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

Project Quilting Last Challenge for 2016 #PQ7

Project Quilting Last Challenge for 2016 #PQ7

#PQ7 There’s one last challenge this year for Kim Lapacek’s PROJECT QUILTING (2016).  My goal this winter was to make a quilt or quilted item for each challenge.  And I’ve just made it!

When I heard the challenge was “A Goose in the Monkey Wrench”, I immediately thought about creating my own version of a large “Monkey Wrench” block  by inserting “Flying Geese” into and maybe around it.  I opened up my Electric Quilt (EQ7) and found the “Monkey Wrench” block, then inserted Flying Geese around the structure of the block.  It needed more, so I played around with adding flying geese in the  border, turning and twisting them until I found an interesting pattern.

PQ EQ7

This is what I came up with (above) after several trials and quite  few different colorings.  I’ve always wanted to do flying geese in gradated colors….now’s my chance.

PQ EQ7a

EQ7 allows me to print my drawing as a paper piecing pattern so I can print it on my favorite foundations—Carol Doak’s Foundation Paper.  After gathering some of my batiks and hand dyed fabrics in the colors I needed, I started paper piecing the center of the mini art quilt

PQ EQ7b

What I love about paper piecing is the precise points.  I could never do that with regular cutting and piecing.  Some people can…but not me.

PQ EQ7c

Here’s what it looked like after the center was finished and I started on the “flying geese” border—yikes, there’s a lot of little pieces!  Looks overwhelming.

PQ EQ7d

The only thing I don’t like about paper piecing is peeling all the little bits of paper off the back of the quilt top after it’s sewn together…but a good movie, and it goes quickly.

PQ EQ7e

Here (above) is the mini art quilt–quilted, bound, and finished.  It’s now for sale in my Etsy Shop here.

PQ EQ7f

I like the curves that were created by the flying geese around the border—reminds me of ribbons.

PQ EQ7j

I chose to do a simple stitch by the ditch (not “in the ditch”) quilting.

PQ EQ7h

Here’s the finished quilt (above), and the EQ7 rendition (below).    PQ EQ7

The colors are different, but it did turn out very much like my EQ7 rendition.

So the Challenge is finished for this year.  I want to send a special “thank you” to Kim Lapacek (and her mother) for all the hard work to make PROJECT QUILTING a reality.

I hope you’ll stop by Kim’s “Persimons Dream” website to vote for your favorite entries.  The voting begins at noon Sunday, March 20 and ends March 25.

I got the chance to talk with Kim at the Sun Prairie Quilt Show just a few weeks ago–she’s so much fun (that’s her on the right).  Catch her website to find out more about the quilts shown in the background.

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UPDATE:  The voting has ended and mine came in at second place (out of 32 entries).  Thanks so much for your votes!  It was a lot of fun.  Looking forward to next year!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING,
AND

HAPPY NATIONAL QUILTING DAY!!!

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.

FallSwing1

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.

FallSwing3

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

FallSwing2

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