Well, we have made it home. The tail end of our trip felt like a whirlwind; getting back into the lower 48 meant much higher population density than we had been used to all summer which made finding camp spots harder. We were also super fortunate to be able to stop and visit with friends along the way, so in all our time was used up much differently than the rest of the summer. The majority of my first 24 hours back home were spent unpacking and touching everything in my sewing room, and I have some ideas about re-organizing my space that I plan to work on over the next few weeks (stay tuned!).
I had planned to finish the Stone Sheep mini quilt while we were traveling, but it just didn’t work out to be possible. In the end, I am really glad that I was able to come home to start the next phase of the project: all the layering to create Mr. Stone Sheep. With the extra space in my sewing room at home, I am able to set up my laptop to show the photograph as a reference as I am working.
In terms of layering, I continued progressing from darkest thread colors to lighter and that meant that my focus quickly shifted to filling in the body of the Stone Sheep. The mini quilt became quite wrinkled and bunched, so before getting too far into working on the horns (the next layering to happen in thread color and definition), I decided to pause and block the quilt flat before continuing.
I simply ran the mini quilt under my bathroom sink faucet for a moment to get it wet, wrung it out a bit, pressed it between two towels to remove as much water as I could, and then I stretched the mini quilt flat on top of a towel and pinned it all to a cardboard base. I fully anticipate needing to block the quilt at least one more time (when it is finished) and possibly more in intermediate stages as the quilting progresses. I’m not worried about what “square” is at this point in time; I just want to ensure the quilt has the best chance possible to lay flat when it is finished and I will worry about square at the end of the process.
Adding detail to the horns was one of the most time consuming parts of the process so far. As you can see in the detail photograph above, which is about 75% of the way complete with the horn quilting, the stitches are very small and dense, so it is time consuming to fill in. But I am so in love with how it is looking!!
Changing the length and density of my quilting has a huge impact into how the quilting reads. For the fur, I purposefully used a longer stitch length and less overall density. For the very hard horns, I chose very dense, very small quilting.
I still have a few areas where I want to add layers for highlights in the horns, but I felt confident enough in the bases of the horns in order to move on to adding the fur to the face of the Stone Sheep.
For the face of the Stone Sheep, getting the direction of the quilting lines correct along with the variation in stitch length has been my main goal with the base layers. I bent, but thankfully did not break, a sewing needle when working on the face of the Stone Sheep. I decided the bent needle meant it was time to stop for the day. Stepping back and looking at the overall composition, I can see that the ear needs higher definition and the left side of the face along the background needs to pop out more, too.
Because of the variation in stitch density, the quilt is starting to be a bit wavy again, so I’m also thinking it is probably time to block the mini quilt for the second time. The first blocking was really helpful and before I finish the areas of the face I think it would be a good idea to smooth it flatter again.
I found a few more thread colors to work with when I came home and opted to leave a few other colors out. In total I have used 14 different Aurifil thread colors so far (eek, I missed one in the photograph above), and all of them have been 50 wt except for the one 40 wt color noted below (the colors added from the fact I had them at home and not on the trip are noted with an asterisk*):
- 2692 (Black)
- 4241 (Very Dark Grey)
- 2630 (Dark Pewter)
- 6736 (Jedi)*
- 5004 (Grey Smoke)*
- 2620 (Stainless Steel)
- 2600 (Dove)
- 40 wt 2340 (Cafe’ au Lait)
- 2326 (Sand)
- 2312 (Ermine)*
- 2000 (Light Sand)
- 2309 (Silver White)*
- 2021 (Natural White)*
- 2024 (White)
Catching the sheen of the threads in photographs is definitely a challenge; the mini reads a little bit differently when viewed at different angles relative to the lighting source. This is such a fun project, and I am really excited to be so close to a finish. Due to the needs of settling back in at home, I am hoping that means I can have a finish to share next week. Fingers crossed!