Wednesday, December 18, 2013

the making of ...Cookie Cutter Condos
Step 1:
To make the blocks I used in this quilt, I first dyed some yardage, in about 11 different colors, and for each color I made a light, medium, and intense amounts of dye.  Then, I did a lot of batik stamping of a square block, and a circle inside it.  They were bleach discharged, and cut apart into individual units.  Then all the blocks were shuffled into new piles for a new layer of dye on top.  Then the wax was boiled off and the blocks were washed out.  A lot of work for each individual block, but resulting in a fabulous array of color choices!!  See original post here.  It also made a large number of blocks, and so I find it really fun to find new things to do with them!  Each block in this photo has had fusible ironed to the back and trimmed by hand with scissors into these rounded block shapes.  I then selected which blocks I wanted to use, and placed them in rows.
Then, the colored rows were pressed onto some dyed batting.  I think I had about 9 colors of dyed batting to choose from.  And though it looks so pretty here, most of this batting will not be visible in the end.  The only place it peeks through is in the center of the circles which will be cut out and hand stitched.  A white batting definitely shows, which can be either desirable or not.  I liked this so much, I almost decided not to trim off the dyed batting and just let it show.  Maybe next time?

The next step is to machine quilt each strip of blocks, and then satin stitch around the batik.  It adds another color to each block which I just love!  Here is my collection of shiny threads.  Thus requiring  a lot of thread changes, which is sort of a pain and a bit time consuming.

Then I carefully hand cut out the circles.  Here is a pile of them.  I keep thinking they will be used on another project, but with the exception of this quilt, I have not really used them much and am accumulating quite the collection!
Then, one by one, I select an embroidery thread that is either a compliment of the color of the block, or a contrast, and I hand stitch around the edges of the holes.  I also use a lot of different colors of embroidery floss.  Each block now has 2 colors of dye, and 2 different colors of thread.  More please!
Next, I make the background quilt.  All the little blocks on this will peek through the holes I just cut.  They are all hand-dyed fabrics and fused into place.  This section will be layered onto batting and a backing, and then pin basted.
I am not sure if you can see this, but the next step is to machine quilt the entire background.  It is almost like making two different quilts and then attaching one on top of the other.  I used white Masterpiece thread and just stitched in mostly straight vertical lines, very closely spaced.
Now comes the hard part.  The other parts are laborious, but not difficult.  This step is physically difficult and requires more skill.  I pin the strip of quilted, satin stitched, hole cut and hand stitched strips in place, one at a time.  I will satin stitch around EACH individual block.  This requires turning the entire quilt completely around under the very small neck of my Pfaff.  And avoid getting stuck by the pins.  And, I use yet another thread color for each block too.  This adds two more colors to our count of 4 because I have a new color of fabric in the hole, and a new thread color.
Now, repeat that for each strip.
When all that is completed....whew!...I get the quilt wet and pin it to a flat surface, in this case I place one of my design walls on the floor.  Then I set a fan on it and let it dry over night.  This 'blocks' the quilt in to a nice flat and square shape.  Sometimes the excessive sewing can distort the shape a bit.  This step corrects that.
On to the last steps....I apply a facing to all the outer raw edges and turn them under to the back side.  I hand stitch the facing in place.  Then I sew a hanging tube and sew it in place (by hand).  And, last, I hand craft a label with the quilt's new name and a few other details, and stitch in in place on the back.  All done!

Each little block is actually a pocket!  I am pleased with the results! 
And, if you have visited my blog before you will recognize this method of working from several other quilts I have made.
Windows, which won 2nd place in Houston this year!
Park Place, which is touring with IQA in the Tactile Architecture exhibit.
High Rise, which will be heading to Art Quilt Elements 2014 from March 21, 2014 to May 3, 2014 at the Wayne Art Center in Philadelphia!

5 comments:

Over The Top Quilting Studio said...

Thank you for your detailed description of the creativity and enormous amount of work you put into each of your pieces. Based on this, you ought to charge much more for each of your works!

Hilary Florence said...

I loved seeing/reading about how you created this quilt. That was really interesting and informative. I also really enjoy the results of your sense of colour.
You don't seem to have a way to follow your blog?
Hilary Florence

kathy york said...

I don't seem to be able to help you today Hilary! Sadly, that is not really my area of expertise. For my personal use, I use Bloglovin. I type in an address of a blog that I like, and it allows me to follow it. I know that different web browsers will sometimes show different options for following a blog, but I do not have the specifics. Sorry that I couldn't be more helpful.

Stacey Napier said...

Kathy - this is a gorgeous quilt. This is obviously a labor of love and I do really love it!

kathy york said...

Stacey,
Thank you so much!