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.


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.



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.


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


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.


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


After everything was fused down, I quilted and thread painted with different colors of thread.  My favorite thread is Aurifil. They have so many luscious colors to choose from.

Here’s the result after quilting and binding.



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,



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

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.


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



Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!


Mulberry Patch Quilts

Dying Fabric for the Lake: Part 2

After the last few dying results not being exactly what I wanted, I thought I’d it try using a different preparation technique with each of two fabrics.

I neatly fan-folded a fat quarter of PFD cotton fabric, pressing each crease with my hot iron and then loosely hand tacked it all together with cotton thread and a loose running stitch).


I gathered the other fat quarter by hand sewing running stitches and pulling them…


Using my Procion Dye mixed in hot water, and adding it to a soda ash/water solution, I put each fabric into a large plastic container and poured the dye mixture over them, letting them set for at least four hours.

Here were the results:

Results: fan folding, ironing creases, & loose running stitch

Results: fan folding, ironing creases, stitching

Results: hand-stitching & gathering at ends

Results: hand-stitching & gathering at ends


They’re interesting, but way too dark.  And the gathering is very hard to get out.  So I tried once again, using the folding technique–this time using rubber bands instead of tacking stitch–with a lighter dye bath (not so heavy on the blue dye powder).


Second try–in the lighter dye bath


I was much happier with this result:


Results: lighter dye bath & folding


And I think it will work for my Lake Washington water fabric…


So, with that done…

I’m starting to put the landscape quilt together…


I’ll post again, as the quilt evolves…

Happy Quilting!


Mulberry Patch Quilts

The Process…

Creating a landscape or art quilt is a little intimidating…because I’m never quite sure how it will turn out.  Sometimes I get “stuck” trying to think of an idea, or imaging the fabrics I’ll use.  So I tend to procrastinate instead and make another baby quilt (much easier because it’s so much more predictable).

So, to get inspired,  I went through a bunch of my photos one night last week and pulled up several that just might make a good landscape project.  So, I decided to start with this one…


I took this photo last fall when we were taking a hike at Aztalan State Park, near Lake Mills, in Wisconsin.  There was something about the bright reds in the foreground, and the depth, that really appealed to me…

Using the photo as a starting point, I started pulling out all my fabrics.  I have bins full of fabrics–some that I’ve hand-dyed over the years, some purchased, … all sorted by color.  It takes hours to go through them and  pick out ones might work–and makes quite a mess!  But it’s fun.

Confetti 1

Then comes cutting.  After laying down the background fabrics (I found just the right blue/greysky & hand dyed green for the grass), I decided to cut up “confetti” with my rotary cutter for all the fabrics I’ll use for the bushes and tree leaves.

Here’s the tray full of little bits of fabrics in a range of colors…

Confetti 2

After that, I started sprinkling the fabric “confetti” onto the background fabrics, a little at a time–moving them around with a sharp stiletto.  You have to be sure to add lights and darks to make the landscape come to life and look more like the real thing.

Stiletto 1

Stiletto 2

After it’s just so…I have to cover the area I’m working with a mesh fabric (tulle) and pin it heavily before taking it to the sewing machine–so all the little pieces don’t fall out…

Once there, I set up my machine for free-motion quilting with cotton variegated thread (I love the Sulky Blendables) and quilt through all the layers to make sure all those little pieces stay where I want them to!

Sewing 1

Each area (the foreground, the tree and bushes on the left, and the tree on the right) have to be “sprinkled” and sewed separately.

Aztalan State Park has stockades that were put up (like telephone poles) to simulate what the area was like when the Mississippians lived there 900-1200 AD.  To create the detail, I decided to cut a strip of fabric into tiny logs and place each one by hand .  I think it made a difference.

Cutting LogsPlacing logs

Here’s a close-up of cutting the fabric “logs” and placing them on the fabric background.


And a close-up of the trees…see the “confetti” under the mesh tulle?


Photo of the free-hand quilting over the leaf fabric in the foreground.

Clean up

Have to keep my cleaning wand close at hand!

It’s a messy job…so many little bits of fabric get everywhere!

After several days of working at it, it was finally finished.

Closeup Tree

But I felt something was missing …  So I added some flying geese.

After binding, hand stitching the back, adding a label and a hanging sleeve, it was finally finished…

Full photo

This will be uploaded for sale at my Etsy Shop sometime this week-end!

Come see it at Mulberry Patch Quilts.