We’ve come back from Festival of Quilts all fired up to make new work. I know Laura has a project on the go but she’s keeping the details secret at the moment – all I’ve seen is a pile of cut patchwork shapes on her instagram feed, so if you follow her you probably know as much as me! While we were at the show I had so much interest in some of my monoprinted fabrics that I couldn’t wait to make more as soon as I got home. I made a few fishy prints first of all.
You need plenty of imagination to visualise how this little piece will turn out – what you see here is far from the finished article. There will be more stitched fish shapes between the monoprinted ones and lots more hand painting to connect the separate elements. I always enjoy the challenge of taking diverse colours and shapes and making them relate to each other as a complete composition. My piecing of the quilt is usually very simple and where I have patches that appear abrupt where they join at the seam I aim to take elements from one patch across the seam to its neighbour. The frond print is an example of this – what you see here is probably only one quarter monoprint and three quarters stitched and painted. I am aware that the checkerboard strip on the left looks completely unconnected right now but I have plans for that – trust me. If it doesn’t go to plan I can always cut it off!
Here’s a closer look at one of the monoprinted fish. I used Golden Open Acrylics on a print plate and made the marks using a scrap of cloth wrapped around my fingertip. This technique produces really loose marks that are quite characterful. Finer detail could be created by drawing into the paint with the wrong end of a paintbrush or similar but I prefer to leave space for my quilting to do that. Once I have enough of the paint wiped from the plate I drop a piece of smooth cotton fabric over it and press lightly with my hands. Lifting the cloth reveals how every mark is transferred to the fabric.
All the quilting is worked free motion. I’m keeping the threads to just a couple of colours – olive green and teal. I’m using Sensa Green sustainable threads from Madeira and they are working brilliantly for free motion quilting on my Pfaff PowerQuilter machine. I wanted a closely worked background design that felt relevant to my fishy theme and decided little bubbles would satisfy that. I stitch them figure of eight style – it’s really easy to travel from one bubble to the next that way.
Here you can see how I’ve incorporated a couple of my favourite monoprinted frond shapes. These were originally inspired by fish skeletons seen on the banks of a river one January long ago when we travelled to Canada. I’ve used them many times in various incarnations in my fish series. Here they are meant to suggest seaweed floating underwater – a leafy underworld for my fish to inhabit. The seams of the piecing chopped right through the prints but as you can see I’ve begun to continue the motif by outlining it with stitch and then imagining it extending both up and down the body of the quilt. I’m beginning to paint into the empty frond shapes to match those of the print but when I complete the shapes of the monoprint I’m trying my best not to obliterate the subtlety of the printed mark completely.
I rarely mark lines for free motion quilting but here I have pencilled in a simple outline of another fish that will soon be stitched. I’ve used soft chalk pencil that will disappear as I quilt or maybe even before that if I don’t get back to my machine and get back to work!
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing how one of my little pieces is evolving. My work is always about a layering of techniques so although I have a pretty good idea of what I’m aiming for I always respond to the piece itself. It may take a different path from my original plan. There’s lots of work to do still but I’ll let you see how it turns out when I’m done!
You might enjoy these workshops...
Screenprint, Monoprint and Stitch
Learn how to create one-of-a-kind printed fabrics using a fabulous screen printing method with stencils, then overprint with monoprinting to add graphic marks. Laura will then guide you through planning piecing ideas in your sketchbook before sharing her tips for quilting the results.
Work with Laura to explore monoprinting methods including how to use paper stencils to print on fabric and paper. She’ll show you how to make a series of sequenced prints. Next work on a landscape design on fabric with a central scene and border design. Add stitching by hand and machine to complete your mini quilt.
Join Linda to use stencilling techniques on fabric to create a beautiful floral wall quilt. She’ll show you how to use paint sticks such as Markal to stencil your design to fabric for a painterly effect. Next she’ll talk you through how to approach the stitching to add detail and interest. There are two workshops in this collection.
Patchwork Portholes and Pockets
Learn how to create a circular opening that can be cleverly sewn into a patchwork project, think funky porthole that enables layering of colour with glimpses through to underneath layers, or a circular feature that can be added to a garment as a decorative or functional pocket. There is lots of creative potential with this fun method. There are three workshops in this collection.
Fast Piecing Techniques
Whether you’re new to patchwork or an avid piecer, we think you’ll find these three fast methods are essential. Learn how to quickly and efficiently sew some of the most useful blocks in patchwork and you’ll speed up your quiltmaking time no end! In this archive collection of three video workshops we’ll show you how to fast piece Half Square Triangles, Flying Geese and Tumbling Blocks with our favourite machine sewn methods.
In this archive collection of 3 videos Linda demonstrates a wide variety of creative techniques using stencilling to produce beautiful and unique designs. She describes her favourite products and explains every step of the process to make a really attractive wallhanging. Finally she explains the hows and whys of completing the work with machine quilting. Linda proves that you can achieve lots of very different results using just one stencil. All of the techniques she includes could be used in many different projects.
Creative Quilting Techniques
In this collection of four videos you’ll discover some of the techniques Linda and Laura use to introduce fascinating texture, colour and pattern to their quilts. You’ll see how they use basic utility stitches on their sewing machines in innovative and unpredictable ways and how hand worked embroidery stitches can be used to bring exciting, painterly colour effects to an art quilt. Forget free motion machine quilting and simple running stitches for a while – this is an unmissable collection of creative ideas that will increase your repertoire of art quilting techniques!
Still Life- Quick Drawing to Fabric Collage
Start with quick sketches, explore tone and draw with colour. Take what you’ve learnt to create a fabric collage with machine stitching. Linda and Laura will show you step by step how to record your chosen still life objects using graphite pencils. How to introduce colour with water soluble pencils and finally, how to translate the still life arrangement into a small textile piece using appliqué and both hand and machine stitch.
Linda looks to the traditional textiles of the Banjara for inspiration. Join her to look at some examples and to study the colours, techniques and patterns of these decorative and heavily stitched cloths. Using them as inspiration, Linda demonstrates how you can start your own stitched cloth in the Banjara style.