In an earlier post I mentioned the workshop I took at the Creative Stitches & Crafting Alive! show called Texture with Textiles. Since there were a lot of photos (to help me remember some of what was illustrated techniques were) I decided to make up posts just for the session. This session was taught by Carola from Carola’s Quilt shop in Gibsons, BC, and she started the session with a landscape quilt she made from one of her classes in her shop. She also showed off a number of other projects and talked a bit about each, and the different techniques she used to make them.
Landscape quilt – background and elements
It’s not a great photo – but basically there are six layers to the landscape – with a large yellow sun and a tree over the sun – and then a stream of leaves blowing off the tree and across the landscape. The sky is heavily beaded, and other parts of the quilt are also embellished a great deal.
The instructor had a really great technique to make the curved seams of the landscape. Basically with the curves, you would have to baste the curve seam allowance, press under the seam allowance, remove the basting stitch, and then top-stitch/applique the fabric down. The instructor’s method was sort of the same steps – just getting twice as much done at once!
- First, get two fabrics (they don’t even have to be the ones that will be side-by-side) and put them right-sides-together, sewing a gentle curving line at least 1/4″ away from one edge. Use wash-away thread in the bobbin for this (that part is really important…).
- Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ inch.
- Press the seam using a completely dry iron.
- Turn the fabrics right-side-out (so it’s a two-sided thing with one straight edge and one curved edge.
- Press the seam using a dry iron.
- THEN.. once the seam is pressed, press again with a steam iron – this will dissolve the wash-away thread. The result – two fabrics with their curves pressed under in one step!
Across the sky (coming from the sun, under the branches of the tree, and into the sky) was an orange silk ribbon swirl, which on the sky was beaded and sequined (though it wasn’t on the sun area).
The three-dimensional leaf – the centre “vein” sewn about half to 2/3 up. The leaves on the tree were made double-sided by fusing two different leaf-coloured fabrics together. The edges weren’t sewn at all- so this isn’t a technique to use with something that will be washed. She illustrated how she made the leaves as well, making them three-dimensional by stitching a seam down the centre of the leaf, but not all the way. This way the leaves could lay flat, curl, fold, etc… She also talked about using a very fine polyester thread (rather than monofilament nylon thread) as (nearly) ‘invisible’ thread to attach the leaves and for other elements intended to not be seen.
Also on the tree and other areas of the quilt (like where leaves had ‘piled up’ were silk cocoons. I saw these at the last show I was at from a few of the vendors, but this time around I didn’t see any. (Mind you, I also wasn’t specifically looking for them.) You can see a little bit here how the leaf edges have already started to fray just a tiny bit. Also here, the silk cocoon has a little silk-cocoon cap on it. It’s kind of cute, but not really my personal style. Some of the silk cocoons have beads coming off them like a little tassel.
Tree and bark
Carola showed that she used the chenille method for making the ‘bark’ on the tree. With the curved branches, some of the ‘bark’ is on the bias, while other parts are straight – so different parts of the tree are fraying more than others.
Here is an example of how the chenille is created – click the image for a larger version of the photo.
Basically you layer a number of fabrics and then slice through the top ones, exposing the colours of the fabrics underneath. In this case there is a patterned fabric on the bottom, then a red, then a yellow, a light green and finally the top fabric – a darker green.
In the example of the bark on the tree, she used an orange fabric at the bottom by the looks of things (I don’t actually remember from the example in person) then a medium brown, and finally a dark brown as the top fabric. At the beginning of her project she intended the tree to be a cedar tree (more below about that) but then the tree was adapted to be something a bit different.
The fabric frays when you cut it – though you can also use a nail brush or something else that irritates the fibers to accelerate the fraying. Cutting the fabrics on the bias will lead to less fraying, while more fraying will occur if the fabrics are on the straight of grain.
The moss in the tree was originally intended to be the branches of a cedar tree – but Carola said that it was just taking too long and she switched up her plan (largely due to impatience). Instead what she had worked on for the boughs became moss for the tree. These were made by first tracing a real cedar ‘leaf’, and then tracing that onto water-soluble stabilizer.
From there she used a quilting-weight thread to trace the design (doubling-up the stabilizer) with thread two, three, and four times. The example to the right shows the leaf stitched onto stabilizer, and then when the stabilizer is washed away, what the result looks like.
Other projects that Carola showed off included a mosaic-tile type of quilt which was pretty cute, a black-based quilt with lots of rectangles, a sunflower quilt (taught by one of her students) and a few others. I’ve written the posts, but they won’t be posted up for a few days – so stay tuned! (If you try to click the links before I post them.. they won’t work – you’ll just have to come back!)