white, white and more white….

This is a 6″square; a quilted close-up picture of a rose.

Karen Mundt

Karen Mundt


With the colours of this month’s challenge being white and yellow, I set myself a little challenge to see if I could recreate the picture using only shades of white. I found a photo of a white rose with the focus on its beautiful centre. I used a method of Upside Down Applique, which I learnt in an online course I did years ago with the now-defunct Quilt University. It’s the same method I used to create this flower picture, shown here on the blog back in August:
Frangipani- Karen Mundt

Frangipani- Karen Mundt


After taking a photocopy of the photo, I traced around all the little sections where the colour changed and worked out that I could create it with 4 shades of white, which I numbered 1 to 4. I used little bits of yellow for the darkest bits.
We always hear about lots of shades of white- winter white, warm white, bright white etc so when you line up a few against each other, it’s easy to be able to arrange them in order from ‘light’ to ‘dark.’
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I traced the picture onto a piece of stabiliser and numbered all the pieces according to which shade of white was needed. I then used that to applique each little piece, sewing it down from the reverse side.
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I started with the darkest pieces first, working on the rule that dark colours recede and lights advance. The darkest sections in the picture were in fact the deepest recesses of the curled petals. I added a piece of the darkest white fabric to all those spots, following the lines drawn on the stabiliser and therefore sewing from the back side – sort of like how we do foundation piecing. I used a clear monofilament thread in the bobbin and white thread in the needle, sewing exactly along the lines with an embroidery foot and dropped feed dogs.
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Once each piece is sewn down it can be trimmed as close as possible to the sewing line, except those parts where one piece under-laps another piece yet to be added. I sewed all the Number 4 pieces and the yellow, then moved onto White #3, sewed all those, and so on down to White #2 and White #1.
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As I sewed each piece, I coloured in that piece on my little drawing just to keep track of which bits had been sewn.
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After all pieces are sewn down and the edges clipped,
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I turned it around with the front facing up and then did lots of free-motion top-stitching with white thread around all the pieces. The little quilt was then backed and some last quilting done on top.
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I added a little bit of dark pencil to create shadows and add dimension along some of the edges.
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The flower-shape looks a little clearer when seen from a distance, as in the photo below taken with all of the quiltlets made by our quilt group at our recent meeting. One thing that I should have utilised more was the effect that was achieved in the white pieces that surroundered the small yellow pieces. The yellow created a shadow under the white, so in effect performed the role of another ‘colour’ to add to the variations.
You can see in the photo below the interpretations everyone came up with on the Flora & Fauna theme and only using white and yellow.
L-R, Row1: Helen H, Jan M, Meryl, Lyn; Row 2: Jan K, Shirley, Mine, Marilyn; Row 3(top) Cornelia, Trish, Helen S

L-R, Row1: Helen H, Jan M, Meryl, Lyn; Row 2: Jan K, Shirley, Mine, Marilyn; Row 3(top) Cornelia, Trish, Helen S


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Trish and Helen S

Jan K

Jan K


Meryl, Lyn

Meryl, Lyn


This next photo is a few quilts left from last month’s orange and white theme.
Clockwise from top left: Helen S, Shirley, Jan M, Meryl

Clockwise from top left: Helen S, Shirley, Jan M, Meryl

art play

We had a workshop last weekend for a dozen or so of us in the Gatton Quilters who are interested in trying out new methods and techniques for perpetuating our memories with art quilts. The very talented and lovely Ali George travelled to us to guide us along the way for the two-day workshop.
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We learnt so many different techniques and tried out a lot of products, samples of which Ali had brought along for us to try and experiment with.
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We firstly used leaves and twigs; covering them with paint and taking a print. This expanded to stencils and masks and stamps, using acrylic paints and wax crayon. Ali showed us how easy it was to make our own stencils out of a piece of card and carve a stamp from an eraser. We tried wax crayons, or paintsticks, to make rubbings from random surfaces, and dipped fabric in rusting and tannin solutions to dye our fabrics.
On this little piece in the next photo, I used a small stencil I cut from card in what I thought was a teardrop shape. But after using some gold and blue paintsticks to rub around the edges, I realised that it actually looks like Christmas baubles! It’s given me some ideas- it might make great handmade Christmas cards!
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We also used bleach with random objects to ‘take away’ the colour from black fabric in our own designs, as well as using soy wax as a resist and then spraying with bleach to extend the effects.
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Ali had some great wood blocks and stencils for us to play with.
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Workshops like these are fantastic in giving you time to play and experiment. I’m sure we had all heard of using stamps and paints and dyes etc. but it’s not until you take the time to experiment and play with repetition and variation that you really see what the possibilities are. Ali was a great tutor and very generous with her time and ‘allowing’ us to play. I think I can safely say on behalf of all of us that the weekend was really worthwhile and we’d highly recommend for anyone to invest their time. Go play!

Ali George

Ali George

orange and white

Working with white can be a little tricky. It is very stark and bright-especially when combined with orange! Those were the two colours for this month’s art quilt group challenge. Once again, a 6″square using only two colours, and something to do with flora or fauna.
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I took quite awhile to decide on what to do with this one, as I usually do. More time is spent in the thinking and designing than there is on the actual creating. An orange when dissected, that is orange fruit, is actually just orange and white and no other colour. So I thought to depict a cut orange off-centred and partly off the square would fill the brief.
I first drew out the orange and the components I would need to get them well-proportioned and placed how I wanted them. I then used that as my ‘pattern’ and traced out the segments onto vliesofix.
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I then ironed those parts onto some of my own hand-dyed orange fabric and then cut out and placed the pieces of orange fabric on a square of white felt as the background.
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I free-motion stitched around the orange pieces, and did some stippling in white thread on the background to give some contrast in the texture.
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Here are the interpretations from other quilters in the group:

Top row, L-R: Marilyn, Jan K; Centre row: mine, Marg, Helen H; Bottom row: Cornelia,Trish, Lyn

Top row, L-R: Marilyn, Jan K; Centre row: mine, Marg, Helen H; Bottom row: Cornelia,Trish, Lyn


Such fun to see what they all come up with!

quilted strata

This month’s two-colour challenge for the Art Quilt group I belong to, was purple and orange. We could do anything within the general theme of flora and fauna, using only the two colours of orange and purple. This is my final result.

Orange & purple challenge: 6 * 6 inches

Orange & purple challenge: 6 * 6 inches


I want to use these challenges to try out different techniques and different media, as I figure it’s an excellent opportunity to play and experiment. So therefore my approach in creating this month’s task was not to think about what could I depict using only those two colours, but instead to consider what method or materials I wanted to try out this month. I started off by deciding to use paper as the base. Using paper, I wanted something with up-and-down texture on the surface by manipulating the paper.
Who knows what mysterious paths the brain takes as it mulls things over, considers all the options and factors, discards this idea and that before settling on something. For some reason, the image of strata popped in my head, as well as a fossil. That would do- a fossil fits in the flora and fauna scheme?!
I then remembered I had some ‘Modelling Compound’ that I’d once bought but not yet used: using that could achieve the rough texture to resemble layers of strata. So I started.
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I used some hand-made paper and painted it with some purple ink. I stirred up the modelling compound, which has the texture of really thick white goop, and to that mixed in some orange acrylic paint.
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I traced a shape of a fossil onto some freezer paper and stuck it in the centre where I wanted the fossil to appear. This was just to act as a mask and stop the paste flowing over it, as well as allowing that circle to be indented with the strata edges rising around it, like a fossil would have.
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I then spread the orange paste over it all , putting lines and heavier bits in some sections, and digging some back out to reveal little glimpses of the purple. I then left it to dry.
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Taking off the freezer paper mask in the middle, I had smeared just a little colour over that centre circle. It set with a rubbery texture so I was able to then do free-motion stitching all over it to (attempt to) resemble strata lines. I also stitched the fossil shape. The needle went through the orange ridges and stitched easily enough, although I did have to experiment with the thread to find one which could resist being ‘cut’ or breaking on the fine edges of the strata.
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I think it sort of looked how I envisaged! although the paper I originally wanted to utilise ended up being an under-layer and not a feature. The orange appears a little too intense, so it could have been toned down a little. In fact, I would even say it is a little ugly, but it was fun experimenting!
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the weekend

Weekends are what we all look forward to. Ah, the promise of it- all that time to do ‘other stuff’ – besides work! Last week we had a weekend in Brisbane. We had a night out, and of course I took some photos.

Brisbane- August 2016

Brisbane- August 2016


There’s something about city skylines and cityscapes that I love, and often a theme in my art quilts.
This was Brisbane at night…
Brisbane - August 2016

Brisbane – August 2016


just as impressive as New York at night- don’t you think?…
Karen Mundt  NYC- from the Empire State Building; October 2015

Karen Mundt NYC- from the Empire State Building; October 2015


We even had a steam train ride in and around the city. It got me thinking. We live about an hour from Brisbane and even though I visit Brisbane fairly regularly I don’t know it overly well as I mainly just go into the city. There is a lot about it that I haven’t seen so there is always lots to look at and investigate if you put your mind to it.
And I have a couple of photos from the recent Gatton Quilters meeting day. Kaye finished this quilt top that she was working on at our Coolum retreat, using the Grandmother’s Fan block:
Kaye

Kaye


This was Cornelia’s blue and green block from last month’s challenge- note the ‘banana hair’ in the centre that she made and dyed that beautiful blue:
Cornelia

Cornelia


Cornelia

Cornelia


and another one from Cornelia- she was catching up!:
Cornelia- Batik fabric challenge

Cornelia- Batik fabric challenge


Makes you want to just get in there and create!

green and purple galore

I’ve had some fun thinking up a small quilt- 6″ square- for my quilter’s group monthly colour challenge. This month it was all about green and purple. We could create anything using any techniques and materials to the loose theme of flora and fauna, but we could only use the two colours of green and purple. This is my little thistle flower.

Karen -thistle flower

Karen -thistle flower


I did it as an exercise in thread painting. I started out with a photo of a thistle that I printed onto some inkjet printable fabric. I also had to choose some threads to use so pulled out all the green and purple threads I had!
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I certainly didn’t use all of these, but I did need to have a variety of darks, mediums and lights to choose from. It was then a matter of just starting somewhere, so I started in the middle, primarily with some colour that I knew would be behind, or underneath, other more prominent colours on top. This next photo was just after I started, with dark olive green in the middle and lighter highlights:
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That bright green was used in the middle and was later covered up to leave just little specks of it showing through. A close-up:
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It took lots of free-motion stitching back and forth to get the coverage. I just wanted the main flower to be stitched and to leave the printed photo as the rest of the background.
Karen

Karen


Here is a photo of the ‘sinchies’ made by the rest of our talented group:
L-R Bottom row: Jan M, Cornelia, Lyn, Jan K; middle row: Meryl, Helen S, mine, Helen H; Top row: Shirley, Trish, Marilyn

L-R Bottom row: Jan M, Cornelia, Lyn, Jan K; middle row: Meryl, Helen S, mine, Helen H; Top row: Shirley, Trish, Marilyn

The best part of these challenges is seeing what everyone else comes up with! Happy quilting!

blue and green should be seen

This block is for the Cherish do.Good.Stitches group quilt that I am contributing to this year. It is an Octagon block, very easy to make using paper foundation, piecing a large triangle unit then joining them together into squares.
Octagon-Cherish
I can see that once you have a whole lot of these blocks and assemble them together they would make an excellent colourful ‘scrappy’ quilt. The corner triangles would form a secondary octagon as well.
Speaking of colour, the Gatton Quilters Art group has started a small monthly challenge. We have to produce a 6″ block using whatever methods we like, but only two colours. The colours for our first month were blue and green.

Karen Mundt- blue and green

Karen Mundt- blue and green


I had a beautiful piece of blue and green batik fabric that I thought would fit the bill, so decided I would just hand-stitch all over the batik, improvising as I went along.
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I echoed some lines that were suggested by the shapes in the colour swirls and played with a few stitch variations. I also used a variety of thread weights to contrast the texture. I then just finished the block with a small facing finish.
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Do you remember that old saying about blue and green should never be seen together? Rubbish- I think they look fantastic together!
These are the blocks produced by others in the group. The best part of such challenges is seeing the endless variations that can be produced by people expanding their imagination and having a play.
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L-R Row 1: Shirley, Marilyn, Helen H; Row 2: mine, Lyn, Trish; Row 3: Helen S, Jan K, Meryl
AllG&B3 Helen H and Trish
AllG&B4 Lyn and Jan K

Looking forward to seeing what next month’s blocks using green and purple will look like!

my small world quilt

I started this art quilt last year. My Small World Quilt is made from a pattern by Jane Kingwell, and was featured in the Quiltmania magazine.

Karen Mundt- My Small World

Karen Mundt- My Small World


It combines my loves of lots of different fabrics- the ‘scrappy look’- with the theme of buildings and houses. Of course, how you choose what fabrics to use is entirely an individual choice. At the time there was an online Quilt-Along and accompanying Instagram groups, so it was fun to check them out to see how others interpreted it.
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I used only fabrics that I already had, and it was a chance to use some different little bits and pieces. Like this little doggy…
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and this little girl at the window…
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I used light low-volume fabrics for the sky area, some with text, some with spots or self-patterns. I started with some pale blues and pinks close to the skyline, fading them to lighter colours as it went higher.
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I also made one little change. In place of the little Pisa tower block, I instead added in a little hand-embroidered block of the Statue of Liberty. That was to reflect my trip to the States, taken during the time I was making it.
It also took me a long time to decide on how to quilt it. I actually put the needle in at an arbitrary place, grabbed the ruler and decided to quilt first one line, then another, turned that into a diamond. Echoed that, did another diamond further across, repeat. That was for the top half- the sky. When I got to the lower half, I just quilted all over in an irregular grid about 2 inches apart.
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I backed it with a white and brown stripe, which I also used for the binding.
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I really enjoyed making this quilt. With all the different blocks and fabric choices to make, you don’t get bored with it and its fun to see what the next section will look like! I enjoyed it so much, I may even make another version some day!
Karen Mundt- My Small World

Karen Mundt- My Small World

creating with bias strips

This mini quilt top was created by using bias strips- brightly coloured strips on texty backgrounds.

Karen Mundt- Symbols

Karen Mundt- Symbols


I used one of those little bias maker tools, where you feed in the strips of fabric cut on the bias and it turns over the edges so you can iron them down as it comes out the other end. Do you have one of those sitting in your drawer, not used for a long time, like me?!

I joined the Mighty Lucky club which is going to highlight some new methods and techniques each month. I thought it would be good to get me thinking about new things and to just have a play. The first month was about using bias strips to create a modern quilt.
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For some reason these symbols popped into my head so I decided to try and make a few of them. I used a 3/4″ strip because I thought I would need it to be a bit on the thinner side to get it to curve how I needed.
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However in retrospect I think wider strips might have looked a bit better- the symbols look a bit ‘spindly’ to my eyes- what do you think? I’m not over-pleased with it, but it’s okay!

It was fairly easy to do- I arranged the strips into the shapes and then used some glue to hold them in place while I sewed them down by machine. Using the Edgestitch foot (#10C on my Bernina) made that easy.
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The instructions that were given included the use of iron-on adhesive which I didn’t have any of, so the Roxanne glue did a good job instead. I used a monofilament thread but of course you can use any coloured threads to make the stitching a feature.
Not sure what I will do with this now though- it may even end up being slashed and re-assembled for another modern quilt along the way!

neighbourhood watch- slow cloth

I have a small project that is actually finished! I don’t feel like I get to say that often enough- an actual finish, yay! This is a little story cloth, stitched over quite a long while. I probably started it about 2 years ago, just working slowly and enjoying the process.
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It is a stitched piece utilising re-purposed cloth and scraps, torn little bits from here and there. It has raw edges and loose threads…
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…bits saved from here and there just added where they looked to fit. There was no plan- I would add one piece then stop and look before adding something else. I guess you could call it an improv cloth! Lots of hand-stitching was added to the top. Its title is Neighbourhood Watch.
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It was enjoyable and comforting to work on; the feel of the cloth soft in my hands. I cut up one of my mum’s old pillow-cases, that must have been washed a thousand times in its life, to use as the background. My original inspiration for it was from following Jude Hill on Spirit Cloth, both on her blog and various online classes I’ve taken. I so love her work, and while mine doesn’t look anything like hers, I use her techniques and the inspiration she provides.
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I bound it by using strips from fabric left over from the days of sewing my clothes; the frayed selvedges turned to the front and running stitches with perle cotton to keep them in place. I also lightly hand quilted, using the same thread with big stitches.
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Truth be told, I’m a little sad it’s actually finished! I guess I’ll have to start another one….