Saturday, February 22, 2014

Colorado FROM My Mind

Colorado From My Mind

In the fall of 2012 friend Carolyn and I took a Quilting Adventures workshop with quilt artist Sue Benner.  We had a wonderful time, enjoyed the other art quilters, and loved being in a class with such an accomplished artist.  She was teaching a class called "Sewing the Land:  Fused, Collaged, and Quilted Landscapes."  Sue's quilts were spectacular, assembled from a myriad of strips of all sorts of fabrics--cottons, silks, even polyesters.  She encouraged recycling fabrics by buying clothes from thrift stores and cutting them up to use in quilts.  (Shades of our grandmothers!)

For some reason I had a very difficult time "pulling off" this method.  In my quilt above, the SKY is the only section of the quilt that employs the true "Sue Benner" technique that she was teaching in that class.  After that, I confess I abandoned the strips and assembled my quilt as I have done in the past with other scenic quilts, cutting larger pieces of fabric that corresponded roughly to the elements in a photo.

When I came home over a year ago, I was not happy with my quilt, so I rolled it up, stashed it in a closet, and really forgot about it.  Recently, however, I ran across this quilt.  When I pinned it up on my design wall, I saw it with different eyes.  I could see that it had real potential!  So I kept three-quarters of the quilt, substituting, however, the four fabric shapes that you can see at the bottom for other fabrics that seemed out of place to me.

Today, having just finished my March 15th Material Mavens quilt, I was ready to start a new project, so I got back to work on this one.  I completed the fusing, squared it up, and then began free motion quilting.  Now, I am not comfortable free-motioning, not at all, but I am determined to get better at this technique.

One of my many quilting books suggested using a Superior Threads monofilament thread called Mono.Poly, which I had recently purchased.  Too, it suggested the size needle to use (#10), leaving feed dogs up, and putting the length and width of the stitch at 0.  I did all of this.  I have to admit that leaving those "dogs" up gave me a sense of more control and seemed to work for me as well or better than lowering them.  I followed the contours of the land forms--the mountains, the foreground, etc.--and then followed the contours of the myriad of shapes used in the sky.

I am calling this quilt "Colorado from my Mind" because though this quilt began as one based on a photo taken in Colorado, the new additions were not based on that photo and came totally from my imagination.

This quilt is not yet bound. I am contemplating using Benner's method of multiple zig-zag stitching along the edges, or I might bind it conventionally.  For now, I am happy looking at it pinned to my wall, almost but not quite complete!

Close-up of the free motion quilting.  Not perfect, but I am proud of myself for quilting an entire quilt in this manner for the first time--except for the small 12"x12" quilts I make for the Material Mavens group.  Now if only I can make myself practice this stitching daily!