Friday, November 24, 2017

Scaps and Bridal Tulle to make a Quilt Background.

I liked the image of the boots with leaves that I made for the SAQA Benefit Auction a few years back, so I decided to use the same design to make larger version.

The boots are made from fabric that I hand-dyed.  My actual boots are brown, but I hate brown and love purple.  To get the variation in color that I hoped would look like light reflecting off wet boots, I used the low-water immersion process with Procion dyes from Dharma.  Low-water immersion dyeing produces lots of variation in color throughout the fabric. I love that.

The leaves are fused on, as are the toes of the boots using Misty Fuse.

To get the bright blue stripes along the toe of the boots, I used Derwent  INKtense color blocks.  If you dampen the fabric, color it with the INKtense, and then heat set it with a hot iron, it is supposed to be color fast.  That certainly seems to be the case.  I never wash my quilts, but just hanging on walls, the InkTense colors I've used on other quilts seem to have maintained their rich. bright hues over the years.

I wanted a background that looked like grass, but that didn't detract from the boots.  I tried a number of "grassy" fabrics, but....yuck.  I finally settled on using a jillion slivers of scraps--mostly green, but also yellow, purple and beige.  To make the scraps skinny enough to look like grass,  I piled them on my cutting mat, and ran over them a million times with my rotary cutter.  Then I cut the fabric for my quilt backing--about 6 inches bigger all around than I intended my quilt to be, and I laid a piece of batting about the same size over that, heaped the scraps on the batting. The batting helped hold the scraps in place kind of like Velcro.

Next I layered a piece of black tulle over the whole background and pinned it in place about every two inches in all directions, and solidly along the edges so all those little pieces wouldn't fall out.   Stuff still tumbled out when I moved the piece to the sewing machine, but I just kept stuffing the scraps back in, and putting more pins in place. (the boots were NOT attached at this point.) I quilted the piece very tightly, as you can see in the photo below.  The lines of random quilting are about a quarter inch apart.

After stitching all those fraying little scraps between the tulle and batting, my sewing machine needed a MAJOR cleaning.

(NOTE:  that skinny little yellow trim on the toe of the boot is actually about an inch wide, but only an 1/16th to 1/8th inch or so is peeking out from the blue piece layered over it.   That is really the only way to manage small sliver-y accent pieces.)

Once the background was stitched, I added the boots and pant legs, quilted them in place, and as my British husband would say, Bob's your uncle.  Then this piece joined the cue to await binding, a hanging sleeve, and a label.  Sigh.  Old habits die hard.

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