Sunday, June 11, 2017

Playing and Trying New Techniques

Appliquéd English Paper Pieced flag
I've enjoyed making Canada 150 quilts, but following other people's patterns and doing traditional quilting for any length of time is difficult for me. I need time to create and play with fabrics without a pattern or clear idea of where I'm going. So I decided to create a Canada 150 art quilt with some of the techniques I learned during Hillary Rice's surface design workshop.

As you may have read in my post, several weeks ago I took a two-day surface design and embellishment course with Hillary Rice. It was great to learn new techniques from this wonderful lady, but I felt unsettled. We sampled many techniques and were supposed to create an art quilt using these, but even as I started two pieces I couldn't get into it. In retrospect, I think I needed a theme or a vision for the art quilts, especially abstract ones.

This piece started with English Paper Piecing. Using a diamond template that I bought at the Festival of Quilts show and freezer paper, I made some diamond pieces with Canada 150 fabric.

Do you recall that I've said, many times, that I'm accuracy challenged? Well the diamonds were not accurate but I did manage to put these nine pieces together as a symbol of a Canadian flag.

Details of the sheer overlay and encasement, and thread painting
For the background, I used some beautiful blue eco-printed fabric with maple leaves that I bought at Fibre Fling 6. I added a strip of text fabric in the middle and then started playing. Here are the steps and the different techniques I used from the workshop. After appliquéing the English paper pieced flag, I used sheer overlay for the centre maple leaf. I placed the pink tulle over the leaf and free motion stitched around the leaf in a bright red Rainbows thread by Superior Threads. I left an opening because I was hoping to find something to place within it. This is called encasement - and I finally found a little cutting tool that made snow flakes - how perfect!

At the top left, the fabric suggested Northern Lights. I used shiny Madeira Polyneon and Gütermann machine embroidery thread to do free motion embroidery. I really like the effect but as I look at the image here, I'm going to make the northern lights bigger.

Suggesting regions of Canada with appliqué
Under the flag, you can see the couching of knobby gold yarn. I followed the design on the fabric to outline some mountains. I attached the couching by hand and then, between the two couched lines I added some sparking sheer overlay. To give the impression of snow, I embroidered three of the mountain peeks.

At the bottom centre, again following the outline of the fabric, I added several layers of organza and embroidered around them. I know that I should have waited to add the fish, but I was too impatient. Besides, I just free motion quilted around them!

Once this was completed, I had no idea how to add elements that would suggest various parts of Canada. I went into my landscaping stash and found some fabrics that I thought might work.

I used the crafted appliqué method and ironed the fabric onto the background. I then free motioned appliquéd the fabric and added thread painting.

Canada 150 art quilt incorporating some of the techniques learned 

I don't think that there's much left to finish this piece. I need to work on the northern lights and then probably free motion quilt designs in the background that will bring all of the appliquéd pieces together. I'm not sure if I'll be able to add more techniques I learned to this piece. There are still 11 techniques to go! Maybe this will encourage me to keep working on my class pieces!

What I learned
  • I didn't realise how many techniques we had covered until I started going over my notes and looking at my samples. Although I knew some of the techniques, there were many that I've wanted to try out but didn't really have the courage to do so by myself.
  • I would love to add encaustic to this piece - it's using melted crayons to add colour. It was my all time favourite technique of the workshop, followed closely by metal appliqué. More about these when I finally use them :-) 

Related Links


  1. Very interesting piece! I love projects that so beautifully display many different techniques. Very inspiring, thanks for sharing!!

  2. What a fun piece, not only in the techniques you used, but how you arranged them. Thank you so much for sharing this on Midweek Makers

  3. Very nice! Thanks for linking to Finished or Not Friday!


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