Thursday, June 11, 2009

Birdhouses and Lilies

During the height of our second snowiest winter ever, it came to mind that I wanted to do a quilt that just spoke of summer. I love summer with its long days, heat that wilts you and enough green to make everything look alive. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to make so I started looking online for inspiration. There I found a wonderful image in one of the stock photo sites on line. I bought a copyright image, to keep the copyright cops at bay, and used it for inspiration. It really captured Summer and all the things that conveyed.

Once the image was found, I started to play with manipulating it into my own creation. After a few failed attempts, I realized that it was the image itself that was I wanted to reproduced Not my most creative moment, but looking out the window at inches and inches of snow it seemed to fit my mood. So, I took some tracing paper and copied over my image - adding and editing lines as it seemed necessary. From there I could make an overhead transfer to get a finished pattern. My patterns are usually guidelines, but with the realistic feel of this quilt, this one would be a little more then that.

I went up into my stash, to find the right fabric. I pulled hand dyed cottons and a few commercial fabrics, including the "barn siding" one I've been saving for years. Finally a project to use it on. I started placing fabric right on the batting I planned to use on my quilt. I tried a new idea of drawing the sketch right on the batting with a sharpie marker since the fabrics I was using were fairly dark.
Once the background was all placed and pinned my husband suggested that I sew it all down. It made it super easy to continue the designing of the foreground of the quilt. I added the birdhouses and flowers by cutting them free hand and placing them down on the sewn down background.

Then it was just a matter of top sewing it all down. There is a lot of stitching in this quilt using rayon, poly, and cotton threads. I just kept stitching and stitching until I thought it had the right amount of texture. It still came off a bit flat but it was fun doing it. I added the backing and put in the necessary quilt lines.
It took about 35 hours from start to finish and is about 24 by 36 inches. Its been a long time since I've tried my hand at a realistic quilt. In doing my own critique, I felt that I did manage to capture the dog days of summer. I like the use of splashes of color and the texture of the thread work. What wasn't so successful, was the use of value - especially in the background. This could have helped the piece not look so flat. For its title, I chose the scripture Ecclesiates 11:7 - "Oh, how sweet the light of day, and how wonderful to live in the sunshine".


Lisa Ellis said...

It's a beautiful piece and wonderful narrative. I love the dimension of the barn and the bird houses. I look forward to your future posts.

bopaross said...

I love this! Can't wait to see it hung at Quilts in the Yard '09!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on winning 2nd Place Overall at the annual Presque Isle Artists' Association's Annual Art Show for this quilted wall hanging! It truly is an inspiration. I have a piece that I quilted in the middle of a very rough winter in Minnesota when I lived there. It is called Sweet Tropical Sunshine. I love that you named yours with a Bible verse.