Thursday, 1 February 2018

Nature challenge - Making Waves

Hi everybody, I'm excited to see what our first challenge has created and so eager to read all the posts today.  I am very happy to share my quilt idea which for the moment is called Making Waves.

Mine is a top only at this stage and not a finished piece - apologies to all.  I have had an issue with a disk in my back and sitting is giving me trouble so no sewing has been going on, but there has been drawing, pattern making and lots of fusible used to get me this far so I hope it is ok to post this for our first challenge.  To read about the process and how I went about making this please visit my blog: Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner.  For this post I thought I might share some of the inspiration and influences I noticed in the making of this wave collage.

I'm a member of the Irish Patchwork Society (IPS) and in addition to having monthly meetings where we share show & tell, speakers and demonstrations, there are annual challenges to make quilts for exhibitions.  I'm the chairperson at the moment and it was one of our tasks on committee last year to come up with the theme for our National Exhibition.  This was a lot harder than I thought and we rejected a whole list of things!
For some reason we were all feeling very nautical and decided in the end that we wanted something water or sea related.  Maybe it was all the political stuff going on, or the fact that in Ireland you are not very far from the sea but for some reason we settled on Making Waves, thinking this would give ample scope for our members to go in lots of different directions with their quilts.  So that was on my mind and when the topic of nature came up I just couldn't shift it so decided that while I may make something else for the exhibition due in May, I had to do something with the wave and get it out of my head onto paper.

I pulled a few items into my sketchbook to see what it was that grabbed me about the idea and I found that I loved the Sashiko design available on Urban Threads because of the curve and the feeling of the wave falling in around you.  This became the inspiration for the sketch below to work from as a pattern. 
The idea of a paper pattern to work from came from Tracey Watson, an art quilter and member of my branch of the IPS.  She uses what she calls a cartoon to work from to make the most beautiful nature inspired quilts and creates curved templates to put her quilt together in sections.  Not being quite able for that with little to no sewing, I did attempt to approach my wave in the spirit of this process.  I did discover that I am not very good at drawing with a mouse and drawing on paper, scanning it in and scaling it up would have been quicker!
I also find that I am heavily influenced by the projects I have made most recently and the fabric out on the table close to hand.  Somehow, what I've just used makes it's way into the next piece!   This block for a class I am teaching in March on the elements of a modern quilt was looking down at me with it's improv pieced section and I thought, wouldn't it be cool if I could use lots of different fabrics to get a pieced effect on the wave?  The problem for me, was how to get all those flowing sections of the water and curve, using lots of different colours and pieces.  I mulled it over for a while, getting quite stuck.  Then my friend Louise asked if I had seen Shannon Brinkley's collage quilts using animals and cityscapes, so I had a gander, read up on her process and was thoroughly intrigued.  I didn't use Shannon's process but I was inspired by it to make the wave section a collage and this is the result.  I hope you like it!

This was a great first challenge and start to our group.  Looking forward to the next one!


  1. First, I wish you a healthy back, Ruth. Second, I'm with you how fabrics and ideas from area migrate to the next. In a way it's working in a series as our ideas continue to flow ever so slightly. Much like Nature? I think your base is wonderful for showing the darker underpart of the wave, and the froth on top. Your quilting will add such detail!

  2. This type of collage really seems to be trending now. It has also spilled into the embroidery world, so you are right on top of the trend. I like that you didn't rush to complete the piece prior to the deadline. I sure hope your back gets better quickly. I suffer sciatic issues so I totally understand how it can limit machine stitching. I also hope you post pictures after you have quilted the piece. Great piece.
    xx, Carol

  3. Lovely! It's got so much movement in it, which your inspired choice of fabrics and colours contribute to. I'm really looking forward to seeing it after you've quilted it but that will be the icing on the cake!

  4. I love what you have done with this Ruth, we live right on the seafront now and love nothing more than being tucked up inside watching the waves break over the seafront. Your quilt captures the movement perfectly.
    Hope your back is better soon and that you can get back to your sewing pain-free.

  5. I really hope your back gets better soon, Ruth. I enjoyed seeing your sketchbook and I love the effect you've got with this scrappy collage technique. It really conveys a very dynamic sense of the lights, shapes and colours in a crashing wave. I hope that when your back is better and you've quilted this you will post it here for us see :)

  6. Reminds me of Hokusai.I love the idea of a wave made of so many fabrics, the surface of water is rarely smooth so this is a great way of depicting it. Hope your back gets better soon

  7. I will say a prayer for your back, I too have some disk issues. It is a terrible type of pain.
    Your flimsy is coming along great, the placement and colors are really showing movement. I'm looking forward to seeing the finish.