If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you’ll know I’ve been busy making a series of quilts for our exhibition at Festival of Quilts in August. The first set of work features moths – to me they represent memories and fleeting thoughts. I’ve had so many emails about them that I thought I’d post a little more information about the progress I’ve made so far.
This quilt top is a digital print created by layering 3 images – a photo of a moth, a photo of one of my hand pieced hexagon quilts and a page of text from an old book about moths and butterflies. I created the image using ProCreate on my iPad and it was then printed on a wide format printer. The system uses fibre reactive dyes which can be discharged………let the fun begin!
Now I know it’s controversial but I often use household bleach rather than discharge paste. It’s readily available, inexpensive and easy to apply. You can see how the bleached text looks on a fairly dark part of the print in the image above. I painted it on with a synthetic brush – bleach would have destroyed natural fibre brushes!
It’s interesting to see how the bleach has reacted with the brighter colours of the print to leave a ghost image faintly visible.
And this shows the text bleached out of the black fabric I’ve added as the border around the digital print. Not all fabrics will bleach successfully and some will react to discharge paste but not to bleach so you need to sample before diving into the quilt top itself! I always recommend sampling by touching a small dab of the product to the selvedge edge. Bleach will begin to take the colour very quickly if it is going to work – discharge paste has to dry before being ironed to remove colour. If you’ve never used discharge paste before just follow the instructions on the packaging. If you opt for bleach it’s vital to rinse it completely out of the fabric with copious amounts of water and then machine wash with detergent to make sure none remains in the cloth. I do this as soon as the bleach has dried enough so that it won’t transfer to other parts of the fabric accidentally. Always work in a well ventilated room or preferably out of doors and don’t use discharge technique at all if you have breathing issues as it produces unpleasant fumes!
I mentioned that I was working in a series on the same theme – this is another of the moth quilts at a more complete stage. You can see how I’ve hand quilted the hexagons to emphasise the shapes. I’m using Cotona 30 threads from Madeira and the smallest between needle I can manage to thread. Small needles make for small stitches I find! I don’t usually mark the fabric before stitching but the hexagons had disappeared on the dark wingtip so I used a chalk pencil to show me where to quilt. The chalk marks will soon fade to nothing as the quilt is handled.
Other parts of the quilt have been free motion quilted with Madeira Aeroquilt on my Pfaff machine. I like to mix the patterns up to vary the density of the stitching and add visual interest. The feathery type pattern creates direction and movement and symbolises flight. The mosaic like tesserae shapes are a reference to the scales of the moth’s wings.
It’s fascinating to see how the same caramel coloured quilting thread looks so different on the pale borders than it does on the black fabric!
So, I’m still in the thick of lots of quilting with these – with luck and a fair wind they’ll be ready for Festival this summer! Thanks for reading!
Bye for now – Linda