This past couple of weeks I’ve been teaching a class on improvising wall art and I’ve been working on four Skinny Quilts/Banners myself as part of that project. The other day when I finished embellishing each panel (although I still have to bind each one), I thought about another project that might interest the gals.
Last spring I attempted a watercolour quilt – made from many 2″ blocks cut from small print floral fabrics to use the colour in the squares to “paint” a canvas. I have many bags filled with 2″ squares (light, medium, dark) and thought this might be an idea to interest the women.
I laid out an array (9 x 12) creating a colour flow across the surface, stitched the pieces together and took it to class yesterday to share with the women. Today, I decided to finish the piece with a narrow inner border, a piped border, and a wider dark border. I’ve added a hidden binding and backing – I just need to do the hand stitching to tack the binding in place.
The photo doesn’t do the panel justice – the prints are all quite sharp and showcase the colour flow rather better than the photo would suggest. Looks like this might be a go for January. The women all thought it would be fun to attempt something like this.
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.
I played with the arrangement and the colour flow off and on yesterday – I’m stopping with this layout:
I worked at changing the block placement from linear on the diagonal to a more parabolic flow and also tried bringing in brighter colours toward the top.
The curved colour flow is stronger with the stitched blocks because they end up 3/4 the size (1.5″) of the raw 2″ blocks.
Assembling the blocks is a careful, slow process – I decided to work in pairs of rows, laying the row above on top of the blocks in the row below and rotating them 90˚ so I would be stitching the horizontal edge (12 pairs at a time). Next I pressed the pairs open, assembled 4-block units, finally stitched those together to form a 2-row strip.
I’m needing to be extremely focused while doing the pairing to make sure I’m reconstructing the block layout precisely. So far I’ve succeeded without having to take any stitching apart. I’ll have to be just as careful when I get back at the sewing later today!
I still think I want to add an appliqué of some sort because the panel seems unfinished – at least at this point. I still have no idea what I can add – I googled “watercolour quilts with appliqués” for ideas but everything I’ve seen doesn’t achieve the elegance I’m looking for. So once the panel is completed I may have to put it away and sleep on it for some time. I don’t think the panel wants a silhouette and a photo image printed on fabric won’t do either because the background is very busy. So I will just have to leave it for a while.
I’ve just spent the past two hours trying to set up some kind of graduated layout using the 2″ squares I cut from the jellyroll I bought from Whims.
Not an easy task I discovered – 40 different fabrics (20 2″ squares of each) which I’d put in tonal groups in ziplock bags. Trying to keep track of what I used and what I had was not so straightforward.
This is my first graduated layout. I am thinking about sewing this together just to see how it turns out but I have no idea what I’d do with it after that! This array would end up about 16″ wide x 20″ long. Although I started with 40 different fabrics many are rather dull and not easy to incorporate into this layout.
Looking at the photo, now, I think I may rework this layout by extending the dark colours further to the right and see what else may be possible with the dull colours in the middle. That will mean collecting up squares from the same fabric, piling them to one side, then digging through the bags for more of squares that belong to the darker colours!
It’s gonna sit on my cutting table over night, and likely into the weekend before I actually time to take it apart and start over.
Just finished. I’ve spent the past four days stitching the edges of the appliqué – the leaves and flowers, and creating embroidered flower centres. It’s been slow but steady. Whereas I did a narrow quilt border on the previous version of this idea (flowers on a black/white background), this time I took the flowers to the border edge and decided to do a hidden binding so the cropping of the flowers was easily evident.
Modern Flowers – II (Wishing For Spring)
This version of the idea is brighter than the previous one. I could continue with variations on this theme, but I’m going to stop here. This is wall art piece #9 – I’m aiming to have 12 pieces completed by the end of July – so I’m getting close. On to other ideas.
Last week I cut a set of “watercolour” jellyroll strips in to 2″ blocks – I want to try doing some kind of “watercolour quilt” with the fabric squares – a wall art piece, actually, not a lap/throw quilt. I thought this would be a quick and easy project – not so sure now that I’m trying to lay out the squares in some kind of dark/light array.
There are quite a few people who are doing these quilts – there are any number of tutorials on how to make one. They use a special fusible gridded interfacing – not going to bother with that – I am planning on simply sewing the blocks together in rows based on the layout I create on my cutting table. Also many versions of these quilts use the “watercolour” piecing as a background for something else – I may end up doing something like that but I have no idea what the top appliqué elements might be at this point. Anyway, this is the next project I’m going to try – let you know how I get along!