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, August 1, 2016

Background Check - Week 1 - WOVEN

Don't panic! Not THAT kind of background check...you can all take a deep breath!

Hi everyone! I'm Kelly Hendrickson, one of the resident artists here at FIRE!

This month I want to talk about several different styles of backgrounds for art quilts.
We might each have a favorite. Often the piece itself might dictate whether the
background is an integral part of the overall design. Or it might be more of
a backdrop...kind of a supporting actor in the play which highlights the star's

My hope is that this month you might find a new idea for backgrounds and perhaps
even spark a new idea or two. Many of these ideas have grown and morphed in my
repertoire over the past years and I have long since forgotten just where I originally
heard about them in the first place. If I do remember, I will certainly give credit where
credit is due.

So let's start!!


This one is quite easy and depending on the fabrics you choose to weave together, can
be rather subtle or a bold contrast!

Step 1
Choose your fabrics
Again, depending on the look you are going for, the colors can be very close in the
same color family or contrasting and bold.

For my example I had done some snow dyeing with a gradation of gray dye. I chose
two fabrics that were very close in shade but the difference is discernible. The top piece
is a couple of shades darker in the gradation than the bottom piece.

Step 2
Add the adhesive
Iron double sided adhesive paper to the back of the fabric, I would recommend a lighter weight adhesive paper since the final piece with be two layers thick.

Step 3
Cut the two fabrics in strips
You can cut straight strips or, as I did for this piece, you can cut 
curvy lines. You can also mix the two or even make up your own design. Just be sure the final
result is in "strips"  On one of the pieces don't cut all the way through at one end. Leave about
1/2" at the top to keep all the vertical strips in place. The second piece you can cut the strips 
completely apart. HOWEVER!!!! Keep these in the same order you cut them!! 

Step 4
Start weaving
It will work best if you can weave the strips directly onto the batting you intend to use. Once
it is woven it is not IMPOSSIBLE to move it to the ironing board but it can be difficult.

Lift every other strip in the piece with the uncut top 1/2" and lay it over the
top. Take the first of the loose strips and lay it down on the strips left on the table. Snug
them up close to the top or the piece above it as you go down the piece. In the photo below,
you can see the black MistyFuse on the strips that are lifted up and laid over the part above ie.

This photo below shows the end of a row where you can see the two vertical strips laid up over the
piece and the horizontal loose strip snuggled up as close as it can be.  On the left you can see where the vertical strips have been brought back down over the horizontal strip

Continue on until there is no more room at the bottom of the vertical strips.
Here is a photo of this piece after the weaving was completed.

Step 4
Iron it together
If you wove it onto the batting, this will be a fairly easy step. Move it to the ironing surface and
iron according the the directions of the adhesive paper you used.

You're DONE! You have a background on which to build your new work of art!

Since these pieces were snow dyed it only seemed appropriate to do a winter tree on this background.
Here is the finished piece. I just LOVE serendipity!! As I was placing the tree trunk on this one, I noticed that there was a sort of a shadow at the left of the tree trunk. So fun!


Snow Tree - Detail

Just as an example of the more bold contrasted fabrics. Here are two pieces I wove together. The first is still a piece awaiting it's purpose. The second is a woven piece I did in straight lines and used it for the lining of a carrier I made for my cell phone.  

And you don't have to do one strip at a time.  Here is a woven piece I did where I skipped over strips to give it an offset brick pattern.

That's it for today! And we've only just begun! See you on Wednesday!

Kelly L Hendrickson


  1. Love that woven fabric Kelly. It is just perfect for the tree piece.

  2. Awesome! Now I know the background I want for an art quilt I have been planning. Thank you!

  3. Oh YEAH!! That is so exciting Joyce! Be sure to let me see it when you are done! If you have any questions in the process, please just contact me. Kelly@KellyLHendrickson.com!

    Thanks, Beth! You are always so encouraging!

  4. Wow! Can't wait to try this, thanks.

  5. You're so welcome! This is a very versatile technique for backgrounds. It can go so many different directions.


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