Posts Tagged ‘art quilt’

Browsing Pinterest one evening, I came across this pin of a paper pieced flower block. I was struck by the simplicity of the design and smallness of the block. One Saturday morning I headed to my studio, pulled out some of my hand dyed fabric scraps and gave a try at my first paper pieced block.

20130421-090931.jpgI used all blue tones with a beige background and just love how it turned out! The process of piecing it was so meditative, snipping small scraps of fabric, stitching them to the paper, trimming and ironing, repeat, all using fabric the size of a quarter. I enjoyed it so much I wanted to do another, and then another.

20130421-093511.jpgKeeping to a color set, for the next block I pulled out various values of a deep red, keeping with a beige background.

20130421-093654.jpgI found that the blocks came together quickly if I cut the squares and pieced all four blocks at the same time.

20130421-093914.jpgPiecing this way sped up the cutting, and trips to use the iron.

20130421-094042.jpgI used tracing paper which worked well. After printing the pattern from the website, I made as many blocks as I needed by tracing the pattern onto the tracing paper. After each block was stitched and trimmed, the tracing paper was easy to rip off the back.

20130421-094240.jpgAnd, in about two hours, I had a finished flower that measured about three inches square. Time to start on another!

20130421-094346.jpgI decided to piece four, and then see them into a small square together.

20130421-094431.jpgI wanted to emphasize the fabric and design of the flowers, so decided to try an art quilt binding I had been wanting to try, where the binding is pulled to the back, leaving only the quilting in front. I like its effect, what do you think?

20130421-094628.jpgOf course, being hooked, I couldn’t stop there. I had the idea to use the blocks as tiles, and flip and rotate them to different positions, changing the look of the original block. And as I looked at the shape and design of the quarter sized block, I thought, California poppies! So I pulled out some oranges and greens I had dyed some while back just for an opportunity like this.

20130421-094906.jpgStill keeping with the no border idea, I nonetheless wanted a border to surround the middle square of poppies. Again, playing with color and orientation, using still the same original paper piecing design, I made 12 blocks to surround the original four. I put dark orange poppies in the corners, and light golden poppies on the edge. All floating in a sea of green grass.

20130421-095147.jpgI liked the no binding look of the first quilt, so used that same technique again. This small square now has a sleeve to hang it with, and will soon be for sale in my Etsy shop.

20130421-095350.jpgYes, I’m opening an Etsy shop! It has been a dream of mine for a while, I made it a New Year’s resolution in 2012 and 2013, and now it is really close to becoming a reality. I have a few more details to set up and will be ready to go live! More on that coming soon.

P.S. Sorry for the low photo quality. I took all these photos with my iPhone, because it was quick and handy and I wanted to see if the wordpress app would be an easy work flow. I think I’ll switch back to taking photos with my camera from now on, and am completely unimpressed with the wordpress app. Back to the desktop I go!

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I am going to be unable to attend next week’s Monday art quilt work group meeting, and so with a few free days, I jumped right in to Chapter Three on my own.

image, n. A reproduction of the form of a person or object (from Latin imago, from the root of imitari: to imitate).

Chapter Three: Inspiration from Images chatted about the use of photography in quilt design, going into computer manipulation, using images as an inspiration, and how to draw/quilt from a photograph.


The book walked through the steps to sketch a photograph, paying attention to value. Then, the exercise at the end was assembling a pear from different values. Catching on to the idea, I went searching for an image in my photo library to use as my mosaic block for the month.

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I chose a photo of a California poppy, that I took while an AmeriCorps intern at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Here, I deviated from the Art Quilt Workbook. I remembered an article in the Quilting Arts magazine, a year or so ago, on Portrait Quilts, from photo to fabric, by Lea McComas. I looked through my magazines and soon found the article I was looking for. Here, Lea talks about using photoshop to posterize the photo to group similar values, instead of hand sketching like the Art Quilt Workbook suggests.

poppy posterized

Printing out my posterized image, I traced around the major shapes of color in the poppy. I ended up with five values: dark orange, medium orange, orange, golden orange, and yellow. Taking fusible webbing, I traced each shape from the poppy to the fusible webbing, leaving space between each to cut out.


I gave each shape a letter to mark which color it should be, and a number so I wouldn’t get shapes mixed up. Note: since I was intending this for a mosaic, each shape was independent. If I had wanted a more realistic shape like the pear, I would have had to allow for space for overlapping.


I selected five fabrics to represent each value from my stash of dyed fabrics. I ironed the pieces of fusible webbing onto the fabrics, and then cut out each shape.


This winter is particularly cold, and I reveled in the warm colors of the poppy. Then, following my original pattern, I started to lay out the pieces on a green background fabric.


One interesting challenge I ran into was translating the layout of the shapes to a mosaic. I didn’t think of it to start with, but once I started laying out the pieces, the dilemma became clear. In a mosaic, there is space between each shape. My pieces of fabric were cut in shapes that were meant to be touching each other, as in the original photograph. As I lay out the mosaic, sections became larger and suddenly pieces didn’t fit. Some needed to be longer, some shorter. I fudged it and made it work by trimming pieces as needed. If I did another, I’d want to think about how to plan for this from the beginning. One idea would be to make the image larger than intended, then when tracing the shapes, making them smaller, to allow for the space in between.


After I liked the layout of the poppy, I fused it in place, and then started on the background. In the original photo, all I saw was a jumble of green shapes and colors, and I wanted to imitate that in my mosaic. I selected a smattering of green scraps, trying to replicate the range of colors in the photo from light to dark.


It is such a joy creating these mosaic tiles, I can hardly wait for next month to come around!

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A shout out to a few (not all) of the Cape Ivy ladies: Vanessa, me, Tanya, Melissa, and Catherine. Looking back, how lucky we were to spend our days outdoors, rain or shine, in the beauty of the coast.

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The February/March 2012 issue of Quilting Arts inspired today’s experiment: painting on fusible webbing. The article was called birds of a feather. The second I read it late one night last week, the neurons in my brain started firing. My mountain quilt! I’ve long wanted to put a Great Blue Heron in the sky, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. This might be just the thing. But before trying it on the mountain quilt, I needed to experiment.

For detailed instructions, refer to the Quilting Arts issue. You will need: acrylic paints, paintbrushes, containers and water, fusible webbing, a surface to cover your table, and an idea.

I wanted to play around with the Great Blue Heron, so I printed off a picture of one, lay it underneath my fusible webbing, and sketched/painted on top of it.

After letting the paint dry on the fusible webbing, I ironed it to a piece of practice sunset fabric. With great excitement I peeled off the fusible web backing paper, and . . . terrible! It looked terrible.

All blotchy and white and gross. Of course my boyfriend asks, did you read the directions carefully? Well, no. I’ve never used fusible webbing, just sort of knew how it works. And after reading the instructions, I found out you are supposed to let the webbing cool before peeling off. Of course.

So back to the drawing board, this time just a small square to give it a try and see if it would work.

And it did! I eagerly painted another Great Blue Heron, ironed it on another piece of sunset fabric, and sweet goodness, it looked lovely.

I quickly basted some batting onto the fabric, and quilted a few embellishments with my machine. I wanted to accent the beak and legs, and shape of the feathers. Then I thought I might make the sunset more dramatic with some yellow rays of sunshine.

I really love how it turned out! I think I will put a sleeve on the back to hang, and it will be a sweet little wall hanging. Here is a close up.

You might have noticed that I cut out the fusible webbing around the bird, after painting it and before fusing it. Because I wanted the bird to go on my sunset, I didn’t want the webbing around the bird to take away from the sunset. I really like the texture it comes out with, instead of painting on the bird to the fabric which might look flat, the fusible webbing gives it a textured rough look, almost like feathers!

Next, to do this again, but on the real mountain quilt!

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