Monday, November 30, 2015

Fall Tree Project

Fall Tree project
Although I'm finally posting my finished Fall Tree Project, it has been completed for a couple of weeks. I think that it's the best work I've done to date. This project is not my own creation since I used a pattern and took Elaine Qhehl's workshop. It is, however my adaptation and I'm really impressed! I know that doesn't sound very humble, but I'm surprised by how well it turned out given the changes I made to the original project.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, adding the leaves was time consuming and an little challenging. I really wanted to get it "right". As I looked at the trees changing colours this fall, I finally figured out that there is no "right" way, since changing leaves don't following only one pattern.

Sometimes they changed mostly at the tips, or where the sun kissed them the most. At other times, it seemed to be all over the place. I also noticed that although a tree might be changing predominantly to red, there were still hints of yellow and orange. And of course, there were usually touches of green here and there.

Elaine Qhehl's original tree
Elaine Qhehl's original tree
Since this is my representation of a tree changing colours in the fall, I'll admit that to have done it "right", the tree should have had maple leaves. Around Ottawa, Ontario, that seems to be the only type of tree this size, that would have red leaves. However, since I've never been able to draw a maple leaf (as Canadians we try since it's on our flag!) that wasn't even an option. So here it is - my representation!

Unfortunately my photos' colours are inconsistent. I was hoping to take a photo of the quilt near the burning bush in my back yard, but the leaves fell the day before the photo shoot. All that was left on the tree after the blustery day were the berries. It really was fall.

Here's a recap of the project. If you want more details see the posts, Creating a Tree and Tree Project Almost Finished.
Creating the tree trunk
1. Creating the tree trunk
2. Attaching the trunk to the background

4. Blocking, cutting and quilting
3. Adding the leaves
What I learned:
  • Quilting around the leaves was the best strategy and it worked. It made the leaves pop.
  • The tree trunk required a lot of quilting to keep it flat.
  • I was nervous about using only one colour of thread to FMQ around the leaves but it looks just fine.
  • I wanted to bind the quilt but I didn't like the look. I ended up creating a facing using Terry Aske's tutorial. The images above were taken before I added the facing, but it came out great.

Fall Tree by the burning bush

It took me so long to finish this project that I've already started two new landscape art quilts. You may have seen the beginning of the first one, Mountainview Workshop in my last blog. I'm also creating a quilt to accompany some vignettes that I'm writing for my Memories Into Story course. This will be a true multi-media piece that will incorporate landscape art quilt with writing. I'm looking forward to presenting it soon.

I have linked to the following linky parties: MOP MondayMonday Making, Main Crush Monday, Fabric Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, Link-A-Finish Friday, Fabric Frenzy Friday and Free Motion Mavericks

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Mountainscape Workshop

Another Landscape Art Quilt for the Challenge? You bet!

This Remembrance Day, our guild offered a workshop with quilter Hilary Rice. We worked on a mountainscape quilt full of curves. It was great fun! Hilary has created her own patterns and teaches the technique based on Vikki Pignatelli's Crazy Curves Technique.

From a lovely kit of hand-dyed fabrics purchased from Hilary, we made our own mountainscape quilt. It took me most of the day to put the quilt together. It's now pinned and ready to sew.

Mountainscape quilt pinned and ready to sew

The next step is to sew the pieces together with a blanket or hem stitch, using invisible thread. At the workshop I tried out my Kenmore's hem stitch but it really wasn't very good. I'm sure that my new-to-me Jag (everyone needs to name her sewing machine!) will be able to do the job. It won't be for a few days since I'm currently working on free motion quilting a table runner.

Here's our pattern with the sky pinned in place. The technique is fairly simple, especially when you use a pattern (I'm so used to just making it up as I go that the thought of using a pattern is becoming a novelty.) 
Sky attached with pins
The first thing I did was copy the pattern onto freezer paper. I then placed it on foundation fabric, which in my case was white Kona cotton. I cut the first pattern piece from the freezer paper, without touching the foundation. I then ironed the freezer paper onto my sky fabric. I cut that first piece, adding a 1/4 inch seam allowance. 

The tricky part is then to replace it onto the foundation. The first piece is easy because it's all raw edges, but it changes as the next pieces are added. After cutting out and ironing the freezer paper onto the next fabric, I finger pressed the seam allowance of the fabric that overlaps the piece above it. The raw edge of the fabric is then placed under the next piece (the one below that's still on freezer paper), and place the finger pressed over the sky fabric above it. That's when all the pins come in. I then pinned that fabric where the fold meets the piece above it. 
Pinned project with possible embellishment!
That's essentially the process. When a curve is very pronounced, you clip the folded seam allowance. If you want to learn the process and don't have access to Hilary's workshop, apparently Vikki's book explains the process very well. 

As you sew the fabric pieces down with the blanket or hem stitch, you can add tulle, organza or tuffs of yarn. After that, the mountainscape is ready to be sandwiched and quilted.

I'm sure that I'll be doing some cool FMQ and embellishing my mountainscape. I can't imagine doing it any other way...that's my favourite part!

Linked at Can I get a Whoop Whoop?, Monday Making, Fabric Tuesday, Main Crush Monday, Design Wall 

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Tree Project Almost Finished

I must admit that I'm a little behind on my Landscape Art Quilt Challenge. My Landscape Art Quilt project for September has now become the project for September, October and November. This makes sense since this one is at least 3 times the size of my usual landscape quilts (that's my justification and I'm sticking with it!)
Tree trunk before the leaves
Tree trunk before the leaves

I originally thought it could be almost finished by the end of September. NOT!!! It turns out that there were many, many leaves to cut, place and stitch. Besides, you can't rush a work of art :-)

I'm very happy to say that it's coming along nicely. I took photos of it a few days ago and since then I've finished adding and sewing on the leaves at the top of the tree. Last night I cut both the backing fabric and the batting. I'm really hoping to start quilting it tonight.

The real challenge will be blocking and cutting it. I know that there are quite a few leaves that will get chopped off. It's going to break my heart, but that's quilting for you.

Fall tree almost finished
At times it was painful to add all of these leaves, but after doing a few branches, it was very encouraging. As you can see, I chose to do my tree in early fall. I spent a lot of time looking at trees to see how they change colours. It really is often one section at a time. Also, a tree with predominantly red leaves will still have quite a few yellow and orange leaves.

I'm really starting to learn to notice things in nature. I've always "seen" it, but now it's not just appreciating the beauty of it, but also analyzing what I see. How one part may change, but not the other, or how light affects it all. Fascinating! I guess that's how artists see. I never thought that would happen to me.

As I mentioned previously, this project is a UFO (UnFinished Object) based on a course I took with Elaine Qhehl, called Branching Out.

What I learned:

  • Smaller landscape quilts are much easier to make - and finish. It will be a beauty though.
  • Next time, I hope to remember to block the project with tape or something like it so that I have a better idea of where to stop.
  • It's easier to be encouraged once a few branches have been completed.
Linky Parties: Please check out the following links and see what everyone is doing!
Quilt Story, Let's be Social, WIP Wednesday, My Quilt Infatuation - Needle and Thread Thursday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop?Link-A-Finish FridayFort Worth Fabric Studio Blog