Making these small quilts is possibly one of my favourite quilting activities, so i am always happy to accept a challenge. For this one my first thoughts were pretty unoriginal - spring - summer - autumn - winter.................
I guess lots of people thought of that. So I tried to be more original. I thought about what the seasons mean to me and how my life changes with them.
For the quilt I decided to try and tell the story of my search for the endless summer, so I looked at an old passport to see where I had been; I love looking at passports. Once you get over the terrible photograph that stares back at you they are fascinating documents, full of memories. I decided to chop up an old one of mine and use some of the pages on the quilt. I laminated them to make them a little stronger and then planned on stitching them to the quilt. (A technique I learned from an article written by Stella Belikiewicz in Quilting Arts Magazine Aug/Sept2013)
For the quilt design I used the coastline of Africa and Europe. The path I most often follow - just like the swallows that migrate each year. I took a piece of blue-ish hand dyed fabric and using Markal paint sticks, smudged brown and rust colored paint over the edge of a freezer paper stencil then enhanced the edge of the map with a Derwent Inktense pencil to give a more defined line. I blogged about using Markal / Shiva paintsticks and Derwent Inktense pencils back in October. Here are the links if you want to read more about these materials; http://clairepassmore.weebly.com/blog/surface-design-markal-paintsticks and
For the birds I cut a few stamps using an old eraser and a lino cutting tool. Cutting into erasers is very easy - the material is so soft you can cut shapes easily. The only problem is that they are usually small - but for a little bird on a small scale quilt the eraser was perfect. For the sun I used a paper punch to create a tiny stencil. I blogged about cutting your own lino and eraser stamps back in August. Here is the link http://clairepassmore.weebly.com/blog/surface-design-lino-printing if you would like to take a look.
Using black fabric paints, I stamped the small bird shapes onto the quilt, showing the route they take as they migrate north and south each year in search of summer, then added the small white and red detail with a paintbrush.
To make it look a little more like a map, I topstitched black lines over the fabric with a thick black thread and then stamped on the word 'EQUATOR' using some tiny letter stamps.
Lastly, I layered the quilt and free motion quilted 2 different designs over the surface with some lovely rayon threads; a swirly pattern at the bottom section and a gentle wavy line pattern over the rest.
It is not a complicated quilt in terms of construction - but I am very happy with it. I am looking forward to seeing it in the magazine along with the other interpretations of the theme.
Screen Printing for messy people..........
I am a messy worker. There is no doubt about it. I like to be clean, tidy and organized, but somehow I always end up in a mess and it drives me crazy. But I know it - and if I plan ahead to control my messiness, everything turns out to be so much easier!
So, here is what you need to do.....
First - get your screen.
I use a 2 different types of screen, depending on where I am:
Old-school metal framed screens with an image burned into the screen. They can be created in any size you wish up to A1 size and can be re-used when you are finished with the image on the screen. I get mine from National Screen & Digital Supplies in Montague Gardens, CapeTown. Amanda and Leanne in the office there are so friendly and patient - I have learned so much from them. For these screens you need a posi transparency of the image you want to put on to the screen. It is a bit of a fussy process, but if you are able to create a 'posi' printed in CMYK you can have a screen made with exceptionally fine detail. John atCastle Graphics in Northgate Estate, Brooklyn does mine.
A more straightforward method is to have a Thermofax screen made. If you are lucky enough to own an old thermofax machine you already know what I am talking about and doubtlessly know exactly how to screen print without making a mess! If you did not win the Thermofax machine lottery then like me, you will need to order them. In the UK I order mine from Claire Higgott at http://www.thermofaxprinting.co.uk. I have always had great service and the screens arrive after just a few days. The great thing about these screens is that you just need to post or e-mail Claire a black and white line drawing and she creates the screen for you. No messing about with 'posis'. The screens are lighter than the metal screens and are easy to use. The downside is that the detail is not as clean or crisp as with the old-school screens. You win some, you lose some.
Next... once you have your screen, the rest is plain sailing!
The following pictures are from a screen printing session I did this week to make some labels for a new quilt.
Once you have your equipment ready you need to prepare your fabric. Make sure it is ironed and not too large. If you are putting more than one print onto the fabric remember that if the screen goes onto wet ink you will need to clean it before you put it down onto the fabric again. If not you will transfer that ink onto the fabric next time. More opportunity for mess here!
Now put your glove(s) on. This is where it can start to get messy !
So, as you can see - not so difficult. Being organized and having everything set up really helps. As does having a big pile of damp and dry cloths and some newspaper to lay the prints on as you work.
As it is a bit of work to set up I usually print lots of prints in one go. So long as the ink does not dry on the screen you can keep going for ages. If you want to use several screens in one session have a bucket of water to plunge the screens into Just don't let the ink dry on the screen - or else it will be useless in future. The ink will dry in those little holes in the mesh and that will be that.
If you do have a go, I would love to hear from you and hear if you have any further tips!
Happy screen printing!
And here are .... the last 4 White Horses from the series. Unfortunately the last two are not quite complete - they still need embellishing with hand stitching and a few more special details, but I decided to post them all anyway as they aren't going to be finished for a few months.
The Broad Town Horse; created by a farmer who thought he would start small and then 'grow' the horse over the years!
The Pewsey Horse; cut by local firemen to commemorate a new British King.
The Marlborough Horse; made by schoolboys from a local school
The Hackpen Horse; made to mark the Coronation of Queen Victoria
My aim was to complete these 8 quits in 5 weeks, and I almost made it! 2 more days and I think I would have got there, but rather than rush and settle for second best I decided to let them take as long as they take. So - the last two are now officially UFO's - but not for too long.
The complete series will be on show at my first British solo exhibition next year at Midsomer Quilting, along with my Destination Series and Modition Series.
'Here and Far' 1st - 15th May 2015 - Midsomer Quilting, Chilcompton, BA3 4RR
Coming soon at my favourite quilt shop.........................
The annual Midsomer Quilting 12 x 12 challenge. This year the theme is MUSIC - and it is still not too late to give Chris your entry. I have had a sneak preview of just a few of the quilts - and they are absolutely fantastic. I am sure Chris will write '....best ever......' -and I do not doubt it!
Just in case you don't know; Each year, De, Brigitta and Chris of Midsomer Quilting set a challenge to their customers to create a 12" x 12" square on a given theme. So far we have had 'Fruit', followed by 'Books', then 'Movies' and this year 'Music'.
The quilts are on display at the shop from 28th November to 8th December, and most are able to be purchased by secret auction - all funds being donated to Dorothy House - a local hospice charity.
DON'T MISS IT!!