Help Me Brainstorm

“Creativity is the quest to narrow the gap between vision and execution.”
Janet Edens Conover

I am bartering with a creative friend, Janet, for some work. My payment to her will be a quilt using a Green Man theme. I sketched the picture above, tracing parts off a large decorator print to get me started. The lower half is already substantially different from the source, and the rest will change significantly enough that I don’t think there are any copyright infringement issues.

The dominant colors will be greens, reds, golds, and black. Other colors will be used in smaller measure.

There are a variety of ways to execute this. The ones most obvious to me are 1) appliqué separate fabric pieces onto a background; 2) create the design as a digital image and have it printed at Spoonflower or similar vendor; 3) paint the design directly on fabric.

I will eliminate #3 immediately, as my art skills are simply not up to that task. The other two also are challenging to consider, for various reasons. For #2, I’d need Jim to do the actual design work, as I have no facility with Photoshop. And for #1, there is all that appliqué…

Yesterday I met with my small group. One of the women is working wool appliqué on a black flannel background. The colors are vivid and joyful. She fuses the wool bits down and then uses a blanket stitch to secure the edges. Another person she knows staples the wool onto the background and then stitches them, eliminating the fusing step. (That would be great! I don’t enjoy fusing!) Then of course the staples are removed with no harm done. I’m inclined to go this direction. Some pieces could be machine-stitched down, I expect, while others might do better with hand-stitching. One big barrier, no matter what kind of appliqué I’d do, is gathering the fabrics. My stash has no woolens in it, and if I use something other than wool, I don’t have a lot appropriate for that, either. Batiks have the depth of value that I’d like, and I have almost  no batiks…

I have paintsticks, I have markers, I can buy other fabric paints, but I don’t have much experience with any of them so need simple solutions.

Just thinking out loud here. Help me out, please. Help me narrow the gap between vision and execution. Give me some ideas, ask questions, throw out concerns with various methods… Any help is appreciated. 

Advertisements

31 thoughts on “Help Me Brainstorm

  1. piecefulwendy

    Question – how big will the quilt be? Is it a wall hanging? Pillow? How will it be used? That would have an impact on whether to use wool or not.I have some other thoughts, but will email them separately.

    Reply
  2. KrisR

    I’ve done the wool method with stapler and it works well. You might need a long arm stapler depending upon the size of your pieces.

    How about raw edge appliqué? Using a fuzable like misty fuse, and a straight free motion quilting stitch on the edges? I usually go around my pieces 3 times for effect but you wouldn’t have to.

    Email me if you want to chat more or see examples.

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks, Kris. For sure I wouldn’t do needle turn applique here, so raw edge would be the way to go. I haven’t simply quilted over fused pieces but that could be fun, and a thing to explore. Thanks for the ideas. My wheels are turning!

      Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      It will be a medallion, a wallhanging, and this would be the center. (You know me so well!) I don’t know that embroidery would show up well enough to do the deed here, but it’s something that could work well for embellishment. Thanks!

      Reply
  3. Chela's Colchas y Mas

    Since it is the center of a medallion, maybe raw edge applique would be good.
    Maybe you can try painting. I think this design is made for painting… but of course, I am just thinking out loud. I am just beginning to try paints, without any real instruction; and I am finding this to be fun. I am finding out that paint is forgiving. Mistakes can easily be turned into something different and pretty.

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Are you painting on fabric? What kind of paints do you use? On what background fabric? This seems like a project I’ll need to try a lot of different things before deciding on the final how-to. Thanks for your thoughts.

      Reply
      1. Chela's Colchas y Mas

        I am in the very early stages of learning about painting. Since I had some acrylic paint, I read about adding textile medium to the acrylic in order to paint on fabric. I am not painting anything in particular, just trying out the paint on old jeans and canvas fabric. I am learning by the seat of my pants…my usual MO for learning . : ) Sorry I can’t help you with any real steps.

        Reply
  4. katechiconi

    I’ve done a fair bit of appliqué over the past couple of years. My favourite process is raw edge appliqué, with a small, close blanket stitch to hold it down. I love batiks for this, as their weave is dense and they don’t fray nearly as much as regular quilting fabrics. They also respond well to being starched before cutting, so you can get a lovely crisp edge. I don’t fuse, though, as I don’t like how thick and stiff it makes the finished result. I’ll baste the piece down, and use a piece of tear-away stabiliser behind, basting through that. Then I do the blanket stitch. The stabiliser stops the stitching forming a tube and keeps everything flat and smooth. Just tear it away afterwards. If I can’t baste as the piece is too small or fiddly, I use a tiny squirt of spray baste to hold it down temporarily. And finally, I always trim out to 1/4″ behind the applied section to keep the piece supple. One other thing: lay all your cut pieces out on the background image in order, so they overlap correctly. Lay a piece of flannel or something ‘grippy’ on top and invert it. You’ll now find your pieces laid out in the correct order on the grippy fabric so you can apply them one by one without disturbing the layout.

    Reply
  5. TextileRanger

    As someone who just did the Spoonflower thing on Kona cotton, I can say that to me the fabric felt heavy, like a sheet you would get for kids that had a superhero screen-printed on it, and I had trouble quilting through it easily. (Although I was using it for both front and back and with wool batting, so those things might have added to the issues.) The colors were true and there was absolutely no extra dye on a Color Catcher I used in the wash. But it would be worth your while to get your sample made up in different weights of fabric if you go that route.
    Using Photoshop on that drawing would be a piece of cake. You already have the drawing. You would just choose colors and fill in the different areas with the paint bucket tool. If you have the colors in your head, it would take just a few minutes.
    Another idea I have seen is big chunks of various fabrics as a base, with the details done with black bias tape on top for a stained glass effect. Lots of stitching on that though.

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks for the comments on Spoonflower fabric quality. Kona is great in some ways and less wonderful in others. Below, Sue says the sateen has a nice hand. And the idea of big pieces of fabric with bias tape edging, that sounds like more than I’d be up for. A quilt artist (must find her again…) uses basic satin stitching over all her edges, I think. Which would still be a huge amount of stitching, but without manipulating the bias tape. Thank you for your help!

      Reply
  6. Paula Hedges

    Melanie, you sure have come up with a challenge! I’m seeing texture as essential in bringing this center to life. Perhaps a combination of different ways to provide depth where needed and the coming toward you in a different medium. Wool used for areas reaching out, thread painting for depth, even using unusual fabrics such as tulle, double gauze, velvet. Done tastefully, it would be a masterpiece! What a fun time to experiment and maybe end up using a variety of ways to accomplish what you envision. Keep us posted!

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Oh my, lots of fabric ideas I hadn’t considered! And that’s exactly why I asked for help. All of it helps me form some plan. Yes, I do think it will end up with a variety of methods to get this done! Thanks so much.

      Reply
  7. Sue

    For temporarily holding small pieces in place without fusing you could try little dots of Elmers school glue. No fusing and it will wash out if necessary. Least stiff and sticky fusing web is Wonder Under 805, IMHO. Re Spoonflower, they offer a cotton sateen that produces a very nice, sharp image–a much higher. Thread count and tighter weave than the Kona. Just some thoughts. I’ve got “green man” theme on my quilt bucket list, too. Will enjoy seeing yours! Cheers!
    IMHO.

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thank you, Sue. I’ve used Elmers glue stick for similar use. In the way I used it, it was less stiff than the dried liquid glue. Of course in tiny dots it probably doesn’t matter much. I have some Wonder Under, can’t remember what weight but it is quite light. I’ll check on that. Thanks for the help and encouragement!

      Reply
  8. snarkyquilter

    Perhaps do the large pieces with raw edge applique and then the detail work with thread drawing. Wool has a lovely hand and, if felted, just doesn’t ravel. You may find some approrpriately colored wool garments at thrift stores. Cut them apart and wash them in hot/hot/hot water, then dry them in like fashion. Good fabric pens could help add detail as well. In terms of fusibles, Mistyfuse is better than WonderUnder for raw edge applique – lighter and more pliable.

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I’m getting so many great ideas. Thanks for adding yours. I’ll check the Mistyfuse. And yes, fabric pens, crayons, paints, block printing… I think there are a lot of ways I can go with this. Experimenting will be fun. Thanks!

      Reply
  9. Mercedes

    Have you thought about paper piecing? It would depend on the final design, but there is a free software that you can upload your picture and create your own paper piece pattern.

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Hi Mercedes. I hadn’t considered paper piecing for this particular project, but you’re right, that’s a viable option, too. I’ve been reading a Ruth McDowell book and seeing how her piecing strategies allow all kinds of shapes. Thanks for mentioning it, and thanks for reading and commenting.

      Reply
  10. KerryCan

    Getting here late to say I’d probably do embroidery for the design and have fun with choosing threads colors and deciding how much, or little, stitching to do in different sections. I’ll look forward to seeing what comes of this!

    Reply

I love your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.