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Posts Tagged ‘feathers’

When I decided to sandwich a small a piece of solid silver silk blend sateen (Radiance by Robert Kaufman), I had no idea what I would discover.  This silver fabric has been in my stash for years because the color didn’t really ‘speak’ to me off the bolt.  Here is the “raw material” (next to ivory and gold for contrast)

Silver silk sateen fabric

When I started quilting and experimenting with different colors of thread, I was amazed!  I have taken too many photos and spent too much time experimenting with Photoshop to get the best [at least, the best that I can] color balanced photos to show you the amazing effect of different colored silk threads on this fabric.  The photo to the left is the feather plume that started it all.  The feather looks lavender (instead of silver)  because I used lavender thread to quilt and outline the feather.  Then I switched to shades of aqua / light green thread for the outline stitching, and the fabric takes on the greenish hue of the threads.

I used the silver silk fabric for the ‘Reflections of Tao’ wholecloth wall hanging to experiment more with different colors of silk thread quilted into this fabric. The center of the ‘Reflections of Tao’ wall hanging features the chinese character ‘tao’ (meaning ‘the way’, or ‘the path’) which is trapunto’d to make it stand out even more.

Center detail of Reflections of Tao

This detail photograph of the upper right feather and corner border shows the variety of colors of silk thread used in the machine quilting:Corner border detail of Reflections of Tao

This quilt is now on display at the New England Quilt Museum as a part of the Silver Threads Challenge exhibit.  The best way to see this quilt is in person, so be sure visit the Quilt Museum and look for ‘Reflections of Tao’ if you are in the Lowell, Massachusetts area in the next month.  The Silver Threads Challenge quilts will be on display until late November.

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It has been too long since I have written!

I finished my silver silk wall hanging for the Lowell Quilt Festival in August.  I promised a photo of the finished quilt, so here it is…

I used many different colors of silk thread to make the silver silk sateen top look iridescent, especially in the densely quilted area outside the feather border.  I used trapunto in the center chinese character, ‘tao’ (meaning the path, or the way) and in the feather border.  I’ll post some more photos soon!

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I finally finished binding my feather plume sample from the February FMQ Challenge tutorial by Diane Gaudynski.  (I highly recommend you read through Diane’s tutorial at least once – it is packed with excellent instruction and advice on free motion quilting.) I call the sampler ‘Rogue Feathers’ –  my friend Jenny named the little feathers at the bottom ‘rogue feathers’, surrounding the circle.  I quilted the feathers there because I couldn’t bear echo quilting any more!  I am pleased with my little silver sampler.Rogue Feathers a free motion quilted sampler on silver silk by Diane Loomis

Free motion quilting detail of Rogue Feathers by Diane LoomisOne of the reasons I love this fabric is the way it subtly changes to the shade of the silk thread used for free motion quilting.  I’m having trouble showing this in photographs,  so here’s another view that shows the color changes in a different light.

(I haven’t stopped participating in SewCalGal‘s 2012 FMQ Challenge -just running late with my posts.  Look for a new blog entry before the end of the month with my July challenge entry! In case you haven’t followed SewCalGal’s blog recently, she generously featured my quilt Five Bar Blues earlier this month in a post about the Road to California quilt show.  )

2012 is the 25th anniversary of the New England Quilt Museum and in honor of this silver anniversary the Museum has issued a ‘Silver Threads Quilt Challenge’.  The challenge is to create a quilt inspired by the word ‘silver’, and I had a project in mind using this beautiful silver fabric before I discovered the challenge.

Here is a sneak peek at the wall hanging … not surprisingly, it has feathers…

sneak peek at silver feathers on the Silver Anniversay Quilt Challenge for the NEQM by Diane Loomis

I just finished machine quilting my silver-inspired quilt, so it is ready to be blocked, bound, and finished.   The bright blue is from the water soluble blue marker that I use to mark my quilts (the blue markings are already gone since the quilt’s first immersion today in clean, cool water.)  The quilts will be on display at a special exhibit at the 2012 Lowell Quilt Festival from August 9-11.

From another perspective you can see my signature as well as my favorite circle-spirals.

silver circles on the Silver Anniversay Quilt Challenge for the NEQM by Diane Loomis

Want to see the finished quilt?  Mark your calendar to visit the Lowell Quilt Festival, Thursday August 9 – Saturday August 11.  Visit the Lowell Quilt Festival website for more information about activities, lectures, and exhibits.

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I couldn’t stop myself from quilting once I began free motion quilting the feather plumes from last month’s challenge.  The fabric is solid silver, silk/cotton sateen.  Using different colors of silk thread (all #100, both YLI and Superior depending on the color)  made it look like the fabric was hand dyed (although this photograph may not do justice to it).

February Free Motion Quilting Challenge Feather Plumes sampler

I liked the pale lavender thread on the silver sateen best and used it to stitch the feather plumes and the first few rows of echo quilting around them.  When I finished quilting the sampler, the fabric around the feathers looked lavender, instead of silver.  My second favorite color on the silver sateen was pale blue (different shades) but the contrast of the light green silk thread really added movement to the background.

 

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Confession #1: Wow! I can’t believe I’m posting this again just under the wire.  The 2012 FMQ Challenge is really providing me with a deadline and motivation to keep up with at least monthly blog posts (even though they may be written late at night).

Confession #2: I took my first workshop with Diane Gaudynski in 2004, and I learned to quilt feathers from her then.  I have quilted feathers for many years … they are one of my favorite things to quilt!

As I read Diane’s excellent February tutorial, I looked for something new to learn from this lesson.  I noticed that Diane’s feathers all flow beautifully into smaller and more delicate feathers into a graceful end of the plume.  When I looked at  my feathers, I saw that I tend to end my feathers with a larger feather, or loop, at the end.

First feather plume sketch

So I decided my challenge for the month was to try to taper my feather plumes to be smaller at the end.

I began drawing feathers, early this month.  I discovered changing my habitual ways of drawing (and stitiching) feathers was more difficult than I expected!  This was my first drawing.

I wasn’t very happy with the result.  It didn’t flow and didn’t feel balanced.  I definitely had trouble making the ends of the feathers small and graceful.

Back to the drawing board!

Diane posted a blog entry on ‘Feather Plumes Linked‘ earlier this month.  I loved the idea and tried it with paper and pencil.  I like these linked feather plumes alot!

I tried to create a type of circular ‘focal point’.  You could use two or three plumes, instead of a continuous circular wreath.  Imagine a special shape, motif, or monogram inside the two rounded plumes….

Feather plumes focal point

 Yes, I quilted some feather plumes also.  But first I wanted to test different thread colors of silk thread for use on this wonderful silver silk sateen fabric that changes color in different light.  I used each of these threads to stitch some sample feathers.

Silk thread choices for free motion quilting

My favorite color was the pale lavender for these sample feathers.  I used lavender, light blue, light green, and some silver thread in this sample.  Although it takes a little longer to switch spools, I really like the movement and dimension that different thread colors add.

Practice free motion quilted feather plumes

Here is my final [for now] feathered plume for February.  I am pleased with it — but there is so much unquilted space!

Linked feather plumes for February 2012 FMQ Challenge

I had to add some more quilting to the empty space.  So the design evolves…. I’ll post a photo or two of the finished sampler soon!

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