Window on My World – quilting and hand embroidery. I’m done!

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After hours of quilting and hand embroidery, I have finished my lanscape quilt. I am very pleased with the result. Hopefully when I look at it, I won’t find something that I want to change.

Each season has lots to look at – animals, plants, etc.  It really does look like my backyard.

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Winter / Midnight
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Spring / Sunrise

 

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Summer / Midday

 

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Autumn / Sunset

 

Some of the details:

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Our first dog, a German Shorthair Pointer named Striker, and some hand embroidered flowers.
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One of our first cats, Comet, who liked to climb trees, and some more flowers.
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Our yorkie, Duke, barking an our cat, Onyx.  Onyx is always trying to get up and away from him.
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Our oldest cat, Squigglez, who will be thirteen years old this summer, does enjoy wondering in the yard in the summertime.
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Having a heavily wooded yard and lots of plants, we have lots of wildlife that visit.

 

Window on My World – applique.

It has been a while since I have posted.  But, after the holidays were over, I returned to working on the landscape quilt for my wall.

After piecing the backgrounds, the next step was to consider what to applique onto each seasonal panel.  Since this wall quilt is meant to be a memory of my backyard, I wanted to include things in my yard. Some shapes were cut by hand – trees mainly.  The rest of the shapes were cut using my Cameo.
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Winter / Midnight

A few evergreen trees
An apple tree
Animals – deer, rabbit, cardinal and bird

 

 

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Spring / Sunrise

Apple and lilac trees
Trellis with bench swing
Another Rabbit
Family Pets – two of our cats – Squigglez and Onyx

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Summer / Midday

A few more trees
Trellis, sun
Duke, our Yorkie, barking at Onyx
Comet, one of our former cats, climbing a tree

 

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A few more trees in fall colors
Squirrel
Striker, our former German Shorthair Pointer

 

 

After taking the photos, I decided that I needed to add something in the foreground of the two center panels.  Since we actually have a fire pit in our backyard, I added one, split between the  two panels.  An Adirondack chair on either side of the fire pit completed the applique designs.

Next up, quilting and hand embroidery, should be finished soon.

Window on My World – landscape quilt background panels.

When designing the backgrounds for the panels of my quilt, I wanted each panel to be different. In doing this, I was hoping that I could enhance the imagery of each season and each time of day.

Winter / Midnight

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Starting with winter, I thought that strips of various shade of blue, navy and deep purple going across the sky might show the movement of a winter sky.

Then, I added snow in drifts for the ground.

 

 

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After sewing the snowdrifts, I decided that I did not like that the ground was different than the sky. So, off came the snow drifts.

New snow drifts were made of strips of white and grey fabric sewn to similar to the sky.

This I liked much better!

Spring / Sunrise

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For spring, I wanted the piecing to highlight the sunrise. So, the blue, yellow and orange fabrics were sewn to depict the rays of the sun.

And, to keep each panel looking unified, I decided that the ground should also be sewn to look like the rising sun was casting rays of light on the ground.

Summer / Midday

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For summer, I wanted the piecing to highlight the tranquility of summer when a slight breeze is blowing.  To achieve this, I pieced the various shades of blue with a slight slope away from the center of the quilt.  The ground was then pieced to echo  or mirror  the slope of the sky.

 

 

Autumn / Sunset

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For autumn, I also wanted the piecing to highlight the sun, this time as the sun goes down below the horizon.

Yellow, orange and  red fabrics were used for the sun with various shades of blue and purple for the sky. These fabrics were sewn in strips but with shifts to show the sun rays.

The ground was sewn similar with various shades of darker green. Grey fabric was used to show the set of steps to one side of the yard.

 

Next post will include the applique designs for these panels.

Dye Resists

When learning to dye fabrics, I recalled my teenage years when tie-dye was so popular.  Tie-dye is probably the best known form of a type of dyeing called resist-dyeing. So, I decided to investigate this category of techniques. What I found was fascinating to me.

Resist dyeing refers to traditional methods of dyeing fabrics to create patterns and has been widely used since antiquity.  The oldest example of resist dyeing was pieces of linen from Egyptian mummies and dates to the fourth century. The cloth was soaked in wax, scratched with a sharp tool, dyed with a mixture of blood and ashes, and then washed with hot water to remove the wax. The technique was also used in China during the T’ang dynasty as well as India, Japan and Africa.

These methods are used to “resist” or prevent the dye from reaching all of the cloth, thereby creating a unique pattern.  Common resists include wax, starch paste, tying or stitching.  The most well-known varieties are tie-dye and batik.

Traditional Batik:

The first technique I tried was traditional batik.  I love the look of batik fabrics and wanted to try to make my own.  But, after trying the technique, I think I will leave this form of resist dyeing to the wonderful craftsmen in Indonesia.  For a really good video on the process of batik – check out this Indonesian Batik Process video.
I found was that the tradition wax had a disagreeable odor, was difficult to get to melt properly for the intricate designs that I wanted to make and was very messy to remove from the fabric.  Perhaps I was too critical of my results, but I really wanted to find an easier way. Some day I may try low temperature Soy Wax for batik.

So, moving on to other techniques. ProChemical and Dharma Trading sell several starch resist – Potato Dextrin and Corn Dextrin amongst them.
Note: Potato and Corn Dextrin are not intended for immersion dye baths, as they are water soluble.

Potato Dextrin:

Potato Dextrin produces lace-like patterns and crackle lines, similar to batik.
Steps:

Combed Cotton, Potato Dextrin Resist, Green Dye

1) Potato Dextrin Paste.  Manufacturer’s directions state to bring 1 cup of water to boiling, slowly whisk in 1.25 cups of dextrin into the water and cool to about 80 degrees. Anyone who does much cooking knows that adding any type of starch to hot  water is very difficult – it simply clumps up too easily.  My first several attempts followed the manufacturer’s directions with successful results but plenty of frustration making the paste. So, I actually add the dextrin to cold water and then microwave for one minute.
2) Stretch fabric on a hard surface, which is covered with a thin piece of plastic. Tape fabric or secure with pins every ½ inch.
3) Squeegee a smooth layer of paste on the fabric. The paste thickness determines the amount of crackle. In general, the thinner the paste, the finer the crackle; the thicker the paste – the larger the crackle.
4) Allow the cloth to dry completely while it is still stretched. The fabric needs to stay very tight. Crackling takes place as the fabric dries. Depending upon the thickness, this can take up to two days. 5) Apply dye with a paint brush.
6) Cover the fabric loosely with plastic and batch for 24 hours.
7)  Rinse, wash with Blue Dawn and dry.

I used this technique to make some of the fabric for my Dyed Fabric quilt.  If you look closely, you can see that the small white squares between each of the blocks is actually white fabric with black crackle. And, the appliqued ribbon in the border of the quilt is the same crackle fabric.

Mini Quilt made to match my Dyed Fabric Quilt

 

 

Corn Dextrin:

Corn Dextrin is best for solid areas and lines. Many cool designs can be made by applying the corn dextrin with a squeegee, rubber stamps, stencils, spatulas, or drawing with a squeeze bottle.

1) Corn Dextrin Paste.  Similar to potato dextrin, I mix 1.5 cups of dextrin cold water, heat in the microwave for one minute and allow to cool to about 80 degrees.
2) Tape fabric to a hard surface covered with a thin piece of plastic.
3) Place a stencil on the fabric.  To stabilize the stencil and keep it from moving around I run a glue stick around the edge of the stencil before placing on the fabric.
4) Squeegee a smooth layer of paste onto the the stencil and fabric.
5) Remove the stencil.
6) Allow the cloth to dry completely while it is still stretched.
7) Apply dye with a paint brush or spray bottle
8) Cover the fabric loosely with plastic and batch for 24 hours.
7)  Rinse, wash with Blue Dawn and dry.

 

I have plans to use these fabrics in a bed runner.  But, it may be a while before I finish making all the fabrics for that.