Sunday, May 29, 2011
Little Blue Bird : May Journal Quilt
I finished the Little Blue Bird Journal Quilt this weekend.
The blue and purple background is one of my hand-dyes; so is the pink cheesecloth. The Little Blue bird was free-motion embroidery stitched in a workshop last fall with Karla Spinks.
He's been sitting on on design wall for the past few months in this state. I wasn't quite sure how to proceed. I knew I wanted a cloud of pink for spring blossoms on the tree, but I also wanted to be able to see the sky through those blossom-laden branches. So a solid piece of fabric wouldn't work ... It took me a while to figure out I could use the cheesecloth for that purpose. So I top-stitched the pink cheesecloth onto the batting topped with the background fabric.
In this picture, I had just stitched down the branches, using a piece of quilting paper for placement of the branches. Once it's stitched on, you can easily tear away the quilt paper. For the branches, I made a machine-stitched cord out of 4 pieces of textured yarns. Lots of color in these branches (black, purple, brown and green) all twisted together.
Next, I added the little blue bird with a simple applique stitch and invisible thread. When I first made him, I had also embroidered a branch for him to grasp. That had to go, so I cut it off and let him grasp the yarn branches instead. Since the yarn branches are kind-of 3D, I had to add a little extra batting under the rest of the bird to make his head stand at an even height with the parts on top of the branches.
Next came the little flowers. These were cut off of a silk flower probably gotten at a thrift store. I had pulled the flowers off months ago, and tried to dye them. But they must be synthetic, as they would not take the color. They are not stark white, they took the slightest hint of color. For the centers, I added gold and pink beads. Some of the flowers were folded over or crushed, so I let them stay that way.
Detail of Blue Bird and Flowers.
Here it is trimmed to size and squared up awaiting the backing. [It is square : The design wall is tilted, so it looks a little wonky.] For the journal quilts, I usually do a simple envelope binding.
This is the stitching from the front through the batting layer.
The final step was to add a twisted yarn as a border (which you can see in the photo at the top of this post). It just needed a little something else to finish it off properly.