Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Woven Landscape - Part 1

Did you know you can weave the background of your art quilt with strips of fabric? That's exactly what I did in this project.

Before discovering quilting, I used to be a weaver. I absolutely adored creating cloth, but it's such a long, long process. Since learning to quilt, I've always wanted to somehow incorporate weaving into my quilting. I now know that there are all kinds of ways of doing this - and this is my first attempt.

Cover of Quilting Arts Magazine - Dec 2015 / Jan 2016
Quilting Arts Magazine
My background is based on Jude Hill's article in Quilting Arts Magazine (Dec 2015/ Jan 2016). It's actually a reprint of the article from the Aug/ Sept 2010 issue, to celebrate Quilting Art Magazine's 15th anniversary. Happy Birthday!

I decided that I would create the woven background using scraps. I chose primarily neutral strips left-over from my Bali Back Flip quilt and my Orange Peel Table Runner.

I picked the warp strips (the vertical pieces) and taped them to the top edge of my work table to keep them in place. I then wove the weft strips (the horizontal pieces) as closely as possible to ensure that there were no holes in my background. I very carefully slid the woven background onto a piece of beige Kona solid that was slightly larger than the background. Once it was to my liking, I pinned the edges of the background to the solid fabric and stitched them together. It was flimsy to work with, but I took my time and stitched very carefully. I only had to pick out and re-stitch one weft strip that had bunching up.

The beginning of the process
Although I knew that I wanted to weave the background, I didn't know where I was going with this project. Jude Hill's examples in the article are all quite abstract. I tried that, but I'm not quite ready. It seems that my art quilt has to represent something specific and I'm still thinking too literally to add blocks and shapes that have no meaning to me. So, I did what I seem to be doing well - I made a landscape art quilt!

Again, digging into my scraps, I added the beautiful fussy-cut sun and a sky. It's my favourite part. The foreground of flowers and then narrow strips of different teal fabric where the warp and weft meet were the hardest to work on. The strips were supposed to represent trees, but they looked more like tree trunks. I wanted to add something to them, but didn't want to hide the background. I spent more time agonizing over the trees than any other part of the quilt.

Experimenting with the trees
The Trees

In my first attempt at the trees, I used wool and other fibres to create the tree tops. I then covered the tops with green organza to keep everything together. I embroidered around the fibres. After the first tree, I was pretty sure that I didn't like it, but since nothing better came to mind, I kept going. That's the great thing about working with textile - almost everything can be undone, or covered up!

While making up my mind about the trees, I added a few embroidered flowers, knowing that I could finish them later.

At this point, I took a photo of the landscape and printed it up in both colour and black and white. By then, I was a little discouraged because the only part I liked about the piece was the sky. I loved that sky so much, that I wasn't going to give up!

New and improved trees!
Still not knowing what to do, I went on Pinterest to check out different styles of quilted or embroidered trees. Finally I was inspired by my own piece, The Lone Tree.
The Lone Tree

It couldn't be the same because I was only working with the trunk, and I didn't want to make the trees too wide.

I drew a few options for the trees on the printed photos. Once I had an idea of what I wanted, I cut fabric that matched the tree trunks as well as organza for the 5 trees. I used two different colours of organza to give the trees variety and stitched around each of the trees.

At this point, I took another picture to see what I needed to add as well as to figure out how I was going to quilt and finish the project.

What I learned:

  • Taking photos of the project so far has really helped me "see" the piece differently. It's also great to be able to draw onto the image to try something out.
  • The woven background was flimsy to work with, but adding the Kona solid fabric underneath added stability - but also thickness. More about that later.
  • So far I like the woven background. It's adding a bit of whimsy to a landscape that I hope is fun and whimsical!

Please come back soon to see how the project ends! I'll be finishing this piece soon since it will be shown along with some of my other landscape art quilts on April 8 and 9, 2016 at the Fibre Fling 5 Show & Sale with the Out of the Box Artists Group.

I will also be participating in the Art with Fabric blog hop. I'm really excited. This is the first time that I've been asked to participate in something like this on the internet. I see this as a milestone in my blogging life!

So, I hope you'll join me, Alida (our host from Tweety Loves Quilting and MOP Monday Linky Party) and about 20 other quilters on this blog hop. It's from May 9th to 13th, 2016. Here's the link if you want more information.

Linky Parties: Oh Scrap!, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Fabric Tuesday

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