The Woods Run Mad With Riot: A Four-in-Art Quilt

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The Woods Run Mad With Riot
A Four-in-Art Quilt, August 2015
#3 in the Literature Series

As always, my exploration of a subject in this series starts with the literature, and the poem I had originally chosen just wasn’t cutting it.  It didn’t evoke that hot, slightly wild feeling that day after day of hot weather can produce, when even Mother Nature seems slightly out of control, patting her damp forehead with a handkerchief, swooning slightly at how overcome her gardens are, the tempo and volume of the cicadas and crickets and birds, and wondering if she’ll last out the heat.  THAT kind of evocative.

So I went hunting and found a new poem that did the trick:

Summer in the South

And how in heaven’s name could I pass up a poem that had such a great closing line: “the woods run mad with riot”?  So that became the title of this piece — immediately — and I tried to figure out how to express this in fabric.  While I normally do a deconstruction post after my reveal post, I’m combining them into one this time.


The trees in the background would have to be slightly oppressive, the sky colors clear, not soft or muddy, and when I found this great paisley fabric in gold, things just started to gel, as I thought it looked like a field crisping up, the tractor marks a design in the tall wheat fields.  Or whatever fields.  The poem has a line about shoots being “yellow-green” and there’s something about water, so here we go.  I used SoftFuse Premium this time, my new go-to fusible for fabric.  I pressed the paper-backed fusible to the back of the fabric, let it cool, then free-form cut the shapes, remembering to work backwards visually, so it would come out correctly after I peeled off the paper.  (Note: In other quilts, I have peeled off the backing and cut what I needed freehand, without using the paper for drawing. Here are some tips for using SoftFuse Premium from Marti Michell’s blog.)


I thought about borderie-perse, that method of appliqué that has always seemed to me to be rich and visually saturated, and since this poem is leading me onward, I turned to this technique, cutting around blossoms and wads of flowers and slipping them into place to build up my scene.  The SoftFuse is slightly tacky on the back, sort of like a Post-it note, so I can stick it down and it won’t move, yet I can reposition it when I need to.


I know that I will be adding log-cabin-type strips to the edges; here I’m auditioning colors.


I sewed the strips on the edge, then auditioned threads for quilting.  I’d picked up quite a few Magnifico spools from Superior Threads, a mid-weight poly thread with a lovely sheen and I just have to say I love this thread.  I use Bottom Line in the bobbin, lower my thread tension by half (from the 4.2 range to the 1.9 range) and it all quilts up beautifully.  I stitch around all the flowers, put a bit of quilting in the stream and field, and quilted around the clouds.


Time to trim.

Three of Four

Here it is with the other two, already done.  I can already see that the last piece is going to need to be bold as well.  And I may have to rework Winter a little bit.  Hmmm. . . not while it is so sweltering hot.  I need to just sit on my porch, letting the afternoon breezes cool this place down, sipping something cold and icy and refreshing, while fanning myself with a wide-bladed palm leaf fan, swooning a bit.  It’s that kind of a hot summer!

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Tiny Nine-Patch

About Us: We live all over the world, from Scotland and Australia to the continental United States.  Our blog is *here.*  Please visit the other members of our Four-in-Art Group and see their Literature Art Quilts:

Betty at a Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com
Catherine  at Knotted Cotton
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Simone at Quiltalicious
Susan at PatchworknPlay
Tiny Nine-PatchNext reveal date — the final in our Literature series — is November 1st.

11 thoughts on “The Woods Run Mad With Riot: A Four-in-Art Quilt

  1. Well, you’ve nailed it once again and from someone who lives in the South, I can assure you the woods definitely run mad with riot!! For us it starts in full in early June and stays that way until mid-September. I love your color choices and the borderie-perse – so appropriate. Have been using SoftFuse for some time now and love it – best thing out there! Great job, Elizabeth!!

  2. What a beautiful poem you have chosen to represent here Elizabeth! “The sky smiles down with a dazzling blue”- great line! I am a little spooked by the similarity between your mini and mine this quarter! Great minds think alike…..

  3. I LOVE it!!! I also love reading how you construct your ideas into your piece. The paisley fields are superb. I hate to see the series coming to an end so soon.

  4. These are so much fun, Elizabeth. It may be just shadow, but the sky looking darker on the left in your first photo reminded me of last night’s sky, when there was an almost-storm brewing. Adds to that ominous feel of your trees. It’s interesting how “hot” this piece looks in relation to your spring one — much more than when it’s pictured alone. Guess that’s kind of what life is — always one thing in relation to at least one other defining the moments (and the seasons).

  5. oh this is my favorite so far. You are so right about the last line of the poem. It’s perfect . . . evokes great colorful imagery that you have captured quite well. The whole group is going to be so fun all together. A wonderful way to bring them into a united grouping.

  6. First of all, your posts are so enjoyable to read-like a poem in its own way. And the mini is spectacular! I saw what Brenda saw in the sky, a darker sky moving in ready to cool the heat. This series is so well done. You are an inspiration.

  7. Beautiful poem selection Elizabeth! “The rains come down in a torrent sweep and the nights smell warm and piney”…I’m from the south and yes they do ;-)) Thank you for sharing your process in the making of your mini. Love these Four in Art posts.

  8. I love this one! What first caught my eye was the paisley. I like that the reds and oranges are more dominant and the greens are the accent. I like how the half borders work together in the three-t0-become-four pieces. Agree that fall will have to be bold, but that should not be a problem, thinking fall leaf colors. Will withhold judgment on winter till I see all four.

  9. It is such a great line, and is sort of the theme I keep in mind when I plant flowers, so thank you for a poem and the line for that. Your quilt is lovely, the broderie perse really completes the overall look perfectly I think.

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