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”.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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!


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!


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


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


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.


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.


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


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


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!!!


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.

Photo 1

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.

Photo 5

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.

Photo 7

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

Photo 6

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

Photo 4

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

Photo 3Photo 2

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

Until next time,



Mulberry Patch Quilts

Iris Quilted Art Project

I love the seasons in Wisconsin.  Don’t you just find inspiration all around you?  The landscape and color changes from month to month. 

For example, just last month I was pleasantly surprised by a new iris I had planted last fall that appeared for the first time…it was so spectacular!  …I just had to use that inspiration to try to create an iris quilted art piece.  So…off to my stash of fabric I went.

Last winter I had “ice dyed” several fat quarters of fabric (for more information, see my blog about ice or snow dying at Let it Snow, Let it Snow…”).  I searched until I found one that seemed to have the right colors (top) and another fat quarter that I had “painted” with leftover dyes (bottom).

Using a photograph for inspiration, I cut a rectangle of batting and fused some background fabrics to it.  Then started cutting out the dyed fabrics for grass, the stem & leaves, and the iris flower itself. If the fabric wasn’t “just right”, I got out my Fantastix ink fabric dyes and started painting in more color or shading. 


In this photo, you can see how the fabric is cut and layered on top of the background.  I love the variation in the color of the ice dyed fabric.

But the piece really comes to “life” once I start machine quilting with cotton threads—some variegated and some not.

I tried to pick some darker shades of thread for definition, and some lighter shades of thread to brighten it up a bit.  What brands of threads do you favor?  I seem to go to my Aurifil for piecing and some of my quilting, and like the Sulky 30 wt variegated cotton for some quilting and thread painting.  Although I also love the golden sheen of the Glide sample I got (on the larger spool).


That’s it for now…tomorrow I’ll be back with…ta da… border auditions!!!



Mulberry Patch Quilts