A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Monday, October 5, 2015

To Art Quilting and Beyond - Week 1/Part 1

I was interested to hear from someone who knows me and reads FIRE that she didn't realize it was me writing!  LOL!!  So.....HI everyone! My name is Kelly L Hendrickson. I have been privileged to be a resident artist here at FIRE for a few years now. Definitely one of the most fun groups around. I hope you enjoy this month electricity free (by choice!)

OK you all have your bag or box of goodies ready?

Next step is to set the ground rules....or not.

Not being much of a "rules" person myself, I am loathe to impose them on others. So I have suggestions instead.

1) No electricity

2) No rotary cutters - Make do with scissors or just ripping fabric when applicable

3) Think outside your usual box. Go fearlessly down a different path than you are used to.

Ok...that's it!

The first thing I did was to decide what size I wanted to do this week so I would at least have a general area to work within.  I decided on 14" X 14"

I made a few other decisions. If I end up with 4 separate pieces, I want to put them together into one piece at some point. So I felt I wanted SOMETHING to pull them together when (or if) that time comes. I chose two things.  The first is a neutral fabric which I will use in the background of all the pieces. The second is to have circles a major part of each piece. You will see how that unfolds in the upcoming days.

Ready to start?

Here we go...

I chose a backing fabric. One which I had enough of to be the same for all four pieces. Then I cut the batting. This is not the batting I usually use but I had some and so decided to try it out. I've used fusable batting before but not this loft or this brand. We'll see how it works.

Then I started laying out the fabrics and bits and paints to find a combination that was interesting to me. It may or may not end up like this but it provided a jumping off point.

First I put down the neutral common fabric. Now...I'm not a hand-quilter. I have hand pieced but never hand quilted anything. Boy was THIS a learning experience. What I learned first? I cannot quilt a straight line! I started on the edges of the neutral fabric with regular thread. But I wanted more texture and a bit of contrast so I switched to embroidery floss! This was really fun.

OK..you can quit laughing now. Suffice it to say that by this time I was really missing my sewing machine! But I will continue. Hopefully it won't show that much when the project is completed??? Here's hoping!

For now, I'm going to go soak my poor hands in some warm fragrant water and hope they quit aching.

Well, it is begun and the commitment is made. See you tomorrow!


  1. I just have to jump in here….smiling…as my 13 year old sewing machine died….it’s really DEAD….mother board gone and apparently can’t be fixed or a new one found to repair it. Geesh….so until I figure out what to do….and how to pay for a new one….many costing 1/3 of what our first house cost…..I’m doing handwork. Which is okay, since that’s a technique I’m comfortable with.

    As far as hand quilting goes….when I taught my ‘improve your hand quilting’ workshops…..students were surprised when I suggested that straight line were the MOST difficult to do….curved lines may still have slightly crooked individual stitches but because of the curve…..they aren’t as apparent as when stitching a straight line. Something to consider for those new to hand quilting/stitching….

  2. I am appalled that a 13 year old machine should die, and be beyond repair. Are you prepared to give Make and Model Number?

  3. Kelly, I did a couple of hand sewn wall hangings years ago, and found that using polyester fill was easy to sew through. I also tried one with regular quilt batting and it was very hard to sew on. Seems to me, when my Grandma used to quilt, that they used things like old blankets as the center. Do you follow Jude Hill's blog "Spirit Cloth"? She hand sews her cloths, but isn't making a quilt in the conventional sense... just fabulous, beautiful creations. I will be following this thread with much interest!

  4. I use preshrunk cotton flannel as my under layer for art quilting by hand. I think it gives just enough depth -- and it's fairly easy to hand quilt. (My hands do ache if I keep at it for too long, though.) My hand quilting stitches are both crooked and uneven -- I don't get exasperated about it anymore, just consider it part of the art.

  5. I began as a purist -- only hand quilting but after twenty plus years I now use a sit down machine for quilting. More recently I started hand work again with a lot of embroidery. I'm excited to see where your projects go this month. Remember "quilting" that goes awry is "threadplay" and "mark making"!

  6. Hi Kelly. This is so much fun!!

  7. I'm deciding if.. but I did kinda breezed over no electricity and got a jolt when it meant NO sewing machine. :O Looks like a fun month!

  8. Oh it is so great to hear from you who really understand hand-quilting/stitching. And Mary, glad to hear that straight lines really are hard! I think next time I'll get out my painters tape or chalk marker! Judy, the stray batting I had lying around was polyester (which is why it was lying around...not really fond of it). Now I'm glad that was what I had to use! Now back to my "thread play" and "art making" Thanks Ann!! I agree. And I'm with you Emmy...they are just my personality and creativity showing through! Sorry for the shock Elle. Hope you are going to join in the fun though! Glad you are enjoying the challenge Beth!


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