Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wings Alight: Art With Fabric blog hop

Wings Alight: large whole cloth quilt, measures about 94" x 103".

About a year ago I came across this interview with street artist/muralist Kelsey Montague (IG: kelseymontagueart).  Immediately I was inspired, and my brain started working out how I could turn those wings into a quilt and how it would look.  Once I realized that I was serious about making it into a quilt I knew I needed to get artist permission, especially since I'd like to show this quilt!  I emailed Kelsey and explained my idea and asked if using her art as inspiration would be okay.

Next I asked Aurifil if they would be willing to sponsor the thread for such a large wholecloth quilt.  They said yes and sent me several large spools of thread.  I finally got started on this quilt this April by first creating a line drawing of some sandhill crane wings as they come in for a landing (hence the name of the quilt, Wings Alight [a·light: descend from the air and settle]).

Wings Alight: wings drawings--left is on tracing paper, center is printed from a digital file, right is the transparency.

Then I used a projector to enlarge and copy the wings onto my fabric (Michael Miller Luxe in Charcoal):

Wings Alight Quilt: Me with the projected wings.

After basting it (same fabric on the back, but in the light grey/Fog color, and I used Quilter's Dream Orient for the batting) I got started quilting.  I spent 56 hours quilting this beast on my Janome 6300 (it only has a 9" throat)!  You can read more about my process by going back through the Wings Alight Wholecloth posts here or on my Instagram feed: @quiltsnfeathers.  Here's the before and after pictures:

Wings Alight Quilt: Before--107" wide by 99" tall.  The wings are drawn on with a chalk pen.

Wings Alight Quilt: After (cropped photo, sorry!)

That's ALL Aurifil threads!!  The after picture does not do the quilting justice, so here are some close-ups:

Wings Alight Quilt: detail of the feather free motion quilting designs.

There are over 100 feathers on each wing, and although I tried to mirror-image the wings, it was hard coming up with that many appropriate fillers.  I got inspiration from my previous quilts and drawings, pictures on Instagram and blogs.  Maybe you see something that was inspired by you!

Wings Alight Quilt: more free motion feather designs!

Wings Alight Quilt: shoulder and background quilting detail.

I ended up only using 4 different Aurifil threads: Light Jade (1148) in 28wt for the feather outlines, Aluminium (2615) in 40wt for the feather designs, Dark Pewter (2630) in 50wt for the background quilting and bobbin, and Jade (4093) in 50wt for the mandala.  The background quilting and bobbin work used 2 large spools of 50wt thread!!

Wings Alight Quilt: wing and mandala--all free motion quilted!

Unfortunately all of that dense quilting in the center of the quilt created a wavy quilt, and I will need to block it before I can bind it. 

Wings Alight Quilt: the back!  oh those wavy edges...

Once I get it properly blocked and bound I will get new photos and share on my blog and instagram (@quiltsnfeathers)!

Wings Alight Quilt: my 7 year old standing in front of the wings!

Go check out some other awesome art created with fabric!  Today's blog hop participants are listed below:


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Wings Alight: Update

Oh wow it's been a while since I last posted an update for this quilt (you can go read it here)!  I've been slowly continuing the quilting on it, with short breaks to rest my sore neck and shoulders.  Once I did two outlines of the wings with Aurifil 28wt, I drew a bunch of circles between the wings and then quilted a big mandala:

Wings Alight: drawing circles

Displaying IMG_20170425_181148.jpg
Wings Alight: quilted mandala, hand for scale.

Once the mandala was quilted I used my laser square (this one from Amazon--I use it mostly for squaring quilts and love it) and a long ruler to draw straight lines radiating out from the center of the mandala:

Wings Alight: Laser level for long straight lines!
Wings Alight: The first set drawn on.

I quilted the lines with a matching 50wt Aurifil thread in Dark Pewter (2630):

Wings Alight: Lots of lines!  Terrible photo, seriously, my camera hates this quilt.

Next I started filling in the feathers with lots of different free motion designs.  I used Aurifil 40wt in Aluminium (2615).  I tried to match feathers on each wing so they are nearly mirror-image, but the wing on the right has more feathers, so I call those wild-cards.   

Wings Alight: Filling the feathers!

In retrospect I wish I had used the Aluminum for the feather outlines and the Light Jade for the filler, but oh well.

Wings Alight: Some of the free motion quilting fillers so far!

Filling the feathers has been way more time consuming that I anticipated, but I'm nearing the end!  

Wings Alight: current state of the quilt, with my 5 year old for scale.

I will be back next Thursday will the finished quilt as part of the Art With Fabric blog hop!


Friday, April 21, 2017

Wings Alight: Threads and Wing Outline

You can see my previous blog posts about this quilt here.

Before starting the quilting I had to decide on thread colors for both the top and the bobbin.  Aurifil generously sponsored the top row of large spools:

Wings Alight: Aurifil threads--a mixture of 50, 40 ans 28wt.

I made a mini quilt sandwich from the quilt trimmings and tested out each thread weight (using 50wt in the bobbin) to find the best tension and stitch length for both straight line quilting using my walking foot and for free motion quilting using my darning/FMQ foot.  In the picture above you can see the back of my practice quilt and under that are my thread and tension notes.  In the end I decided to use matching color int he bobbin, which will make this a neat double sided quilt!


Wings Alight: Starting with my walking foot and the long straight lines.

The wings are outlined using Aurifil 28wt in Light Jade (1148), and will probably get a second layer. I used my walking foot for the longest straight lines, then switched to my FMQ foot for the rest of the feathers.  It took at least 30 minutes to quilt the left wing (you can check out a time lapse of that quilting on my Instagram--click here!).

Wings Alight: Finished left wing.

The right wing took a longer, but I finally got it done!  Here's how the quilt looks now:


Wings Alight: Really wishing I'd put the wings higher on the quilt...too late now!

And here's me in front of the wings, I guess this is a thing now:

Wings Alight: I do wish I could have made the wings bigger...although they are already a challenge to get through my machine (a Janome 6300 with a 9" throat)!


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wings Alight Wholecloth Quilt Beginnings

You can read about the inspiration and materials here.  Today's post is about the wings design and transferring it onto the quilt top!

I really drug my heels on starting this project because I couldn't figure out how I was going to draw big wings on the fabric at the scale I wanted while keeping them somewhat symmetrical and level.  About a month ago I was complaining about this mental block to Afton at Quilting Mod and she suggested using a projector.  And she had one I was able to borrow!  Perfect!  I started working on my wing drawings and got a transparency printed at the local FedEx Office store.

Wings Alight: wings drawings--left is on tracing paper, center is printed from a digital file, right is the transparency. 

I decided to base my wings on a Sandhill crane coming in for a landing.  The wings have a different shape than when they are taking off or flying, and the way the feathers are spread out is ideal for filling with quilting designs!  This is also how I chose the name of the quilt:
a·light1
əˈlīt/
verb
  1. (of a bird) descend from the air and settle.

    "a lovely blue swallow alighted on a branch"

    synonyms:land, come to rest, settleperchlight
    "a swallow alighted on a branch"

The image of wings descending from the air and settling is lovely and calming to me. The wings will float on the quilt in a way that when you stand in front of them it looks like there are wings behind you:

Wings Alight Quilt: Me with the projected wings.

The process of drawing the wings onto the quilt took about 40 minutes, but the setup took quite a bit longer.  You can watch me trace the right wing in this time lapse video (hopefully it uploaded properly, if not you can click here to see it on my Instagram: QuiltsnFeathers):

video

Here is how the projected lines look next to the drawn lines (I used this Fons and Porter white pencil):

Wings Alight Quilt: projected wings (black) and traced wings (white).

Each wing is about 43" long, with about 12" between them.  From edge to edge the wings are 92" across.  Here is the final result on the quilt top:

Wings Alight Quilt: wings drawn on the quilt top.

I basted the quilt using Quilter's Dream Orient, and it is ready to start quilting!  Here's the official before picture: 

Wings Alight Quilt: basted quilt, measures 107" wide by 99" tall currently.  The wings are there--just hard to see in this lighting.

Next is filling bobbins and clearing off my sewing table!  I'm excited to finally get to start quilting these wings!

Wings Alight Quilt: Michael Miller Luxe sateen solids and Aurifil threads.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Fairy Mini Quilt

Quilted Fairy, measures 13.5" x 9"

Another Quilted Mythological Creature Series mini quilt!  A couple of weeks ago when I made the quilted Centaur mini, I also made this quilted fairy--partly to keep the recipients guessing on what I was making for them.  This one was a birthday present for Afton at Quilting Mod.  I left the design of the fairy to the last minute, and decided in a migraine-induced state to just find a cool fairy online.  I settled on this artwork by Jesse Lindsay:

Picture/artwork credit to Jesse Lindsay

I traced the basic outline, removed her skirt, and added arms, hands, legs, antenna, eyes and extra swirls in the wings.  Geez hands and feet are hard.  And those tiny eyes!  

Quilted Fairy: final drawing on fabric.

Again I used Kona Silver and two layers of batting (Quilter's Dream wool on the top of a cotton batting).

Quilted Fairy: basic outline quilted.

I chose Aurifil variegated Creme de Menthe (4662) for the wings--I love how the different shades of teal can be interpreted as the wings being translucent, or catching the light.  The inner details are 1-2 layers of quilting, but the outer edge of the wings is 4-5 layers to define them from the background.

Quilted Fairy: hand for scale.  She's little, and her face is the size of my finger nail.

The fairy's body is Aurifil Wisteria (2566), and the antenna are quilted using a double strand of Wisteria and Medium Lavender (2540) so they are a little darker.

Quilted Fairy: body detail.

The background echo quilting is Aurifil Mint Ice (2800).  I love how these cotton threads have a nature shine! 

Quilted Fairy: echo quilting detail--I love those accidental diamonds!

Quilted Fairy: quilting details.

The back is some blue solid scrap I had, the binding is Tula Pink Mosaic in Glacier. 

Quilted Fairy: back.

I took this quilt with me all the way to Savannah for QuiltCon so I could give it to Afton at the same time I gave Jess the Centaur mini quilt.  Luckily we ended up having dinner as a group on the first night so I didn't have to wait long, and she loves this fairy quilt!

Quilted Fairy: neat.