My Stash Challenge Project Results

I started another blog entry and then decided I really should devote one to my stash challenge project first. This quarter's challenge was to do something inspired by children's artwork and to use at least three fabrics from my stash. Well, if you read this blog entry a few days ago, you'll know it started out a bit rocky. But it got better from there. It's not completely done, but at least the main part is done and it wouldn't really take me all that long to finish him up. I just need to figure out when I'm going to do that. (See my next blog entry for my current quilty distraction level!)

So--before I show you the artwork it was based on, let me give you the backstory. When my daughter was a sophomore in high school, her art teacher had the class do a project on shadowing, which had the main purpose of teaching kids that shadows don't always have to be black or gray. The teacher hung a bunch of beanie babies from the ceiling (can't imagine how gruesome that may have appeared!) and instructed the kids to sketch the beanie baby nearest them in colored chalk on black paper. My daughter was the only kid in the class to take that quite literally--she drew exactly what she saw.

Introducing...Chicken Butt.

Yes, this is the only beanie baby backside represented in the entire art class. My daughter has a true sense of the ridiculous. That's my girl.

He's been hanging on the bulletin board next to my desk ever since she brought him home at the end of the year. He makes me laugh every time I look at him. So, when I hit upon the idea of making a challenge based on children's artwork, he became the obvious first choice. (I have another one of my daughter's artworks from around the same time that's also destined to be a wallhanging at some point, but it's much more sophisticated. No fluffy backsides involved.)

I decided to turn him into fused applique and then threadpaint him, trying as much as possible to imitate her cross-hatching and use of color.

Here's my result.

The background got a little puckery, although not as bad as it looks in this photo because I'd just pulled him out of the totebag I bring to my guild meetings--he got a little wrinkly in his trip to show n' tell.

The puckering is because I used a lighter weight stabilizer than I should have, but I followed the advice of my thread-painting teacher and used a steam iron frequently during the process, so the puckering actually isn't all that bad. And I think a lot of it will actually quilt out. Whenever I get around to quilting it, that is.

I had a ton of fun figuring out what color thread to use where. Mostly I used stuff in my thread collection (not quite big enough to be considered a "thread stash" yet). I did have to buy orange, pink, and blue thread since I didn't have any of the right shades. The blue came out darker than I thought it would--I'd have preferred something a little lighter.

His comb was fun to do. Also, you can sorta-barely tell in this photo that I used a tone-on-tone white for his body. I wanted to see what it would look like. I think it just adds a little extra dimension and fills in where I may have not been quite as even-handed with the thread.

I also had fun with the feet--I loved the way my daughter had shaded his feet in the original artwork. If I'd had an additional orange that was a few shades darker than the main orange here, I could have done even more shading. But it's still cute.

The biggest issue I had throughout this process was deciding what direction I was going to thread-paint in. Some places I went north-south; others east-west; others diagonal, or curvy. Sometimes (like on the top of the feet) I painted myself sort of a border around the outside edge if I wanted it to be more clean. Other places, like the body, I intentionally went out and over the edge of the fabric to depict his fur. I kept her original drawing close by so I could check directionality and do my best to follow it.

It was an absolute blast. I only broke one needle (on his puffy little tail--the purple thread I had was far too thick for this project) and had a few thread-nests (same place, same reason). Otherwise it was a hoot and I can't wait to do it again!

Chicken Butt needs to be finished, and then I suspect he's destined to become one of a series. I have so many images of him in my head now. So stay tuned!