Another Watercolour Quilt Experiment

I’m signed up to teach a class in two weeks on colourwash/watercolour quilting. After finishing “Nine Shades Of Grey” two days ago, I opened my box with the gazillion 2″ squares of fabric all nicely colour sorted in ziploc bags and started laying them out.

The other day I bough a couple of metres of fusible grid interfacing to see if that simplified the process of setting up a colourwash panel. I began by cutting a 24″ x 20″ panel of interfacing, then glue side up (which is the back of the interfacing, so it’s kind of hard actually to see the grid), started laying out squares attempting to bring some kind of colour order to what I was doing.

Blue Garden With Butterfly

I wanted my light focal point to be off-centre which took some moving of squares as I laid them out. I felt hampered by an insufficiency of both light and predominantly dark squares (I need to go fabric shopping this weekend to see if I can add to my stash of suitable fabrics both light and dark so I have enough contrasting fabrics for me and the workshop participants to work with).

After placing squares, walking away, coming back, moving them around, I was ready to fuse the squares to the grid. That was when the process became hairy! I had a difficult time moving the grid panel from my cutting table where I worked, to the ironing board – without having squares flying all over the place. In the end I slid one of my smaller cutting mats underneath the grid interfacing so I could support it as I moved it from table to ironing board.

Now I really ran into trouble – I couldn’t press directly on the cutting mat (the heat from the iron would make it buckle). I tried sliding the grid interfacing (with loose squares laid out) onto the ironing board but my board wasn’t wide enough to support the whole piece. Fortunately I had taken photos of the layout so when the bottom half of my squares landed on the floor, I was able to reposition them (more or less) as I’d had them so I could systematically press them all in place. This is clearly a problem I have to solve before the class because I can’t have people struggling to retain the positioning of the squares as they press them onto the grid interfacing!

I used straight pins on my previous colourwash piece (because the grid cloth I used wasn’t backed with fusible glue) – I think pinning may be in order here as well. I plan on making another test piece before the class to see if that will work better.

I chain stitched the squares in my original watercolour piece which worked nicely – however, I had to stack my pieces carefully and mark the placement of each stack with post-it notes so I got the assembly the way I’d originally laid it out. Using the fusible grid cloth has definite advantages but you can’t fuse as you go along since, at least for me, I need to be able to reposition blocks until I’m happy with the colour flow.

I will continue working to solve this problem so it will be easy for the class participants to concentrate on colour flow and not get hung up on the technical aspects of securing the small fabric pieces.

Postscript: I’ve just had a thought! What if I cut my grid interfacing into 8″ strips, laid the strips together on my cutting board, placed my squares, then carefully carried the narrow strips to my ironing board to press the squares in place – these narrow strips would fit on the board. Ultimately, I have to sew 1/4″ seams along the edges of the squares – all I need to do is juxtapose the narrow fused strips where they are to be joined and sew a 1/4″ seam along that join. That would work quite nicely. Have to give it a try as soon as I have some more dark and light fabrics from which to cut more squares!

A Second Postscript: I appliquéd a small purple/orange butterfly in the lower left of the light area to provide some kind of focus to the piece. I wish I had more butterfly fabric to choose from – this one is a wee bit on the small side but it was the only size I could find in what I had.

Fish 2

I have two quilts to work on but I’m not satisfied with the embroidery design I’ve created to quilt the “Nine Shades Of Grey” quilt and that has me hung up. So instead of quilting Magic Squares Quilt IV, I decided to work on edge stitching Fish 2.

Fish 2

Fish 1 also used these same leftover off-cuts from Quilt-On-The-Go with the “X”s and “O”s  appliquéd to background layer of blue blocks.

Two weeks ago I gave away Fish 1 to a friend to whom I’d promised a wall hanging (Well, really I made “Tropical Flowers” with her in mind, but once I’d spent 2 months thread painting, and then had it hanging in my home for a while, I couldn’t part with it, so Fish 1 went to her, instead.) I know it has found a welcoming home.

After Fish 1 left the house, I missed it. For some reason I felt attached to it. However, I still had quite a few fish in a bag and two lengths of an ombre fabric in turquoise shades, so I decided to make Fish 2.

Same construction as the other Skinny Quilts/Banners – two unequal wide-ish pieces of fabric (cut from width-of-fabric) joined by a 1″ strip of a definitely contrasting fabric, with the appliqués fused then stitched in place.

This afternoon I edge-stitched all the fish, then added rather bright-coloured eyes (which I thought would be an improvement on Fish 1). I even managed to embroider my signature (even if I have it going in the wrong direction – the bottom edge of the signature should be facing the fish – nobody is ever going to notice it – once the embroidery began I knew I wanted it running bottom toward top but it was too late to stop and change it – as with a lot of this embroidery work – you get it right the first time, or you live with it.)

Now I need to set up a hidden binding, add a backing, then hand stitch the binding in place – maybe tomorrow, or the day after.

Skinny Quilts/Banners II, III, IV – Completed

The remaining skinny quilts/banners are finished. I hand stitched the hidden bindings on the back of each hanging and added a sleeve for hanging it.

I’m happy with the combination of background fabrics and the appliqués – a close look shows I managed the edge stitching precisely. I like the quiet background and strong appliqué colours in this panel.

Skinny Quilt II

I wasn’t sure how I felt about the bright colours in this second banner but now that it’s completed I like the profusion of “dots” in the appliqué fabrics, echoed by the two small circles to fill in the space on the right. In the right location this could be an interesting accent piece.

Skinny Quilt III

I’m less happy with this banner – now that it’s finished I can see my idea to increase the spacing while decreasing the circle size didn’t work so well and I didn’t see, until now, that I have an inbuilt curve to the left! I think I chalk this one up to experiment and construct another to take its place.

Skinny Quilt IV

That’s what’s so interesting about improvising – I’m always amazed by how most of the time my experiments turn out well. It’s not that this one didn’t have potential – it’s just that I didn’t see the “flaws” until it was actually finished and hung on the door. It’s a lesson that I need to be a tad more detached and analytical when looking at these pieces at a distance.

Skinny Quilt I – Finished

Skinny Quilt I – Finished

I finished the hand stitching on this skinny quilt/banner last evening. It’s surprising how long it takes to finish the hand sewing in part because the muslin I’ve used to back the panel has a rather dense thread count and it’s difficult to penetrate even with a new hand sewing needle. Needs a thimble or I end up with a hold in both my third finger and my thumb! It’s awkward sewing, is what I’m saying.

I have a second panel ready to hand stitch and two more will get the hidden bindings sewn on this morning and then be ready to hand stitch. I’ll be glad when that part of the process is completed.

Whiling Away The Time

I just tried sitting in my standard transmission car – it’s 2 1/2 weeks since I broke my right wrist. I can steer using my left hand, but I can’t shift gears with my right! So independence is at least a week away!  I’ll try again next weekend. The new fibreglass cast is providing more support for my wrist but it’s also rubbing protruding bones and can be very uncomfortable and limiting. Thank goodness Wimbledon starts tomorrow – that will help me pass time because sewing is out of the question – I can use the machines, but I can’t cut or press! And the cast is not allowing me to knit much. I’m currently not being creative.

Instead I’m keeping my eyes open for other art endeavours that open possibilities.

Came across one the other day –

The Sandy Cliffs and Blue Skies of Martha’s Vineyard Abstracted into Paintings by Rachael Cassiani

Cliffs Of Martha’s Vineyard – Abstracted

Now there’s a textile wall art idea! I must go through some of my landscape photos to see if I can do something like this with one or more of them. I’m drawn to the large swaths of colour and the way the image emerges. Rachael Cassiani does this with paint – I would do appliqué and thread painting.

Another creative example I came across was –

Quilled Paper Sculptures by Sena Runa Embellish the Natural Forms of Everyday Objects and Animals

Sena Runa’s paper quilling is spectacular! I can’t imagine how much time it takes to execute what appears to be a simple piece as this poppy seems – it must have taken considerable time. Each piece illustrated in the article is breathtaking. Again I can see how. I might render something like this single flower into a textile piece  – where she has done the quilling, I would thread paint.

Lots of ways to experiment.

 

Three Hangings (Skinny Quilts)

I’ve been working on these three hangings for the past several days – I needed a few more wall hangings to fill out the stash for the upcoming showing in Parrsboro in August and decided three simple long narrow panels would work. These three panels are done except for the hidden binding which I’m just about to do.

Three Hangings – in Progress

Finished dimensions: 10″ x 42″.

Once started, I can see a gazillion more I could do but I am going to stop here for now. I still want to get the Black Rocks piece done for the show; however, I’m turning to garment making for the next couple of weeks.

Garden In Bloom – A Colourwash Quilt

Finished this quilt last evening with a hidden binding. I auditioned various fabrics for bordering but I didn’t think anything worked very well. A black border muted the white corner and any other colour simply didn’t work. So a hidden binding it was.

Finished Watercolour Quilt

Final dimensions: 18.5″ x 24.5″. As one of the women in the Friday knitting group would say – a good sized place mat!

I quilted the piece by stitching in the ditch on a zig-zag – that allowed me to do complete stitching runs in a single thread colour. The lower left corner was stitched in black, the upper right in white. The more middle tones I stitched using an Aurifil variegated grey. I did a reasonably good job – the stitching isn’t at all obvious.

I’d considered quilting the panel in 4-block or 16-block units. I went so far as to create an embroidery design, but in the end I thought I’d not be happy with the quilting overriding the colour flow and in the end settled on stitching in the ditch.

I have several hundred 2″ blocks left over from this project. I don’t see me doing another art piece like this but you never know. I have discovered these quilts are also referred to as “colour wash”. And it also qualifies as a “postage stamp” quilt because of the small block size.

I’m happy with the outcome. Notice I embroidered my signature using black rayon embroidery thread along the right side. The bottom rows were too busy for any signature to show.

Now on to the next project.