Saturday, November 19, 2011

Constructing "Surprise in the Midst of Drought"

My little quilt's construction process was basically so simple, that I almost hesitate to write a process post.  But you know me--I love posting, so I'm going to write about it, despite the fact that likely no one will learn anything new from my describing the process!  As I did before, 
I'll post some pictures and discuss the construction in the captions.

I started with this photo.  Noting the colors of the dead grasses and weeds,
I chose chiefly batik fabrics from my stash that echoed those colors.  I had
no lavender for the flowers, so I bought a fat quarter of lavender batik
and also some yellow glass beads.  I luckily had a wonderful leaf-print
batik for the leaves.

After adhering fusible (I used Wonder Under) to fabric pieces cut in 3" or 4" strips, I cut
them again into random widths and lengths.  Then I began
laying them out on the background fabric (which was a leftover hand-painted
piece from another quilt).  I had cut the background over-sized and adhered
it to some fusible fleece.  Once I had my "weeds" in place, I fused them, using a
fairly hot iron and parchment paper laid over, to protect my iron from the glue.

Next I cut free-hand, just using the photograph as a rough guide, the leaves from the
leaf-printed batik fabric, which had also been prepared with the Wonder Under.  These, too, were fused down.

I couched some gold yarn here and there on the quilt to add another color and
some texture or dimension.  I purchased a couching or braiding foot for
my Bernina at the Houston Quilt Festival, anticipating this step.  It worked
beautifully for this regular wool yarn.

I loved the look of this "hairy" yarn, but soon learned NOT to couch
it with my couching foot, but to pull the loose strands to
one side as I zig-zagged over the yarn to couch it down, using one
of my open toed feet.

I hand-sewed the yellow glass beads to the purple centers of the lavender flowers and then
appliqued the flowers down with a zig-zag stitch.  The leaves were
similarly appliqued.

I backed the quilt with a batik fabric which picked up
the colors of the quilt, and I used this same
fabric for the binding, applied in the conventional
way, except that I decided not to miter the corners.
As you can see, the quilt was quilted with the embroidery
floss and an embroidery running stitch BEFORE backing and binding,
as I didn't want to have to hand-stitch through three layers, especially
with one of the layers being the hard-to-penetrate batik.

Here you can see that I used some olive green floss here and
there, in addition to the light brown.

I love the look of hand-stitching with floss on art quilts--a technique
used occasionally in the inspirational TWELVE BY TWELVE
book.  My arthritic hands find it easier to stitch using this
running stitch than with tiny conventional quilting stitches.