Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Making of Pizza Planet

In the was white and flat, but not for long!
I thought I would share a bit of my process for creating my quilts, along with photos of all the wonderful painted, quilted fabric and fabric paper I have been creating. I start with plain, white muslin. First I go crazy with free motion stitching. I like circles and spirals, but other times I so flowers or wavy lines. I have tried using the regular straight stitch. It gives a different texture, which at times can be nice, but I prefer the unevenness of free motion. I often over over the lines twice and never worry about crossing. I try to create a free, sketchy feeling. I then through it in the washing machine on hot to wash out any sizing on the fabric and shrink it down a bit. It tends to bring out the stitching and dampens the fabric to make it easier to paint.
Next, it is time to paint. I bring out every shade of each color I have in my stash. Often I will use 10 different paints on a piece of quilted fabric. I like to use acrylics, fabric and craft paints, along with acrylic inks, and of course, metallics. These are the eight different fabrics I created for Pizza Planet.

After painting fabric, I moved on to fabric paper. Once again I pulled out the muslin base. Then I added various scrapbook papers. They are a little hard to see with these darker colors, but if you look closely you can see an added layer of texture. I glued them down with watered down craft paint. I found that I like the craft paint better than white glue because it gives a slightly slippery feeling to the paper. Some people might not like that, but I find it nicer on my fingers to work with. I've always hated any type of chalky feeling. Once, I tried using white glue and junk mail. The fabric paper came out very dry and chalky. The cheap ads were probably full of acid anyways, so for now I will avoid the combination. After gluing down the paper base, I add tissue paper. I tried finding craft tissue at Michael's but had no luck, so I just use the large stack of gift tissue I bought at Costco. It will often rip when very wet. If it does, I just add another scrap to fill in any wholes. Typically I will add two layers of tissue to seal it nicely. And then of course the paints again. I used the same combinations for the fabric paper as I did the quilted fabric. These are the ten different pieces I made for Pizza Planet, plus one I had from another project that fit the color scheme well.

Now with the raw materials made, I started designing. I cut out square of each quilted fabric in 1", 2" and 3" sizes. I used my 12" square gridded ruler as a base and started laying them out, beginning with the largest size and moving down. It actually came together relatively easy. I then cut out lots and lots of circles in various sizes. Once again, my design method was trial and error. I did my best to spread the colors out. I then edged each circle with a gold leafing pen to help them stand out. I had to transfer all the circles off the quilt so I could sew everything together. My gridded cutting mat helped keep everything in order so I didn't get completely confused in the processes. I zig-zagged the squares together. I did flip two of the little squares in the process and had to cut them out and flip them back later -- whoops. Each circle was free motion sewn down with black rayon thread. Finally, I backed the whole thing with a piece of paint rag fabric and finished the edge with couched black yarn. Overall the composition is a little dark, but I really like the colors and circles. I have another Pizza Planet quilt in the works and look forward to exploring it more!


Dotti said...

This is a wonderful tutorial. Question: When you first start free motion quilting on the unpainted white muslin, is there a batting or a quilt sandwich involved here...or is it just the fabric alone?


Nikki said...

Dotti, I use a full quilt sandwich with batting and a backing fabric to provide stability to the fabric. Plus I love the deep texture created.