'Tis Just the Wind (detail)

The Making of ‘Tis Just the Wind

I promised (a very long time ago…) to share some of the construction details about ‘Tis Just the Wind, the project I made especially for the Wicked Blog Hop in October. When I decided to participate in the Blog Hop, I knew wanted to make something seasonal, but not screaming cutesy Halloween or spooky Halloween–Wicked was apt description of what I wanted the finished project to be.

'Tis Just the Wind...
‘Tis Just the Wind…

I wanted to try some different quilting techniques, things I didn’t do often or well or hadn’t ever done at all. I hoped to quilt it without marking a lot of quilting lines, and doing more “quilting outside the lines” across piecing lines. I also needed to make a place to include Inchies of course! Other than that, there wasn’t a lot of planning, just a lot of making it up as I went along while other ideas floated around in my head–inking, distressing, embellishment, etc.

After a bit of a false start that included a LOT of fusible applique (so not my favorite thing…), I saw the Soaring Raven lace embroidery at Urban Threads and then found the Michael Miller Nevermore fabric line that seemed perfect to use with it. I planned to use my Feature It! Wall Quilt and Table Runner pattern as a tall skinny wall quilt. It’s versatile that way!

When the quilt top was pieced, I decided to add more embroidery details, and became addicted to Urban Threads and decided to use a lot of their designs. I embroidered the designs directly on to the quilt top, which was a bit fiddly in spots because of seam allowances and positioning. For some of the designs, I had to baste extra fabric to the edges of the quilt to have enough fabric to place it into a hoop for machine embroidery. It was a bit scary putting machine embroidery directly on a finished top but hey, I was really into making it up while going along and working with any design challenges as it evolved, and if it wasn’t perfect or embroidery had to be removed–it was okay since I planned to distress the quilt anyway. 😉

The lettering is inked directly on the quilt. Remember how much I hate applique? This was my alternative! I used Photoshop to choose a suitable font and type out “Spells” and “Potions”, and used the “Stroke” feature to create outlined text. I printed the words on plain white paper and used a light box and a black Pigma Micron pen (affiliate link) to trace the letters on the border. I filled the letters in with a black Tsukineko Fabrico fabric marker (affiliate link) (love these!) and ironed the quilt to set the marker. The result is bold accent that added a new design element and size variety to the quilt.

One thing led to another–finding more embroidery designs to add to the quilt led to thinking about what other types and styles of quilting designs and embellishments could be used. Design balance was also a fluid process–add an element here, then add or move something else over there for balance. The inked lettering is very bold and heavy, and other embroidered details and embellishments were added for balance.

The quilting was intimidating with all that blank, unmarked space! I usually mark everything and I’m really good at following a line, not so great at just quilting unmarked designs unless it’s plain stipples. 😦 I’m also used to using the piecing lines as “borders” to enclose quilting design elements, so I challenged myself to ignore piecing lines with this project.

I wanted to use up some old Mettler thread since it’s what I had around that was the right color. The Mettler is thicker than Aurifil, since it’s a three ply as opposed to two, and it’s also not as smooth and lovely as Aurifil. I decided to make the thickness a design element instead of a flaw by double quilting the lines to make it even thicker and make it stand out more and was very pleased with the result. I quilted around the lettering to add more definition, and then decided to do some more inking after quilting other parts of the quilt.

The quilting was all designed as I went along and I spent a lot of time browsing Google Images for ideas. I looked for Gothic architecture and steampunk designs that I could translate into quilting elements.

I let the quilt sit while I looked at it for a day or two after binding it, deciding whether or not to distress it. I almost chickened out! Did I really want to start cutting, scratching, mashing and wadding at this newly finished quilt? Why yes, yes I did! I decided to go for it despite my family thinking I’d lost my mind! I gathered my weapons of destruction: a scrapbooking pigment ink pad, fabric paint, pastry cutter, paint brushes, paper toweling and a very coarse nail file.

I wadded up the paper toweling and used it like a rubber stamp on the pigment ink pad and (took a very deep breath and then) mashed it on the quilt top in different places, right over the quilting and embroidery. The pastry cutter was rolled through a puddle of bronze fabric paint and then rocked back and forth on the quilt. I dabbed and swiped more paint on with the brushes, and then set about shredding the fabric with the nail file by holding the quilt against the edge of the sewing table and sawing at it with the file to rough it up and give the whole thing an aged look. Perfect!!

The perfect hanger for the quilt had been hiding under my bed since we moved here. It’s heavy, bronze-colored metal of some sort with Fleur-de-lis ends, and it’s expandable to fit larger quilts. I bought it in Germany to hang a tapestry on the wall, but the tapestry never made it to the wall here in the new house. I have to admit that I didn’t use the silky ribbon as loops at the top of the quilt because it was a perfect contrast to the aged, gritty look of the quilt (though it was), but because I was too lazy to put a regular hanging sleeve on the back of the quilt! 😛

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed making ‘Tis Just the Wind, though it stretched some of my walls and frustrated me at times. That’s a good thing though, right? If y’all have questions about anything I didn’t cover here, leave a comment! Lookit that…y’all…you’d think I was born a Southerner or somethin’. 😉

4 thoughts on “The Making of ‘Tis Just the Wind

  1. Fabulous! I have done many a quilt design as I go along. More fun than just following a pattern.

    Brava!!

    Please do more this way.

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    1. how lovely still one of my fav things….been looking to see if you are in any more hops…
      we have some pretty interesting projects and rewards coming up

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