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Fabric Collage Revisited

Posted on: 11 May 2009

You may remember my first foray into Fabric Collage/Landscape quilting.  I have realized that I never posted a finished photo.

Winter Sunrise of Bayne's Sound facing south from HMCS Quadra

Winter Sunrise of Bayne's Sound facing south from HMCS Quadra

I am now venturing again into this technique that will definitely get your creative juices flowing. And mine are certainly doing that. I’ve taken a break from the Anniversary Quilt, and decided to start working on “The Quadra Quilt”.

A little history. I am an Officer in the Canadian Navy, in the Cadet Instructors Cadre component. In a nut shell we are specifically trained to work with youth in the Canadian Cadet Program, in my case, the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets. One of the aspects of the Cadet experience is attending a Summer Training Centre. I was also a cadet in my youth, and attended HMCS Quadra. I also served for four summers aboard as an Officer.

Okay, now a little history on the making of this quilt. While attending my second or third summer, I wanted to make a quilt about the life at Quadra. I started putting my ideas down on paper, and even played a little with EQ5 (which is what I had at the time).

Quadra Memories Quilt Design in progress

Quadra Memories Quilt Design in progress

Maybe I’ll go back and work on this project, but I feel my skills are not significant enough to tackle this project.

About a year ago, I started thinking of a quilt for a dear friend of my husband and I. I wanted to make her a quilt to commemorate her service at HMCS Quadra. She also started as a cadet, and served to become Commanding Officer. Her tenure as Commanding Officer is now over.

The design(s).

I originally thought that having T-shirts from the different Trades (courses) would be a very nifty quilt. Wasn’t sure what else I was going to do. I sat with a pad of paper and a pencil, and started to sketch. There were certain elements I knew I wanted:

  • An aerial view of HMCS Quadra (fabric collage/landscape technique); one, two, three, four
  • Years of service (1980 – 2008)
  • The Ships Crest
  • Trades (Two Week General Training, Boatswain, Music, Sail, Gunnery, Marine Engineering, Shipwright)
  • Quotes/Sayings: “Good Morning, Quadra!”, “I pressed on taking fresh trouble for granted.”

But how to get it all together.

Design Sketch 1

Design Sketch 1

Design Sketch 2

Design Sketch 2

I eventually decided that I could make it “Quadra” like without duplicating (ship’s badge), or using items (trade badges, t-shirts) that are of Quadra. To be honest, I started to realize my skills were going to become a factor, so I started to employ the KISS principle, with the following sketch the final draft (maybe) of the project. There are elements missing, at this point, because one, I do not draw well, and two, they are not needed at this stage in the design.

Design Sketch 3 - possibly final

Design Sketch 3 - possibly final

And now for the process.  I decided I was going to document the process of this quilt. It will incorporate several techniques I have not used, or at least I have very little experience in doing.

My supply/equipment list:

  • Fabric – to represent landscape elements/colour

    Fabric colour palette to begin with

    Fabric colour palette to begin with

  • Image/photo supplied by Google Earth
  • HMCS Quadra from Google Earth

    HMCS Quadra from Google Earth

  • Ships Crest
HMCS Quadra Ship's Crest

HMCS Quadra Ship's Crest

  • Glue stick – washable, non-acid
  • Toothpicks
  • Foundation fabric – muslin
  • Scissors
  • Damp cloth (for wiping off sticky fingers from the glue)

I cut the foundation piece a little larger than twice the size of the image I printed off. The idea behind fabric collage/landscape is a representation of a photo/image, not an accurate duplication. I found several photos of HMCS Quadra, which were not quite the angles I was looking for. The image I decided to use as a guide was actually from Google Earth. It is a neat application, as you can rotate your view, to get something close to what you want.  I chose to use the blue/green fabric for the water, using creative license… the “green” from the satellite image just does not work well for me.

Then its time to start placing the elements of the design. I started with a large size of fabric to represent the water, and then snipped around the edges so it would not be a straight edge. Then it was time to “shred” the fabric. It is difficult to describe this process… except just cutting the fabric in thin strips, which are angular, jagged. The strips do not have to be very long, somewhere between ½” – 2” is what I was using. We cannot blend fabric like we can with paint; smaller pieces work better to blend the colour of the fabric together.

Fabric before shredding

Fabric before shredding

Shredded Fabric

Shredded Fabric

The pieces are applied to using a bit of glue from the glue stick and the toothpick. To help with shading and blending, I have also used the “wrong” side of the fabric. I have added strips on the large piece of water fabric, to give the area dimension.

Beginning the process

Beginning the process

To get a nice blend between the fabrics, I used a door peeper. If something didn’t look right, I’d add another piece, until it did.  At times the lighter blue/green/yellow fabric was just to glaring. When you look at paintings, you do not view it from a few inches away. A peeper allows you to be close to the project, but still view it from a distance.

Taking Shape

Taking Shape

Closeup of process

Closeup of process

As I progress with this project, I’ll explain the different processes I’ll be doing. I know you are going to ask… “How are you going to hold all those little bits of fabric down”? I’m sorry, but you’ll just have to wait until I get to that part to explain it.

I can’t describe the feelings I have about this project. I am so elated right now, I’ll admit. As I mentioned to the recipient’s husband, the feelings are from several aspects, the reason for the project, the recipient, the Quadra experience, and I think the ability to be creative, and just let it happen.

I’m very happy with my choices so far, and how this piece is coming along. I’ll be posting my progress, can’t promise how often that will be, but be sure to check back, and feel free to leave a comment.

How have you stretched your creative mind, and what was your result?



6 Responses to "Fabric Collage Revisited"

Wow! I had no idea that the fabric is all shredded like that. I can’t wait to find out how you keep it all together. I love the *inspiration trail* for this project. I’m always envious of creative types like yourself……Ann 🙂

Wow! oh Wow! golly!

I’m watching this one with great interest!

Alice I too will watch with anticiapation. I have never seen this done before either. Beautiful colors and great idea.

Oh how lovely already! And your finished piece is gorgeous! You really make me want to start my own landscape, and I can’t right now (it’s times like this that cloning myself would be helpful…or maybe a time machine).

And I am curious how you’re going to hold it all in place. My first thought was a sheer overlay…guess I’ll just have to wait and see too 🙂

Wow that is very neat! Nice job.

[…] our friend, I really liked it, and almost didn’t want to give it up.  In the previous blog Fabric Collage Revisited,  about this project, the last photos show my technique for working on the […]

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