Monday, April 14, 2014

"Hungarian Medallion" for the Quilt Alliance

Every year the Quilt Alliance hosts a combination competition/fundraiser for quiltmakers.  This year's theme is "Inspired by..."; entrants choose a quilt from the Quilt Index or the Quilters Save Our Stories project, and make a quilt inspired in some way by that quilt.  Read about the contest here.

I love the idea of tranforming an old quilt into a new one...I think most of us do.
And working on a small scale quilt, 16" X 16", makes it easy to try out some fun new ideas without spending too much time....

Plus, this contest has sent us all scurrying to the Quilt Index and finding treasure after treasure there, as we seek the one quilt we will use for our inspiration.

And here is mine:

I've always loved medallion quilts and also Broderie Perse (the technique of cutting out printed images from cloth and appliqueing them onto another cloth background.)  The other element that really intrigued me were all those triangles!  I love how they look with the cut out floral motifs.
This quilt is from the 1820's, and now lives in Tennessee.
Its full record in the Quilt Index is here.

Below is a blow by blow account of how my quilt came together.  I'll try to go heavy on the pictures and light on the text!

Well, I am not an accurate piecer by trade, so I did an end around to get my little triangles.

This is some woven plaid silk dupioni.  I figured I could cut apart those little one inch squares, cut those on the diagonal into half-square triangles, and then fuse the triangles over another piece of the plaid silk.
Tricky, eh?
The photo above shows the one piece of silk with interfacing (the background) and the other with fusible web (for the triangles), both ready to be fused.

The corners are cut, ready for their triangles. I tried to be very careful here, but didn't account for the fabric being off grain a little bit.  This came back to haunt me later, but....not too badly.

All the little triangles are set in place, ready to be fused.  The embroidery in the center is Hungarian (hence, the title of the quilt.)  If you Google Image Hungarian embroidery, you'll see all kinds of cheerful beautiful stitching.

Once the triangles are fused, they look pretty "real"!

I decided to quilt "in the ditch" (except there was no ditch) with Silk Serica thread made by Kreinik.

All done!

Next, for the Broderie Perse part....

First I had to get the center embroidery on there...

(There's a ribbon covering the raw edge of the embroidery, but I forgot to photograph that.)

I played with lots of lay-outs of cut out flowers and also premade ones from M & S Schmalberg.  This is the one I liked best.
I fused the cut out flowers into place, appliqued them with clear thread in a zig zag, and attached the premade flowers with silk ribbon French knots.

But I wasn't finished yet.  I wanted to bring out the embroidered green elements from the center out into the rest of the quilt.

Memory Thread, by DMC is my go-to viney maker of choice!
It is so easy to work with.  I just pin it in place...

...and couch it down with fine silk thread.

The last step was to fill in those leaves....

3 strand cotton floss in a satin stitch did the trick.

Now, you should know that this quilt was assembled a little bit differently than a normal quilt.  I spray basted the batting into place before I quilted with the red silk thread.
So after all the quilting, applique, and hand stitching, the back looked like this:

The combination of the batting and interfaced background fabric made for a very stable stitching surface.

A detail....

I think I might try this again sometime....

I put a nice cotton backing over this and just quilted around the center diamond.

Then it was time for the label.

Measure, measure, measure.  For the writing I used a Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric.

No smears or bleeds...I love this pen!  It is waterproof and permanent too.

The final finished quilt....

I used velvet ribbon for the binding, which is nice...but I want to take that Craftsy class, Finishing School, with Mimi Dietrich. 
I want it perfect next time!

As I am a Quilt Alliance board member, my quilt won't be eligible for the contest, but it will be part of the traveling display of contest quilts this summer and fall, and for sale at auction on Ebay in November.

It is so fun to enter, and it feels so good to support the great work of the Alliance.
The prizes are awesome too.
So....what are you waiting for?  The deadline is June've still got plenty of time!