Mad City Mini Mosaic Quilt For the Project Quilting Challenge: Hometown Proud

Mad City Mini Mosaic Quilt For the Project Quilting Challenge: Hometown Proud

It’s the middle of winter up here in Wisconsin, and cabin fever makes us do some wacky things. Waaaay back in the freezing February of 1979, the victorious Pail & Shovel party leaders fulfilled their student campaign promise to bring wackiness back to the UW-Madison campus. They built the head, crown, and torch of Lady Liberty and assembled it on top of the frozen ice on Lake Mendota. What a site! It created the illusion that the Statue of Liberty was rising out of (or sinking into) our frozen lake. It was a pretty amazing.

Since then, our Lady Liberty has suffered a fire, vandalism, and the effects of aging, only showing up (with a lot of reconstruction) a few winters over the years. So to get a glimpse of her on the frozen lake is pretty awesome. And really lifts your spirits in the dreaded cold post-holiday winter up here.

I think it was around February 2009, when the Hoofers (a UW student organization) took on the task of re-assembling it, that our Lady Liberty gloriously appeared again, not far from where I worked on the UW campus. So, during one of our lunch breaks on a beautiful cold but sunny day, , my co-worker and I just had to hike down to the lake, walk out onto the ice, and see it up close. Awesome!

Day One: When I heard this week’s Project Quilting challenge was “Hometown Proud”, I knew just what I was going to create! I brought up my Google file of photos of that day and found one to use as my inspiration!

Nothing says “Mad-Town Madison” and hometown pride better (except maybe the 1,000 pink flamingos on Bascom Hill in the springtime…LOL!)

I’ve been experimenting with a fabric mosaic technique (see my earlier blog post), so got out my stash of batiks in as many shades of blues and grays that I could find, and cut them up into 3/8th inch squares to fill in my sketch of our Lady Liberty.

To add a bit more realism to the scene, I cut silhouettes of a photographer and friend out of the darkest blue batik I could find, and decided to create the crown of the statue with fabrics cut to shape too, rather than using just squares.

Day Two: in the photos above all the bits of fabric have been fused down onto a white background (note the parchment paper to save my iron from a sticky mess). Then I added a layer of tulle over the top of all the fabric pieces to help keep them in place while machine quilting.

Next up…layering it on top of the batting & backing, and adding a border or two. I think I may get this project done in time to link it up for the contest! Yay!

Day Three: It took a lot of fabric auditioning time to find the right borders from my fabric stash, but I finally found something I liked.

Next came machine quilting. I wanted to emphasize the tiles by quilting between them, but also quilt in the sculpted face of the statue with grey thread.

In the photo above I’m going back and forth over the facial features with grey thread and free motion quilting,

Day Four: After adding the binding and hanging corners and hand sewing the binding to the back, I felt it still needed a bit more definition between the statue and the background.  So I went over some of the stitches with black thread, giving it a bit more depth…

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I think the black really made the statute’s features show up from a distance…

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And the black helped define the statue against the ice and sky backgrounds…

Here’s some photos of the finished fabric mosaic…

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A closeup of the “ice”

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And last but not least, the photo I’m going to uplink to the First Challenge of the Project Quilting Season 9…

MadCity Lady Liberty Lake Mendota

MadCity Lady Liberty Lake Mendota

Voting begins Sunday, January 15th after noon.  I hope you’ll stop by and vote for your favorites (of course, I’m hoping one of your favorites will be mine).  🙂

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

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Making a Mosaic With Fabric

Making a Mosaic With Fabric

I was looking through my Quilting Arts magazines and found an article by Cheryl Lynch where she shared her technique to make mini mosaic quilts.

I’ve always been drawn to mosaics, whether they’re made in glass, tile, paint, or fabric. It’s something about their detail I guess…so I was intrigued with the idea of making a mosaic pattern out of fabric.

After a little searching, I found her Etsy shop online and decided the best way to learn her technique was to purchase one of her kits, and the cutting template.

Photo of mosaic quilting kit

It arrived fast, and I was so excited to get started. Her kit included the instructions, lots and lots of batik fabric squares (to cut up for the “tiles”), a sheet of Steam a Seam II, tulle, a light batik for the “grout”, and full size pattern. It was hard choosing which of her darling patterns to try, but I decided on the bicycle pattern (I love bicycling). The plastic slotted template I bought in addition to her kit helps in cutting the 3/8″ square “tiles” with your rotary cutter. I tried doing it with a regular rotary ruler, and you can do it–but believe me, the slotted specialized template makes it so much easier.

The first step is to cut the variety of batik fabrics (by color) into tiny tiles, and organize them by color. Variety is the key. Batiks really help…not only do they provide the variation, the color permeates through to the back of the fabric so there’s no “wrong side”…so you never have to worry which side is up!

After sliding her master pattern under a sheet of Steam a Seam II (with one sticky exposed and facing side up) I secured them with thumbtacks to a foam core base. Using the pattern underneath as my guide, I placed each individual fabric square with a tweezers on top of the base following the outline of the pattern and then filled each section in…being sure to leave a little space in between each “tile” to let the fabric “grout” show through (the light batik fabric is added later and will show through these spaces).

It was a bit time-consuming, BUT I actually found the process relaxing and almost therapeutic and satisfying …kind of like putting a puzzle together or coloring in a coloring book. I also enjoyed the fact that it was an easy project to work on for a while, step away to do other things, and then come back and continue.

Isn’t it amazing how much progress you can make on a project (whether it’s sewing, quilting, or even cleaning a closet)… if you can carve out 20 minutes here and there throughout your day?

The next step was covering it with parchment (to protect the iron) and fusing it to the light batik “grout” fabric. Then layering it on top of a quilt sandwich (batting & backing) and adding a piece of light-colored tulle before adding the 2 narrow borders and machine quilting.

It’s hard deciding on the borders (see photos above)! But you know, I don’t think you can make a bad choice when you’re auditioning fabrics for your borders. You intuitively know when something really isn’t working. And when I came down to the last few choices…I think any of them would have worked. It’s just a matter of going with your gut, …so I finally decided on a grey batik and a medium brown batik–both from my stash.

Next up was machine quilting through all the layers. You could free motion quilt, but for this piece I was able to follow the grout lines pretty easily using my walking foot. I found a cotton Aurafil thread in a matching color and outlined the main bicycle, then continued along the horizontal lines of the background.

To finish up, I added a couple of folded squares (triangles) to the top corners of the back of the mini quilt for easy hanging with a thin wooden dowel. For more info on how to do that, see my earlier blog here. And finished it off with matching binding.

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I hope you’ll give mini mosaic quilting a try.  I can’ wait to start a new one using my own design.  (Or if you’d rather purchase this finished art quilt, it’s now for sale in my Etsy Shop.)

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

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

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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

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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.

Until then, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

And the Winning Border Is….

Thanks for all your comments.  I appreciate your valuable input.

In the end, it seemed the “votes” were 50/50–about half of you liked the light batik, and about half of you preferred the green hand dyed fabric for the  border.

It was a hard decision—although I think either choice would have been fine in the end.  I wish I had made two iris art quilts so I could have used both borders!

IrisEtsy4…after much deliberation…

I thought the light batik contained too much purple (you might not have been able to see it in the photos)—and it clashed a bit with the deeper reds and pinks in the iris.  The green hand dyed fabric seemed to continue the grass and foliage theme.  Green always looks so good in nature surrounding the flowers that pop here and there in the garden…don’t you think?

So… ta da!  

I went with the green this time.

 

 

To create the border, I first folded four 1-1/4” strips of the batik in half and pressed them.

I ❤ my new iron!

And laid the folded strips against the four sides of the center—raw edges together–and basted it in place.

Next I cut four strips of the green hand-dyed fabric about 2-1/2” wide, and added them to the sides with 1/4″ seams & pressed them out

Then added them to the top and bottom and pressed them out too.

Using a free-motion foot on my Bernina, I free-motion quilted a vine with leaves running around the new border and then added a 1-1/2″ single fold binding in a deep green batik to finish it off.

I like to add corner hangers to my smaller art quilts (see this earlier blog for directions), so I can insert a wooden dowel for easy hanging.

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It’s now for sale at my Mulberry Patch Quilts Etsy Site

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Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts