What’s great about this book is that the author is into surface design as well as quilting and so has suggestions for the questions that plague me:
What to do with the ugly commercial fabrics?
What to do with the muddy/unfortunate/bizarre results of dyeing and surface design experiments?
What to do with the amazing fabric that is just too lovely to cut? Sometimes this comes from a store and sometimes it’s the result of good things happening in the dye tub
Our guild is blessed with an extensive library and resource centre, where I found this book. After reading it several times I really REALLY wanted to experiment with the method, but given the other projects I have on the go, I had an argument with myself. I won and the left-brained disciplinarian lost (as usual).
This piece measures 10-1/2 by 26 inches and contains
ugly commercial fabric (the brown and green print)
less successful surface design (the navy horizontal strips)
amazing pink and green deconstructed screen printing (in the vertical strips that are woven through from top to bottom, towards the middle)
It’s good to just play from time to time without having a precise vision in mind
Letting go of all the design rules about coordinating colours and how to choose fabrics can be a big challenge
This method is very conducive to Working In A Series because there is just so much to explore. There will be more of these!
In honour of having taken the process pledge, here are some process pix:
This is the navy (see why it was a problem child?) with yellow print attached to two of the strips.
Here’s the strata that ended up being sliced between the horizontal areas. This shows much more clearly the beautiful pink and green deconstructed screen print. The pale green fan print is one I’ve used in many different pieces, although I’m not really a fan of 30’s reproductions, which is what this looks like. But I love being able to mix up such disparate fabrics as these, the green and black batik and the green and pink/purple/burgundy stripe at the top.
I was just browsing through old posts and realized that the photo of my Grand Canyon piece was all scrunched up so all my thoughts about the design process and which fabrics I liked best would have been completely meaningless to anyone reading. Talk about embarrassing!
That is now fixed, at least if preview changes is to be believed.
Having found better fabric for the river at the Fabricland in Duncan I decided to make a paper mockup and note my steps, so I don’t paint myself into another corner. I now have less than a week to do this and other responsibilities still have to be taken care of …
The new fabric is a poly/rayon blend so won’t absorb much dye. In fact I could try piecing all the strata, piecing in the river and then ice dyeing. But I want to be happy with the results so I probably will piece the river in afterwards and perhaps try ice dyeing a small offcut of the river fabric just to see what happens. I bought half a metre and it’s 54″ wide so will go far. I can see this may be one of those fabrics that I will later wish I had more of. Oh well.
In this photo the green is the stand in for blue river and blue sky, as I had no blue paper to hand and wanted to get on with this project.
Of course the piece will be trimmed and the fabric I’ve earmarked for sky is not the same as the river fabric.I made the strata by making striped paper using E-Z Tints scrapbooking daubers. They’re not pens, they look like bingo daubers, and I’ve only seen them in scrapbooking stores. I think mine are actually discontinued. Then then cut the paper into vertical strips and pasted them slightly offset onto another sheet of sketchbook paper (65 pound). Then I cut that apart to insert the river. The bend in the river is important to me.
It occurs to me that I still haven’t posted the quilt I made in the Ana Buzzalino workshop that set me off on my current explorations.
And since it’s the Spring Blogger’s Quilt Festival, this is the perfect opportunity to share. So do hop off over there and vote for your favourites. This is in the art quilt category and is 12 inches wide and 39-1/2 long.
And on the topic of voting … I put a poll which is just two posts back from this one, requesting artistic feedback, so please feel free to vote on that and help with a current project too.
Ana is a very encouraging teacher who brought many of her pieces to the workshop where we could study her techniques as we went along. There were several examples of the Birds on a Wire that we made in the workshop, also others using the technique of piecing mixed fabrics straight onto foundation, batting and backing and then overdyeing the whole piece.
Mine includes white on white prints, black and white cotton, broderie anglaise, upholstery fabric, heavy cotton that feels like wool, assorted trims, and seersucker. Some of these were fabrics I never thought I’d really be able to use.
I mixed peach and tangerine fibre reactive dye powders from Dharma to achieve my colour. It’s fascinating to see how each fabric dyes differently, yet everything goes well together.
This detail shows dupioni silk, a strip of hook tape which I bought for the workshop because it’s polyester cotton blend so I knew it would take some dye.
It also demonstrates Ana’s saying that there’s always a fix for everything. A hook fell right at the edge and I had to snip it out to be able to sew the binding down. This left an ugly hole because of the way the hooks are sewn into the tape. I found a couple of beads and covered the hole with a trim. There’s a row of seed beads towards the bottom of the piece (below the sitting birds) but sewing through all those layers was quite tough so I left it at one row.
Here’s a test piece which I made to experiment with curved piecing to be able to do sharper curves.
This reminds me of an aerial photo of a landscape and can turn into a nice small piece. It’s all in aid of the Wild, Wild West challenge for our Guild retreat in June although it’s different enough from the design I’m working on for that to not be revealing any big secrets. All will be revealed in mid-June.
Learned a lot from this and will probably have to do another one to see if I can get a curve going more in a U shape. This time the blue fabric I used for the second curve wasn’t big enough to be able to do that. But no worries there’s more of both these fabrics so I can make a third block that continues the river meandering along.
don’t go so near the edge of the block with the curved piecing
mark the seam allowance on the back of the “river” and align the blocks with pins
square off the finished blocks
Note to self:
Make sure the next block is wider than the existing pieces so I don’t have to trim any more off the side of the existing block!
It’s amazing that the blue fabric was on sale at a very low price because it has much potential!
They do say that the mark of a good composition is one that works in any orientation, so perhaps I’ve achieved that for once.
While in the workshop with Susan McGregor at Satin Moon last week, I felt that the piece would be turned this way (second photo). That was how her sample piece was displayed and I was not aiming for a landscape effect, just wanted to learn the technique and play with the subtle batik colors. At the end of the day, Susan and I were looking at my work and she suggested turning it sideways, (third and fourth photos).
At home I thought about it some more, and discussed with a family member, and we decided that the third photo was most suggestive of a landscape. Based on that, I laid a piece of fusible embroidery thread across the bottom of the piece and fused it on to use as a cutting guide.
This piece is still not finished because as mentioned earlier it’s to be embellished. While talking about the logistics of embellishment with fellow FAD members, people challenged me to hold it up in different orientations to rethink it, and I’m now leaning towards the last photo, with the curved edge at the top.
Who knows, perhaps in the course of embellishing some other epiphany will come? But I’m thinking to take that as the orientation for the embellishment.
In any case, this technique, which is topstitching the curves and matching the top thread to the fabric (in most cases) has many possibilities and I plan to play and experiment. Although my stash doesn’t contain that much batik, I’m thinking paisley prints, commercial marbled fabric like Moda, and some of my hand dyed fabric. So I look on this piece as the first of many ~ this is a great technique to have in the repertoire.