Eclipse, deconstructed

This is the post where I reveal all my beauty secrets.  Kidding.

This is the post where I tell you how I made my Four-in-Art quilt, showing a technique   I’d read about this technique somewhere, but that crazed-woman-at-the-computer didn’t bookmark it or file it away neatly.  So I had to wing it, which is okay.

First, cut yourself a square of black fabric.  I used the wrong side of a fabric that I hoarded about 15 years ago, and I’m still trying to get rid of it.  (It’s a great fabric, really.)  Then get yourself some Steam-A-Seam II, the fusible applique stuff that will be sticky when you lift up the transfer paper, after you’ve ironed it on.

I did check to make sure that I adhered the non-release side of the Steam-A-Seam II, leaving the side that would release easily facing me.

Gather together some scraps in the colors you want to place on your background.  Since I was doing the eclipse, I basically had three: yellow, black, blue.  Throw in some related colors, just to keep it interesting.  For me, that meant some lighter blues, and orange.

Pile up your color, then randomly cut through the fabrics, and then do it again.  You need some bigger pieces (1-1/2″), but also lots of smaller pieces (1/2″).

I traced a circle on my paper, slightly off-center — because none of us saw that eclipse dead-center — and cut out a hole out of the paper backing.

I laid out my black scraps, making a loose circle. Then I tucked my yellow/orange sun flares behind the circle, pressing down with my fingers to make them adhere to that sticky surface.

Then I oopsed:

I went to the ironing board and ironed it all down.  WRONG.  While this seemed like a good idea, you know–to make sure all those pieces were not going to go anywhere — in reality it prevented me from lifting up the edges and tucking in more yellows,  and the blues.  So maybe if you can protect the edges of your design from the hot iron it might be a good idea?  Or just wait until the end?

Milky Way MJA

Star Fields, by Matthew Anselmo of MattsClicks

Then my son Matthew, who is an expert landscape photographer, put up pictures of the Milky Way on his Instagram, MattsClicks.  This gave me to freedom to really add in color to the heavens, so I pulled a greater variety of blues (and some with purples) and started scattering them around, trying to keep a “street” of lighter blues to represent the Milky Way. (Thanks, Matt!)

Eclipse_4inart_methods8Add in your bits and pieces, filling up the background in a random, organic way.

NOW go to the ironing board, lay your transfer paper over the design (the crackly sheet that came with your fusible), and press, lifting up and down, not sliding, until you think it’s adhered.

Eclipse_4inart_methods10

I used three different colors of thread, and just scribbled free-motion-quilted the pieces down.  I did a series of circles in black in the moon, the followed the shapes for the solar flares, then a random loopy design in the heavens.

Eclipse_4inart_methods9aThis is where I notice that the moon has two eyeballs staring right at me.  And this is where I go get some more scraps, use a regular old-school glue stick and paste more fabric scraps over the eyeballs (you don’t see it in the first one, do you?).  Quilt, again.  And then I thought that the moon looked more like a black lump of coal than the moon (even though it does have a mountain-y horizon…it’s not THAT bumpy).  More scraps glued on, more FMQ. I finished up by going in giant circle around the perimeter of the moon, to reinforce that Orb in the Sky thing.

Well.  Not quite.  But that’s what my work table looked like after I trimmed it up, bound it, and made the label.  I’m a total believer in a clean workspace at all times.  I’m a total believer in a clean workspace at least once every couple of weeks.  I mean, I’d like it to be all the time, but I create in small room, and I decided to adjust to the life I have.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the Deconstruction Post for the Final Four-in-Art Quilt.  I probably won’t leave the art quilt in the dust, though, as it’s a quick way to make a quilt while trying out a new technique.  Given that it is often smaller (most of mine were 12″ square), you can crank one out in a day, or an afternoon, if your design is not too complicated.

Thank you for coming along on this five-year journey.

~Elizabeth, of OPQuilt.com

Rewards for WorkingCreatively

17 thoughts on “Eclipse, deconstructed

  1. Enjoyed that you used the grid fusible. I will have to use some to see how I like it. Have enjoyed your posts on your art quilts also.

  2. Susan Carlson does this fabric collage technique and she puts a dab of glue in the center of her pieces to hold them in place while she’s constructing. I like your eclipse! Fun read.

  3. Collage work really is fun and helps the creative process by avoiding “doing the right thing” tension – it all works, right?! This is a great design and made all the more meaningful because it was your sons photograph. And your final point is especially important: making a little art quilt every once in a while is a great way to try out a new technique without making a big commitment! Thanks for that reminder.

  4. I always enjoy your creative art quilts. Thank you for sharing the technique you used on this one. Deconstructed it all looks very doable, but on first look it seemed difficult. You have managed to capture the eclipse beautifully in fabric!

  5. I loved the quilt! To avoid that ooops on the back, use a smaller iron like the arrow shaped stick iron or other smaller irons. You could also use that stick iron on the front and just tack baste with the iron until you are sure you have what you want.

  6. Always making me smile when I read your posts. You put it this technique to good use with your final art project and it worked beautifully.

  7. Great commentary and humour to describe the process of creatively depicting the eclipse. Love it. Got a little confused with the black circle description part- was thinking you needed to turn all those scraps upside down to put adherence paper on it then turn up right way and iron over, but then realised by cutting the paper away you had placed strips, odds n sods that develop into a fab moon on the already sticky part of the vlisofix type paper (as I call the item Oz). So all good. Keen to see what you do next.

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