Monday, February 16, 2009

A Loopy Quilted Project

Some time ago I got the notion to hang several fruit fabrications (pun intended) up in the kitchen. Rather than a square or rectangular shape, something more intricate was called for. Therein lies the difficulty... anything firm enough to support the cloth is too hard to cut easily. Fortunately my husband has a band saw in the garage, and 1/8" thick hardboard worked just fine for the basic shape. The band saw is tricky because if you twist it the blade will break, so you have to nibble away at the shape carefully. A different type of saw might work better, even a hand coping saw, perhaps. (Real woodworkers, by all means add your suggestions in the Comments.)

Click on any of these images for a bigger view, by the way.

A pattern was sketched out first, which provided the outline to trace onto the hardboard. The loopy lines would serve to break up the shape of the apple. The reverse-fusible-appliqué technique used for the blue outlines of the apple is described in more detail on my web site here and here.

Once the various fabrics were fused into place, a thin batting and backing were added. (If memory serves, the batting was pre-trimmed to the apple shape to eliminate some bulk.) The piece was free motion stitched, then wrapped around the hardboard shape. Lots of clipping was necessary, then a fairly heavy fusible (Steam-a-Seam 2) provided the adhesive. It was pretty tricky to get all the fabric pulled around to the back and stuck down using one of those mini-irons.

This shows the back after gluing on a piece of black felt to cover the rough edges. The picture hanger is the type that allows some leeway in case it wasn’t centered exactly.

Both the apple and the pear (see below) came out pretty well. There was just one problem... they took a ridiculously looooong time to m
ake. It was the cutting out of the shapes that was a bit much... sawdust everywhere... yuck. I gave up the idea of making more fruit to hang in the kitchen. Instead, they were given titles (Loop-de-Apple and Loop-de-Pear) and put into a sale to benefit the Orlando Museum of Art. The pear sold, so the poor little apple was left all alone and has been ignored in a corner of my studio.

But recently I got an idea for the apple. Tick tock, tick tock, how about some clock parts? Craft stores carry some cute fork and knife clock hands, so as soon as I get a round tuit, the apple will tell time.

An easier way to proceed with a similar project would be to find pre-cut wood shapes. Some of the craft stores are carrying 12" alphabet letters that would look nice with a little quilted upholstery. Frames would work, too. Just pick a shape that isn't too overly intricate.

Happy creating!


Andy J Smith illustration said...

These look great. My wife would go crazy for these quilts! I'd love to see this kind of work incorporated into your illustration, but I know it is super labor intensive.

Maggie Smith said...

hi loreen--i had no idea you did quilting too! you are too much. I just spent some time exploring the quilted art gallery on your website--everything is gorgeous!
love the new blog--i'll be checking in often.
:) maggie smith (pbaa)

Candied Fabrics said...

PELTEX! Use PELTEX! Firm enough for what you want, but you just cut it with scissors! I used one layer in the house sides (except for house #3, when I mistakenly used 2 layers) but the base is make of 2 layers of Peltex 72, which already has fusible on both sides. You could fuse the quilt top already quilted to the batting on top of two layers of peltex, wrap the edges around to the back like you did for your apple & pear, then finish up by fusing some fabric onto the back (wool felt - what a mess polyester felt would be, or just regular fabric). You can then hot glue on the sawtooth hanger and Bob's Your Uncle! Don't give up on your wall of fruit yet!

Loreen Leedy said...

Now there's a funny expression: Bob's Your Uncle. I have a book of animal sayings (There’s A Frog in My Throat) and love sayings in general, but hadn't heard that one. Anyway, I've played with Timtex which doesn't seem stiff enough, but I take it the Peltex would be? I wanted the fruits to be pretty rigid and lay flat against the wall. It is a shame to give up on the idea, in any case. I have a cool 1970's stained glass shade with fruit all over it that would tie it together beautifully. Thank you very much for your thoughts!!!

Loreen Leedy said...

By the way, I looked around in Michael’s yesterday, and there were pre-cut wood shapes of a heart and a star for a mere 99¢ that would make cute little clocks, about 6 to 8 inches across. There was also a large wood circle (12" or so) already drilled for clock parts that would be really easy to use.