Not What I Had Expected

Sometimes a project starts with one plan and ends up in a very different place. I’m there throughout the creation process, but the results really can be baffling. Case in point, my latest finish.

I take casual photos of scenes, objects, etc., that catch my eye. Occasionally, I decide to base a quilt on a photo. When I saw the setup below on the props table backstage at the theater I was intrigued. I had no idea why the lighting was red and blue, but I loved the hanging row of canteens.

I knew I couldn’t capture the reflections of light off the metal to my satisfaction, but I had hopes of the lighting and the twisted straps. I actually worked up a drawing.

A trawl through my fabric hoard made me realize that the original background color scheme would have to be changed. No problem, I had an intriguing yard of gradient I bought from Vicki Welsh that I wanted to use.

To go with the change in background color I chose various complementary solid color fabrics for the straps and an old (2012) piece of hand dyed fabric I thought looked like a plaid for the canteens. The other bits of fabric were various hand dyed or printed scraps.

I cut off the blackest edge of my background fabric and inserted it in horizontal strips along with another hand dye. I added the straps and bits of “paper” and then quilted all that before I sewed on the canteens. To prevent the background quilting from showing through I backed the canteens with flannel and quilted them individually before I sewed them to the main piece.

“Camp Memories” 24.5 by 35 inches

The result doesn’t look at all like what I had envisioned. I had hoped for a mysterious effect, but ended up with more of a mildewed canvas tent effect. So, I rolled with it and called it “Camp Memories,” in honor of those nasty childhood treks into the woods with canvas equipment that left my belongings smelling sour for a long time.

One irritating technical aspect of this project was how much some of the solid fabrics in the straps raveled. I used fused raw edge applique and finished the edges with a zigzag, but that didn’t stop the problem. I recall those fabrics were the Craftsy (now Bluprint) house brand, so maybe there was a reason they cost less than name brands. They’re fine for piecing, just not so much for raw edge work. I guess the rough edges contribute to the overall shabby effect. I’m linking to Off the Wall Fridays.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

20 responses to “Not What I Had Expected

  1. It’s an interesting piece, and yes, you may as well make the best of the frayed edges. I have had some luck with Fray Check in that regard.

  2. Gwyned

    Fascinating to see the inspirational photograph transform to a finished fabric piece. Frayed fabric only adds to the rustic, mildewed camping effect.

  3. Kay Welch

    I enjoy reading your posts about your inspiration, process, and your finished piece. I have purchased hand dyes from Vicki, and I’m practicing on a few other projects before I cut into them. Seeing your art makes me want to dive in. Love the imagery of this one – conjures up fond memories.

    • I hear you about saving the good stuff. Funny how I use the ugly stuff first. And thanks for letting me know you enjoy my ramblings about process. I sometimes wonder if I am oversharing and should just show pix

  4. This is fascinating–I like seeing how you went from inspiration thru to a different, really effective, finish. And I hadn’t thought about that canvas tent smell in years . . .

  5. Ann Scott

    This is a really cool and creative piece. A great use of fabrics and I think much better than if you had stuff closer to the inspiration photo.

  6. I would rather use batik for raw edge applique, it doesn’t ravel. It does look campy and cute.

  7. “Mildewed canvas!” I was thinking how nicely you had captured the effects of a flickering campfire!
    I love the different tones of the straps and their soft curves. Against the background of the CAMPFIRE!!

  8. Chris Wheeler

    It really does capture the “mildewed canvas tent effect” – well done! Love the explanation too.

  9. Oh my gosh, I love it and the story behind it! I hope you will consider sharing it in the customer gallery.

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