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.
Something from nothing…
Today I just had to share my latest ‘crafting’ discovery …. water-soluble fabric stabilizer. You may already be aware of it and have probably used it, but I only stumbled across this product last weekend while browsing youtube. I was looking for fresh ideas to use up scraps of fabric and during my search I came across a lady called Jan Tillet making bowls from left over snippets of fabric and threads. Jan’s work is very beautiful and this struck me as a really exciting way to recycle odd scraps and a great way of making something from nothing! The scraps are sandwiched between two layers of water-soluble fabric stabilizer and then machine sewn all over using a free motion embroidery foot, being sure to cross the stitching over and over again to link it all together. Once the piece has been covered in stitching the stabilizer is all but rinsed away in cold water and the newly created fabric is draped over a bowl and left to dry. The aim is to leave a little residue of stabilizer your work so it will stiffen and retain its shape when dry.
I gathered up various scraps and had a go, experimenting with different textures and colours. Some peices have been put to one side to be worked into future projects while others went on to become bowls. When making the bowls I found my work needed much more stiffening (maybe I didn’t leave enough residue) so I experimented with spray starch and the far cheaper option of PVA . I am a big fan of PVA and always have loads to hand, I found that soaking my work in it, before drying on the lowest heat setting in the oven for 20 mins, gave it a much firmer finish which I was happy with.
One of the experimental pieces.
Colourful lacy bowl made from fabric scraps.
So far I have made three bowls, the first was a colourful one using snippets of organza, chiffon and ribbon which looks really pretty and lacy. I put a tea light in it for the photo (above) but I wouldn’t recommend using it this way as it could pose a fire hazard! The other two bowls were both made from hessian, one in its natural state and the other bleached with Milton’s and mixed with strands of tapestry wool. I particularly like the bleached effect and, as this is the largest bowl, it has made a great bread basket.
There are endless possibilities for using this technique and the great thing is that every piece will be unique.
- Bread Basket