Using the templates, I cut the sun pieces out and gave them a turned edge, to give a smooth appearance to the outer edges of the circles and hand appliquéd them in place on the background fabric.
Next came the irregular rays encircling the sun. I tried a number of threads, yarns and ribbons from my collection before deciding to buy some hand-dyed rayon thread from Oliver Twists to give the flexibility, colour and texture that I wanted. I do not need much excuse to go shopping with this lovely company! ;o)
At this stage the top was layered with larger pieces of thin wadding and pale blue backing fabric for the hand quilting to begin.
Once the outer rays were attached, I couched a different Oliver Twists' thread in a spiral on the body of the sun, going through all three layers, then added some Czech glass beads, some sparkly sequins that I found in a charity shop, with some tiny glass beads holding them in place.
At this stage I wanted to add some borders, so trialled a number of coloured fabrics before hitting on a very thin border of orange, to pick up the orange in the sky fabric, and to continue the theme of 'warmth' and 'heat'. Now for another, wider border. It took many auditions before I came upon this vintage fabric from my childhood (I think it was a skirt) that featured pink, folksy flowers against a dark blue ground. The pink echoed the pink touches in the sky, and the orange highlights worked with the other orange elements, so it was perfect. All of the other fabrics I had tried, in shades of grey, blue, green, yellow and black had to be refolded and stored again. :o/ The flowers seemed appropriate summer flowers and added another layer of decoration.
The final outer binding was another session of trialling and rejecting fabrics, until I discovered a pair of cotton shorts that I bought a long time ago from a charity shop, purely for their beautiful colour. Although the short strips of fabric I could salvage from them meant joining five pieces, I had to use it. I had decided from the beginning to sew this piece entirely by hand (I usually attach the outer binding half by machine, and then finish it on the reverse by hand) and found that it worked perfectly, continuing the handmade look that I wanted for this piece.
More hand quilting was added to echo both sides of the orange border, with simple orange and green threads to highlight the flowers and stems in the floral border.
A tiny signature label (pigma pen on pink fabric) was sewn in the lower right hand corner of the sky, before adding a woven label on the reverse and a hanging sleeve in the same pale blue fabric as the backing. A piece of pine strip wood was sawn to size and sanded at the ends, and the piece is ready to hang!