When you have an idea in mind for your art quilt, often combining techniques you’ve learned along the way and a little experimentation will help you reach your goal.
My goal for this small landscape art quilt was to recreate a scene of our Capitol shown in the distance through the autumn leaves. The fall season is my favorite, and so beautiful at the UW-Madison with the variety of trees and colors. Having worked in the heart of this beautiful campus for many years, I’ve had many opportunities to view it.
So how do I begin to reach this goal…where do I start? I cut a base of scrim and a thin wool batting about 8×10” and drew a 6×8” border, giving me a background with border parameters.
I knew I needed to begin with two important elements for the background … the Capitol and the perfect hand-dyed fabric for the sky. For the Capitol I used photo-transfer. And for the sky I auditioned several fabrics, until I narrowed it down to four. (Note: The “leaves” in the photos were left over from another project—just used temporarily to me help decide.
When I was experimenting with dying cotton fabric with Procion dye a few years ago, I made lots of fabrics that work nicely for sky and water. It’s great to have that stash on hand!
I liked the sky fabrics in the two bottom photos the most. I felt they had more depth and interest. So I made two. Why not? It’ll give me a chance to experiment more with my stitching and color choices for leaves & thread.
I found several colors of Aurifil and Sulky threads to “thread paint” texture and detail into the building and sky. Shades of grey blend nicely.
Now for the tress and autumn leaves. First I experimented by cutting individual leaves to fuse in larger chunks, but I didn’t like the look (sorry, I forgot to take a photo). So instead I opted to use the “confetti” technique by cutting small “confetti like” pieces of fabric and placing them directly on the background, covering it with tulle, pinning, and then stitching it down to keep in it place.
I rotary cut dozens of batik fabrics in fall colors and started planning out where the leaves would go. A tweezers helps with this process. …don’t sneeze!!
Once I was satisfied with the placement, I covered it with white tulle (to keep it lighter), pinned it together, and auditioned some of my Sulky and Aurifil threads to machine quilt it. Note the birch tree trunks added underneath.
The free-hand machine quilting not only keeps the little pieces of fabric together, but it adds texture and color.
I love the final look with the birch tree trunks under the stitched leaves. Now I need to remove (cut away) the excess tulle. And add a couple of borders, some backing, batting, and finally on the hanging triangles and binding.
Here’s a quick video of most of the final process:
Whenever possible, I like to chose a fabric for the backing that’s interesting or fun. For one of them I found a fabric I’d experimented with marbleized on earlier, and for the other some fabric that gradated from green to brown. I like to sew folded triangles into the upper corners to make it easy to hang on the wall. (See the back of the quilt towards
the end of the video.)
Both art quilts are now in my Mulberry Patch Quilts Etsy Shop.
As always, I hope you enjoyed seeing the process. And that you’ll have fun creating your own favorite scene and experiment with different techniques along the way.
Jane, Mulberry Patch Quilts