Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fluttering by with a Work in Progress

One of my art quilts has been "stalled" for a couple of years . . . I started out with wonderful ideas of doing a flight of stylized butterflies across a background of hand dyed fabric (the first piece I ever dyed, that I had been saving for years!) . . . but as I approached the critical time of adding those butterflies, I found that they had lost some of their allure.  I couldn't figure out the problem so I finally rolled up the quilt and it sat on a shelf for a year or more.

At some point last year I hauled it out again and pinned it to my design wall so that it would not be too far from my thoughts . . . but, still I did nothing with it.

Yesterday, however, I re-discovered one of my favourite books and the wonderful natural life created in fibre by Annemeike Mein, and I decided to play a little bit with a different style of butterfly.    I don't know exactly how she makes her butterflies but I made up my own version using her photos as inspiration.

Here are the wings I made, created as two units of upper and lower wings, free motion stitched in a variety of threads. They have been created on green silk organza with heavy duty Solvy used as a backing.

I still have to create the body of the butterfly, but I am pleased with this first attempt.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

More of the northern lights

This is the second art quilt in my Northern Lights series and you will see many similarities in design to the first one . . . for this art quilt, I needle felted the aurora borealis in another lively design but when I was quilting, I also densely quilted the background of the sky.  The trees in this art quilt are made from commercial batik that is dark teal and is great for nighttime trees. I like the way that the trees are silhouetted against the bright sky.

The wool roving that I have used has a beautiful sheen to it which works very well in creating the lights.  There is a bit of purple and blue added to the deep indigo sky which adds a wonderful depth. Below is a closeup of part of the treeline.

This art quilt measures 15.5" x 24" and has a black backing and a hanging sleeve. The colours in these photos are not a vibrant as they are in real life, so I will be taking some more using different camera settings to see how I can make them better.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Northern Lights Art Quilt

Sometimes an image lodges in my mind and I can't let go of it . . . that is the way it has been with the thoughts of this art quilt depicting the Northern Lights.  Since "the kids" moved to the Yukon a couple of years ago I have become enraptured by the history and the landscape of that beautiful part of the world.

The northern lights can be many colours and shapes . . . they might greens and yellows that swirl and dance, or pinks and purples that envelop the sky, or any combination. I wanted to portray their ethereal quality using soft wisps of wool roving needle felted into a dark sky . . . and so this art quilt was born.

The sky was needle felted onto a base of two layers of black quilt batting that were first felted with midnight blue roving with a touch of violet added to it and then the northern lights were added with wisps of light greens, yellow and a touch of blue, some of which have a bit of gloss to the wool.

The tree line and lower section of the quilt were created using hand dyed fabric that I over-painted with a wash of black and green textile paint to further subdue it. That fabric was backed with fusible web and then I freehand cut the tree line.

The northern lights were free motion stitched in sweeping curves, using invisible thread and the lower section was quilted in a free motion design somewhat representative of a forest.

This art quilt measures 13" x 22.5" (33 x 57 cm) and is backed with black cotton with a hanging sleeve.

I can see that this will be only the first of a series of quilts with a northern lights theme ... in fact, I might have to go and start the next one right now . . .

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Remedial Work on a Quilt

This is the first quilt I ever made . . . I think it was in 1996 and it was lovingly created for my son who used it from that day on, for many years.  I hadn't seen it for the past few years and discovered the reason recently . . . it had been chewed by their Leonberger when he was a puppy . . . lovingly chewed, I am sure.

When we visited the kids at Christmas this year I offered to do some repairs on this quilt and so I packed a little bag with scraps of similar fabric (I even had a few scraps of the very fabric I used originally) and a bit of quilt batting along with my needle and thread. Before going, I received this photo of one of chewed holes so I made a big log cabin block in case I wanted to use it as one of my reconstructive surgery.

I didn't intend to pull the quilt apart and re-make it . . .  I wanted to somehow honour the life that this quilt has lived for over fifteen years, including the chewed holes.  I first used some of my little scraps to create band-aids for the holes on the back of the quilt . . . some of them are shaped like leaves and others are more geometric in shape. I then moved to the front of the quilt (the most damaged) and trimmed away the rough edges before inserting a piece of quilt batting and then putting the pre-made quilt block on top of the damaged area.  I skewed the orientation of the block so that it is very obvious what I have done . . . and then I hand quilted it in place.

The repaired quilt has retained all the love of the original and the repairs will have their own history . . . "remember when Uli chewed this quilt and then Nana fixed it". The other chewed areas were repaired with strips of fabric that were quilted in place and a couple of leaf shapes now cover areas where the fabric was becoming very thin.

I think this quilt will be snuggled under while watching many more hockey games . . . and the repairs are functional ... with just a little nod to my passion for art quilting.