So today, I had the urge to work on something that wasn't a block and was small and freeform, and used some of the rusted paper I bought at the Knit & Stitch show and which let me experiment, maybe for some future project. I decided that, as one of my groups has been invited to show a set of challenge pieces at Hever Quilt Show 2008, I might mess around with some ideas for that. (OK, it's not until September, I know, but might as well get a head start). The challenge theme is forest and I have the idea to do loads and loads of fused trees ("forest") on some sort of hand-dyed background, with lots of machine stitching. I actually have several kind of funky ideas along these lines, which I'm sure you'll see more of later, but for today, I thought I'd just play with the basic idea to see if a)it looked ok and b)I could stand doing it for a whole piece. So here's what I came up with - it's 9x9, a size picked entirely because I happened to have a nice frame in that size and a piece of hand-dyed fabric which suited. And because it was small (the challenge piece will be much bigger - probably about 36-40" square or thereabouts - might be rectangular). And what about a) and b)? Well, I think it looks fine - more or less as I imagined, and my circles got better as I added trees. And b) - could I stand doing it for a whole piece - well, as long as I got a good head start and didn't end up having to do the whole piece in the space of a week or two, yes! The idea I have floating around at the moment involves 4 sections about 18-20" square, so that would make working on it in pieces that much easier.
Anyway. Thought it might be interesting to share a series of photos of the piece in construction. I really didn't plan this piece very much - just knew I wanted trees layered together on a nice background. Was going to use blue and applique the grass on as well until I found this piece of fabric which is actually from a swap, and continues after the green to several other colours, which I ruthlessly chopped off (Kate's resolution no 1: USE my fabric. Not use it up, per se, but stop saving it for "something special" and just USE it.) So the first photo below is the fabric in a little sandwich with some batting and a layer of pelmet vilene behind, for stability.
The second photo is the background with some tree trunks set out on top of it. I didn't fuse the tree trunks or the leafy tops down, as they seemed to stick quite well to the background without it.
And here we have the first set of tree trunks quilted down, and another set of tree trunks in a different colour laid out in place. The first two sets of trunks are fabric - from the brown gradation I dyed the other day (more points for USING fabric!) The next photo shows a couple of tree trunks added which are rusted paper.
I quilted the paper trunks exactly the same way I quilted the fabric ones and it seemed to work fine, but the paper is quite thick - almost card, really - so I think it stands up to it well.
Below, you can see the approximate arrangement of the tree tops - here I have used all commercial tonal prints, as I was looking for lots of texture. What I did was arrange them all approximately, then quilt them down one at a time, in between each laying the rest of them back out to make sure the arrangement was still ok and adjusting as necessary. And not worrying about going off the top of the piece, as that's a more natural look.
Somewhere near the end, I decided to use a piece of greenish rusted paper for a tree top as well (you can see that in the finished photo). When I got the tree tops all finished, I tried the piece in the frame, but it was too top-heavy, so I decided at that point to add the grass/flowers. To do that, I put a layer of misty fuse across the bottom of the photo and just cut tiny bits of two green and three or four purple hand-dyes. I stitched the greens down, but the purple are only fused (as this was intended to go behind a piece of glass in a frame, I wasn't worried about that - in a piece which will hang openly, I would probably stitch the flowers as well).
And there you are - a glimpse into how my brain works. Aren't you glad you stopped by?