I did it! I actually found time to finish a block in a month. As a committee person for the project I thought I had BETTER find the time or I wouldn't be in any position to encourage others to do so, lol.
I have entitled this block Inside Neptune's Garden Net. I hope it gives you the feeling that you are under the sea, inside the golden net of Neptune with those 3 large fish, looking for a way out through the seaweed.
When I decided to participate in CQJP 2012 I thought it would be an opportunity to challenge myself a bit with each block by doing something that I hadn't done before but might have wanted to try. I also decided it would be a good time to revisit some techniques that I hadn't done for awhile.
On this particular block the challenge was to work with that gold netting. I can tell you it was a true challenge to get it to lay on the fabric and not curl the fabric right back up because the netting has a 'memory'. It was a gold net bag that had held some chocolates. It expands well when full but it retracts to its original condition when not full of chocolate, evidently, lol. I had only the corners and the side points tacked down and I thought that would hold the netting open. My initial plan was to stitch all the seaweed elements over it to hold it in place - the next morning. When I picked up the block the next day it was all rolled up inside the netting. What a tangled net we weave....lol. So, I spent the better part of the afternoon that day tacking that netting in place from the center out on the fabric. I fought with it like crazy because it really wanted to keep retracting back to its tight bag shape. Does this make it 'crazy' quilting?
One of the techniques I revisited was stenciling the distant fish onto the fabric with Shiva oil paint sticks. I even cut my own indistinct stencil. I really like the effect of depth it gives to the block. I laid a lot of dark seaweed on both sides using scraps of yarn, perle cotton and other funky stuff. I used a lot of feather stitches, fly stitches and some of the fibers are just laid on with couching stitches. I also tried my hand at scrunching a large piece of fabric for the sand and tacking it down to retain the pleating. I just love scrunching fabric. Then I laid the netting, the fluffy/bushy central seaweed and the seashells, coral rocks, skull and blown glass bead.
I decided to use needle weaving for the legs of the starfish holding the shell down. The center is a very tight buttonhole and cross stitch, with silver blending filament accents to make it show up a bit more. I love the vintage trim that winds its way across the ocean floor. The sand dollar is cut off a necklace from the thrift store, as is the skull by the seaweed on the right.
The 3 large fish are also thrift store jewelry parts. They are mother of pearl cut from an abalone shell. I used some rose petal motifs from some old dyed lace curtains for their tails. I trimmed one petal down a bit to fit under the body so I could tack it in place before setting the fish body in place over the lace. The veins in the tail are also silver blending filament.
I hope you enjoyed this part of the journey. I have begun my February block. It is pieced and I have some ideas but need to pull the threads and other embellishments before I can start my stitching.