Monday, 29 October 2012

Pheasant Commission

This is a quilt I had intended to make for some time, using the same technique as my seagull in Flying High. Then a friend of mine asked me to make it for her husband's birthday - he's a farmer and he shoots locally with my partner Hans. So I agreed - it's a bit sad that he isn't ours, Hans was especially upset that he wouldn't be staying here. But he only lives up the road so we can visit him whenever we like!

The pheasant shape was cut from wadding covered with bondaweb and each feather was individually cut with scissors and laid in place. The head and neck features confetti (small scraps overlaid with Misty Fuse and thread painted) and applique. The spine of each feather was individually freemotion machine stitched. The woods behind are more confetti overlaid with tulle and threadpainted and the grasses were rotary cut freehand from pre-fused hand dyed fabric then individually thread painted. He was painstaking to make but I'm quite proud of him! I should say as well that his tail is made of real pheasant feathers, stitched on by hand and this was the most fiddly part of the whole thing! He is in fact slightly larger than lifesize and the quilt itself measures about a metre by 30" I think - I didn't actually measure it!

Pheasant Quilt

Close up of head

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Prize winning student

One of my students from last Spring's kaleidoscope workshop has won Best in Show at Tatworth Horticultural Show with the quilt she made during the workshop! I'm pleased as punch for her as it's well deserved. And apparently she's been well and truly bitten by the kaleidoscope bug - she's currently working on her fourth quilt using this technique. Well done Marion, keep 'em coming!

I'll almost certainly be running this workshop again next Spring - for details keep an eye on the workshop page on my website or email me and I'll put you on the waiting list.

Marion and her prize winning kaleidoscope quilt!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Fabric Mosaic Tutorial

As promised...

  • a piece of wadding about an inch larger than the desired finished size - choose a low loft cotton or cotton blend wadding such as Quilter's Dream Cotton or Blend or Warm and Natural. A pure polyester wadding will possibly melt and compress when you iron it
  • 2 pieces of backing fabric the same size as the wadding
  • a piece of fusible the same size - I used Bondaweb (Wonder Under in the US), Misty Fuse would also work fine. I wouldn't use HeatnBond as a) I find it stiff and not nice to stitch through and b) I find it gums up the needle
  • fabric scraps in your desired colour pallette
  • small, sharp scissors
  • spray baste
  • a pressing sheet (can be the release paper from the Bondaweb)
  • quilting thread - I used a 30wt variegated King Tut. You need something quite heavy or you'll be thread painting for ever and a day!
  • embellishments as desired

  • Fuse the Bondaweb to the right side of one of the pieces of backing fabric and lay this on top of the wadding and the second piece of backing fabric to make a sandwich. You may want to spray baste this to hold it all together
Showing the layers

 My piece will finish at 12" square so I cut the pieces 13" square

  • Assemble your fabric scraps and press them if (like mine) they're a bit scrumpled up!

  • Lay your piece on the ironing board if it fits or on a layer of towels on a table - you won't want to move it to iron it later
  • Start anywhere you like and cut the scraps to size with scissors and lay them on the piece, overlapping the edges by about 1/8" inch. I cut rectangles because I was going for a stone wall effect but you can cut squares or other shapes if you like - just be sure they overlap each other.

  • Cover the entire piece in this way
  • Lay a pressing sheet carefully over the piece and press, following the manufacturer's instructions on the brand of fusible you're using.
  • Let it cool then carry it to your machine and prepare to thread paint! I used a 30 wt varigated thread to represent the 'mortar' between my stones but you can choose a thread to blend or contrast as you wish.
  • Use your freemotion foot, dogs down and a 90/14 topstitch needle and outline each piece of fabric, as close to the edges as you can. If you want to pebble over squares, like the earlier pink 'bubblewrap' I posted, then go for it!
Starting to outline all the edges
  • Fill in between the stitching lines by heavily thread painting back and forth until you get the effect you want. The overlapping fabric is not held in place with fusible but I found it behaved pretty well, though now and then it lifted slightly and I had to poke it back down with the point of my scissors.
Thread painted between the 'stones'
Back view, showing extent of thread painting

  • You can then embellish further with beads, applique or whatever else takes your fancy. I didn't bind the edges, I just trimmed them to size and satin stitched them, adding little corner pockets for a hanging rod by gluing in place before I satin stitched. Hopefully the following pictures are self explanatory - any questions just ask!
Cut 2 squares of calico - for this little quilt I cut 3" squares - and press in half on the diagonal.
Glue the folded triangle together...
...and glue to the two top corners of the quilt, matching raw edges.

When you bind or zig zag/satin stitch the edges of the quilt, you attach the triangles at the same time - then insert a hanging rod - this is a bit of that plastic stuff you use to disguise wires against a wall!

I am not going to show the actual finished and embellished quilt at this stage as it is for Midsomer Quilting's annual mini quilt challenge - on display at their shop in December. Sorry about that, bit mean, I know! Once their exhibtion is over, I'll post a picture here - for those of you who can get along to Midsomer, I'd recommend it. Last year's exhibtion was fabulous and is available to view online via their website.

And if anyone is inspired to have a go at my version of fabric mosaic, I'd love it if you'd let me know and perhaps send me a photo! Happy sewing. k3n x