Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Nautilus Quilt

It has been a while since I posted. That is because the piece I have been making has taken longer than usual.

I have wanted to do a piece using the nautilus shell as the design source for a long time and now so that is what I have been doing.

I used these two images which show special effects on the open shell.



One of them was sized, changed to black and white and a pattern printed. Then I cut twelve pieces of Habutai silk 13 x 13cm. I stretched each one onto a frame and traced the design with a soft pencil. I planned to paint six light colours and six dark colours so I used gold gutta for the light ones and black gutta for the dark ones. I always repeat the resist on the reverse to ensure there will be no bleeding of the paint. Once the resist was complete I began to silk paint the colours. I had to work quickly in order to get the silk paints to blend into each other. Although I used the same colours on all the shells, they were not painted identically.

By the time I reached number twelve, I have to admit that I was a bit fed up of repeating them. I even toyed with the idea of reducing the number of painted shells to either nine or eight but - true to form - as I had already cut twelve pieces of silk I couldn't waste any so twelve it was.

Once all the shells had been painted I ironed a soft Vilene stabiliser onto the back at the same time as setting the colours. Next I cut the border pieces using black silk. With hind site, I should have stabilised these too with iron on Vilene to reduce the stretch and distortion. They were all joined together, the seams ironed and then a quilt sandwich was made.

I free machined the coils and then couched Japanese gold thread over the top on the light shells and black metallic fingering over the coils on the black ones. I also stitched French and bullion knots around the coils. Each shell was then outlined along the seam line.

Finally I free machined coils all over the black borders using black metallic thread. There was some distortion and lessons learned but it is very colourful.


Here is a close up of the two shells and borders.


Another idea put to bed!! On with the next project.

I am continuing with my image per day and there is a wealth of photography in the garden now although I do use other sources for my images including digital composites. Here are a few of the garden images.


This bee just would not turn round for me and it isn't as sharp as it should be - didn't use the tripod!! tut tut.


This too was hand held - not too bad considering it wasn't there very long.


One of my favourite flowers. I only know it as the 'Monkey flower'. They are so prolific and such brilliant, vibrant colours. They keep flowering and flowering all summer.

My family are over in Florida at their villa for a few weeks but we are keeping in touch with Skype. It is amazing that we can see each other and talk for free for as long as we want. Apparently the weather there is wet and thundery at the moment which isn't going down too well with my grandson. He was showing me the water guns they have bought which hasn't gone down too well with me as I know what I am in for when we get there. We will be going out to join them shortly so I won't be blogging for a while.

I have been putting some hand sewing together to take with me. I am not taking too much as I want space to bring things home although the exchange rate isn't as good as it was last time we were there.

I am giving a talk to an embroidery group in a couple of days so I have been preparing for that too. I hope the weather improves as it is quite a drive up into the Yorkshire Dales so we are hoping to be able to do some photography on the way making a day of it.

That is all I have time for so cheers for now.


maggi said...

A gorgeous quilt Shirley. Have a good break in Florida.

vivien said...


I think one solitary one on a large scale - 4ft square??? would look fabulous

solange bonnet said...

Your nautilus quilt is wonderful. I love colours and design.

Genie said...

Wow Shirley, the quilt is beautiful, i love the colours.
Have a wonderful holiday