In the Arms of the Angels: feathers…

I’ve been making some progress behind the scenes.

Firstly, the scroll that goes at the top of the centre panel. It’s slightly padded with a batting layer, which gives it a bit more dimension, I think. I chose a pale green-beige batik that looks a bit like stone, and I’ll get the words embroidered in serif capitals if I can, in teal thread. It’s not as dark as it looks in the photo – indoor lighting 😦

And then the wings… There’s going to be lots of feathers. They need to be stiff, like real flight feathers, and layered so as to have depth, instead of being just flat and one-dimensional. This is going to mean a fair bit of weight, so I had to create a stiffened foundation shape on which to stitch them so that they don’t pull at the surface of the quilt. This foundation will itself be sewn to the background by hand with invisible stitches, so that it doesn’t affect the quilting and is invisible on the back.

I’ve used a fairly stiff non-fusible interfacing between the front and back layers of each feather, so that the shape is firm and sword-like. Once the feather is turned through, it’s topstitched around the edge to keep it crisp, and will have a further topstitched shaft down the centre. The feathers are overlapped slightly, as in nature, and the colours are varied to give added visual interest. I’m mixing a grey and beige overprinted with a little silver for the leading edge feathers, with lots of different beige and cream prints to give texture as well as colour variation. It’s very labour intensive, but I really like the effect.

And Kathy’s lovely pale background block has arrived, which is really going to help with the soft broken-colour I’m after. One thing I’ve realised is that I need to keep the tips of the wings as free of the pale background as I can or they’ll blend in too much, so the tips of all the feathers have to stay separate, but I may also need some sort of ‘shadow’. I’m thinking some very fine grey tulle laid over the background under the tips of the wings may give the effect I’m after, as it’ll allow the background colour to show through instead of being solid. Anyone have any other suggestions for achieving what I want?

Still lots more to go… Meanwhile, keep those background, border and cornerstone blocks coming, my lovelies!

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20 thoughts on “In the Arms of the Angels: feathers…

  1. tialys says:

    Well this, even more than the other quilts, is so obviously a labour of love. Those feathers are going to look stunning.

  2. Kathy D says:

    Oh my that wing is wonderful! Love how you picture something and bring it to life!

    • katechiconi says:

      There was a short while back there when I didn’t know how I was going to make the wings happen, all I knew was that I wanted big, impressive, palpable wings. A little bit of trial and error, a little bit of luck, a refusal to be defeated…

  3. Wow! What a labor of love! The best kind of labor there is.

  4. Moira says:

    A beautiful labor of love and tribute to your friend. Your vision will be a work of art and love when completed. The use of teh grey tulle I think is the best option to give that sense of dimension you are wanting I think.

  5. I’m loving the color choices…very exciting undertaking!

  6. Dayphoto says:

    Very exciting and very creative!

  7. Lynda says:

    “…The only way was to start doing *something*…”

    I think we all, as creative persons, feel that way when undertaking something requiring a giant stretch or step into the unknown of our abilities. And mostly, I think we’ve got it within us to accomplish anything if we just let go and begin. It is said that the longest journey begins with the first step, and so I believe it is with art.

    Personally, I had no doubt that you could do this. (Loving the idea about the tulle.)

  8. Nanette says:

    A fabulous beginning!

    • katechiconi says:

      Thanks 🙂 I’m hoping to have one of the wings *completed* today, but there’s a fair bit of frogging going on because I’m not happy with the angles of the feathers. It’s all good… once one is done, it can act as a template for the other.

  9. rutigt says:

    This is sooo exciting to follow!!! Looking great so far!!!

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