Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Creativity at Last - Journal Quilts

I cannot believe it but I have actually managed to complete all 4 of my Journal Quilts for the Contemporary Quilt Group and before the May deadline too!  How did I do that?  Amazing! 

This year the criterion for the quilts is that they must measure 10" square and incorporate a set motif.  For February to May (we started late this year so the year will run to next February) the requirement is to include a circle or part thereof.  For the remainder of the year we have to make 4 to include text and 4 to include buttons. of course, there is nothing to say that you can't include all 3 requirements in all the quilts!

I decided that this time I would try and work to a theme with the hope that the quilts can be hung together as a whole when they are all made.  I wanted to use Gaudi and his mosaics as my inspiration and have tried to keep that in mind while I was working.  This first quilt was started in February but was the last to be finished because I couldn't decide how to quilt it.  I used and exercise from Jae Maries book "Contrasting Elements"  as my starting point and made templates to cut out the shapes and holes.  Before I started I bonded sheers and voiles to a hand dyed orange fabric and a commercial check fabric and cut segments and circles from them.  With a bit of fiddling I cut holes from layered fabrics to reveal the fabrics beneath and bonded the segments and circles on top.  All the edges were stitched with a decorative button hole stitch.  It took me until this month to decide how to quilt this little quilt and I have slowly used a seeding stitch over the surface.  Slowly because this sort of work makes my hands very sore.

The edge has been finished with a facing, which I have never tried before, but which was quite easy to do.  My thanks go to Laura and  Linda Kemshall for their video tutorial.

Quilt 2 was made by layering fabrics and free machining roughly flowery shapes to isolate areas that I could then cut down through to reveal the layers below.  The dark blue fabric is a satiny fabric.  I then layered a voile with text on it over the top and free machined from the back with metallic thread in the bobbin as my machine did not like the metallic as the top thread.   This quilt was faced with the yellow fabric in the quilt.

This quilt came form an article in Quilting Arts magazine (I think).  The circle shapes were layered onto satin and held in place with glue stick glue.  With some difficulty I free machine quilted the piece with the metallic thread after overlaying a dark blue chiffon.  Again the edge was faced but with a cotton this time as I thought satin would be too slippery.

This final quilt is growing on me (pardon the pun!)  I bonded a fusible to the reverse of the fabrics I was planning to use and drew out flower shapes.  I then cut out the petals to leave the negative shapes between them which I overlaid on a contrasting flower before free machining all the flowers down.  The edge was finished with a facing and I think I quite like this way of finishing a quilt.  

I think I have drifted away from the Gaudi theme a little but I have tried to unite the quilts by using the same fabrics throughout. 

For the next four months we have to incorporate text into the quilts.  If I intend to hang my quilts together I cannot have them all looking so busy so I will be looking to keep the next four a bit simpler and hopefully life will not be so difficult and I will be able to make one a month as intended.  I am definitely going to have to have a dyeing session before I continue.

While I'm in the mood I'll show you what I've been up to today.  You can tell, can't you, that catching up on housework is well down the list of priorities? lol  Emma who blogs as 'A Little Bit of Everything' has been encouraging me to get to grips with the Thermofax screens I've had for over a year so without further ado I headed for the shed this morning before I could get distracted elsewhere.  After a tentative start I had a great time printing on paper and fabric and managed to get wonderfully messy!

The prints above are on pre-painted watercolour paper.

These prints above are on music paper, hand made paper and calico.

I like this best of all.  It is printed over previously worked watercolour paper, quite possibly a drop sheet from stamping and spraying.  I like the partial feathers which have come from picking up ink on the back of the plate from previous prints.

I really like this piece on thick cotton which had been dye painted some time ago.  I'm going to have a play with this in Photoshop to see what I can come up with.

I think these are printed onto hand made paper (dark)  and calico (light).

All of these pieces are purely experiments and I am looking forward to playing with dyes as these were all done with textile inks and I was feeling under pressure worrying about the screens drying out. 

Thank you for spurring me on Emma :-)  I just need a sink in my studio now to save me running backwards and forwards to the house to wash my screens out!

Finally ( I know, you get nothing for weeks and then I can't shut up!), I leave you with a pic of my DH in his wasp killing get up.

You can tell he didn't intend to get stung, can't you?  The silly things were nesting in our blue tit box so they had to go.


ju-north said...

Superb work Julie! I wish I lived near you to find out about thermofax screens!

sandra wyman said...

You beat me to it, and as I have learnt to expect from you these are well worth waiting for... and thermofax printing is really fun isn't it?

Dosfishes at Sparkle Days Studios said...

Oh Julie, love love for those quilts...and the DH in his wasp killing gear is just a charmer! A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. xox corrine

Heather said...

Your quilts are stunning Julie and the Gaudi theme is clearly recognisable. I love the thermofax prints too - they are beautiful. I'm still waiting for inspiration but do have a few ideas beginning to emerge. I don't blame your husband for wrapping up well in order to get rid of the wasps.

liniecat said...

Smashing little quilts with a big impact! Fab colours too, love that blue one especially.

Ro Bruhn said...

Beautiful quilts Julie and your thermofax prints are divine.

pam said...

Oh wow those quilts are gorgeous and the thermofax prints are stunning - bet those wasps soon fled !!

Angela said...

Beautiful work Julie. I love your printing. Must go and check out Emma's blog.

Sarah said...

Love love love the quilts, and that printing looks fun too. Looks like you have definitely been enjoying yourself!

Kayla coo said...

Beautiful prints, I do love the feathers.x

Emma said...

Well, I'm blown away & Gaudi would be proud! Love them all -faves are 2 & 4.

I cannot beLIEVE your printing, just wonderful. I love the little bits of extra feather too. Rectanglular wahing up bowl, warmish water, kettle. Running back & forth is good excersize!

Bea said...

I LOVE those circle quilt blocks or mini quilts. They are all so different and of course, have lots of color which I love.
I was asked recently if I wanted to get a thermofax printing thing and i said not at this point in time but looking at what you did, I may have to rethink that. BEAUTIFUL. :)Bea

Gina said...

Fabulous quilts and printing Julie. Glad you've got your mojo back... I'm struggling to find mine at the moment!

maggi said...

What a wonderful post Julie. The JQs really work well together and you did so well to keep up with all that has been going on in your life. Your Thermofax experiments are wonderful. I have both those screens and love them, particularly the cow parsley


Oh Julie your quilts are amazing. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to see the first one in progress "for real". Wonderful! The thermofax prints are awesome! Now I have had to add one to my wish list too. DH will have no problems for Christmas! Love the wasp outfit LOL :o)

Anonymous said...

The quilts are a wonderful set. They fit together so well despite being different in design. Looking forward to seeing the text ones.

Fran├žoise said...

Beautiful work! Love your thermofax prints.

Helena said...


I wish I could really let go and splurge my creativity a wee bit, like just go mad on a huge canvas with big brushes and knives. It's in me somewhere, I just know it! Your stuff always looks so free!

Speaking of hurting hands-
Found those bike gloves I was telling you about yet, or do me and Dilly need to go down to Halfords? ;)

Linda said...

What a great - and inspiring - post Julie! I love your quilts (you must be proud of them :-)
Fab printing too.
And what a brave hubby...

Jackie said...

Congratulations Julie and all that work. Sometimes you need a bit of time out to come back with a vengeance.
I love the first one and the red one. Lovely.