How I build a quilt…

Earlier this year I was selected to be a part of an exhibit called Explorations: Journey in Creativity, The Quilt Artist’s Studio.  The exhibit will be at the New England Quilt Museum later this year and I am thrilled to have a piece in it.  It is a unique exhibit in that each artist will have an additional 20″ x 50″ area next to their artwork to display additional materials that highlight the techniques, process and materials that they used to create their piece.  This meant that while I was creating my piece for the exhibit I had to be careful to document the process from start to finish so that I will have some in process photos to display in my space and I thought I would share them here on my blog as well…



So this piece began the same way all of my pieces do – in my


full sized version

sketchbook.  I already had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do so I didn’t spend a lot of time sketching this one.  A couple of quick drawings were all I needed and then I created a full scale version on brown craft paper to work from.  I always make a full sized drawing to work with so that I have the opportunity to make adjustments to the scale of the images.  I never cut into my full sized drawings.  I make a copy using tracing paper and use that to cut my shapes from the fabric.

Then I prepaLR0red the base which is white fabric fused (using Mistyfuse – the only fusible I use and recommend)  to a layer of wool felt (I use wool felt instead of batting because I want body not loft) with a layer of muslin fused to the back.  The layer of muslin provides additional body and helps the finished quilt hang straight and flat. I quilted the white background with long wavy lines from top to bottom.  I wanted to do some fancier quilting but because of my shoulder surgery earlier this year I am still having trouble doing free motion work so I settled on wavy lines.  I then fused the lower part of the buildings in place and quilted them.  If you want to learn how I got the black fabric fused along the drip edge of the buildings you can find that technique in my book Colorful Fabric Collage.

The next step was to fuse the buckets and the pouring dye details in place  Then I quilted all of those elements.  Why do I quilt as I go instead of waiting until the quilt is all done and doing it last?  Because I hate to have to quilt around things!  Quilting as I go means a lot less starts and stops and the additional quilting adds stability to the finished quilt.

Once the buckets and the pouring dye were quilted I used my Sizzix to cut out all of the text.  Sometimes I cut all the text for my quilts by hand but in this case, I had an alphabet die that was the right size so I decided to use it.



The final step in the process was to fuse the black outline strips in place.  I use my own hand dyed black fabric for this.  In fact all of the fabrics used in this quilt are my own hand dyed fabrics with the exception of the gray which is from Cherrywood Fabrics because they make such great shades of gray.   Once the black lines were fused in place I stitched through the center of them using black thread.  Then I fused on a false back (a colorful piece of fabric to hide all the mess on the back side of the quilt), trimmed the quilt to size and bound it using black fabric.  I mentioned that I only use Mistyfuse fusible web in my studio to create my quilts.  If you have never used it or need a refresher on how to, I have a video tutorial on working with it here on my blog.

I am happy with the way this quilt turned out and I look forward to seeing it hanging at the New England Quilt Museum.  More information on the exhibit and the opening events once I have them.



3 thoughts on “How I build a quilt…

  1. Pingback: looking back, moving forward |

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