Combining Art Quilting Techniques

Combining Art Quilting Techniques

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:

Here’s a one minute video showing my 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.

Happy Quilting!

Jane, Mulberry Patch Quilts

Project Quilting Challenge—Confetti

Project Quilting Challenge—Confetti


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.


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


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


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


Then “sprinkle” and position the confetti leaves.


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


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


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.


I liked the look of circles.



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!


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


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.


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)…


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!


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!


Mulberry Patch Quilts

Autumn Trees with Fence Mini Quilt Wall Hanging

Autumn Trees with Fence Mini Quilt Wall Hanging

I’ll tell you more about the Madison Quilt Expo in the next post, but in the meantime I’ve been wanting to try making a mini quilt wall hanging using the confetti style I enjoy so much.

So I went into my stash of my hand dyed fabrics and went crazy with the rotary cutter—making lots and lots of “confetti”.

Then I chose a piece of hand dyed fabric that reminded me of an autumn sky and cut it a little bigger than 5 x 7, layered batting & backing and then began “painting” with the confetti bits, sprinkling and positioning them until they reminded me of October—leaves still on the trees but leaves scattered all over the ground as well.  (Won’t be too long before we see this here in Wisconsin!…it’s going down to 38 degrees this coming Saturday night! Yikes!)

The bits and pieces of fabric are encased in tulle and quilted down.  The extra tulle is trimmed away. And the background and trees are then quilted.


Detail is added by thread painting a fence and ropes to the swing.  Doesn’t it make you want to be there?  (I’d love to have a swing in my back yard—but my pine trees just don’t work for hanging swings from their limbs.)

I wanted to try a different way to finish the art quilt—so I zig-zag edged stitched yarn to the outside edges and then hand tacked it directly to a “gallery wrapped” canvas that has burlap on it’s surface.


Here you can see the stitching is done, and you can see the texture of the burlap—which reminded me of fall.


This last photo shows how the burlap wraps around the thick frame, so it’s ready to hang up (or put in a wooden frame).

And it’s now up on my Etsy Shop.

Next time I’ll post about what I learned in some of the Madison Quilt Expo classes I attended…I promise.



Mulberry Patch Quilts

Autumn Leaves Art Quilt Series #2

Autumn Leaves Art Quilt Series #2

I’m working on the second in the “Autumn Leaves” series for the McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts.

It begins with one of my hand-dyed turquoise blue fabrics as a background.

This time I sandwiched the top and backing fabrics with low-loft Pellon batting, and a layer of craft interfacing (Pellon 809 Deco-Bond) before beginning.









Next I added more colors of shredded hand-dyed and batik fabrics to “paint with” and started sprinkling them on.  It takes a long time to adjust them just so.  I find a tweezers (or in this case a dental tool) works much better than fingers!









It’s a very messy process.  The little bits of shredded fabric get everywhere!  I find I have to clean out the sewing machine often…









…and keep a lint roller handy!









After layering tulle netting on top and free-hand quilting the layers together (catching the bits of fabric in between) with several colors of variegated thread, I add more branches, quilt again–  And finally bind the edges–using the backing technique I put in my earlier post.









I like the depth the different colors give the piece.















I’d like to do a piece specific to the McGregor – Marquette area…I’m searching for some of our hiking trips to Effigy Mounds National Park to see if there’s something inspiring.

Until next time…



Mulberry Patch Quilts