Friday, 11 September 2009

Journal Quilts May - August

This series of four continues the steps theme by celebrating journeys. The first, a walk through Bolton Abbey Woods in May. There's a shelter on a path that takes you on a steep walk up through the woods and while you eat your lunch and draw your trees you look down on the view on which the first journal quilt is based.



I've called it May with its Light Behaving from one of my favourite W.H.Auden poems. It's made by first stitching the outline shape of the river onto the wadding, then cutting it back. I did this in hand-dyed viscose satin, two layers, one river-coloured, one green; flipped up the green to cut away the grey (avoids having two layers of thick fabric), then used reverse applique scissors (also called lace scissors) and carefully cut away the green where the river should be. Then laid pale viscose organza over the river, free-motioned outlines of the shapes and cut this back, and did the same with green hand-dyed silk-metallic organza over the trees. Finally had lots of fun with free-machine quilting, stitching very closely over the exposed edges to secure them (usually I use granite stitch (small overlapping circles) to do this, but there are other options). And isntead of binding I've couched down some metallic/viscose hand-dyed chainette.

The second is inspired by a view I had to reconstruct from memory. Driving to Contemporary Quilt Summer School I decided to take the scenic route through the Forest of Bowland; after taking a wrong turning it became even more scenic (I knew I was in the right direction so I wasn't actually lost, though there was a hairy moment when a signpost had got turned round).
I rounded a corner and suddenly came across this view - nowhere to park up and not really safe to stop on narrow winding roads so I had to simply drive slowly and commit it to memory. It was chiefly the colours, the golden field full of buttercups, the green hedges, the blue hills beyond. The whole area is the essence of The Shire in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkein knew the area well and used local place-names from this area, so I've called it Not All Who Wander Are Lost.

Hand-dyed silk habotai and taffeta, overlaid with gold chiffon (field) and blue (hills) organza, then free-machine stitched. For the binding I cut the rolled hem off the gold chiffon scarf I'd used, rolled in the raw edge and couched it down.
I had planned to combine a visit to my brother with Festival of Quilts, but in the end FOQ won out as I thought if I tried to do both I'd miss out be not being able to give either my full attention. So after making the decision in July I used a remembered walk from Christmas and imagined what the Dead Tree Walking would have looked like with late summer woodland colours behind.

More silk hand-dyed habotai with hand-dyed silk charmeuse fused on, and the whole thing FMQd.
Another walk in Strid Woods was the inspiration for my August journal quilt. A favourite place. The colours came from a photograph my late husband had taken of the Strid many moons ago at this time of year. This is the one I had most fun making. It's built up in layers. Silk charmeuse, viscose satin, silk habotai as a base layer, then built up in snippets and layers of silk organza, with some layers being partially cut back, with a layer of undyed white organza for the frothing water: a combination of onlay, reverse and shadow applique. The final layer was the stitching, added a bit at a time (I have a tendency to overdo it). I loved doing this, and though I have reservations about some aspects of it (this is normal for us all, right?) I really like the finished piece. Though I didn't enjoy binding it in velvet, it did work better than any other fabric for binding.

This one could end up being the first in a series. Now on to September and beyond...


7 comments:

LOVE STITCHING RED said...

Beautiful beautiful work Sandra

Annette J said...

Sandra I love these quilts, more so because I know the places. Bolton Abbey is perhaps my favourite.

Sue Reno said...

These are all really lovely, I like your color palettes, and the organic feel of the work.

Julie said...

I am in great admiration of your stitching on these beautiful JQs. I have been using granite stitch on my September quilt and the air has been a bit blue! I could not help but laugh at your detour on the way to Summer School. Not lost at all, a bit like FOQ! (giggling here)

Anonymous said...

love your strid piece sandra. Brings back memories of kayaking through it with friends some years ago. happy times
Brenda in the Boro

hippopip said...

Beautiful quilts such lovely work.

sarariches said...

Hi Sandra

I love your work. I discovered the Forest of Bowland this summer - why didn't anyone tell me about this beautiful place before? And I love Bolton Abbey as well.

Moving back to Yorkshire from my exile on the Wirral, and looking forward to meeting some Yorkshire folk again!!

Congrats on a great blog. I feel inspired to go and do some work on a journal quilt of my own now - but it will never look as good as yours do.

Sara