Our theme this quarter was 'Dreams' and I knew straight away that I wanted to make a quilt about the moments between twilight and dawn when your senses become really acute but at the same time the natural world takes on a magical and rather dream-like quality.
One of the best things about being involved in a quilt group like ours is being inspired by all the other members. In this quilt I borrowed a technique from Fiona who is always so adventurous in trying out something different. In her last piece for the group she used cyanotype (solar-printing fabric) and the colour and effect of this technique fit perfectly with what I envisaged.
My initial plan was to use a bit of cyanotype along with overprinting and painting but once I got started I fell so in love with the process and the result that I did not want to add any further colour or techniques, so my quilt owes a far bigger debt to Fiona than I first intended.
Once you have taken your piece of cyanotype fabric out of its lightproof packet you obviously have to work quite quickly to compose your image but it was not cheap so I was careful to plan my images first. I took some glass out of a couple of picture frames and placed it on top of each piece to stop my materials blowing away - the sun doesn't make it over the roofs into my garden at this time of year so I laid out my work first on the pavement outside, and then on the roof of my car in the street!
Having assembled images into a composition (which took ages of faffing) I wanted the stitching to add texture and interest without dominating in any way, so the only thing I did was to add some barely-there embroidery (seed stitch and french knots) to the moths and fennel flowers, in off-white Aurifil wool because I love the matt and organic look and feel of it. I also took advantage of the pattern showing through the 'moon' from underneath and highlighted it with some machine quilting.
It's always very exciting to read how the other members of the group interpreted the theme, and to see how this was translated into their quilts! Please check out all the quilts on our group blog, where you'll also find links to members' individual blogs.
Things I learned:
The colour in cyanotype fabric is only on the surface - and stitching left tiny white puncture holes. These show in my seams if you looked closely, and also where I tried and took out some additional machine stitching, and I would try a very sharp needle and very fine thread (eg Aurifil 80?) next time in case that helped.
The texture of the fabric is more open than quilting cotton and there is a lot of fraying.
The colour of the fabric after washing and drying keeps developing over the next several hours, becoming deeper.
I don't know why it didn't occur to me to cut at least some of the fabric sheets into smaller pieces to play and experiment with first!