Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fireworks for July's Landscape Art Quilt

Here is the result of my Monthly Landscape Art Quilt Challenge and the 2015 Lovely Year of Finishes...Fireworks in July.
Fireworks in July (14" x 8")
Canada Day is the 1st of July. I must admit that I haven't braved the heat and the crowds to see the festivities and the fireworks on Parliament Hill in a few years. After my rather muted June landscape, I was ready for some colour and sparkle. Here's my journey.

Parliament before the appliqué
I found a couple of photos of Parliament and cut out the shape in a grey fabric. I put a black fabric behind it to make the grey stand out.

I did some thread sketching of the parliament building with grey thread on grey fabric, which, not surprisingly, didn't show up. I was, however, able to use the stitched outline as a guide for sewing with metallic thread in the bobbin.

Thread painting with metallic thread in the bobbin 
After starting over the sky on my last landscape art quilt, I was more careful with this one. I cut out the colours I wanted in long, wavy strips to blend them into each other. I didn't want to deal with the buildings or landscape around parliament, so I just made it black. It's great to be making a representation, and not trying to copy the real thing.

I've learned that in a landscape quilt, it's important to minimize the details and get to the essence of the image. If you're not sure what to cut out, just ask yourself "What am I really trying to show here?" In this instance, it was the parliament building, the sky and the fireworks. Nothing else was necessary.

Embroidered and beaded fireworks
Embroidered and beaded fireworks

I embroidered the fireworks using as inspiration my favourite embroidery book, The Beginner's Guide to Freestyle Embroidery by Christina Marsh. One of the projects actually includes fireworks. I used the shapes of the fireworks but not the same stitches. For the two largest fireworks, I appliquéd fabric as a background and then embroidered over them. I really like the glittering stars of the yellow firework.

I then FMQ by echoing the fireworks and following the curves of the sky.

The last step was beading the fireworks. I didn't have any mauve beads, but the ivory beads on the mauve fabric look mauve as they reflect the colour around them.

I used a new technique for finishing the art quilt. Instead of binding it I created a facing for it. Here's the link to the tutorial by Terry Aske. It worked out well. I'll probably keep using this technique whenever I don't want a border and binding.

Fireworks in July Landscape Art Quilt
I took some lovely pictures of the quilt one morning outside of the building at work. I thought I was finished, but I forgot something...the Canadian flag! I've looked for a couple of days, but I can't seem to find any small Canada flag pins. The flag will be at the top of Parliament as soon as I find one!

What I learned:

  • The wavy strips for the sky worked really well. I joined the strips using narrow ends. I learned a lot from my first attempt last month!
  • Using metallic thread in the bobbin is really easy and gives such a lovely result.
  •  I liked using a facing instead of binding the piece. It gives it a clean look. Thanks to Terry Aske for the tutorial.

What's coming next in the Monthly Landscape Art Quilt Challenge? You'll just have to come back and see!

Thanks for dropping by.

This post has been linked to A Lovely Year of Finishes, Fabric Tuesday at Quilt StoryWIP WednesdayLet's Bee Social, Free Motion Mavericks and Link-A-Finish Friday with Richard and Tanya Quilts. Check out everyone's work.


  1. Your art quilt turned out great! Thanks for explaining your process for creating it and some of the things that you learned along the way.

    1. Thanks! Writing about my process and what I learned makes me more aware, and likely to learn from my experience!

  2. This is such a helpful post for learning to make landscapes. I am guilty of trying to be too detailed, and then I just mess things up, so this is a good reminder to figure out the essence of the piece. Thanks.

    1. Hi Janine Marie. I find it easy to get caught up in the details. That's why the reminder is important. Thanks for your comment.

  3. It's great!! Thanks for sharing your process, too. Congrats on your finish.

    1. Hi Sandy, thanks for your comment. I'm happy with it, although I'm still looking for a flag pin :-)

  4. Hello Andree,

    What an enjoyable project! The bands of colour in the sky are really vibrant and dramatic, and must have been great fun working with embroidery threads and beads to get the colourful twinkly effect.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv

    1. Thanks Muv, I love your detailed comments (I want to learn from you!) Thanks for having the Free Motion Mavericks - it's a great link up and I like seeing everyone's work.


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