Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Art Quilt Four

Lake Michigan Beach Boys

Today I completed my fourth art quilt.  Like all of my art quilts, this one began in a class at Quilting Adventures in New Braunfels, Texas, just this past March.  I was in a class taught by Marcia Stein.  As soon as I read the flyer about Marcia, and saw one of her pictorial quilts--the well-known one of the gondoliers from the back, in their striped shirts, I signed up for her class.  I had long wanted to turn a beloved photo that my daughter had taken five years before, of her two sons and her sister's, on the beach at Lake Michigan.  The three little boys have their backs to the camera.

Marcia proved to as delightful a teacher as the three others I had studied under at QA.  Humorous and laid-back, Marcia was a good sport about the fact that none of us chose to render our quilts using her meticulous method of turned-edge, machine stitched, appliques!  Some of us, veterans of QA, had learned Esterita Austin's raw-edge, fused applique method.  We figured we would more likely LEAVE with a quilt, if we used that method!

Before appliqueing, we had traced on acetate the photograph we wanted to use, and then had it enlarged to whatever size quilt we wanted to make.  We then traced the shapes from the cartoon onto freezer paper, which we ironed onto fabric and then cut out.

I went on and added my 3rd grandson
to Lo's quilt for this
Constantly circulating among her students, Marcia proved to be an invaluable advisor.  The mood in the classroom was fun and relaxed.  Another Esterita Austin veteran, Lo, pulled a hilarious prank on me when she unpinned two of my appliques from my design wall (while I was in a far corner working on the third boy!) and attached it to her quilt.  I returned and exclaimed, "OH!  WHERE are my two guys?"  The class erupted in laughter, and Marcia turned this event into her opening anecdote on the night she gave her talk and trunk show to the entire group at QA.  We students thought that Marcia's humorous talk was the best of all the teachers' speeches, and ALL were wonderful.

I used my favorite fusible product, Misty Fuse ,to fuse the clothes on the boys and then their bodies to the background.  I did follow Marcia's method of appliqueing, using a tiny applique stitch in the color of the applique, stitching around all edges.  This necessitated changing thread colors often, but no matter; I love the way it looks.

Marcia also had a unique method of creating shadows.  She taught up to use darker shades of tulle, fused on, with our choice of fusible, to wherever shadows appeared on the bodies of our subjects or on the background.

Because I was working on this quilt right before our local quilt show, I couldn't hire Judy Steward to do the machine quilting for me.  She was chair of the show and so snowed under!  I don't enjoy free motion quilting and am not adept, but I bit the bullet and plunged ahead.  I was reasonably pleased with the quilting on the sand areas and the water.  I wanted puffy cloud shapes, though, for the sky, and that defeated me.  So I resorted to hand-quilting these, after cutting out clouds from freezer paper, ironing them onto the sky, and stitching around them.

Marcia's method of binding a quilt was new to me, and one that I plan to use again.  She likes to use the same fabrics as that which abuts the edges of the quilt.  Her excellent, clear instructions, and detailed close-up photographs in her book PICTURE THIS! proved to be invaluable.    I had six different fabrics to use in the binding, and while not an easy chore, it was made doable, thanks to Marcia.   I am most pleased with this, my fourth art quilt.

Some close-ups of the quilt are below:

I enjoyed doing the thread sketching on grandson #3's hair!

This and the one above show the binding, which
blends into the adjoining fabric.

This shows the combo machine and hand quilting.
And it also illustrates the shadowing with tulle.

This is the original photo on which the quilt was based.
I couldn't make the grandson at the left shirt's blue, as Marcia
advised that it blended too much into the lake water!
But the red-striped shirt I did use brightened up the quilt!

1 comment:

  1. Well you DID IT! You combined hand and machine stitching, shadowed w tulle and bound edges with matching fabric, thread stitched and free motion quilted. Quite an accomplishment and a lot of work but so much fun for the person who gets to keep it over the years!