Wow, well this website certainly started with a bang!. How fantastic is it? Now we all have to keep up the good work, so here goes, hopefully 😉
One of the questions I have been asked after posting photos of my quilts is how are they done both from design to finish. Unfortunately there is no quick and easy answer to this as each one is different and brings up its own problems and pleasures. However, I thought you might like to see the process of one that is currently doing the rounds with Grosvenor Shows and will be in my exhibition entitled ‘So this is what happens when you retire’.
This one is called ‘Silver Linings.’
It is stitched on a fabric which unfortunately is no longer being produced called Radiance which is a cotton/silk mix and is a lovely steel grey colour. I use a HandiQuilter longarm system, and all the quilting is freehand, so no computers involved at all.
The first step is to do the design, which for me often starts as just a doodle on a piece of paper.
draft design with mirrors to view full effect
This is the second draft, it started at half the width as you can see from the crease down the centre, and by putting large mirrors on both sides you can get a good idea of what it will look like when completely drawn out. As you can see, the corners needed a little something so they were filled and a few more details added and then it was drawn out in pen on tracing paper. (Yep, drawn out yet again)
This is then put on a lightbox (kindly made by my lovely dad) and the fabric laid on top and the design is then drawn out again. Yes, lots and lots of drawing before a needle gets anywhere near it.
Once it is all traced onto the fabric, in this case with a blue wash away pen, it can then be loaded onto the frame and the real fun begins. This is my favorite part, the stitching. (It is basted first to ensure it is square etc and that is removed as I go along).
Once all the outlines are stitched it is time for even more fun and get all the fills put in. Some of these are a little time consuming to say the least, but I love doing it, so that’s ok. To my surprise, this colour fabric took on the colour of the thread in each area and reflected it, which was an added bonus.
As you can see, I also added a grid in different areas and these were filled with different designs.
After a goodly number of hours and late evenings all the fill work is done and its time to come off the frame. But it doesn’t stop there, oh no. I decided that it would have a beaded edge instead of the normal binding so yet again, many hours spent in the evening creating the beaded edge to go all around it. They were covered in another radiance fabric, and when I had a string long enough it was attached to the quilt top.
Beading attached and now for the faced binding.
And when all that is done and the facing is stitched it is ready to hang. Phew. Custom work is not quick work, but hey…. it is so worth it.
If you have any questions about any part of the process, please ask in the comments section and I will answer you. I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of the stages of production. I will show you more with different quilts as time goes on.