I was recently asked to be part of a challenge making small pieces (8×10″) on the theme of Winter. I thought I could probably manage something that small, but what I hadn’t really thought about the fact that I am very seldom inspired by nature. Lots of people I know do work inspired by flowers, or tree bark or sunsets or rolling hills or seascapes and I really enjoy their pieces, but I am hardly ever do anything similar. So, this small piece has caused me no end of chaos. I thought that I would probably produce something white and sparkly, reminiscent of ice and snow, but winter for me is associated with long dark nights. I think I have a bit of SAD. Anyway, I thought I would do what I often do which is to make a big piece and cut the small piece out of it, and then use the leftovers in another project. So, I made the big piece at the top of the post.
I used what I thought were wintry colours, and I liked the tone-y shades, by which I mean that there is a lot of black in the green and grey and even the orange. These aren’t my usual palette, but they worked well. I wanted to use the idea of the spikiness of dead plants in the garden in the winter. So, I used a mix of machine quilting in ordinary black thread and fly stitch in my favourite variegated thread from Winifred Cottage.
Because I thought for a fair bit of the construction that I was going to cut this up, there is a lot going on, and there are a lot of techniques. There is hand and machine quilting, some of which is more like embroidery that quilting per se. I also really enjoyed painting on the quilt, filling in the leaf shapes with my favourite Golden Fluid Acrylic. There is even some foiling done with bondaweb and free machine stitching on the extreme left:
I had almost finished the piece when I sponged gold paint in two large circles to represent the weak winter sun and this more or less finished the quilt off. When I came to square it up there was an inch gap at the end of the painted leaves so I had to stitch on an extra piece of grey silk. I think it really improves the overall balance of the quilt but it was a happy accident.
So, because I don’t really know what I am going to do with it I zigzagged round the edge to keep it together, but I am still left with wondering what to do for the initial challenge. It’s proving to be much harder than I thought.