Thursday, March 19, 2015


I finished another Challenge.  The name of the Challenge is, "OUT ON A LIMB".   I joined on a whim.  I was already over-burdened with projects which had deadlines.  I didn't need another one!

There were 12 participants.  Twelve patterns, 20" X 16", were handed out.  Each one was a portion of a continuous limb.  This limb stretched through a year of seasons.  Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter were then divided into morning, noon, and night.  You were to interpret your section anyway you wanted.  There were two guidelines: your limb had to enter and leave the pattern exactly where it was marked on the pattern, and the piece had to be 16"X 20" when bound.

The pattern on the left is Winter night.  I took so long to make the decision to sign up that I got leftovers.  Winter is not my cup of tea, especially when I am creating.  I love to make things with lots of flowers and leaves and birds.  What kind of leaves is there on a winter tree?  What kind of Living things are out on a winter's night?  What kind of sky is there on a winter's night.  I was out on the end of the limb, which is not the same as being at the end of a rope,  but both spell disaster.  

The Challenge was due in March, totally finished and bound. This is January.  What do I have for inspiration?  I had brain block big time.  I wanted to get started on this and get it out of the way.  I knew if I left it sit I would not get it done and would disappoint myself and the other participants.

The only for sure I knew I needed was a night time winter sky.  Winter skies are cold and crisp and sometimes have snow showers.  The stars seem to be close enough to touch.  Knowing that did not inspire a quilt.  

I didn't need to worry because inspiration flew in when I was at the barn.  It was daylight but there was the night inspiration in a near by tree.  It was a Barred Owl.  Now that we don't have 30 barn cats, the mice have been replicating at a phenomenal speed.  (Coyotes came by and knocked the population down to two males.)  We hadn't seen a mouse, rabbit or snake in years.  We've seen an overabundance of them during the last year.  Here is one of our visitors:

Now was the time to get a sheet of paper the size of the pattern and sketch out my ideas.  The pattern had a branch which elbowed out of the center of the branch.  I did a little pruning and cut off that branch and added another to the left to balance the branch. I have mentioned I like to make leaves.  The only leaves winter makes  available to me are stubborn shriveled up dead leaves.  I drew some wind torn leaves.  I could have put snow but I have had enough of that and couldn't stand the idea of it in my quilt.  I went on line and googled images of the Barred Owl.  I couldn't find one I thought suited my branch.  

Since he was there to harvest my mice I thought I should also incorporate a mouse on the branch.  and the mouse should be dead because it was caught and killed.  I set the scene and was satisfied with my sketch and then went to search the stash for the fabrics I would need.

The first part I needed was a night time sky.  Nothing jumped out which said this is night.  I am not in the vicinity of quilt stores.  Each one is at least 30 minutes away.  I could use that hour sewing, the weather was snowy, not conducive to a road trip.  Stash shopping was my alternative.

What will I do?  I have previously used a gridded background in other challenges,  using fabrics which blend, as in the water color technique.  I picked 1.5 inch squares, my previous endeavors have used 2.5" and 2" squares.  I was hoping I would get a look as if the sky was changing into dawn the next day.

When I do grids I cut a piece of freezer paper larger than what I need.  My Vertical grid lines are spaced the width of the square I am using.  My horizontal grid lines are spaced the width of the finished square.  The picture on the left shows the grids.  You can also see where I have placed squares.  I use a glue stick of the washable variety.  It doesn't seem to harm the fabric, most of it stays on the paper.  (The grid is drawn on the shiny side of the freezer paper.)

The Picture on the right shows how I apply the squares.  I start from the bottom of the design and place the first square with it on the line.  It will extend 1/2 inch into the next square.  This is where I put the dab of glue.  The next square is put on the line over lapping the 1/2 inch and it also over laps the square above.  And so on and so forth.  (The glue is only on the top edge of the square.  You don't want your squares glued together.)

Doing it this way I can arrange the squares in a gradual gradation of color.  In my mind it makes the background look as if it were painted.  The glue holds them in place temporarily till they can be sewn together.  If I am unhappy with my choices it is very easy to change the position of the squares. 

I set about turning all the blues I could find into 1 1/2" squares.  Stacking the piles on a Styrofoam tray in ascending blue hues.

"Whoo, whoo's coming to dinner"
My next "chore"  would be to get the branch   from the paper to the background.  I had the perfect fabric.  It was a fabric which had fur looking streaks on it.    I traced the limb on it until the area to be appliqued was too small to applique by needle turn.  I don't do iron-on applique.  After Appliqueing the branch to the background I used a black sharpie to contour the branch.  I finished the small branches, drawing them with a fine point brown Sharpie.

The leaves are several layers of fabric, bonded together with Wonderunder".  Then they are pressed into their wrinkled shape.

The owl was appliqued onto a large piece of fabric that I used for his face.  I didn't want to make a mistake on the little quilt so I pre-appliqued him on another surface.  This allowed me to stuff his wing lightly and add dimension to the quilt.  When I was satisfied with how he looked I trimmed the base fabric to 1/4 inch and needle turned him onto the branch.  

His mouse friend was a piece of faux fur lining from an old coat, with a red bead for his eye, and a piece of one of my hair bands for his tail.

I was attempting to make the Sky look like when the night is turning to dawn and the moon light reflecting off the snow.  I wanted the owl to looked surprised at the mouse approaching him on the branch, perplexed at what he should do.

I have mentioned in other Challenge blogs how satisfying they have been for me.  They prevent me from doing the same thing all the time.  They teach me new techniques.  They help reacquaint me with the contents of my stash.  This one did all those things. 

You will find the pictures of the "Out on a limb" challenges on the following blog.
Our guild has wonderfully talented and creative quilters.

I can't wait to see what challenge is next.

Other blog sites by me:
Where I have stories of my cats and other pets
a blog about my courtship with my husband,
and a blog about my most embarrassing moment.
A "Soap box" blog where I do air my opinions.

blogs about the wildflowers on our farm
Organic methods we use, some cooking and some poetry,
blogs about Seed sprouting, insects, and garden pictures
Blog about an endangered beneficial beetle

Blogs about our pair of pitbulls.

All recipes, pictures, and writings are my own.
I give credit for items which belong to other people in my blogs .
Please do not copy without permission 


gardenquilter said...

Glo, your results were clever and spectacular! Thanks for sharing them with all of us.

Sheepish said...

Thank you, I enjoyed the process of making this one.