Sunday, January 14, 2007
Snowflake Variations 12 x12 Challenge January
I chose "Nature Through the Seasons" as my theme for the 12 x 12 Challenge and here is my January quilt, Snowflake Variations. I wanted to see how to integrate my nature photographs in various ways in these quilts. In the 2006 Journal Quilt's Challenge, there were several hexagon quilt pieces that I used from Granny's stash, that I inherited. In the past few years I've gotten more and more enthralled with hexagon quilts, especially vintage quilts, and more especially, Australian vintage quilts.
Since we have had weekend blizzards for 4 weekends here in Colorado, the nature most available to me was snow. I took numerous snow photos of both large scenes and small details and chose some to include in this piece. I also researched snowflakes and ice crystals and downloaded photos of actual ice crystals as well as snowflake artifacts from the Metropolitan Museum's Christmas catalog. These were printed on cotton fabric and several silk fabrics. Of the silk organza, crepe de chine, and chiffon that I used, I preferred the organza because of it's stiffness and transparency.
My snow photos were all in white and neutral colors and I needed a focal point with a bit of color. I downloaded a photo of a cardinal in the snow from the Colorado Birder's Rare Sightings site that was taken by C. Kalmes of Wheatridge. I've never seen a cardinal around here and my winter birds tend to be greys and browns so, unfortunately, I couldn't get a picture of one.
The basic hexagons of fabric and snow photos printed on fabric were fused to the background fabric of a mottled dark blue batik. I originally planned to use a white on white that looked like mini snowflakes but the hexagons needed more contrast to show up well. The white ended up as the backing. I chose fabrics in cold blues to give the effect of a wintry day. The silk transparent snowflakes were fabric glued on (just tiny touches) until they could be sewn on.
I then found a great irridescent Sulky thread to quilt around the edges of the hexagons and embellish the snowflakes. I used machine satin stitches or various widths, zigzags, and similar stitches for the embellishment. I considered doing some beading but decided I didn't need it to get the effect I wanted on this piece. I wish I had used thick batting instead of making it stiff like a postcard because I would like to see puffiness of the hexagons from the quilting.
The two small photo hexagons are favorites of mine. One is of the hexagon design in the snow on the chickenwire cover over my pond that I had on hand. The other was a track of my husband's work shoes on the front porch that I discovered after I had started making this piece. It was one of those "Voila!" moments when I spotted it and ran for my camera. Joe couldn't figure out what on earth I was doing. Why would a woman get so excited over a footprint. More of my "Society for the Easily Amused."
You can see what other quilters are doing for this Challenge over at the Quilt Studio blog.