The Cloths of Heaven 3: landscape painting

It’s like painting by numbers, but with fabric.

Template with starsI’ve spent time today building the full scale template for the central landscape image, and preparing the pieces of colour which will form it. On my design wall is the central panel, with the pieces all applied. Tomorrow is appliqué day, and I’ll also be adding the stars: the constellations of Aries, Gemini and Aquarius for the birth dates of my niece, her husband and me, the quilt’s maker, plus the Southern Cross to mark the quilt’s origin in Australia.

Landscape before stitching

The outer edges of the appliqué look wonky, but they don’t need to be straight; that’s a generous excess to allow for distortion after stitching, so the circle can be trimmed out without gaps round the edges.

I’ve traced the shapes off the full size template and onto the back of pieces of Vliesofix, which I have ironed onto the reverse of the fabrics and trimmed to the correct size and shape. These were then ironed onto the background in layers and will be sewn down around the outside. I’ve tested satin stitch, which looks OK, and I’m still to try a small blanket stitch, which I think might be a little less obvious. I may even do straight stitch on the clouds; the voile doesn’t fray, and I want the edges to be as soft as possible. I did a test with the voile to work out if I got a better result with Vliesofix, which I thought might show too much, vs glue stick. The Vliesofix won; the effect was much the same as a double layer of voile and actually added a little extra sparkle which I like. The glue stick was  patchy and unsatisfactory, so I won’t try that again.

Sampler with stars and cloudsOnce all the pieces are sewn down, I shall cut away the excess fabric from behind the appliqué panels where possible, to reduce thickness and weight. Finally, I’ll check the circle is still circular. I’ve allowed plenty of excess all round in case I need to expand outwards anywhere. It does need to be right, because a 6 inch wide border will be attached all round to hold the hand lettering of the poem.

And then it will be time for a steady hand, and calligraphy!



20 thoughts on “The Cloths of Heaven 3: landscape painting

  1. knettycraft says:

    Wow Kate… I already can see a wonderful quilt rising and I’m on tenterhooks to see what happens next!

  2. anne54 says:

    Looking good!! The blues work so well together; and your mathematically constructed circle is grand! I am really enjoying reading about your process as it is always fascinating to see creative people at work. Thanks for taking the time to put it into words for us.

    • katechiconi says:

      I wouldn’t normally go into so much detail, but this is a quilt that demands a lot of attention and if working out the technique helps someone else, it will be worth it.

  3. Gosh that is fabulous – you surely make things complicated for yourself. Re satin stitch or small blanket stitch: I have used both in various applique projects, and I find that satin stitch looks better on landscape-type pictures. Bon courage.

    • katechiconi says:

      I don’t do it on purpose… Seriously, I’m just trying to realise a vision here, and this is the best way I can think of!
      I suspect I may end up using satin stitch for durability’s sake as it does finish the edges more effectively, and as this is a quilt to be used rather than displayed, it will be laundered occasionally. But I do like the greater invisibility of blanket stitch…

  4. claire93 says:

    wow! I, like other ladies, am following the process and progress with great interest. It’s very interesting hearing you think out loud.

    • katechiconi says:

      Gosh, thank you! As I said to Anne in an earlier post, if working out loud helps someone else, it will be worth it. I can’t believe how much faster I can work and achieve results with so many of the problems resolved in advance. But then I *will* make these complicated quilts, won’t I!

  5. EllaDee says:

    It’s fascinating to see the backend creativity and skill that goes into making a quilt. It makes sense to test and make notes. I assume you’ll keep a scrapbook of the process as well as having the blog posts for posterity.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ll be keeping the sampler piece, I’ll have a heap of photos and as you say, the blog posts are a better record than any, since I write them as I go. I’m actually having a break from the thing today after three fairly intensive days on it; time for some secret sewing for F2F!

  6. rutigt says:

    I like it so much! You are a true artist!

  7. The picture looks great.
    What are you going to do with all your test samples? They look like an artist’s visual diary – an artwork in themselves.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m thinking I might make up a little ‘Book of the Quilt’, featuring the test piece, samples of the fabric, drawings, the pages from my notebook. In this instance, although I hate the expression ‘art quilt’, it is being developed in that way, and I think my niece will enjoy discovering the process behind it.

  8. I’m trying to catch up here and this is an amazing quilt just from the start. I’m spellbound.

    • katechiconi says:

      I haven’t exactly bitten off more than I can chew, but it’s certainly a very large mouthful! I’m learning a lot, it’s an interesting process building a quilt this way, and I can take a rest once I get to the pieced bits round the outside.

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