Last year I made a little 20 x 30 cm riverside quilt as part of the Hockney Challenge.
Original Riverside Trees
Overall I was happy with it but, 18 months on and feeling more confident, I thought it would be a good exercise to revisit the design and make a larger version…….. Riverside Trees II. This quilt is 68 x 108 cm and I’ve aimed to give the scene more depth by placing forests in the background and a near side bank with dried grasses in the foreground.
The main tree line is applied with forests behind
The colour of the sky was too dominant first time round so I’ve made it subtle and gone for texture rather than colour this time. The trees are pretty much the same as previously but I felt the original version was too fussy so I’ve reduced their number from 7 to five and left off the smaller branches. I think this has created a stronger overall image.
Auditioning fabric for the fields and river bank
The lighter hand dyed fabric was chosen for the field and a chiffon scarf was distressed and used for the riverbank
The river is applied
Finished Riverside Trees II
With this one finished I’m going to concentrate on my sketch book over the next couple of weeks and work on some new designs. The latest quilt challenge to be drawn out of the hat at Cranwell is to produce a piece with the theme “a walk in the Black Forest” so that will be right up my street!
I’ve just completed a commissioned quilt, entitled Horncastle – Gateway to the Wolds, for the local branch of the WAW (Walkers are Welcome). The two characters in my design are based on the twins from the old Start-Rite children’s shoe advert, but in this case they are carrying backpacks and are walking in the Lincolnshire Wolds.
The old Start-Rite children’s shoe advert
After taking several photographs of the local landscape I chose the view which was taken just outside of Horncastle, with my back to the A158, looking across towards the Wolds and towards the village of West Ashby.
View of the Lincolnshire Wolds looking towards West Ashby
The 30 x 30 cm quilt combines several techniques including the use of Inktense pencils to draw and colour the background scenery. The twins are applique with 3D backpacks. The trees have vilene trunks and needle felted foliage created using the embellisher machine. The hedgerows were made from a lightweight scarf which was distressed using a heat gun while the stitching is a combination of hand and machine embroidery.
My preliminary sketch for the WAW quilt
Work in progress
I’m not a fan of borders so, as the brief was to include a border, I’ve painted it to make it an extension of the main image.
The finished quilt
This weekend the two Cranwell groups, Crafty Ladies & Cranwell Contemporary Textiles, held their first ever quilt show. I’ve been a member for just over a year and during that time have seen many wonderful pieces of work produced by the members but to actually see all of this work, and more, displayed together was amazing!
The show was split between two venues with the contemporary work by the CCTG in Cranwell village hall and the traditional quilts by Crafty Ladies on quilt stands and draped over the pews in the beautiful village church. The following photos show a selection of the quilts on display in the hall.
The next four photos are quilts made in response to our themed quarterly “challenges”.
Challenge Quilts….what Winter means to me
Challenge Quilts…..Flora & Fauna
Challenge Quilts….shape & colour
Challenge Quilts…..(left) Summer garden, (right) Poetry
Dedicated to St Andrew, Cranwell church originates circa the 10th century and it made a wonderful venue for the more traditional quilts…….
At the beginning of the Summer members of the Cranwell Group were all asked to submit ideas for future quilt challenges. Although not exactly in sync with the current season, the theme to be drawn out the hat for our latest challenge was “Summer Garden” and for this quilt we were asked to create a quilt with fabric scraps no larger than 3″.
I recently discovered Wendy Dolan’s book Layer, Paint and Stitch and particularly liked the heavily textured project that features on the front cover. I decided to use a similar method to create my Summer Garden quilt.
Layer Paint and Stitch by Wendy Dolan
I sketched out a rough design for the foreground on tracing paper before making a start on the base layer.
The base layer consists of forty eight 3″ squares of cotton fabric which I pinned to a thin vilene ground and roughly machined in place.
Next I added small pieces of different natural fabrics and some flower heads cut from lace and free machined these in place.
The scraps of fabric that make up the background of the quilt.
More texture was built up by adding flower stems, using a thick thread such as crochet cotton in the bobbin and sewing from the reverse side of the fabric. I found this a particularly useful tip as in the past if I have needed thick stitching I’ve either hand sewn or couched……this method is so much quicker and easier!
I began colouring the fabric with blue acrylic paint but wasn’t happy with the result so changed to procion dye for the grass and gave the sky a once over with the green to dull it down. When it had dried I began building up the foreground using sheers for the flower heads and wool for the stems.
I’ve done a lot more work to it since this last photo so will post an update within a couple of days once it’s completely finished.
Three Tall Trees 30″ x 40″
My Three Tall Trees quilt is finally finished……I think. I haven’t put as much detail into this 30″ x 40″ quilt as I did the smaller 30cm x 40cm version, however there is the possibility that at some point before this is handed in for the David Hockney Challenge I just might add to it.
30cm x 40cm version
After attending the Eco Dyeing workshop at Artvango I came home all fired up and eager to start my own experiments with plants and dyeing. My first attempt wasn’t a huge success but I did manage to make a few marks and dye some fabric which I then incorporated in a quilt for the Cranwell Contemporary Textiles challenge “Flora & Fauna”. In this challenge we had to include “stamping and printing” so Eco printing was the obvious choice combined with some really nice dragon fly stamps from Papermania which I have had for ages but hardly used.
My two Eco dyed cotton fabrics
The fabric on the left of the photo was covered with eucalyptus leaves, tiny ferns and onion skins before being wrapped around a copper pipe and boiled. When I turned off the heat I added a tiny pinch of ferrous sulphate and left it to cool.
The fabric on the right turned out very grey (very, very grey!) after being tied around a large rusty drill bit before boiling. The leaves included a vine of some sort which grows over from my neighbours garden and some miniature rose leaves. Although the colour was a lot darker than I had envisaged at least some of the leaves can be seen.
Close up of my Eco dyed cotton fabric showing marks left by the leaves
I decided to combine these two fabrics with one of those I dyed at Artvango and these would form the background for the quilt.
Three strips of Eco dyed fabric which form the background of my Flora & Fauna quilt
I played around with the layout adding stamped Papermania dragonflies and a selection of leaves which I had dried and preserved with glyserine. I preserved a whole load of these leaves two years ago for an Autumnal workshop I did with adults with special needs. They were so beautiful I couldn’t bare to throw them away and this seemed like the ideal opportunity to use some of them.
Trying different layouts incorporating dried leaves and stamped dragonflies
In keeping with the “natural” theme of this quilt it didn’t feel right to use my machine so I decided to do all the stitching by hand.
The finished quilt
This is the finished Flora & Fauna quilt, complete with frayed edges and wonky stitching.
Last month I became a member of another sewing group, the Lindsey Patchworkers, who meet twice a month at the Conoco Rooms in Louth. It’s a very varied group with some ladies preferring the traditional style of patchwork and quilting, while others are keen to work in a much freer and more contemporary style.
At today’s session we got to view an interesting collection of work entitled The Handbag Collection. Created by The Miniature Quilt Group, one of five Specialist Groups that form part of The Quilters Guild, ironically this is smallest of the specialist groups with 140 members nationwide.
The minute detail in these pieces is impossible to appreciate from photos. I couldn’t imagine working on such a minuscule scale and I’m sure tweezers must play an important part! The techniques used in these miniatures are as varied as those for full size quilts but in order to achieve the necessary accuracy at such a small scale members often use foundation piecing or English paper piecing. I believe all of the quilts we saw were no more than 30cm on any one edge, some being much smaller….incredible!
According to the group the most successful fabrics for miniature quilts tend to be the finer cotton fabrics and it naturally follows that fine threads and needles, hand or machine, are also used. For the sandwich layer the group recommend a very low loft wadding or one that can be peeled into thin layers.
Further details about the Miniature Quilt Group can be found on The Quilters Guild website www.quiltersguild.org.uk
My latest art quilt has been made in response to a challenge set by the Cranwell Contemporary Stitch group. The challenge was set in January and the theme was “what Winter means to me”. Being a new member meant I didn’t have much time to lose as the deadline for handing in the finished work was going to be the second week in April.
Since signing up for the David Hockney Challenge last year I have become very interested in depicting trees in my work and all through the Winter I have been noticing trees like I have never done before. With this in mind I knew immediately that I wanted to create another tree themed quilt so took my camera on a walk through the woods in Woodhall Spa. This is a beautiful spot and I came home with dozens of images which will provide me with inspiration for a long time to come!
The image I chose to work with is the one shown below.
I began by painting a very pale grey sky and a grey/green backdrop for the woodland using Procion dyes. I bought a starter kit of Procion dyes when I visited Artvango and this was my first attempt at working with them.
The next step was to machine sew the background trees in shades of green and cream thread. I then added torn strips of green sheer fabric and a little black netting to create shadows. Silver embroidery thread was hand stitched to make the tall thin silver trees in the mid-ground.
At this stage I machined the thin branches of the trees, added grey sheer fabric in patches over the top and held it in place with a criss-cross of hand stitches branches.
The woodland floor is hand stitched silver thread over dyed muslin which has been roughly cut and layered with small snippets of gold organza.
The three main tree trunks were formed from iron-on Vilene which was coloured with Procion and bark detail was added using Inktense pencils.
The finished piece measures 15″ x 20″ and unlike my last “tree” quilt, which was done with free machine stitching, all of the machine work on this one was done with the feed dogs up using a walking foot.
Yesterday afternoon saw the 3rd meeting of LINQS, the Lincolnshire Quilters group, which was formed last year with the aim of creating “inspired” quilts to form the basis of a travelling exhibition. Our first “inspirational” theme is the work of David Hockney. The brief is to take influence from his work however you want to do it, whether that be colour, shape, subject matter, etc. it’s up to the individual. Gill set herself the task of reproducing, as accurately as possible, a specific Hockney painting using textiles, threads, beads and found materials. The finished quilt is shown below with a photo of Hockney’s 18th VN painting. Isn’t it beautiful?
Click here for more photos and info about LINQS.
My Riverside Trees art quilt is now finished and just needs to be edged. This 30cm x 40cm quilt was done as trial ahead of making a larger version at 30″ x 40″ for the David Hockney Challenge. It’s just as well I had the dummy run as there are a few things I have learnt while doing this project.
Firstly, I must start using a sketchbook…..I tend to launch straight into something and make it up as I go along. The sky would have been different, and I would have been happier with it, if I had planned it before I started.
Secondly, I naively thought that using iron-on Vilene would mean I didn’t have to sew the trees in place…….yeah, right! The more I handled the quilt the looser the trees became so they all had to stitched down. This leads me on to the third thing I learnt which is “remember to breath” while free machine stitching!
The fourth thing I found was that organza and net, although looking very effective when layered, can also be problematic as loose fibres sometimes migrate between the layers and are very fiddly to remove. My fabrics were simply laid in place, pinned and stitched, I’m guessing that if I had ironed them onto Bondaweb before stitching I could have avoided this happening.
The finished quilt