Tuesday, 23 February 2010

At last - a Journal Quilt

I know it is almost the end of February and I should have two journal quilts done by now but this year I am determined not to let them dominate my life.  I am pleased to report that this morning I finished the first one! 

Sunrise over Mounts Bay

I have called it 'Sunrise over Mounts Bay' although I have only once got up early enough to see the sunrise.  This was when I took my sister to catch the 7.00am train and the photos I took were not good.  So I have only this one to act as inspiration.

Obviously I have relied more on my imagination.  But I have stuck to the idea of recycling things.  The base of this quilt is a piece of cotton monoprinted with acrylic paint left over from a journal quilt in 2007.  The acrylic paint and the tight weave of the cotton made hand stitching quite stiff but there is nothing like a new packet of needles to make it easier.  I used the colours in the monoprint to choose scraps of organza and net which technically are left overs from last year's journal quilts when I was experimenting with heat tools and a soldering iron.  I layered these and then did some machine quilting with rayon threads mostly just to anchor them but I also picked out the land in a strongly contrasting blue. Then I bonded a dupion silk sun onto the sky.

Detail of sea part way through hand stitching

After that I had a lovely time hand stitching the sea with a wide variety of Stef Francis threads.  I do enjoy hand stitching and trying to replicate the colours was great fun.  When I had finished I painted the 'land' with fabric paint.  Because part of this area was net the colour took in a mottled way which I thought was quite effective. I used a traditional binding because there were so many raw edges from the different layers.  I usually prefer to zig-zag in some form as this is a better edging for framing the quilts.  When I cut the quilt to its finished size I realised that this year they are really quite small, particularly after the A4 size of 2007 and the 12 inches square of 2008 but it does give them a nice miniature feel.

Now I plan to return to the other piece of recycled cotton which I have very heavily machine quilted.

Again, this has no well thought out design but I have photocopied one of the pieces of printed fabric and I plan to cut up the paper and see if this will work as a collage.  Traditional Cornish luggers had large red-brown sails so I am thinking of how I might represent this.

And I have also put coloured paint onto the old quilt that I covered with white emulsion.

At this stage I think it is needs some more variation in value so it is likely to be attacked with Markal paintsticks or water soluble coloured pencils at a later stage.  I do not see this as a journal quilt but if I can get a journal quilt from some of the bits that will be a bonus as it is definitely recycled.


  1. I'm behind with my Journal Quilts too, February's is definitely going to run into March. It's interesting to read your process here and I like the combination of machine and handstitching in the Sunrise quilt. You could take the blue piece in several directions and I'll look forward to seeing how you proceed. It reminds me of denim but that's probably because of the colour.

  2. Thanks for commenting Julie. This led me to follow the links to your Lincolnshire group and its interesting challenges. I might well join you as I am pretty isolated down here. However, I am off to Venice (British Airways willing) on an art history tour for a week next month so maybe April is more realistic.