After the thrill of designing a new piece is gone you’re left with the more mundane tasks of quilting and edge finishing. I know some people stitch together two or three chunks of fabric and then revel in quilting them, but that’s not me. I enjoy the texture quilting adds to a piece, but usually I don’t go out of my way to do difficult quilting. Two recent finishes are perfect examples of my lax attitude.
For both quilts I sewed on narrow single fold bindings for a pop of color at the edges, although mostly I face my edges. Again, I find facings easier than bindings.
To continue with my corner cutting theme, I also took short cuts with the two latest fabric bowls I made. Instead of satin stitching over the seams or disguising the seams, I used fabric strips over the seams as decorative elements. I fused on more decorative bits and edges, and called them done.
At the rate I’m going, in 2 or 3 years I will simply glue everything together, and know it will last my lifetime.
Over the years I’ve built up a small stash of fabrics I call divas. Some fabrics are eager to be accommodating and show up in many of my quilts. They can seem cool or warm, light or dark, depending on their companions. Not divas. Their colors just don’t blend in, they demand your attention, and they certainly clash with each other. I have only myself to blame as I bought or created them.
However, I finally realized the divas can work with small, crafty projects like bowls when I came across Linda Johansen’s book.
I downloaded the free bowl project available at C&T Publishing, and requested the book from my library. I decided to start with the free project as the directions seemed less complex than the boxes or vases and I already had all the supplies needed.
I selected my diva fabrics and got to work cutting out circles of fabric, canvas, and WonderUnder.
I also had to make center circle sandwiches of the same types of materials. You are to put one circle each on the inside and outside of your bowl once you have adhered the fabric/canvas bowl disks to each other. I did this step wrong as I fused my inner circle parts together too soon. You’re supposed to adhere their layers on the bowl disks themselves. Oh well, I made it work.
The next step was to cut curved darts to make the bowl concave.
The darts are formed by overlapping the cut lines and zigzagging along the top cut. Then, if that looks okay, you satin stitch over every cut line. It’s a lot of satin stitching.
Finally, I trimmed the edge and satin stitched all around that.
I covered over gaps in the black stitching with my trusty black marker.
I was so happy to have put these fabrics to use and to have tried another way to make bowls. As I’ve written before, to date I’ve used Hilde Morin’s bowl creation method. Linda’s way results in a heavy bowl with a firm center. It involves much more stitching. I suppose you could add arty fabric bits like Hilde’s method suggests, but it is designed for single pieces of fabric.
For future bowls I may try a mashup of both methods, using Hilde’s for the construction and Linda’s for trimming out the darts. I have my diva fabrics picked out already.
In between lengthier projects I often do mini pieces that may not always involve quilting. Sometimes they are inspired by something I saw or read; sometimes by gifts or supplies from my stash that I have rediscovered. Most recently I used a sunny painted ocean scene given to me by Ann Scott to make a more disturbing landscape than the original. I call it “A Cell With A View.”
A more abstract yet functional project was two fabric bowls made from scraps and canvas I had painted. I was tired of seeing the canvas hanging in my fabric closet. Hilde Morin’s instructions call for covering the canvas with fabric, but I streamlined the process by decorating the canvas directly.
Some of my incidental projects are made from paper as well as fabric.
Finally, a photo I took at a local lake was edited in Photoshop, and printed on fabric. I glued it with matte medium to a stretched canvas. The technique is from Lynda Heines.
There are still more little projects on the go in my studio, though a few may be returned to the “someday” drawer. I won’t even begin to talk about the week I spent sewing little scraps into larger scraps by color, though I am using a few in current work.
Several years ago I snapped up a yard of odd mottled rose/gray fabric because it was just $5. Ever since it’s been hanging with my yardage, being passed over each time I look for a new quilt palette.
Finally I had two project palettes that actually worked with my long overlooked fabric – a bowl and a small quilt.
My second fabric bowl has subdued colors and I couldn’t find anything to cover the rim until I remembered that fabric. It slipped in nicely with hand dyed fabric from Vicki Welsh, hand painted pole wrapped shibori, and batik scraps.
My small quilt, named “Concrete” because of its inspiration, used some of that fabric as well, mostly in the column near the right side.
The inspiration? This magazine photo of Boston’s City Hall. The building is considered an outstanding example of Brutalist architecture, which features lots of poured concrete.
My piece doesn’t capture the depth of the photo and the receding diagonal lines, which are probably what attracted me in the first place, but I can always make another version. Maybe I’ll use less pink next time.
For the past several years I’ve joined other quilters on a yearly retreat in Ohio’s Amish country. I just got back from this year’s, and am happy to report progress on a few projects.
I began another fabric bowl, this time in purple/brown/pink shades. I want to try quilting it from edge to edge rather than in a circle. I’ll finish the outer edge after the quilting is done.
Then, I made every mistake in the book with a bias tape project. I had planned to make an orange peel type design with bias strips, but I forgot I needed to draw my sewing guide lines (in red pen) in the opposite direction for half the blocks. So, my peels only went in diagonals. I decided to add three additional rows of bias strips to half the blocks to create petals.
The photo shows the effect I’m going for. The background fabric is an ice dyed rayon tablecloth that’s backed with fused on interfacing. I will be using narrow black sashing to sew down the blocks as the corners would be too bulky if I sewed the blocks directly to each other – another operator error.
Of course, I had other projects – embroidery (gasp) and a needle felting experiment. Both got started, but it’s early days to know how they will turn out.
Ever since I bookmarked Hilde Morin’s instructions I’ve had an itch to try making a fabric bowl. On Monday I decided to scratch my itch.
Using cotton duck canvas (bought at 60% off from Joann’s) I made my circles. Next, I sorted my fused fabrics. After I found I needed larger pieces than I already had, I searched my stash for batiks to use. Batiks are recommended because they don’t fray much when fused. It seems I either used up or purged most of my batiks, so my choices were limited to a few pieces I had held onto because I liked them too much to use. No time like the present, I decided.
At this point the fun part began. I was pleased that my pack rat habit of saving fused scraps paid off as I cut thin, slightly curved strips to lay around the bowl’s interior. I switched to my travel iron to make it easier to press around the curves.
After I fused down fabric around the edge (I recommend bias here) I quilted the bowl twice in two different colors of turquoise.
Hilde Moran does beautifully intricate quilting on her bowls, but for my inaugural bowl I decided to keep it basic. I found it easier to start the quilting on the outside and work my way in, but either way involves a bit of scrunching to fit the bowl through the machine’s harp.
This bowl was a refreshing break from my current slog through my quilting backlog. I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.