Monday, August 20, 2012

Landscape Quilting How-to, The Materials

I live in a remote location, and have been very grateful to people who've generously shared their knowledge on-line.  Melissa Will, for example who shared years worth of her expertise for low-water immersion dyeing, and Leah Day who has put an encyclopedia of information about free-motion quilting on her blog.

I'm going to teach a class in October on how to design and make an original landscape quilt.  I've been thinking of just putting all the information for my class on-line, and since I've just started a new project, I think I can just work my way through my latest quilt project, and post what I'm doing, step-by-step.  If what I write doesn't make sense, email me, and I'll try to clarify the directions.  So, here's my first installment.

Materials I Use for Landscape Quilting:
  • Nylon netting.  (not tulle which is soft and gossamer, but petticoat netting.  The scratchy stuff that makes those square dancing skirts stand out from the dancers' legs like a beach umbrella.)  Get white.  It's not going to show, so color is only distracting.  This is cheap (About $1.39 a yard at Joannes.  Get 5 or more yards, it'll be the foundation for various elements in your quilt.)
  • Mono-poly clear threadSuperior Thread's is the best.  Because it is polyester, not nylon, it takes the heat of the iron without melting or getting brittle, and it doesn't become an instant rats nest when you sew.  I'm usually all about cheap and/or free, but this thread is worth the money.  (2200 yards for $8 on the Superior Website.)  This thread doesn't pass the Harry Potter test for invisibility, but it comes darn close.  The thread comes in clear and smoke.  Get clear, then later if you decide you mostly work on dark fabrics, you can spring for the smoke.
  • Freezer paper  DON'T buy the fancy pre-cut sizes sold in quilt shops.  Get the grocery store can tear off as large a sheet as you need, and because its reasonably priced you'll be less timid about using more if a pattern piece just isn't working and you need to make another.
  • A Page Protector.  Those 8x11.5 plastic envelopes with the binder holes already prepunched.  You'll use this to trace your photo.
  • Shapie Fine-Point Pen and a Shapie extra-fine point pens  Get them in black or dark blue
  • Spray Starch or Spray Sizing.  Get the cheap stuff.  Best Pressed is probably great, but 16 ounces costs nearly $9, while 22 ounces of Niagra Spray Starch in the pump bottle costs $2.30.   The cheap stuff works great, and I don't miss the lavender scent of Best Pressed.
  • A small, cheap, paint brush.  Probably a size 6 to size 8 works best.  A brush like the ones that come in a kiddie watercolor set is fine.  DO NOT buy some fancy (a.k.a expensive) paint brush at the art store.  Come to that, a Q-tip works fine too.
  • All the usual stuff--pins (LOTS of pins), needles, bobbin thread, paper scissors, fabric scissors, sewing machine, iron, and of course fabrics appropriate for the project you have in mind.  
Next: How to choose a subject.

Other Posts you may enjoy:
Choosing a Subject for your Landscape Quilt
Making a Pattern for your Landscape Quilt
Quilting and Copyright Laws

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