Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Journal quilts

I made a promise to myself last month that I would make a journal quilt in February. After hearing Sarah Ann Smith at the PTQG members' meeting and seeing her inspiring quilts, I made my commitment.

Although Sarah Ann suggested an 8x11 size, I decided on an eighteen inch square. This one falls a little short of that because I didn't have a large enough piece of black fabric. One day at work when things were slow, I doodled on a piece of paper and came up with this design. I love feathers and thought I might make this the theme for my monthly journal quilts. Once I painted our bedroom a soft pink and made stencils for all different kinds of feathers. I stenciled them all over the walls and slanting ceiling in a slightly darker beigey-pink color.

I may not use feathers as my theme, but I definitely want to do wreaths. The 18 inch square will be perfect for that.

First I cut the blue round piece and then made bias tape with the yellow fabric and appliqued it around the raw edges of the blue. After that I sketched some feathers on paper. Then I played with painting feathers on the black fabric. I finally decided to fuse white fabric to the background and then paint over that.

I really like the combination of fusible applique and painting. I have had fabric paints and some paint sticks for several years now. That is what I find interesting about these journal quilts; you get to try out a new technique or tool in a small quilt. I didn't commit a lot of time or money in this piece, but it was one of the most exciting pieces I have done in a long time! Since it was so small and "unimportant", I felt free to make "mistakes" and just express myself.

I decided to add some sparkle with beads, just a few clear beads along the length of the feather. Again, I have had these beads for a long time, but have I ever used them? No.

I didn't know if stitching through the fused fabric and paint would be possible, but it went very easily. I did not use free motion, just sewed fairly slowly and really like the results. This is what the back looks like.

Weasley gives his meow of approval. I used a heavy white and light blue variegated thread, like a pearl cotton, for the stitching on the blue. The quilting is like clamshell quilting, but I used my fingertip for a pattern. I wanted an overlapping feather-like pattern.

The straight stitch quilting on the black was done with a variegated brown thread. When it was done, I thought it needed a little something extra so I added the red fringe, which I really like. It adds texture, movement, and a real punch of color. Now I have all the primary colors, so of course it looks right!

I've thought about adding more paint to this piece, such as shading the feathers in the blue center. Also, shading the squares in the black background might be interesting. However, I decided to stop as the piece felt finished when I added the red fringe. I may keep these painting ideas for my next journal month!

1 comment:

SueR said...

What an interesting piece, Beth! I am amazed how real the feathers look in the photos. Looks like a project you had fun doing.