Week in Review – 01/15

Inspiration comes and goes. When I am riding the crest of inspiration I feel empowered, energized and so, so grateful for the gift of an idea that emerges seemingly from nowhere. I have learned to hang on and see where an idea will take me. Most of the time I am pleasantly surprised by unanticipated bonus gifts I didn’t see coming. Not this time.

How the migrating butterfly motif might appear as you walk in the gallery.
How the migrating butterfly motif might appear as you walk in the gallery. This is the most successful distance. My goal is not to have it distract from the pieced image. It should surprise the viewer as they get closer.

I have been working out in my head, on paper and even on sample quilt sandwiches possible ways to quilt Out of the Ashes. In between I do internet research checking out quilting motifs and even watching butterfly migration videos on YouTube. Eventually, I settled on a motif that seemed perfect. I doodled it, stitched it on a sample, took a breath began quilting the white side of Out of the Ashes.

First pass at quilting Out of the Ashes
This is a mid-distance view of the migrating butterfly motif I quilted this week.

If this were one of my first quilts, I would be thrilled beyond measure. It isn’t and I am not. My ideas to salvage the work haven’t panned out so far. Sigh! Maybe, I will be able to find a solution. Maybe I won’t. No matter making artwork is all about the process and the experimentation. It is not about the destination. I share this advice for you and also to remind myself.

The migrating butterfly motif as you would see it if leaning in for a closer inspection.
The migrating butterfly motif as you would see it if leaning in for a closer inspection.

I am linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.

By Gwyned Trefethen

I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.


    1. I have a predilection for commercial prints. If I preferred working with hand dyed fabrics, solid colors or subtle contrast prints, then my quilting would be more readily apparent. Instead I prefer the quilting to be a more subtle, often confirming message to the statement or emotion I am trying to make. Surprising, considering I love playing with quilting motifs. You would think I would want the quilting to play a more prominent role.

  1. I’m thinking that if, as Nina Marie said, you can’t see the butterflies until you move closer, why use “electric green” thread to quilt them? Why not be more subtle about it…use thread to match the background…Just a thought.

    1. You and I may be talking about two different sets of butterflies. Most of the thread painted ones are visible from gallery distance and a few of those are even visible from a greater distance. It is the small scale, about 1.5″ square continuous line butterflies that can’t be seen until you are basically nose to fabric with the quilt. This is typical of my quilting style. I’ve never been a fan of monofilament. Don’t like the way it quilts. Don’t like the way it catches the light. Instead I prefer subtle, hidden messages in my quilting. For example continuous waves in an area depicting the ocean, or in an anti Trump quilt, the image of flames surrounding Satan. These are always only seen from nose to quilt. The issue here was that instead of doing a filler of butterflies (like flames in the aforementioned quilt) I wanted to them to look like butterflies in migration with gaps between each. However that left too much “open” space. How could I fill the open space without having my migrating butterflies disappear completely. I’ve been testing theories. Think I’ve hit upon something. We shall see…

  2. I was mesmerized by your quilt top and didn’t notice the butterfly at first. It’s a great looking quilt and I like the quilting that you did for it. Thank you for visiting my blog but I have no way to reply to your comment from there. This way I got to come here to see your beautiful works.

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