Sunday, February 19, 2012

Playing in the Snow

Back in December when our local challenge group got together, we not only got to see how everyone interpreted the first challenge, but we also learned what our next challenge would be: using curved flying geese in a composition of our own choosing. Since I have been using a more free-form approach to creating a quilt in the past couple of years, I decided to combine this more structured element with something that was very unstructured. I have also become fascinated with finding ways to create texture and so thought this was the perfect opportunity to try a totally new technique--just scrunching and folding a piece of fabric to see the patterns that all these scrunches and folds would generate. Easier thought about than done, as I found out.

Like so many of us across the US, we have had very little snow this winter, and I find myself missing that magic transformation as the familiar colors and shapes and shadows of the landscape disappear--so cliched yet still so beautiful. So I went about creating some of my own, and my early visions of this piece involved the drifts and textures of a snowy field.

I paper-pieced my flying geese in the icy blue colors of a winter creek--actually the winter color of the creek on our property is icy brown from all the mud this year, but blue is more poetic--and sewed them to a plain white piece of fabric that would be the foundation piece for the scrunches. Now, for some reason, I wanted the snow to cross the geese at one point and that made my scrunching a whole lot more difficult since I had to begin sewing down the to-be-scrunched fabric around the geese with an estimated appropriate amount left free to scrunch as the snow crossed the creek. But after that it was pure play.  And I had to keep the judgmental side of my brain tuned only to positive comments since the piece looked fairly strange for a good while.  I had thought about putting fusible web on the back side of the fabric so it would be easier to hold it in place but decided that I could easily hold too much in place at once with a permanence I would have to live with.  So I used judicious pinning and ironing of folds as I worked my way down, learning as I went how to shift the wrinkles to create little areas of pattern.  I think it's time for a photo:
The machine quilting that held the scrunches in place were tricky as well since I needed enough stitching to hold the fold in place but not so much to make it entirely flatten out.

I added a golden sky and a glittery sun of two different layers of fused organza and I'm still not sure it works, but at one point I was sure it wasn't working at all (couldn't keep that frowning judge quiet for long) so not being sure is progress. Ultimately, I did have fun Playing in the Snow (and that's the name of this quilt) as I intentionally caused those puckers quilters try to avoid.

And if you are still with me, thanks for the company!

1 comment:

quilthexle said...

Lovely piece - the idea of using scrunched fabric is really clever!