Sunday, 8 February 2015

IQF 2014 Post 6: Appliqué

This week is appliqué! I've had several ideas for quilts over the last year and all of them seem to require appliqué to pull off. Something I swore to myself I'd never start, too fiddly, too much perfection, etc, etc... I'm still on the dubious side. I have little to no idea how my patience will last or what the durability of me-made appliqué might be like. But there is only one way to find out, and to get these ideas out into the real world!

Thankfully for you lot, you get to see other people's appliqué quilts right now. Ones good enough to be in a big show. So let's sit back and enjoy this.

Hudson Trader by Colleen Wise

Hudson Trader by Colleen Wise is for the quilter's sister, made of her favourite fabrics and named for her username. The spherical drops of fabric gobsmacked me. I wish I had a better photo for you. Colleen used machine piecing, appliqué, painting, and machine quilting to achieve these effects. I assume the light and shade of the spheres is what's painted, the circles are appliquéd, and everything is pieced and quilted as you would. But I'd like to be looking at the quilt in person while I thought about this, and not this photo. This is why people go to shows over multiple days!

Not Hiding, Not Revealing by Sharon Hightower

Not Hiding, Not Revealing by Sharon Hightower is inspired by the Valspar Paint ad, you know the one. Her feisty chameleon is taking on three colours courtesy of raw-edge collage and machine quilting. Now, I'm not sure what raw-edge collage is, but I'm guessing somewhere between appliqué and that mad tiny almost dust bits of fabric under tulle (is that tulle?) where you get the crazy landscapes? I really like the non-squareness of this quilt. It also takes me a minute each time to see the chameleon, but he's actually really detailed.

Libby's Leaves by Laura Wasilowski

Libby's Leaves by Laura Wasilowski was inspired by Libby Lehman's Leaves in Living Color and uses fused appliqué and machine quilting. There are some lovely close-ups of the quilting and the stitching around the appliqué on Laura's site at the above link. The colours on this one really got me, as did the shapes within shapes and unusual layout.

Wanna Cookie? by Teresa Duryea Wong

Inspired by David Taylor's Maynard quilt, Teresa Duryea Wong has captured her dog Chip's attentive response in Wanna Cookie? as well as his greying muzzle and bright eyes! Hand appliquéing hundreds of pieces of fabric and then using machine quilting to define Chip's fur and bone structure Teresa wanted to capture his calm, happy personality. This is an appliqué technique that does fascinate me. It appears simple, but as you consider how you would have to divide up the subject into smaller shapes without losing their bone structure, then choosing colours and colours gradients that keep perspective and depth, light and shade, before adding the final details of quilting back in on top of this again. It must be very complex.

Spring Has Come by Akiko Kawata

Spring Has Come by Akiko Kawata. This is closer to traditional appliqué quilts, while still having unexpected elements. The background is made up of sinuous strands of various yellows and there are appliqué circles of purple bubbling there way across the quilt also. The pansies stand proud, each different but all somehow uniform. Like a beautiful flower show. There's a gorgeous dark satin stitch around each petal of the pansy, and metallic thread in the centre.

Spring Has Come detail

Finally, we have Tessellating Wings by Wendy Butler Berns. This quilt was one of the first to catch my eye when I got to the hall. The Monarch wings twisting in on themselves to form an almost chrysalis, against the pale blue but not static sky. Techniques used include machine appliqué, machine quilted, embellished, and painted. Wendy drew a sketch of a butterfly wing and then tessellated it to see what would happen. She wanted to push herself design wise and also used oil sticks for the first time in her quilting. Wendy teaches the technique she used to make this quilt on Craftsy, you can find out more on her website at the link above.

Tessellating Wings by Wendy Butler Berns

I think when I started quilting I had an idea that all appliqué quilts were those very 19th century perfectly turned out appliqué quilts, with the sort of abstract bowls of fruit and hearts and flower motifs. They seemed very proper and not at all like me (messy, impatient, too many curse words). Seeing these quilts at Festival has made me realise what I should have figured out by myself, appliqué is a skill that can be bent to serve whatever purpose you want. Have fun and make what comes to mind. I'm still not convinced on durability ;)

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