When you are thinking about creating a new quilt lots of things can influence you. Perhaps something you see or hear gives you an idea. I certainly have had lots of ideas for my new 'Words of Wisdom' series from things I have overheard. So far I have made a quilt about girls who wear (what some people think is) too much makeup, another about toilet seats, and a third about making the most of life. I have another in progress which is about spending money - I will write a post about that one in a week or so once it is finished.
However, this week I decided to explore creating another series of quilts, the inspiration for which has come from the quilt I made about the makeup. It is a sort of 'one thing leads to another' type thing. I have decided to try creating more work in the same style, using the black and white line drawn faces. Now I am not naturally 'good' at drawing, and am working on improving with lots of practise, and this project has really given me something to work on
The people I have chosen so far are all real. Each person has a story that I would like to try and tell. Some of the stories concern things that people often shy away from - so I don't anticipate this being a 'pretty' or terribly popular series of work, but rather a series of statements which I hope might make people stop and think.
This is a picture I have been working on of a little boy named Spinach. He must have been about 4 or 5 when I took his picture. He was sitting quietly in the dirt next to his mum, playing contentedly with a bent nail and a stone. Every time I see a child behaving badly I always think of Spinach and wish he could have the chances that those spoiled brats have.
This is Sophie. It isn't her real name. Sometimes Sophie looks like this - a beautiful young woman. But sometimes she looks like a she has gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. She is one of many of the victims of domestic violence - an issue that is often overlooked, denied or not discussed as it is a 'private' matter that isn't to be interfered with.
This is Ella. Also not her real name. Ella thinks she is ugly. She couldn't be more wrong. She eats paper to stop herself feeling hungry and she thinks people don't know. Ella wants her Facebook profile picture to look like the air brushed models that have been put on a pedestal in the media. She believes her skin is not the right tone, that she has excess body fat and her hair doesn't look good. She doesn't see that she is a beautiful young woman.
This is Paul. He used to live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but left when his family was killed during the war. When I first met him he did not speak English, but now he does - and very well too. He works as a car guard in CapeTown.
If all goes well I hope to add more people to the series, but I am going to start with these four.
I have been experimenting with different ways of putting the images of these people onto fabric - using all my favourite tools and techniques - and some new ones too.
This is one of them - using the walnut ink I made a few weeks ago. I used it with a tiny paintbrush and simply painted it onto thin cotton sateen fabric. I chose this lovely fabric as it was easy for me to see the enlarged image of the face I printed out and placed behind. You can see the printed image behind the fabric in the first picture below.
I'm not exactly sure how I will develop these images yet - it is going to be one of those 'wait and see' type things. But when I find something that works I will be sure to let you know!
Thanks for reading.
Following on from last week's post, I have now finished the sample of my quilt for the 'on the edge' challenge. I learned a lot from making it, and it helped me make a lot of decisions as to how to approach the making of the full sized quilt. So, for that reason alone, it was worth every moment I spent making it. I finalised my choice of fabric colours, thread type as well as the techniques I wanted to use. No only that, I got my needle size and type sorted out an the tension settings my machine was happy to stitch. All in all it made making the real quilt quick and easy.
What the picture above doesn't show are the fabrics from my little pile of scraps which I discarded. The main reason for discarding them was due to fraying. Even with the Bondaweb on the back the raw edges a few of the fabrics were particularly bad. After being reminded by Sue (thanks for getting in touch, Sue) I tried some Terial Magic (click here to see a blog post about what that is), which did solve the problem, but as I don't have a lot of experience of the product I decided not to chance it on a quilt that might, if selected, go on tour for a year or so. The last thing I want is for raw edges to start looking ragged (even if the challenge is called 'on the edge'!)
The other thing the sample helped me sort out was which thread I wanted to use. I like to use either Isacord polyester embroidery thread or rayon threads for my quilting, as I love the shine those particular threads have. The Isacord is super strong and in my opinion is one of the most versatile threads around. However, on my way here back in December I did a bit of 'shopping' and bought some large cones of rayon and decorative threads which I was looking forward to trying. So I opened up a new spool of shiny white rayon and tried it out.
After a few stitching samples I found the best combination for this thread was the following combination: a metallic 80/12 needle, matching white rayon thread in the bobbin and the tension dropped ever so slightly. Once that was sorted I did not have a single thread breakage.
With all that ironed out making the quilt was a fairly quick job. The trickiest part was making sure the finished quilt (after quilting, which always shrinks he quilt up a little) ended up the correct dimensions - exactly 60cm wide and 100cm tall. To make sure I hit those dimensions on the button I left the top edge and the top left hand side of the quilt 'open' so I can turn in those edges later once the quilting is almost finished.
Here are a few pictures that show the quilting patterns I did with the lovely rayon thread (sorry about the dangling threads - I haven't tied them off and pulled them through yet. ( I use an 'easy thread' needle for that.)
And this is how my 20 sided quilt currently looks. I really like the clean bright colours against the white background, and I also like the unusual shape. Plenty of 'edges', that's for sure! What I'm not sure I like is that it is a bit 'plain'. I am going to see what I can come up with to zoosh it up a bit. What do you think?
Incidentally - do you know what a twenty sided shape is called? I do now!
Thanks for reading
It is that time of year again - when I am thinking about making a quilt for the annual challenge set by the Contemporary Quilt Group of the Quilters Guild of the British Isles. This year's theme is 'on the edge'.
I have participated in this challenge for the past two years and am very pleased to have had my quilt selected for display both times. Lets hope it is third time lucky!
This year the challenge is going to be a little different, in that the selected quilts wont hang at the Festival of Quilts, but instead will tour various venues across the UK (and possibly further afield). You can find out more about the challenge here. There is still plenty of time if you want to make a quilt to enter into the challenge too. All you need is to be a member of the Contemporary Quilt Group. Go on - what do you have to lose?
So, with all that in mind, I decided to make a quilt that involved the extremes of curves and points, hot and cold, and with more edges and corners than a quilt really ought to have. I woke up at 4am on Monday morning and decided that I should start the quilt right there and then!
I had a lot of scraps of fabric that had been pre-fused with bondaweb from another project, so I went through them and pulled out some vibrant colours - then sorted them into 'hot' and 'cold'. To be sure I liked the idea I had in mind I made a small sample piece to experiment with. This will probably be the piece I submit with my entry, which I hope will help my quilt get selected!
(I really like the idea of sending a sample piece to the challenge judges. I think it gives them a far better idea of what my quilt looks like and how carefully I have made it. This particular challenge always requires a small 20cm square sample to be submitted so that way the judge(s) have 3 things to help them make up their minds: the photos of the quilt, the statement I submit explaining what the quilt is all about and the sample to hold. The other thing I like about this challenge is that the quilts are all judged anonymously.)
As you can see, I went for sharp points and curvy waves on either side of the quilt, leaving the middle empty - something we don't usually do on a quilt! I cut the pieces free hand, so it came together very quickly.
You can probably also see that I have cut a square from the bottom corner of the sample - that is deliberate - not just the scrap of fabric I chose! I wanted to experiment with making the quilt an irregular shape, and because it has that inside corner I wanted to see how neatly I would be able to finish the edges of the quilt.
After a bit of thought I decided to try the pillowcase method of stitching the backing fabric to the front of the quilt, then turning the whole thing inside out - just like a pillowcase. I made my 'Cape Dutch' quilt in the same way. (Click here to see it.)
Using this method meant that I needed to put the wadding on the back of the quilt before stitching on the backing - so I decided to stitch the wadding to the front of the quilt with soluble thread first, to make sure it didn't move and wrinkle whilst I turned the quilt right sides out.
Finally I stitched the backing to the front of the quilt (with right sides together), making sure to leave an opening through which I could turn the quilt.
And here it is. The edges are very neatly turned (no binding now required), the corners have remained nice and pointy, and the whole tiny quilt is nice and flat. I have started some free motion quilting to try out a design and to make sure I know the thread / needle / tension combination for when I come to make the real thing.
I will keep you posted on how it turns out!
And now for the other thing that has me 'on the edge'...................
It is my own fault, and I should know better, but I opened up my computer this morning to find all the images of my work on the 'Go Easy on the Makeup' quilt have vanished!! Who knows where they have gone? I have spent hours searching for them, trawling the internet to see how I could locate and retrieve them, finding out interesting stuff that I had no idea about with regard to hidden files, overwriting files, retrieving files you deleted years ago, but all to no avail. So, PLEASE PLEASE - if you have anything on your computers which you really would hate to lose forever
BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER NOW!
I think I might make a quilt about that!!
Thanks for reading.
Following on from my last blog post this one continues the story of the 'Going easy on the makeup' quilt. Last time I mentioned that I would move on to playing with some ideas. I like this way of developing a quilt, I find that it is a good way to find out what works and what doesn't.
So, this post is more of a rambling running commentary of what I was thinking and what I tried out next.
For the lips I decided to cut a paper stencil and try it with Markal oil stick and acrylic paint. I also wanted to try fusing a piece of red organza onto the voile and the machine stitching over to add a little detail. The results were varied, but each gave a different effect. The Markal did not show particularly well, so I discounted that idea immediately.
I hope you are getting the general idea - lots of trying out different ways to achieve what I have in mind.
The benefit of this is that I can use the samples to choose the best option for the quilt. I also get to explore different ways to use the materials I already have and find out what works and what doesn't. What I discovered here is that acrylic paint takes surprisingly well onto voile - and perhaps unsurprisingly, Markal oil sticks don't.
I also discovered that even with 2 layers of soluble stabiliser, machine stitching through one or two layers of voile puckers the fabric too much for what I was trying to achieve. I tried hooping the voile - but even with very careful hooping, hoop burn added to the distortion of the fabric.
After a lot of trials and thinking my solution was to use a combination of fused organza and hand stitch with embroidery thread, rather than use the machine. This is how the eyes turned out. I hope you agree that the effect works and the time I took to experiment with different ideas has paid off.
Scroll down to see how it turned out.
This isn't quite the finished quilt - I am keeping that a secret until the exhibition it is hopefully going to be part of in June.
UNFOLDING STORIES 2 - An exhibition with Contemporary Quilters West, at Rook Lane Chapel, Frome, Somerset, June 24 - July 5, 2016. I hope to see you there!
Thanks for reading. I hope you have enjoyed sharing in the progress of this quilt.