Art Quilt with Ties

A dear friend lost her husband to cancer this past year.  When she approached me to make a memorial art quilt out of his ties for her mother-in-law, I didn’t have to think twice about it, since it had already been on my mind.

But I’d never worked with ties before as material for an art quilt—could I be successful?  How hard is it to take a tie apart?  How strong is the material?  Should I use a stabilizer? These are all questions I pondered while going through the huge box of ties that she provided.  I’d love to share with you what I discovered.

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First of all, it’s SO EASY to take a tie apart.  There’s one strong thread that holds the seam down the back of the tie.  Once you locate this thread, make one cut, and give it a good tug from the opposite end, and it’s done!  Take out the lining and you’ll still need to deal with both ends.  I chose to cut them off, but a little seam ripping would also work.

I had an idea in my head about what I wanted to do…a small landscape art quilt based loosely on a pattern I’d used earlier (see post HERE).  So my first task was to see what I had to work with.  I pulled all the ties that had the colors and textures that might work, and lined them up on my design wall (there were a lot more that didn’t make the cut and were left in the box for later).

What amazed and surprised me was the texture and beauty of the tie fabric once it was washed, ironed, and ready for use.  Some were very light weight and needed stability (I ironed on a light weight fusible woven interfacing to those).  Others were a heavier weight and I used them as they were.  I also found out that the reverse side is sometimes even more interesting than the “right” side.  I used both to get the shading I needed.

I knew I needed to wash all the ties—but when: before or after deconstruction?  I experimented, putting about a dozen ties in a zippered netted bag (the kind used for dedicates) and tried washing some before and some after deconstruction.  Both came out tangled, and both worked, but washing before deconstructing really helped keep the mess and tangles to a minimum and made it much easier to pull apart and iron. Once that was done, and the ties were all deconstructed and ironed, I started pulling out ties for the birds.

Here I’ve cut the pieces for the bird applique (using Steam-a-seam 2) and will fuse it together.

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I was surprised by the texture of the beautiful silks used in the ties.  I even used the linings for solid black and white on the bird’s head.  So the entire center of the art quilt was made exclusively with the tie materials.

Here you can see the chickadees fused and ready to be placed on the background.  I’m starting to choose the ties by color and texture that will work for the sky, mountains, and foreground.

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There were some limitations in the color selection, so I got creative and used both sides of the ties and added yellows and gold.

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Most of the tie material is not backed with interfacing, or Steam-a-Seam 2—they’re simply laid onto a fusible pellon fleece batting with the fusible side facing up.  However, the log cabin was prefused together the same way as the chickadees.  Notice the smoke coming up from the chimney of the log cabin—it’s that tie interfacing.  It was shear and luminescent and made the perfect smoke.

Here (below) it’s starting to take shape. I tried to get contrast between the sky, mountains, and foreground scenery.

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When the branches, leaves, and pre-fused chickadees were added, it really started to look complete.  Notice I placed a piece of parchment paper under the leaf in the lower left hand corner so it wouldn’t fuse down and I could choose to fuse it on top of the border after the border was added.  The backing and batting are about 3-4 inches larger on all sizes to make it easier to add a border if I chose to.

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I thought it did need a border, so I added a narrow inner border using black cotton fabric (the only part of the quilt that wasn’t tie material), and pieced a border of tie material for the outer border.

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Then I quilted everything using several colors of veriagated cotton threads.  I used a bit of gold thread on the sky for sparkle.

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And here it is—finished and ready to present to my friend to give to her mother-in-law in remembrance of her son…

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After I finished, I really felt my friend needed a remembrance art quilt she could keep too, so I created a second art quilt just for her… actually, she can choose which one to keep and which one to give.  It’s based on the same idea, with the same Chickadees, but has a pieced background over Lake Mendota with the sun.

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And couldn’t forget her two wonderful children…  I thought they might like a Christmas stocking to remember their dad each year.  I couldn’t find enough “Christmas-like” ties to choose from so I used a red cotton fabric for the cuffs, backing, and lining and did a crazy-quilt patch design on the front, using tie material backed with fusible stabilizer.

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I really enjoyed working with ties.  It was a new experience, and I may get out the box of my father’s ties that I’ve been saving to do something similar.

Whether you have saved a loved ones ties, or decide to go to a thrift store, I encourage you to give it a try.  I found the tie material is so beautiful, the silks give your project a wonderful sheen, and there are so many patterns, textures, and colors to choose from. Why not give it a try?

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Project Quilting Challenge: Vacation

Project Quilting Challenge: Vacation

This week’s Project Quilting Challenge is “I NEED A VACATION”.  My favorite vacations are traveling to a beautiful spot, finding a cabin or home to rent, and relax by the lake, river, or ocean and just take in the beautiful view.  We might do some day trips in the area, like hiking or going out for lunch, but always coming back to the serenity and beauty of the surroundings of the spot we’ve rented.

I found a photograph I had taken this past summer when we ventured up to one of our favorite spots near Bayfield, Wisconsin.  A short walk from the back of our cottage is a rocky private beach with a spectacular view of Lake Superior, with Bass Island and the rest of the Apostle Islands, in the background…it was breathtaking!  I loved walking down to that spot with a cup of coffee every morning to take it all in.  So when I heard “I need a vacation” as the theme, this is where I’d want to be.

My first step in creating the scene was to find fabrics that had the same feel as the photograph (and my memory of it), and cut a piece of batting and backing to the size I wanted to serve as the backdrop “canvas”.

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Then I cut and positioned the background and shoreline onto the batting.  I had just purchased something new—a Fons&Porter glue pen.  It worked great to keep everything in place.  I found it a lot less messy than the regular glue stick.

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Bit by bit, auditioning fabrics–some that didn’t work, and others that did, I continued adding to the scene.

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I thought the trees and bushes needed a bit more depth, so I got out my soft pastels and went to work, shading the foliage…

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And adding some depth to the water and rocks…

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I’m glad I purchased the set (on sale).  I used a blending stick to blend it in.

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The sailboat is small in the distance, so I decided to create it by thread painting…

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After quilting, I wanted to add a border…so I auditioned several different fabrics and came down to three possibilities…

I didn’t care for the dark blue-grey, it seemed too dark and gloomy.

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The blue batik was interesting, but the black piping was too harsh…

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I felt the brown brought out the color of the rocks, so I went with that…

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Here the borders have been added…along with more batting and backing.

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And here’s the finished art quilt…

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With a close up of the water…

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and the thread painted sailboat in the distance.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey, and that you’ll stop by Persimon Dreams website PROJECT QUILTING and vote for your favorite quilts!

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The voting begins February 21 and runs through February 26 (2016).

UPDATE:  The voting has closed.  I came in #3 of 39 entries–no prize, but no bad!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Mosaic Pixelated Quilted Wall Hanging

Mosaic Pixelated Quilted Wall Hanging

I found this photo of my dad (Harry Haverkate) that I  just love.  Isn’t he handsome?

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I’m not sure of the year, but It was probably taken around the time he was dating my mom (early 1930’s), when he was in his early 20’s.  Back in the time when men often wore suits and always wore a hat.  I thought dad looked so “dapper” with his hat tilted just right.  So I named this quilted wall hanging “Dapper Dad” to hang in our hall in his honor.

I found two websites that will make your jpeg photograph into a pixelated document for free:

One website is pic2pat:   http://www.pic2pat.com/index.en.html

The other is http://vam.demo.lemberg.co.uk/interactive/ppm/landing

I scanned the photo, cropped it, and then used the website to convert it into a document with numbered pixels (squares) that I could print out to use as a guide.  Next I drew a 1/4” grid (with my ruler and permanent marker) on a piece of light weight fusible interfacing, and placed it fusible side up on my portable ironing surface.  I cut strips of my hand dyed brown fabrics just a bit wider than 1/4”, and I sorted/numbered them light to dark.

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Using the numbered grid as my guide, I started choosing and cutting individual 1/4” squares and “tacking” them onto the fusible interfacing with my small iron.  In areas where more than one square was the same color, I used strips instead. And in large areas with the same number I simply cut squares or rectangles slightly larger than the section.

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It’s very much like putting a puzzle together, but you’ve got a guide to help you.  It’s very “mindless” and relaxing.  I love doing it.

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Here (above) are the strips in a bin helping me keep the numbers straight.

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You can’t see much of anything as you’re putting the puzzle together (see close-up shot above); you just have to trust that it’s going to work.

 

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But when you back up a few feet, you begin to see the photograph come to life!

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Then back up even further, and it really begins to look like something!

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After adding the batting (pellon fleece) and a backing fabric, I took the fusible interfacing with the squares completely cover it, to my Bernina and free-hand quilted using similar colors of variegated cotton thread.

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After adding a striped 3-D border, brown inner border, and paisley outer border and dark brown binding, it was ready to hang in my hallway.  (Sorry for the yellow tint.)

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From a distance, you can really see “Dapper Dad”.

Have you tried pixelating in your quilting?  If not, give it a try—it’s so rewarding.

Beagle1     MosaicCat1  pixelated Josh Rhi   Pixelated Pastor Brad

Hope you enjoyed reading about the process.

Have you tried pixelated quilts? I’d love to hear how your experience was.  Please post your comments below, and include a link to your photo if you can.

UPDATE:  I was so pleased to find out the photo quilt got an “honorable mention” ribbon at the Sun Prairie Quilt Show earlier this week!

  
Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Finishing the Border Collie Wall Quilt

Finishing the Border Collie Wall Quilt

Dog2So a few months back I posted how I tried paper piecing the Border Collie Dog Wall Quilt, and this month I finished quilting it.

First, decisions on which color of variegated threads to choose.

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Dog6Then deciding what to quilt–I decided to follow the contours of the dog’s face, and add texture to his fur.

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The background was free-hand, free-flowing feathers.  They were actually a lot of fun to do.

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And it’s all done!  …and listed in my Etsy Shop.

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My quilting goals for 2016 are:

  1. to finish all my unfinished projects that are almost done.
  2. to focus on creating artistic quilts
  3. to enter more of my quilts in shows, contests (for fun).

What are your quilting goals this year? …to take a new class? …learn a new technique?  …finish those unfinished projects?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Want to wish you all a Very MERRY CHRISTMAS!  And glorious, peaceful New Year!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

 

 

 

Class on Landscape Painting with Fabrics at the Quilt Expo

Class on Landscape Painting with Fabrics at the Quilt Expo

I love attending the Quilt Expo held in Madison during September each year.  I’m so lucky–I only live a few miles away!  It’s sponsored by Wisconsin Pubic Television and Nancy Zieman, and has a wonderful quilt show, workshops, one-hour lectures, vendors, and much more.  I found 3 days last year a bit overwhelming, so I decided to concentrate on two days this year.  One day was filled with shopping, taking in the quilt show, and a few one-hour lectures.  The second day (Saturday) I decided to take an all day class by Susan Hoffmann entitled “Landscape Painting with Fabric”.

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Here’s a photo of Susan at the start of the workshop.

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We had about 20 or so students in the class.  Susan was so patient and easy to understand.  She told us not to be intimidated by the class and assured us that everyone in the class would go home with something they loved.  She was right, as you’ll soon see.

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We were each given some batik fabrics, fabrics for trees, heat-n Bond Lite to create our landscape, and a Copic marker, blender, and soft pastel chalk to use during class.  The other items we brought with us.

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Here’s the start to my landscape.  Susan gave us great step-by-step instructions on how to piece and fuse the background, and the techniques used to draw on the fabrics with the pastel chalks.  We added shrubbery above the sky line, and tree trunks and branches onto the background with the Copic marker.  We even drew in a faint outline of a full moon in the sky.

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The next few photos show the progression of the project …  In this one, I’ve cut and placed fabrics to resemble birch and other trees.  The trees are fused down using Heat’n Bond Lite.  You can see it’s beginning to look like a landscape, but it’s rather flat.

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Now the fun really beings–we started shading the tree trunks with a darker charcoal grey on the right, and a light pencil on the left of each trunk. I chose to incorporate some oranges and browns into the background.

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Finally, we added shading using the full moon as our light source.  Can you see the difference in how flat the first photo was with the shading in the final photo?  It’s really remarkable.

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The last step was to have her spray a fixative onto the fabric to set the chalk.  Every one of the students had something completely different, yet they were ALL beautiful!

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After I got home, my husband liked it so much I decided to frame this piece instead of quilting it (I’ve never done that before).  I got out my coupons from Hobby Lobby and away I went.  It only took a week or so.  And because Susan had the foresight to give us a diagram so the final framing would fit into a standard 22 x 28 frame, it wasn’t as expensive as I had imagined.

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I think their suggestion of the rough wooden frame along with the linen-like texture mat brings out the birch trees, and the additional thin black frame helps to stop your eye.

If you ever get the chance to take a class from Susan Hoffmann, I highly recommend it.  (See more about her classes at her website here.)  Don’t be intimidated, just have fun.  It’s a learning experience.  I was amazed that I came away with something I like so much.  You will too, I’m sure.  She’ll be doing another full day class at the next Expo–and I’ll be there!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Icy Blue Kaleidoscope Snowflake—Paper Pieced

Icy Blue Kaleidoscope Snowflake—Paper Pieced

So since the beginning of the year I’ve been experimenting with kaleidoscope ideas and patterns.  I was browsing through my collection of “American Quilters” Magazines and happened upon an article by Eileen Bahring Sullivan (I think it was the Winter 1995 issue*) for paper piecing a kaleidoscope snowflake.  I quickly ran through my stash and packed several hand dyed blue and white fabrics to take along to the Jones Mansion Retreat (see earlier post).  Of course I never used them!  I ended up buying something new when went out to Hidden Quilts (the blue’s I had just were too dark).

Each section of the snowflake is made with the exact same paper piecing pattern (6 separate sections).

Here I’m sewing from the back side of the pattern.  It gets a bit confusing when I’m working on it as to what fabric comes next, so I started to color in the darker segments (see blue pen) just to remind me where I was!

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Here I’m trimming the edges of a finished wedge (sorry about the glare from the light).

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This is how one wedge looks in process—and before trimming

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And here are the paper pieced wedges from the right side!  Much better.  As you can see, the last wedge is ready to join the rest.

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It took quite awhile to paper piece this snowflake together—there are a lot of seams.  But there’s something about paper piecing that I love once I get into the “rhythm” of it.  It’s relaxing to  me.  And I like the surprise when you flip it over and see the results.  The other nice thing about paper piecing is the accuracy.  If you can sew down the printed line, it works out perfectly!  Only problem was that I mis-judged the amount of fabric I need to make 3 snowflakes.  I tended to overestimate the size I  really needed for piecing each segment, so I ran out of fabric much sooner, and this had become a one snowflake project instead.

So after adding a blue batik border to match, this one snowflake turned into a very lovely table topper for the center of a dining table, coffee table, or side table.

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Here’s a close-up—I did some straight stitch quilting following the lines of the piecing…

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A candle fits perfectly in the center…and I’ve just put it for sale in my SHOP.

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Since it’s National Quilting Day today, I’ve been working up finishing projects like this one all day.

My next Kaleidoscope adventure will be to cut and piece 60 degree triangles of fabric together—“Stack-and-Whack” style.

Until next time…HAPPY QUILTING!!!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Madison Expo Class—Photo to Fabric

As promised, here’s my first blog about the Expo.

This lecture was “From Photo to Fabric” given by Mary Alice Hart.  I loved it.  She was organized, easy to follow, had wonderful overheads, and great examples of her work to share with us.

Click here to see her blog.

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Here she’s explaining how she created the beautiful close-up of the daisy in fabric by blowing up the outline of a daisy photograph to create patterns.

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The pattern pieces are individually cut out of freezer paper, attached to the various fabrics, and then carefully appliqued.  Notice how she uses tulle to create the shading in the daisy above.

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This flower has texture, created by fusing a product called “Texture Magic” to the fabric.  Isn’t it breath-taking?

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I love the quilting lines she uses to finish the quilts.  The contouring really brings the piece to life!

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The quilt of the tiger just blew me away!  Amazing!

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Her talk was excellent.  If you ever get the chance, be sure to take a class from her.

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts