November 9, 2013

What the Birds See

"What the Birds See"

This is my latest quilt in the Something from Nothing series.  The series is based on a pile of decorator fabric samples.  Part of the challenge I have given myself is to make the design of the quilt related in some way to the design on the fabrics.  You can read more about the series here.

For this quilt, my goal was to use lots of the large floral prints and make a happy garden quilt.  I was wondering about what to use or make up for a garden design, and my friend Julie suggested that I reproduce a part of the Chicago Botanic Garden, and have the quilt ready to display at the big Fine Art of Fiber show that is held there every fall.  Perfect!  Thanks, Julie!

I used Google to "survey" the gardens from the air.  I selected the English Walled Garden as an area with some interesting variation in shapes and with fountains.

You can see the Google aerial photo I used here.  (When you get there, hover over the "Map" button in the upper right.  You'll get a little menu.  Click on " 45º " to turn off the angle view.  Then you'll have the straight-down view I used.)

I straightened out the angle and printed the garden out on just a regular 8.5x11" sheet of paper.  Then, as I cut the fabrics, I measured each object on the photo, and multiplied the dimension by 4 to determine the size of my appliqué piece.  I put iron-on interfacing on the fabrics before cutting to help stabilize them.  The brown ground print is one large piece of fabric I picked up at an estate sale.  I did take some "artistic license" with the layout here and there, mostly to keep the shapes easy to interpret.  Everything finally got cut and pinned on, and then I appliquéd by machine with a zig-zag stitch and invisible threads, light or dark according to the fabric.

I had trouble finding a fabric I liked for the borders - something green, but not too strong.  I finally settled on the reverse of a wonderful silk fabric that I got from a clothing designer who was clearing out her studio.  (In keeping with the theme of this series.)  Luckily there is enough of that fabric that I can use it again in something else, and use the right side.  Otherwise, I don't know if I could have talked myself into hiding its actual beauty like this!  It's super gorgeous.

I backed it with another large piece of decorator fabric, and stitched around the major shapes to secure the layers together.  There is no batting.  It is quite heavy for its size - 38"x45".

It was very fun, but didn't use up all of anything, and didn't touch some other great florals.  So I can do another garden quilt someday.  It was fun!

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