Monday, February 4, 2013

Fragments and Dreams - My Madrona Road Challenge Quilt

After many late nights and many, many spools of thread, I have finally finished my quilt! I started out thinking I would do a little bit of doodle quilting to accentuate what was going on, but as time went on I got deeper and deeper into the quilting. I'm not sure this quilt entirely works compositionaly, but it was fun to stretch myself to make it. I was hoping the quilting would balance out the quilt, but I don't think it did. However, I am proud of the work and thought that I put into this quilt, and I think it is a sign of where I am going as a quilter.

Here it is, in all its glory! The concept of this quilt was pulled out of the text fabric, so to understand it, you have to know what the strips of black text fabric say. The top left is "stitch by stitch she pieced her life together", then "the family settled in a little house with a big life on Madrona Road." The center appartment building says, "The country mouse and her prince grew restless in their beuatiful city", while the quote next to the flower says "longed for a steadfast place to call home". The ladder and hand says, "After battling an evil giant she vowed never to climb ladders again", the center star says, "Sweet dreams" and the bottom right quote is "Alas, the winds called her to seek her soul in the desert".
On my Flikr photo I wrote a little artist's statement: This quilt was inspired by the text fabric and the night time colours - I wanted to make a quilt that had the same effect of fragmented, unfinished images drifting over the surface of the quilt. The free motion doodle quilting fills in details and adds texture to the quilt, adding extra images and words (a castle by the giant's hand, wind in the desert, a garden outside the hosue) that expand the images and continue to reflect the text in its  free flowing stream of consciousness style.
I'll walk you around a bit of the quilting, shall I? If you'd rather just look at the pictures, feel free to skip the text all together. But its there in case you're interested in my process and the details.
Here we see the giant's castle and the clouds behind it, as well as the swirl-y quilting I put on the whole bottom left of the quilt. The writing says "Here be giants". Now I wish I had echo-quilted these yellow flowers too, as I did with the ones above and on the right of the quilt. Maybe I'll pick it out and re-do it if I have the time . . . (ha ha).
Since I was playing with the interaction of images vs text, and piecing vs quilting, I was feeling all Postmodern, and decided to layer my own words on top of the words and images that were already in the quilt.
In case you're wondering, free motion writing is easy. If you have some practice and control with your free motion quilting, and you can write cursive, then you can write on your quilt. Around the star there is this same swirl-y quilting, with small stars and hearts added in.
The wind is quilted around the girl, and the yellow flower has echo quilting in it. The flowers are expanded outward into the white space. I quilted "Let the sunshine in" and a sun next to the yellow flower, which reminded me of the sun.
The house has clouds and swirls above it, and a garden below it. There is a path leading from the text about finding a place to find their own. The house has bricks quilted into it, and the is texture in the roof and the curtains.
This flower motif is one of my favorite parts of the quilting. I will definitely use this again on another quilt.
On the other side of the quilt I quilted in the words from the text above, with spools on either side. Above this is the part where I made square spirals. I'm the least happy with that part. My original plan was to do straight line quilting, and I think I should have stuck with it, or made the lines much closer together - more like a 1/4 inch.
Finally, next tot he house, I wrote "Home sweet home". This also shows a nice section of the clouds and swirl-y spirals. The swirls sort of expanded into these spirals as I continued quilting, and I think I like them better. I will probably use them as a quilting motif again, too. The clouds were also fun.
Overall, I had a lot of fun quilting this - it reminded me of the geometric doodling I used to fill pages with in highschool during class. Although the final product is a bit random, the process of making this quilt was great, and I will definitely use some of the things I learned in future quilts.