused materials were budget friendly, and you can't just go to the quilt shop and find them. If the hand dyed wools sing to me, I may add some to the mix.

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  10. Absolutely love it! Upcycling is my very favorite thing to do with unusable old textiles. Fabulous!!

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