Monday, April 30, 2012

April Free-Motion Quilting Challenge

The last day of the month and what am I posting - the finished April challenge piece.  Next month I am determined to finish this project before the middle of the month (highly unlikely as I am converting my studio into a guest room for part of this time as we host family for my daughters college graduation - hurrah.)

I really like this months challenge by Don Linn, Mr. Quilt.  One thing I absolutely, positively hate is marking quilts.  I tend to do my free motion without any marking - but there are times that you want the quilting to exactly fit a space and the only way to have that work out is to mark it.

I started out using a design from 1000 Great Quilting Designs by Luise Roberts. The only difficulty I had with this was finding a piece of tulle that my cat had not chewed a hole in - the only thing she likes better than chewing tulle is licking plastic bags!  I finally found a piece big enough and drew the design using a sharpie maker.  It would have worked better if I had centered the design in the hoop - notice the upper right corner runs into the frame - but no time (or tulle) for a redo.

I then traced the design using a blue washable marker onto a piece of my hand dyed fabric - it was an attempt at a shibori technique that didn't quite work.  I didn't follow the lines exactly in a couple of places but the general line was there.  I used the whole design twice and the center section to link the two together - a perfect fit for the size fabric I had.

Finally, I started quilting - I had a little problem with skipping stitches until I realized I had a cross-wound thread on the horizontal spool and it really wanted to be on the vertical spool.  A few minor curse words, a little bit of un-sewing and I was able to get a pretty good piece.  I need to work on both the consistency of the stitch lengths and following the line - but was fairly satisfied. 

After the initial design was done - I went back and echo quilted the pattern.  I had a little trouble keeping a consistence distance for the previous line stitch - I was using my free motion foot as a guide - more practice is required.

After that I went back in the centers and filled in using a variation of pebbles.

I will definitely use this technique again.  I think it would be a good way to audition quilt motifs as you could lay the tulle drawing on various blocks to see how it would work. I have a quilt where the blocks were made by a group that has been waiting to be quilted.  I haven't been able to figure out how to quilt the blocks to highlight the wide variety of blocks but keep it cohesive overall. It has moved up the get to list now that I have a way to test out the designs and mark the quilt with out pulling my hair out.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Not the Elk

My art group (Art That Works) has been working on an exhibit for the last year inspired by photos we took at Charles Towne Landing, the state historic site were the first colonists reached the Carolinas.  The exhibit is our first public exhibition.

Charles Towne Landing – Impressions in Fiber, will be held at Charles Towne Landing from April 14 -27, 2012 during regular park hours, 10am – 5 pm.  The exhibit will be held in the Visitor Center.  Various artists will be available to answer questions during the Founders’ Day Festival on April 14, 2012.  

I have two pieces in the show -  Charleston Thatch and Not the Elk.  

Not the Elk is the piece I was testing my leaf quilting for in my last post.

The picture I based my quilt on was this cheeky guy snacking on the corn feed in the elk enclosure, while the elk was busy eating the natural vegetation.   

I started out with mostly commercial fabric, a piece of computer printed fabric and bit of painted fabric(the bowl).  I did most of the piecing with free form curves.

I added some fused pieces of fabric for grass and thread painted both the grass and the raccoon before I layered the quilt. The piece looks a little flat at this stage - it is amazing how quilting adds dimension to a piece - especially if you add an extra layer of batting to highlight an area.  The raccoon has two layers of batting.  I used a pillow case finish as I did not want any binding on this piece and did not have time to do a facing.

I used a lot of my practice leafs from the last post to build the foliage behind my enterprising thief.  

If you have a chance to visit Charles Towne Landing in the next two weeks - I hope you will take the time to visit our exhibit.