Creative Pileup

I love it when a plan comes together.  Wait.  That’s not exactly what I mean.  More like I love it when bits and pieces of things that I have learned and experienced come together.  And something awesome happens.

So, here are the ingredients.  1)  A pillow swap challenge for the West Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild.  2)  Osnaberg fabric.  3)  Casey York’s lecture on the influence of art on quilting at QuiltCon.  4)  My incessant desire to never throw away any fiber, resulting in a horde of teeny tiny fabric scraps.  5)  Jackson Pollock.  6)  A class I took about 7 years ago from Joyce Becker on landscape quilts.  7)  A scarf I saw Peggy Barkle wear once.  8)  A small pack of fabric in my SWAG bag from QuiltCon 2015.  9)  A quilt I made several years ago that people either make fun of or love.  10)  My obsession to perfect this improvisational applique technique.

And here is the result.


Creative Pileup

And here’s the how-to:


Background fabric, backing fabric, and batting- all cut about 2″ larger than intended final size.  Scraps- particularly small or thin ones.  Thread- lots, but it doesn’t matter if the thread doesn’t match.  Good time to use up spools.  Spray baste.  Water soluble stabilizer.  Sewing machine and all the usual accoutrements.  (Thank you spell check for helping me use big words.)

1.  Gather your supplies.  I like using Osnaberg fabric for my background and backing.  Also, this stabilizer is from Baby Lock.  2.  Layer background, batting, and backing fabrics.  3.  Sew baste quilt the layers together in relatively straight horizontal lines.

4.  Coat the background with spray baste.  I do this inside of a large garbage bag, closing the ends so it doesn’t get on everything around it.  Be careful not to allow the bag to adhere to the fabric!  5.  Randomly stick bits of tiny scraps, including threads, to the background.  I say random, but in this case I avoided dark pieces, and I laid them in a more vertical fashion because I knew I was going to quilt over it horizontally.  6.  Repeat number 4, coating the top of the scraps.

7.  Cut pieces of water soluble stabilizer to size to cover the project.  8.  Pin if needed, but keep in mind this baby is about to be quilted to death, then quilt heavily through all of the layers, but not to the point where it is finished.  9.  Arrange more fabric scraps to the top.  I wasn’t satisfied with this one.

10.  Arrange again, until pleased.  11.  Baste pieces in place with either pins, a glue stick, or even thread.  Keep in mind they are going to be quilted.  12.  Finish quilting the heck out of it, and in the process stitching down the remaining bits.

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13.  Wash it.  I actually put it in my shower and hosed it down first, then ran it in my clothes washer.  The stabilizer dissolved beautifully.  The pieces shredded beautifully.  The whole thing shrunk beautifully.  I was so excited I took it out of the dryer too early and had to let it dry in my studio.

14.  Square up and finish as desired- in this case as a pillow cover.  My label follows suit with the front and is just a bit of canvas free appliqued on the back.

15.  I prefer to bind pillow covers for two reasons.  One, it looks like piping around the edges, and that’s nice.  Two, it gives it the opportunity of two lives- a pillow cover or a mini.  While breaking most quilting rules is totally okay with me, binding is a rule I really don’t like to break.  I don’t do it to show standards, but I am a little picky about it.  The first pic shows an atrocious corner.  Totally unacceptable.  The only way to fix it was to cut it off and start over.  So I did.  My sweet husband brought me pizza to ease the pain.  Well, hunger pains, but it’s all the same.  See that last corner?  Much improved, and totally worth it.

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And that’s it.  Hope that @legs_benedict enjoys having it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Would you like to come to the studio and make one of these with me?  I’m thinking sometime in May…

3 thoughts on “Creative Pileup

  1. I have the same obsession. I just can’t throw those bits away. I even have a pile of thread that looks like a bird’s nest. I’ve been thinking I could soak my tiny pieces and the thread in liquid starch, then play. I may try your method instead. I do have a large can of 505 spray.

  2. Pingback: Colorful Fabric Collage: Sketch, Fuse, Quilt! by Sue Bleiweiss | the green apricot

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