Monday, January 05, 2015

Travel Diary Quilt - Getting Started

wall quilt by Sabine Keichel in Bremen, Germany

The idea for my new quilt project is inspired by the above wall quilt created by Sabine Keichel, a dear friend in Germany.

quilted "pillows" which when sewn together make a wall quilt by Sabine Keichel
It's made by stitching a bunch of separately made "pillows", stuffing them with batting, whip stitching around the edges, and adding embellishment and/or quilting stitches, then sewing them all together. Her quilt is full of play and fun and memories. I love it, and want to see if I can do something similar.

Mine will be about travels in 2014...
  •  Feb - southern CA to visit my sister (Redland's area)
  • June - road trip, with long stops at parks (Yellowstone, Itasca, Roosevelt, Glacier, Yakima R. Canyon, etc.) and college class reunion in MN - 1 month on the road
  • Oct - visiting friends and meeting internet beaders in Europe (Denmark, Germany, Holland, Hungary) -1 month
  • Nov - Columbia River Gorge and Portland area
  • Dec - Tacoma, WA (tigers at Pt. Defiance Zoo, visit bead friends)
Took over 8,000 photos along the way, and collected stuff (seed pods, fabric, ribbon, thread, rocks, charms, beads, coins, etc.) in all these places.

Decided to make a wall quilt to tell the story, preserving the photos and ephemera collected and saved along the way. Working title is: 2014 Travel Diary. 

photos ready to print on inkjet printable fabric - Robin Atkins - Travel Diary Quilt
I began by going through all my photos, selecting a few (57 as it turned out) that represent the moments I absolutely do not want to forget, ever. These I sized to +/- 4 inches at 200 resolution. In MS Publisher, I arranged the photos, 4 per page, giving each a 1/2 inch colored border, as shown above, creating print-ready layouts.


Dritz inkjet printable fabric - package 12 sheets
I printed the photos, on inkjet printable fabric, "Printed Treasures" by Dritz. It's a decent quality, 100% cotton poplin, white. After printing, let the fabric dry for a couple of minutes, and then separate the paper backing, pulling it apart from the fabric, allow to dry further, then rinse and air dry. Cut the images apart, and they're ready to sew.

Digging into my rather substantial scrap bin (and mighty happy to have found a use for some of it), I selected a backing fabric for each photo. I chose on the basis of personality, subject matter, and color. This step was waaaaay fun!

After cutting the backing fabric about 3/16" larger all the way around than the photo, I cut a piece of cotton batting to just a tad smaller than the photo (not including border), made a photo fabric-batting-backing sandwich, and stitched around the photo area to create each pillow. (The batting does not extend beyond the stitching.)

photo - batting - backing fabric sandwiched together and sewn

The next step takes some time! Turning under the edges, I whip-stitch around the pillows using #8 pearl cotton thread. I've gotten better and faster at this step with practice, thank goodness.

use #8 pearl cotton thread to whip stitch the edges of each pillows
pillow with edges whipped, ready to quilt and embellish
pillows with edges whipped, ready to quilt and embellish
After whipping the edges, the next step is really fun... to embellish and quilt each of the pillows! Here are a few I've done so far.

completed pillow - whipped edges, quilted, embellished - Robin Atkins - 2014 Travel Diary Quilt

completed pillow - whipped edges, quilted, embellished - Robin Atkins - 2014 Travel Diary Quilt

completed pillow - whipped edges, quilted, embellished - Robin Atkins - 2014 Travel Diary Quilt

completed pillow - whipped edges, quilted, embellished - Robin Atkins - 2014 Travel Diary Quilt
And here's an idea of what they will look like when they are sewn together. Of course, I will finish all 57 pillows before arranging them and stitching them together.

final step is to sew the pillows together to form a wall quilt
A few things I've learned so far:
  • When you pull the paper backing off the inkjet printable fabric, a considerable amount of the bonding glue sticks to the fabric. It doesn't wash off. Bummer. It's really hard to hand stitch through the printed fabric.... requires a needle puller.
  • Adding a color-matching border around the photos was a really good idea, because when I whip-stitch the edges there won't be little slices of white showing if the stitches are short of the edge of the photo.
  • I'm having a difficult time beading on the photos, especially doing anything improvisational or where the embellishment takes over the photo.
  • I'd like it to be more "funky"... more playful and fun, less like a photo album on the wall. It's a struggle, but I'm working on it.
  • If I ever do this again, I will make larger pillows with smaller photos, piecing around the photos with fabric scraps. That way, the photo can remain plain, the embellishments on the surrounding fabrics.
  • If I ever do this again, I will stuff the pillows with loose batting (such as you would to make stuffed dolls) rather than flat quilt batting. 
One more thing:

You might like to know that Sabine (my inspiration for this project) got her inspiration from Teesha Moore's set of 4 tutorial videos about making the pillows (in her unique way,) and using them as covers for her journals!  They are definitely worth a "look see!"

16 comments:

  1. Love it already and am honoured to be a tiny part of it! Sabine's is a feast for the eyes.

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    1. Thanks, April... I LOVE that you were part of it... many wonderful memories from those days together!

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  2. Robin--I LOVE the embellishing you've done on the printed photos. Especially the bugle beads to make rain. It amazes me what just a little addition can do to enhance a piece like this. Can't wait to see the finished work!

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    1. Thanks, Carol! Because it's a little quilt and the back does matter with quilts (even wall quilts), because the printed fabric is difficult to sew through,and because of time constraints, my bead embroidery is limited to the most simple techniques. But still it is fun. I appreciate that you think the beads do enhance the pillows!

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  3. If I could quilt I would love to do this project as it seems like such a simple idea with great results. At the moment I am concentrating on painting. However, my beads are waiting in the wings to be used when the occasion arises which I am sure will happen one day. Happy New Year, Robin. Look forward to seeing the finished project.

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    1. Hi Jacqui... I'm sure if you got the itch, you could quilt very well.... and, having gone through some painting phases, I know how exciting and compelling it can be. Have fun on your journey, and happy new year to you too.

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  4. Pillow Talk ... Isn't it amazing - similar technique, widely differing individual results! What lovely memories your wall hanging will hold. I love Roland with his Freimaak gingerbread-heart - carries me right back to that adventurous day. Your whip stitches look so perfect! I am impatiently waiting to see the finished piece.

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    1. "Pillow Talk"... what a fun name for a quilt like this, especially if it was about a romantic relationship... I love Roland too, with his heart and balloons... carries me right back too! My whip stitches are almost too perfect... I wish I could be less of a perfectionist about the whole thing. But precision is part of my nature, I guess... not to be denied.

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    2. Precision is not a fault ... just one of your trade marks, going very well with your artistic output.

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  5. Love it! Will our trip to the Hague be in it as well? Kinda funny idea a pic of me would be incorporated in a piece of art. Gonna follow your progress.

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    1. Hi Dees... I'm including a photo I took outside the museum of the sign advertising the exhibition we saw and the museum in general. I thought about one of the ones taken in the restaurant of you and Koen, but it really isn't a very flattering photo, so probably will not use it. The picture of the sign, however, brings back a flood of wonderful memories about the whole day, including meeting you!

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  6. Thank you for sharing your 'next time' tips (no matter how much we plan, there's always something we could've done differently, isn't there?!) but this is going to look smashing!

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    1. "Next time" tips are good for me, because they help me to remember my ideas when the next time rolls around. I'm glad they work for you too ;>}

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  7. What a great idea!

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  8. Hmmm wow its a great blog for the new commers in blog

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Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!