Thursday, November 6, 2014

Second 3 Hour Workshop Project/Small Tutorial

What are you going to do with that crayon?

 Ellie cat has been helping me finish up a second project for my 3 Hour Class/Workshop.  (I like to give my students at least 2 choices of kits in my classes.) This time I'll show you how I draw saplings in the background AND how I remove the ones I don't like. 

The start, choosing fabrics and cutting out tree trunks
 I don't want as many tree trunks in this project as I had in the last. Why? Because I want some room on the bottom to draw in some saplings. 

 I start this project the same as last week's blog post.  I'm using another variegated print for my background and I messy cut some random shrubby shapes. 

Light green foliage for the top of the landscape

 Messy cutting is the trickiest thing for most quilters - at least in my experience.  Below are some messy cut shapes to help you see how to cut them.  They need to be deeply cut, perhaps you can think about them as elongated puzzle pieces, but they should not have evenly spaced knobs and holes.  Some can have straight edges, these get placed by tree trunks or at the edge of your landscape.

Always look to see if you can use the wrong side of your fabrics. Sometimes this side is better than the right side! 

Messy Cuts

Shading with black fabric marker

Once I had my basic design in place I got out my black marker and made long sweeping streaks up both of the brown tree trunks.  The brown trunk on the right is the WRONG side of the fabric of the trunk on the left. Both got streaks.  If you look at the 2nd picture of this blog, you can see the difference between the untouched tree trunks and the "touched". Lol.

OH, in case you want more info on shading, check out my blog from 2 weeks ago. It is labeled with Landscape Tips in you want to search by label.

Adding white highlighting streaks

 The second thing I did to these trunks is to use a white highlighting marker (found in the scrap booking section of your favorite craft/hobby store) to add streaks and texture to the tree trunks. I kept the streaks mostly halfway and on the right side of the tree trunks.

If a streak to too bright, just go over it with a dark brown or black marker to blend it in a bit. Do leave some of the 'streakiness' though - it looks more like bark.

Shading birch tree trunks, the one on the far left is done.
 To give the birch tree trunks dimension, I used a silver metallic Sharpie marker.  I used the marker in a horizontal motion, going back and forth from the edge in a random width up the tree trunk.

When you shade and highlight things in your landscape, you need to decide where the sun is shinning.  For some reason it is easier for me to highlight and shade the left side of tree trunks, so my sun is shining down from the right.  This has to be consistent throughout your landscape.
Drawing on distant saplings with a crayon
 By this point in my lanscape, I have glued down all my tree trunks and my 'shrubbery' and small leafy prints. I start by using a simple crayon and drawing some saplings in the open areas.  I use a 'shaky' hand motion to try to capture the twists and knobs of real shrubby branches.  In this project, I started drawing with a deep green crayon to blend with the background tones.
Oops! I don't like this one!
 I just drew a branch the SAME branch in the same area of my trees. YUCK. Sooooo, time to get out my clear 'glass' packing tape! (This is the really sticky kind of tape used in sealing up boxes for shipping.  It is REALLY sticky stuff.)
Lift off the offending branch

The wrong branch is virtually gone!

Closeup of some of the hand drawn saplings.

 Once I'm happy with my drawn out saplings, I LIGHTLY go on the left side (remember where your sun is shinning in) and underneath my drawings with an extra fine point black Sharpie. This gives the drawn saplings a bit of dimension and presence.

Press your quilt with a medium/hot iron to 'set' the color from the crayon into the fabric and make it permanent. 

Adding the bright leaves
 The last thing to get added once everything else is done is the larger leaf foliage.  Fussy cut around the edges of the leaves, glue them on and viola, you are done designing.

At this point you need to stitch down your appliques - especially the tree trunks. Use monofilament thread and stitch maybe 1/8 inch or 3-4 threads in from all the sides.

 These types of raw edge landscapes fray like mad. If you stitch right along side of the very edge, those threads will fray off and then your appliques won't get stitched down and you'll have to go over them again. This is a pain and can lead to an untidy quilt back when you quilt the thing.

Um... I hate to say this, but I don't always stitch down the all the foliage. I just catch the edges as part of the quilting process. You MUST stitch down the tree trunks though! 

Once everything is stitched, press with steam and square up the quilt top, making sure your corners are at perfect right angles and that your sides are the same.  Add borders if desired.
Baste, bind and quilt. (I usually just stipple the background in a variegated thread.)

All Done!
Oh, I decided that the distant green saplings weren't enough to fill in that space so I just drew in some more using a brown crayon.   When you quilt, just outline stitch around your saplings to make them pop out a bit.  (Or don't in case you want them to be more subtle.)

Well, that is it for my 3 Hour Workshop projects.  Now I have to make 2 samples for my Watercolor Landscapes Made Easy Class and 2 more for my Forest Scenes Workshop AND I have a book coming out in December so I should make some strip pieced and strip fused class samples.   YIKES!

Comments and questions are welcome.

OH, if anyone knows much about one of those accuquilt cutters and cutting a LOT of same size squares, would you give me a holler? I'm thinking about buying one...



  1. I love it. This is something I want to do more of. I tried a couple of small landscape projects which the second one hangs in the sewing room but would love to do a larger one. See this I may just have to give it a go. Thanks for the tutorial it all helps.

    1. You're welcome Cynthia, I'm glad I was able to help. :)

  2. Wonderful, Thanks so much! I'm wondering about the fraying though. Do you go back and cut off all the little frayed parts and then it doesn't fray anymore once it gets to the stitching?

  3. Thanks Pat! I trim off the frayed edges after I finish quilting and blocking the quilt. If there are long messy messy threads I'll trim those off before the quilting. The edges to be very careful with are the tree trunk edges. They are usually cut with the grain so when they fray, you can loose almost 1/8 of an inch all the way up the tree.

    Sometimes those fuzzy edges on foliage prints actually looks good - it give the whole piece even more texture. I'll trim these a bit after quilting too, but don't worry too much about those.