Rain Forest Quilt continued

Once the foundation pieced background was completed I started to add details for the rain forest, starting with tree trunks cut from a striped commercial batik which was just perfect for this purpose. I then cut snippets of fabric backed with Mistyfuse to create leaves and foliage.

I used the snippets to help blend the tree trunks into the background to creat an illusion of depth. Snippets in browns, reds and golds give the impression of fallen leaves at the base of the tree trunks and brighter green snippets provide contrast and give the impression of new growth and sunlight shining on the leaves near the top of the quilt.

Once the leaves were all fused in place I then used free motion embroideryand various plain and variegated threads to stitch them all in place.

I also added plants in the foreground and hand couched some cotton yarn for tree creepers.


Quilting the stencilled designs

Having printed a number of designs using the splatter painting technique I chose the negative image of the tree creeper to finish and embellish. I used three different shades
of cotton variegated thread and one variegated silk for the hand quilting, and a box of mixed ‘bead soup’ for the embellishment.

I started off with a dark variegated thread near the base of the creeper, quite dense scatter stitching to replicate the density of the paint splatters and darkness in this area. As I moved upwards and outwards I gradually used lighter threads and less dense stitching.

To begin with I found that I was consciously thinking about where I was making each stitch but as I went on I got into a rhythm followingfrom dot to dot, adding a bead here and there where there were bigger splatters of paint.

Towards the outside edges of the piece, where there were far fewer paint splatters I used mostly the lightest threads and more random stitches.

I finished off the piece with a narrow binding and hanging sleeve and as I enjoyed the process so much and find the hand quilting very relaxing and easy to pick up at any spare moment, I’ve started quilting and embellishing one of the other pieces.

view of the back

More fabric postcards

Bougainvillea series - fabric postcardI have recently completed several large projects and so felt like taking a break and working on something much smaller and quick to finish. I’d had the idea in my head for these bougainvillea flower inspired fabric postcards and had even made a quick sketch while I was working on something else so this was the perfect project to work on.

I started off with some hand painted ‘sky’ fabrics left over from other projects, then couched down several strands of  hand dyed embellishment yarn. I used a free motion zigzag and invisible thread for the couching. I took some scraps of hand dyed and batik fabrics backed with ‘Misty Fuse’  to make the flowers and leaves.

I cut the fabric into tiny random snippets with sharp scissors. I’ve only recently started using Misty Fuse but so far I have found it very good to use as it is light weight, bonds well and doesn’t gum up the needle.

These were applied to the background stems using tweezers as the pieces were so tiny.

The leaves and flowers fused in place ready to be embellished with free motion stitching. I used several different shades of green rayon thread for the leaves and then several different pinks for the flowers.  Bougainvilleas come in a wide range of colours here in Brunei apart from the standard bright pink that you mostly see across Europe, so it was a good opportunity to play with some of the fabrics I don’t tend to use so much and make a series of cards. Once all the stitching was complete I backed the cards with Fast 2 Fuse, trimmed to size and then zigzagged the edges using variegated thread.

Crazy Pieced Fabric Postcards

crazy pieced fabric postcard with autumn leaves

crazy pieced fabric postcard with autumn leaves

My latest batch of fabric postcards were constructed on a crazy pieced background using lots of small pieces of batik fabrics that I had left over from other projects. I got the idea from a short instructional video that was on The Quilt Show recently. I’ve done a lot of crazy patchwork  type blocks using foundation piecing printed out from EQ6 and used them as backgrounds for some of my rain forest quilts.

2009 11 05_0743

I liked the method shown on the video because it is done in the more traditional way using a piece of fabric for the background. The background will be completely covered by the crazy piecing so it doesn’t matter what it looks like. I used some scraps of muslin for these cards. It’s a great way of using up fabric scraps and because you’re not using a preprinted foundation every block is different.

Embellished fabric postcard

Embellished fabric postcard

These fabric postcards are also a great way of experimenting with various embellishments. I’ve collected quite  a few yarns over the years and am not always sure how best to use them, so I just played around with a few here.

gold threads and decorative machine stitches

gold threads and decorative machine stitches

On this card I even tried out a few of my machine’s decorative stitches using gold thread and then couched some thicker gold thread in random squiggles. All the leaves were made using sheer organza and variegated rayon threads. These will the last lot of fabric postcards I’ll be making for a while as I’ve now run out of the Fast2fuse iron on interfacing that I’ve been using  to make them nice and firm. I’ll order more for the new year and I’m sure I’ll have loads of ideas for more cards by then.

Fabric Postcards

I have been working fairly intensively on various projects over the last few months but am now between major projects, and while I decide what to do next I thought I would try my hand at making some fabric postcards. It is another of those things that I have wanted to try for ages but wasn’t quite sure how to go get started. I bought a book by Francis Kohler called “Fast, Fun and Easy Fabric Postcards”, got some Fast2Fuse interfacing and I was all set to go.

For my first postcards I used some free motion embroidered leaves on organza which I had left over from another project. I stitched these to some batik fabric which I then backed with some ordinary stabilizer and decorated with free motion stitching. I then removed most of the stabilizer and fused the design to the Fast2Fuse and a backing fabric, then cut to the correct size. I used a satin stitch with variegated thread to go round the edges.


The next cards I did, were made using some fabric that I had hand painted and then made into an experimental seascape with rocks, spray and waves. 

seascapesThe Fast2Fuse is quite thick, but I found that using a number 12 topstitch needle I had no problems going round the edges with two rows of close zig zag.

For the next two cards I used some left over Mickey Lawler Skydyes fabric and added some daisies using raw edge applique and a bit of free motion embroidery. For these cards I added some lightweight batting and quilted them before adding the interfacing and backing.



For the last postcards I used up another experimental project. This time a collage of purple flowers and leaves which I cut without using any pattern and then embellished with couched yarn. These cards were also quilted before fusing to the stabilizer.


These cards are great fun to make and I can see why many people say that they find them addictive to do. They are relatively quick to complete, a good way of using up left over bits and pieces from other projects, and also an excellent way of trying out new techniques.

Rain Forest continued

trees and foliage

trees and foliage

I have been continuing to work on my rain forest design this week. This time I tried a new technique for adding leaves or foliage to the background, I applied fusible web to the back of small scraps of fabrics then snipped them into small pieces and applied them to the background. When I was happy with the placement I fused them in place and then used variegated cotton thread and a free motion zig zag to stitch over them. I was pleased with the way this turned out because it makes the background trees recede into the background and look more realistic. i did the same for the fallen leaves in the foreground, very time consuming but effective.

detail of forest plant

detail of forest plant

I added a small jungle plant in the foreground and embellished it with rayon threads for the leaf veins. The design is now ready to be quilted.
While I have been working on this design we have had some quite stormy weather here in Brunei, and I’ve been taking advantage of the windy conditions to get out on the water and do some wind surfing. Borneo is known as ‘the land below the wind’ because of its location near the equator and the fact that luckily we are out of the typhoon zone. This means that we don’t normally get strong winds but over these last few weeks we have been getting much better conditions than usual and a number of us have been able to get out on the water.
local beach view from the water

local beach view from the water

Forest Giant – part 2

the finished wall hanging

the finished wall hanging

The finished design with borders added and the quilting and embellishments completed. I used small scraps of fabric chopped into tiny pieces to create the leaves in the foreground. They were first fused in place using a powder bonding agent and then stitched.
detail showing base of tree and leaves

detail showing base of tree and leaves

detail of foliage

detail of foliage