Do you ever run into technical problems that you can't solve, so you put everything away hoping for better ideas in the future? I did that a couple of years ago with a project, but continued to think about it at 4 a.m. when I wasn't sleeping. I figured out a solution, but wasn't sure it would work. Finally this week I got my workbench cleared off sufficiently to roll into action.
When the great Baer Fabric store closed I scored four garbage bags full of drapery sample books. Somebody else took all the fabrics, but gave me the covers, which are perfect supports for collage. I had made a bunch of collages and then wanted to put them together into one large expanse. The individual slabs were maybe 12 x 15, some bigger, some smaller, and my concept was to sew them together into a finished piece about 25 x 35 inches.
That worked pretty well on the outside edges, where I could pull the boards out over the edge of the table and get my hands onto both front and back to manipulate the needle. But I hit the fan when it came to the center of the piece. The separate slabs were flopping around, falling of their own weight, not staying in place while I stitched, and I couldn't even reach into the middle.
So I put everything in a corner and went away for many months, until I realized I should hold the work vertically. So I rigged up chains that hung from the same hooks in the ceiling that hold up the fluorescent lights over a workbench, and suspended the collage boards. Adjusted the height so the boards barely rest on the bench, and sure enough, I can stick the needle through from either side and the contraption holds everything stable while I work.
Stitching through boards that are at least 1/8 inch thick is kind of tricky; first you have to make holes with a nail.