Saturday, May 16, 2009

Challenge piece revealed

Last fall, at the beginning of our guild year, we were issued a challenge by our guild President called O' Canada. We were to create a piece that said what Canada means to us and other than size the only stipulation was that it had to have a maple leaf somewhere on the front. As you may have noticed I am slightly odd and wondered if I could take the challenge literally by putting a real maple leaf on this quilt. I began by collecting and preserving leaves while I tried to think of how I was going to have it represent "my Canada"..............this is the result.

I began by painting fabric for the desired sky background (see the March 17th post)
On stabilizer, I drew a tree shape that I found pleasing, simply laid various fabric shapes on top and did just a bit of thread painting to represent the rough edges of bark & to help hold down the fabric's raw edge. I then combined my tree with a sheer fabric, stitched right sides together, left a small opening and turned the whole thing right side out. This gave a wonderful 3D effect. (not sure you can really see it in the photo)
The tree was stitched on by hand once the piece was fully machine quilted. The finishing touch was to hand stitch 15 thread painted leaves in place.

Look closely and you will see that 3 of the leaves are fabric on which you can read phrases such as Raking leaves, Shoveling snow, Warm summer nights, Spring planting & most importantly the word HOME. All of the others are actual leaves, some simply stitched under a layer of tulle while others have had multiple layers of thread stitching applied.

Here is what I did to the leaves.First I cut some fairly small bits of the same fabric I used for the
tree then scattered them over a leaf that was lying on a piece of
water soluble stabilizer, sandwiched it using another piece of stabilizer, set my stitch length to 0, dropped the feed dogs and then had a blast stitching all over.

Once I had as much or little thread as I wanted the leaf was then submerged in water and Voila.

I did try stitching a leaf with no fabric at all which works as well, however, you get a very delicate result and I wanted something with a little more body.

I just want to make a quick note about the thread that I used. As you might imagine some of these leaves consumed a great deal of thread which is yet another reason why I love the Coats Dual Duty threads. You get the same result as many of those expensive variegated threads on the market for a fraction of the cost. I pick them up at my local Fabricland store

I am quite interested to see just how these leaves will hold up over time.
Last Thursday, at our regular Guild meeting our oh so talented members revealed their challenge pieces. The works were fabulous and you will be able to see a slide show of them soon as they will be posted on the London Friendship Quilter's Blog.
I am delighted that my challenge piece titled, Reality Show was awarded 2nd place


Bunny said...

Your Canada quilt is spectacular. Thanks for telling us how you did this. This is a work of art. Now I am off to check out the slide show.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

This is wonderful!!! Especially seeing how the real leaf was thread painted into the fiber leaf.
For me, here in the States, my challenge would have had the much beleaguered Totonto Maple Leafs on it....(sigh!)
This is just exceptional work. Makes me think.
Great job!!!

blushing rose said...

Holy hunk-a-munga! This is absolutely awesome ... you fascinate me how you are doing this. Great job!

TTFN ~ Marydon

Debbie said...

Great job! I never would have thought to use real leaves in such a creative way.

ilovebabyquilts said...

Very impressive!!! So beautiful, it will be a joy on the wall for years to come.

sewnut said...

Great result. Your experimenting is very inspiring.

Quilter Kathy said...

Amazing quilt!
I really enjoyed reading the details of how you constructed each step...thanks for that!
And the quilting is fantastic too!

Bluebell said...

Well! I really don't know what to say this is absolutely beautiful work you must have the patience of a saint and a lot of passion, this is truly a work of art. Well Done.

Marianne Bos said...

What a great idea and great results! This sounds like soo much fun I will have to try this myself. Love the finished quilt but then I just love trees!

Finishing Lines by K.Sperino said...


Idle hands, empty brain ... said...

Congrats! Your creativity is inspiring and IMHO should have won 1st place!

Copyright Jill Buckley