Friday, April 22, 2016

Dresden Daisies

My Savor Each Stitch group is up to the chapter on  Volume. This is not volume, as in low-volume (i.e. light neutral low contrast color), but volume, as in 3-dimensional.

I went to the local SAQA meeting recently and participated in a little 'try it yourself' experience with fabric manipulation -- folding, tucking, puffing, prairie-pointing, etc. These are definitely ways to add real volume to the surface of a quilt, but I didn't like the results or my fabric choices enough to devote an entire little quilt.

Tucks, stitched down to add dimension

Prairie points, tucks and 3-d colored paper piecing
Of more personal interest to me is paying careful attention to seam direction, combined with density of quilting to create a sense of dimension. I rarely open my seams. This is very popular in modern quilting and does produce a flat surface,but that is actually the problem. Most of the time, I use the seam direction to add dimension and distinguish foreground from back ground.

After playing around with methods of adding dimension with fabric folding, puffing, prairie points, etc, I ended up making a small (12x12) study in seam management to achieve a sense of layering, plus trapunto, and dense vs loose or no quilting to achieve a sense of depth.

My initial inspiration comes from Lee Monroe, who did a trunk show of her quilts for our guild, including a bunch of large and small Dresden plate style quilts and wall hangings. I especially liked the off-center Dresden ( Hers has an extra blade, which results in 2 large blades side by side that are the same color. The look is interesting, but also a little odd. I wanted to do something asymmetric using the traditional, even number of blades AND I wanted the result to look like the alternating blades were missing, so that you see through to the background. I designed a paper-pieceable version of my own that reminds me of Daisies or Black-eyed Susans. The flowers are paper pieced individually and then appliqued onto the matching background fabric. The background behind the flowers is then cut-away to allow removal of the foundations. I used That Patchwork Place Foundation paper. It is feeds through the ink-jet nicely and tears off really easily, even using a regular stitch length. Amazing!

Dresden Daisies pieced and getting prepped for applique
Dresden Daisies

This will be my donation to the SAQA benefit auction. The whole quilt is 12x12. The biggest yellow flower  is only about 6 inches across. I also added beads to the trapunto'ed centers of the flowers and still have a couple more beaded ants to add to the middle leaf. The paper piecing has been done so that the seams ALL fold under the petals, pushing them to the foreground. Voila Volume. I think the quilting could have had even more contrast between the densely stippled background and more open foreground, but live and learn and move on...

Dresden Daisies, back

Technique Tip: The foundations for the flowers are printed in one piece (closed circle) and then cut open on one seam to allow piecing. The seams do not all lay in one direction the way they normally would when you foundation piece around a circle. The seams of the petals all turn under the petals, adding to the 3D quality. This was done by folding the foundation on the sewing line and sewing next to the fold rather that through the foundation for every other seam. The seams can then be ironed back under the foundation before proceeding to the next blade. I learned this from Judy Mathieson (Queen of the Mariner's Compass), and it is a wonderful technique. She uses freezer paper, which allows you to iron pieces to hold the fabric firmly to the foundation but is also a little harder to tear out. For small pieces, regular foundation paper works fine too. The effect is subtle, but the dimensionality would not be as good otherwise.

Thanks for reading ...


PS -- this little SAQA donation sold. Yeah.