Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Sunshine: The Heathlands Project Quilt 2015

Work in progress
Once again it is that time of year where myself and my textiles group up at The Heathlands Project embark on the insanity that is making a quilt for the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. This will be our fifth quilt; every year I swear we're not going to do another one but the guys always talk me round. Secretly I really enjoy these projects and it's a great opportunity for the guys to showcase their work further afield. It's also great seeing how much people's skills and ideas have developed and being able to hand over more and more of the making to the members and to other staff each year. Soon I will be surplus to requirement (sob sob.)

Using the patterns found in fabric

Arranging pieces

Working from our designs

Usually I get the members to choose the theme but for various reasons I was a bit late getting this project going this year and because of when the forms have to be submitted by I had to make an executive decision and choose a theme. Actually, I wanted to do 'Cosmos' but I was over ruled by my staff who wanted 'Sunshine.' So, our 2015 quilt is based on the theme of sunshine. I harbour a sneaky suspicion that this is simply a means to make me use orange. (For anyone who doesn't know me, I really dislike the colour orange, people use this against me.)

Translating drawings using fabric appliqué

Stitching designs

Appliqué and stitching

Each year I try and do something a little bit different with the guys, even though the group changes there are usually a few in the group who've worked on quilts with me before and it's a good opportunity to introduce them to new techniques. This year we're aiming for a random, crazy patchwork type of affair with some kantha style stitching. As I write this I realise this may be something of a challenge...

Building up the design

Design and patch

Adding extra bits

I have asked each member to work on an individual patch using whatever technique they like. Most of the members have chosen to use a combination of appliqué and embroidery but we also have some needle felting, beading and tie dye. These patches will then be arranged and stitched onto a base cloth and the whole lot quilted with lines of stitching. I want to leave the edges of the individual patches raw to add more texture and because we've done paper pieced patchwork several times already. I selected a load of fabrics to use so that there is a common theme running throughout the patches to help it all work together as a finished piece.

Working together

Working in layers

This year I have handed over a lot of the work to other support staff, this is good for me as it frees my time for other things and also reminds me that I work with a team of very capable people with excellent ideas who often don't need my help! I hope that it's good for them too as they realise they can successfully take more of a lead role, building their confidence and hopefully job satisfaction.

Tacking pieces down

Manipulating fabric

As always I have so far been impressed with the ideas the guys have come up with. Already we have several beautiful patches, all different and showing the personality of the maker. Soon I will be able to start putting it all together. Or maybe I will delegate that task too...

Design and patch

Finished patch (worked independently)

Finished patch

For interest, you can follow the links below to see our previous quilting endeavours...
2014 The Summer
2013 Stitching Friendship
2012 Magik
2011 The Forest

My patch in progress


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