Friday, 8 August 2008

Quilt experiments 3

This post follows on from QE2 which you can see here and QE1 here

Having got the first sample out of the way I decided that I’d try for something less busy, especially as my client is a businessman, (for my self set brief) I thought he might find the first sample a bit too fussy.

I had in mind to add some printed pieces too and as I had a nice selection of hand printed Indian cotton 4” squares, I selected 4 and made a composition with the original hand dyed fabrics.

Having decided that this was what I wanted I made a diagram to size.

I then cut all the relevant pieces, making sure to add the seam allowances, and stitched them together, making quite sure that this time I stitched them together correctly.
I also found it very helpful to mark the size of the pieces on the diagram, and use a photo of the mock up to guide me.

I put the three layers together as described in Quilting Experiments 2 and worked a selection of hand and machine stitches, keeping in mind a definite masculine feel this time.

Having got 2 ‘safe’ samples ‘in the bag’ I decided I could now afford to experiment.

My starting point was an exercise that I’d done on a workshop with Julia Caprara. Our first design task was to tear up strips of magazine papers in a colour scheme of our choice and glue them together. We then had to tear the strips and join them back the other way with stitches and coloured tissue paper wrapped around thin wire to make it bendy. Lastly we had to stitch in running stitches that echoed the shapes in the magazine papers. This was a very good freeing up exercise, although at the time I felt very out of my comfort zone.

If I thought I was out of my comfort zone with this exercise there was much more scary stuff to come. The next thing we had to do was pick fabrics that may/ may not represent the magazine strips in colour, and putting one piece over another do exactly as Julia said. Quickly!! She called out things like ‘do three rows of running stitch down the cloth holding the pieces together, then do stars with anther piece of fabric', etc. So it was a combination of speed sewing and colour experiments. We were then invited to add embellishments from her enormous collection.

So it was a modified version of this technique that got me fired up to do sample 3. I had all the off cuts of the dyed samples and the print experiments, plus the small leftovers of the Indian samples. This gave me the confidence to experiment, as I knew I didn’t need to conserve these pieces as I already had 2 completed samples.
I used Julia’s method to join the various pieces together with hand stitches, making good use of my hand dyed threads. Once I’d got a rectangle the size of the other 2 samples I sandwiched the batting and calico together and started to consolidate the piece with machine stitches, still thinking masculine straight lines.

As I’d been using my daughter’s computerised embroidery machine for work recently, I thought I’d have a go at the quilting stitches and also some wording. I tried to maintain some rhythm to what I was putting onto the cloth and followed some of the print lines and the shapes of the cut fabric. All together it was a very exciting and enjoyable experiment, and I do feel really pleased that I had a go at something looser than my normal way of working.

As I don’t have any pictures of this sample at an earlier stage (too excited with the progress to stop!) I’ll go straight on to the next part of the construction, which was to choose a fabric for the sashing and the binding. After talking to my fiend and quilter Carrol (who sadly can't be persuaded to start blogging) we decided that dark colours would be the best bet, so I went for a lovely chocolate brown and chocolate polka dot. Both acquired from a seller on eBay, (courtesy of DD2) and here’s the results for all 3 samples.

As you can see on this sample my very clever friend came to the rescue once again and suggested that I make this panel removable as I was worried that it wouldn’t wash well. So I put in 4 buttonholes and found these perfect matching buttons in my stash.
The backing piece to this one has a polka dot centre and is sandwiched with very fine Vilene type wadding and is bagged out with the same backing fabric.

On the other 2 samples I had to add batting to the original block in order to incorporate the sashing and the border. If I was making this up as a full sized throw, I would work each piece with enough batting for the sashing and then add the border batting at the end, when all the blocks had been sewn together, but I need to learn more of this process before I could do that.

This sample has been finished off with the traditional narrow binding, mitred at the corners. It’s not my favourite finish as I think it’s too heavy, but DD3 liked it so I suppose it would be down to the client’s choice at the end of the day. The backing for this one is the plain brown.

I decided to stick with the simple option for this sample and just put in a wide border of brown, which would surround the blocks and also be used as the border fabric. The backing is the polka dot fabric and the block has been bagged out. I really like the simplicity of this sample and could see it being used in the setting.

That will be the next challenge, to create the presentation for this brief.


Shirley Anne Sherris said...

I really like the last piece. Very different effect without the purple/lilacs and as you said - a bit more masculine. Feels good to see finished pieces doesn't it??

Julie said...

My word, you have been busy! I tend to agree with your DD and I like the last piece too.

I do like the freedom of the quilt qith the buttons on the corners, lovely colours too and I like the different textures.

I've been dyeing and preparing "mile a minute" blocks today - never done it before - I'll blog it over the weekend probably. I think I'm hooked! lol

Doreen G said...

What lovely pieces you have worked here Sharon and the last one is my favourite also.

Homeleightigger said...

Wonderful pieces Sharon - and it really is so interesting to see and read how you got there! Very inspirational. Val

hippopip said...

Sharon you have been beavouring away to great success ,your friends suggestion for the background to the first quilt is superb it sets it off so well.Not so keen on it as a background for the fungi one ,and the third one is a delight, you must be so pleased, well done

Sue Smith said...

I'm not sure quite how to express this, but your post is blowing my mind with possibilities. I'm really enjoying seeing some of the process that you are going through as you design. It's been incredibly inspiring to me... it's freeing up my way of thinking about creating things too.

Thanks so much for sharing this work, Sharon!

Ro Bruhn said...

Well done, these are beautiful, love the technique and your colour combinations work extra well