Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Kerry Cliffs - The Quilt Top is Finished

Kerry Cliffs, Ireland -  Quilt Top

 I've put together the foreground of the landscape and thought I'd show you how I did it. As of now, I've started stitching down the fabrics but this blog will be looking back on how I created the confetti foreground. 

I'm stitching down the bigger patches using a small zig-zag and monofilament thread.

 When I began work on the foreground hill I started by pulling out all the fabrics in my stash which might be useful. I also printed out a photo of an Irish landscape where the heather is not completely spent. If you go back to my original photo a couple of blogs ago you'll see that the heather on the hill was all golden brown. 

Well I toyed with the idea of making it purple and violet as if it was in bloom instead of spent. Hence the purple flower prints. You'll see a few grass prints in the pile as well. I also toyed with the idea of putting boulders in the foreground though there were none in my photograph of the Cliffs. 

Grasses and meadow flower landscape prints
 In the end I decided to use the distant meadow print below as a foundation for all the other prints. It was too golden though so I painted it! Once again, I used Inktense Color Blocks and splashed on a few greener colors. You can see the difference in the photo below but I admit is isn't all that much. I wish now I had added more green, oh well. 
Added green paint on left, original fabric is on the right
 Adding the Inktense was soooo easy! I just used a bit of water and dabbed on the color here and there! This is a great product. 
It's a little dark because it is wet
Figuring out the confetti colors
 After playing with cutting up bits of the purple flower prints I decided I didn't like it. I felt that the deep blues in the water would pop and sing more with golden and rose tones in the meadow. Conversely that the golden and rose tones in the meadow would pop more with the blues in the sky and water.
I also decided against adding rocks. The cliffs are pretty striking and I thought that if I added rocks and more elements in this foreground hill/meadow that it would take away from the impact of the cliffs. Guess what? As I look at the landscape now, I wish I had added rocks. Ugh.

So, on to the confetti! 
I used brown tulle on the bottom and yellow tulle on the top in this batch of confetti

 When I make confetti I use 2 layers of tulle and 2 layers of a water soluble embroidery stabilizer. In this in example I used Sulky Solvy. (Yay for JoAnn's and their 50% off coupons!)

I put down a sheet of the Solvy, put the first layer of tulle on it and LIGHTLY sprayed with 505 Basting spray. I cut up my tiny - less than 1/4 inch bits - of fabric using my rotary mat, ruler and a sharp cutter. Then I sprinkled the confetti on the tulle.

You have to play around with the tulle to get the right colors. If I had used 2 layers of tulle which were both green or both brown the confetti would have been too dark and it wouldn't have blended into the landscape.

After the confetti is sprinkled on the tulle you layer the other piece of tulle on top and another layer of Solvy. Then you pin all the layers together - lots of pins so the confetti doesn't slide around under the tulle. When you are done pinning it's time to sew through the layers and all you have to do is sew a tight stipple in a blending thread color. I use a light weight variegated thread for this and chose one that went from green to red to brown in light to medium values. You can hardly see the thread.

After the sewing is done, rinse away the stabilizer and messy cut shrubby shapes out of the tulle.

Also, sometimes less confetti sprinkles is better. When you look at the pic below you can see that the heather is pretty dark and thick - it doesn't look like it is naturally part of the landscape does it? This is easily fixed though by making MORE confetti, lol.

Confetti is a bit dark and thick - 
There are places where the heather is darker and thicker than other places (in my original photo), so these confetti patches can still be used. All I had to do is make less dense confetti on lighter tulle. 
Less sprinkles on 2 sheet of yellow tulle
 When I finished this batch (sprinkling, pinning, sewing and cutting out messy shrubby shapes), I arranged these lighter confetti patches on the outside of the thicker ones from before. Viola! it all blends together.

Closeup of the confetti and other prints in the foreground

 I used darker grasses in the foreground and added tiny yellow clumps of flowers to resemble the gorse bushes in the Irish landscapes. I also added some darker patches of a distant meadow grass here and there to break up the monotonous base print grass. (Is that clear as mud?)

If you look at the above pic carefully you'll see what I mean. It's that dark green and golden short grass that is kind of cut in a zig-zag shape. For as natural a look as possible I needed to break up that background print and add some different grasses and texture.

Lastly, I needed to add those rocks on the bottom left and all the whitewater surrounding them. I cut out the rocks from my freezer paper pattern (see last blog or two) and fused them onto the ocean water.

The rocks

 When I painted the Wild Atlantic at the base of my cliffs I knew there would be white water in this spot so I painted some background white on using - guess what? - my Inktense Color Blocks.

After I fused on the rocks I sprayed this portion of the landscape with water. (That is why it is darker blue around the rocks - that fabric is wet.) 

Adding white water
 Please remember that I've never used these blocks before so you'll have to cut me some slack. (I've never really painted anything before... I'm a material girl. 😁)

Inktense are water soluble but I didn't want the paint to blend and spread out so I directly drew the white waves onto the damp fabric. In some places I blended and rubbed it into the fabric with my finger but in others I left it on pretty thickly. 
Finished white water
 When I drew on the white water I used a lot of squiggles and made sure that every swipe of the color block was made in a curving motion. I feel like I did a good job. Oh, I also smooshed some of the color block onto the rocks to add to the splashing waves effect.
And there you have it - the finished quilt top
 It's a busy time for me and I'm snatching minutes here and there to keep stitching down the layers. OH - I should mention that I attach the messy cut patches of tulle by tucking bits of Wonder Under under them and fusing them down - using a pressing CLOTH and steam. The fragile tulle melts if you look at it wrong and steam is what activates the Wonder Under hence I use a cloth and not a fiber glass pressing sheet when I do this part.

All the patches should get stitched in place and I like to do this before the quilting to keep the back of the quilt tidier.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all.
Happy Quilting! 


  1. Wonderful quilt! Thank you Cathy for sharing how you made it. So many decisions and you must have a vast assortment of fabrics in your stash. Loved every moment and how you adjusted the fabrics to fit your picture as well as your use of the Derwent's inktensive watercolour pencils.
    Happy New Year to you.You take

    1. Thanks Julie! I hope you have a great New Year, too!

  2. Thank you so much for telling us about your process (and about you thoughts as you work through it). Knowing that you second guess your process makes me feel a whole lot better about my own! I tried making confetti once and hated it because far too many of the white backs of the fabrics ended up being on the right side. Short of placing them down individually (I'm not THAT anal!!), I ended up painting over the entire thing. I've learned (I think!) from you that perhaps using fabric that is reversible is the way to go. Thank you for sharing so much!

    1. You're welcome. I usually pick batiks for making confetti because they are the same on both sides. The only time I wouldn't choose them would be when I need to create a light and medium/dark tree foliage canopy. Then the light sides would look more natural. I like doing new things so second guessing my decisions as I create is par for course, lol. (It does make things a bit stressful at times though!) Thanks for you comments. :)

    2. I learned the use of batiks for this process from you (thank you!) and am much happier with my results ever since. Haven't had need of any lately however. Everything I do with my landscapes is new to me, simply because I've never tried the process before and there are no classes to be had in my area. There's a lot of trial and error (mostly error!) at the moment.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your techniques. I absolutely love this blog. Your quilt is spectacular and it is really wonderful to follow the progress.

    One question. What kind of stitching do you use to attach the confetti portions to the quilt?

    1. Hi hippichick, I use a tiny bit of WonderUnder fusible web tucked under each patch, then I use steam and a pressing CLOTH to activate the fusible. This holds it pretty well and when I stitch each patch down I use monofilament thread so the stitching is invisible. Thank you for the compliments!!!

  4. Thanks! Following your process in this blog has given me some really good ideas as well as the confidence to take crayons and colored pencils to my work. Very helpful!

    1. Good and thanks! One thing - I put on the white inktense pretty thick and as I've been working on the quilting the stuff kind of powdered off a bit. Soooo, I'm going to put it on thick again but then spray it with a fixative to see if that makes it permanent. This is just a heads up in case you try the same thing, my experiment didn't work as well as I would wish...

  5. Thanks for the heads up. Whenever I use Inktense, I apply textile medium on top of it. Hasn't been a problem so far.

    1. Oh yes! I didn't think of that! I'll try that!! Thanks Hippie. :)

  6. Replies
    1. It did help - though not perfectly. I put the inktense on thick again, painted over it with the fabric medium and it still brushed off the fabric a bit. I ended up using that white ink marker that you find in scrap booking sections to fill in more white. Now we know--Inktense really needs water to be worked into the fabric.

  7. I actually thought of recommending that to you, and then it slipped my mind. I was initially thinking more about how to use Inktense than how to get a good white mark. Sorry about that! Glad you discovered it.

  8. Like you Cathy, I am a "material girl" and have yet to experiment with any other art mediums. This blog has now inspired me to more seriously step outside the proverbial box & go for it! Thanks sew much for sharing your techniques!