Saturday, October 31, 2020

Island Batik Ambassador Thread Painting Challenge with Aurifil Thread

 I'm excited to share this with you.  The Island Batik Ambassador challenge this month was Thread Painting with Aurifil Thread.  When I was on the vacation trip I won from Wheel of Fortune and Collette Tours in March, we went by bus to the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.  It was amazing, and I took over 3000 photos along the way.  At that time I knew we were going to have a thread painting challenge with Aurifil, so I was visually overwhelmed and wanted to make quilts out of so many photos.  But I haven't done that type of thing before, although I had read and watched how others have done it.  

One of the biggest challenges for this project was to choose only one photo.  I was asked to use Sunset Plumes by Kathy Engle, and provided Aurifil 50 weight thread to coordinate.  Additional fabrics were provided to coordinate with the collection.  

I chose this photo for the center, and then played with designs to frame it, using EQ8.  

We had stopped in a parking lot for a minute, to take photos of the Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon called Salt and Pepper.  Our guide, Brian, pointed out another spot, just beyond the pine trees, where the sky shows through a space and looks like a star.  Although I really wanted to use a photo from Lake Powell, this one kept calling to me.  A quilter has a thing for stars, I guess.  

I picked Bluebird for the sky, as it was the closest match.  I used Cream for the rocks, and copper Cheerios for the accents.  All other details were added with thread.  I used dark brown, forest, and 3 shades of tan from cream to copper.  I put a lightweight fusible Pellon interfacing on the blue fabric, and marked the size, 12 by 18".  I then drew details on the Cream fabric so I could get the outline shape I needed, and the location for the star.  I used Wonder Under under this and cut out the top edge and star, then fused the cream on the blue.  I added a layer of tear away stabilizer under it, and drew a few basic lines with a blue wash-out marker to make sure I had the details, and then cut pieces from the Copper to add a little depth. 

After that was ready, I prepped the bobbins for the machine.  I wanted to have a bobbin that matched the top thread, so it would look better.  Because of the  fusible interfacing and Wonder Under, I opted to use the Schmetz Non-Stick needle we were given in the January Ambassador box, size 12.  Then I looked in the booklet for the machine to determine the best way to do thread painting.  But there was no information that seemed like the best practice.  So, I called Pocono Sew and Vac, my favorite shop, and spoke to Heather.  I got this Janome Horizon 1450 in April, when my almost 20 year old Viking decided not to work.  Because of Covid-19, I was unable to take a class on this wonderful and amazing machine.  Most things I've been able to figure out, including free-motion quilting, but I needed more info for this.  Heather doesn't usually work in the store, but is their Janome educator, so I was thrilled I got to speak to her.  She went to the machine on their floor and talked me through setting up and choosing the best foot, and some other suggestions.  I started sewing with the darkest brown, to add the tree branches and some of the darker shadows, but was having issues.  I figured out a better way to do it, going side to side on the design.  I switched to green, added the pine needles, and then switched to the beige, copper and tans to fill in more details.  

I pieced 6" stars for the first border from the collection, and added a 3" outer border.  The piece measures 31 by 37".  Then I loaded it on Vanna, my Handi-Quilter Amara with a solid cream I had, plus some Warm & Natural batting, and used Fancy Feathers on Prosticher to do the borders.  I used Aurifil 3827, Marrakesh in 40wt for the borders, and switched to a 40wt in cream for the rocks, and 3770, Stonewashed Denim in 40-Three for the sky.  

Here are some more detail photos.  I've named this Bryce Stars.  

I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. 

Thanks so much for visiting.  Please check out the other Ambassadors who've done incredible things with Island Batik fabrics and Aurifil Threads this month.  Click on the link for the list of Ambassadors, and you can find their blogs and search for the Thread Painting posts.  


Quilting Gail said...

This looks great MaryEllen!
What a wonderful remembrance of you trip!
Happy Quilting! :-)

Emily said...

What a great way to save a memory and transfer it to fabric!

Carol Andrews said...

MaryEllen this is a beauty! What a perfect rendition of a photo of an awesome vacation!

Pamela said...

Love this! I have so many nature photos that I would love to try this with! You inspire me to give it a try!

Kathleen said...

You did a great job on this. Crazy time not being able to get lessons on new machines. I have one coming and am hoping to have some lessons.

Jennifer Thomas said...

You did a beautiful job! What a great way to preserve the memory of your trip. Have a fabulous day.