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

Chickadee Mountain View Art Quilt

Chickadee Mountain View Art Quilt

I’ve been wanting to create a second art quilt using a pattern by McKenna Ryan as the inspiration.  It’s a peaceful mountain scene featuring a branch in the foreground with Chickadees.

The challenge for me was to try to find just the right fabrics for each portion of the scene by auditioning them one by one.  I wanted choose the best fabric to give  the contrast needed in the composition.

I started by creating the background, including the borders (so that the branch could be appliqued to extend into the borders.

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Then I draw each part of the landscape onto a sheet of Seam-a-Steam 2 Lite.  (I’m so glad this product is back on the market again.)  I love it because it a double-faced fusible that has paper on both sides.  You peel one side off, and it’s “sticky” so it clings to the fabric you want to use, but it repositionable.  Then you fuse it with the iron, and wait for it to cool down before cutting and peeling off the second paper to fuse it to the background.

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I started with the background and then cut and fused the individual items to it, starting with those furthest back and ending with those closest to the foreground.

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I “auditioned” several fabrics before deciding on which ones to use, and which ones didn’t work.

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The log cabin and trees were fun to pull together.  For the chickadees, I created each bird separately and fused the pieced together as one and then set and fused them to the branches.

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Here’s the chickadee & log cabin after they’ve been quilted with a bit of thread painting.

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After everything was fused down, I quilted and thread painted with different colors of thread.  My favorites are Aurofil and Sulky Blendables.

Here’s the result after quilting and binding.

 

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I immediately put it for sale in my Etsy shop, and it’s been sold and is on it’s way to it’s new home in Toronto, Ontario.

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

Project Quilting Challenge—Confetti

Project Quilting Challenge—Confetti

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It’s January, and time to begin Project Quilting!  As you’ll remember from last year, this challenge is put on by Kim Lacapik of Persimon Dreams blog.  Just like “Project Runway”, Project Quilting has a challenge, a time restriction, and instead of voting someone off, the viewer votes who wins!

I’ve been wanting to participate again this year, because it helps the after-holiday, mid-winter blues, and jump starts creativity.

This week’s challenge (#1) is “CONFETTI”.  Right up my alley.  I immediately thought of the “confetti technique” I first saw demonstrated by Noriko Endo.  I’ve used this technique for many of my art quilts in the past, and was wanting to begin a new one.  This challenge is just what I need to get me going.

First I need inspiration…so I took some time to look through my photographs to find something that inspires me. I think I’ll choose a single tree.  One that is the very first to show it’s color and even start dropping some leaves before the others have turned—and the grass is still green.

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First, I need to prepare some “confetti” by cutting up batiks and some of my hand-dyed fabrics for the leaves…

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Next is the background.  I’ve chosen some hand dyed fabrics for the sky & commercial batiks for the background & foreground.

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I cut and temporarily “paste” strips of grey & black fabric onto the background for the tree trunk & branches.

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Then “sprinkle” and position the confetti leaves.

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Everything gets encased in black tulle & pinned before it’s taken to my sewing machine.

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First I straight stitch around the edges so nothing “falls out”, using dark grey cotton thread and my walking foot.

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After that, I put on the free-motion foot, drop the feed dogs, and sew over the confetti & tulle with different colors of variegated thread.

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I liked the look of circles.

 

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Now I can move on to the bottom half and add the confetti for the leaves that have fallen to the ground.  Everything needs pinning so the confetti doesn’t fall out before I get to the machine!

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It always looks better once it’s all straightened and trimmed.

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I like to add triangles to the corners so the piece can be hung by wooden dowels.  So here you can see the triangles and binding ready to sew by hand.

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And it’s finished.  I’m so glad I got it done in time…it took about 5 days–just finished in time to post today…(deadline is Sunday)…

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I hope you’ll go to Persimon’s Dream blog and vote for your favorite “confetti” quilt.  The voting starts soon…January 10, 2016!!

UPDATE:  The voting has closed, & my art quilt came in #2 (SECOND!!) out of the 67 beautiful quilts entered!  I’m so pleased!!  If yours was one of my votes, I want to say thank you so much for your vote!

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Hope you enjoyed my journey through making the quilted wall hanging this week to enter in PROJECT QUILTING:  SEASON 7 (2016)!!  It was fun.

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

 

 

 

Quilt Expo: Lecture with Cathy Geier

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Cathy Geier lecturing on her technique

So it was the first day of the Quilt Expo 2015 here in Madison, WI, and I was excited to attend. I’ve been going to the Expo every year since it began, and had purchased my tickets and registered for my lectures & class way back in June.

After spending the morning looking at the quilt show, and having some quality time shopping at the vendors, I was ready for my first afternoon lecture with Cathy Geier, called “Successful Landscapes”.

I had often admired her landscape quilts, and couldn’t wait to get her tips and see some of her beautiful quilts “in person”.

She gave a very informative PowerPoint presentation showing her process when creating her beautiful quilts–from her earlier quilts using squares, to her more recent quilts using strips.

Cathy’s latest book, “Lovely Landscape Quilts” has more information on her strip technique, which you can see in my favorite quilt–her landscape of Painted Rock.

Afterwards, we were treated to a trunk show of her beautiful pictorial and landscape quilts.

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I love his interpretation of Painted Rock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Such movement and depth in her color choices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Amazing background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She had brough so many breathtaking quilts to share with us.

You can see more of her amazing quilts at her website gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

If you ever get the chance to take a class or lecture from Cathy Geier, or see her quilts at a show, I highly recommend it.

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

 

My Second OBW (one block wonder) Top is Finished

My Second OBW (one block wonder) Top is Finished

I just had to quickly share with you a few photos of the finished OBW “Samba” quilt top mentioned in yesterday’s post…

I think adding the narrow inner border in that deep blue helped to tone it down a bit.  …don’t you?

I could have stopped there, but decided to use some of the leftover “Samba” fabric to use in the outer border.

It’s always fun (on a OBW) to see the original fabric somewhere on the quilt, whether it’s in the border or on the back.

I love the variety of kaleidoscopic designs the fabric created.

It was so much fun to make!  I’ve already purchased more fabric ( different fabrics of course) to make some more.

Hope you enjoyed seeing the finished top.  I still need some coordinating backing fabric to quilt & bind it to finish it up…but have a lot of projects to in the works right now, so will probably put this one in the “to be quilted” pile for now.

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts