The cushion extravaganza of the last few months is over: all my cushion inserts now have a patched or appliquéd and quilted cover. Time for other things: wall hangings, lap and bed quilts. So to round off the last few months, in this post, two cushions, one made during the summer break in July and one finished today.
The first cushion is based on a variation of Irish Chain, known to me as web. I made it up from left-over Jelly Roll strips, in light greens and rich deep pinks.
I decided to free-motion quilt the cushion, as I am still practising free-motion quilting on my newer sewing machine, which sews differently to my old one. So I marked a pattern of leaves on the green strips and flowers on the red squares; a big flower in the centre and smaller flowers in the other squares. I pin basted the top and then got down to the quilting.
I free-motion quilted the leaf shapes with green YLI quilting thread and the flowers with blue YLI thread, as some of the pink fabrics have small blue accents. In the photo below you can see a detail of the quilting: the green shapes with an imitation hand stitch and the blue shapes with a standard stitch.
The overall quilting pattern kept the quilting evenly spaced over the surface. In the photo’s below you can see the front and the back of the quilt sandwich. The back is eventually inside the cushion of course, so the little tied-off threads don’t show….
Once I had finished the quilting I made a double-fabric back with an invisible Velcro fastening from a green spotted backing fabric. I found a fabric label in my stash that had little spots on it, just like the backing fabric, so I thought that was fun to use. I called the cushion ‘ Cobweb’.
Then I added this cheery cushion to the collection on the daybed in my studio: one cushion insert to go!
The second cushion is completely different is style, and is based on the style of art of the First Nations of the Pacific North West. When I was in Victoria in BC in 2011 I bought a couple of patterns produced by Lily Pad Designs from BC at the Satin Moon Quilt Shop (if you are in Victoria, well worth a visit!). One of the patterns was a hummingbird. I enlarged the pattern to use it for a large appliqué cushion. Since 2011 I have managed to collect a few batik fabrics with Pacific North West designs on them, including one with hummingbirds and one with wolves, ravens, bears etc. This last fabric was in a yummy purple and deep gold, so I took that as the colour scheme for the cushion. I used a deep purple batik as the background and a gold dotty dimple for the appliqué. The colours are difficult to capture with the camera: in reality the purple is a rich plum colour.
I did the appliqué by machine, with a small smooth zigzag in variegated YLI thread (Aspen Gold from Luana Rubin). Then I added a border of the Pacific North West batik.
I decided to echo-quilt the cushion top in a spiral that emerged from the hummingbird’s beak. I deliberately didn’t quilt the actual hummingbird (the gold parts) so that it would puff-out nicely from the top. I did the quilting in another YLI variegated thread: Plum form Luana Rubin, which is the most yummy combinations of plums, blues and purples. I quilted the lines 1/2 an inch apart.
Once I had done all the echo quilting of the purple field around the hummingbird, I quilted a few lines inside the purple hollows of the body shape, primarily for stability. Then I quilted the borders in gold variegated thread (Aspen Gold again) in parallel lines, to echo the curving, sinuous lines around the bird. I like the contrast: the same technique, but a different result.
Tying off all the threads from the contour quilting took ages, as the sinuous shapes all ended at different points as I reached the straight edges of the border. The result (and the number of tie-offs) is visible on the back of the quilt sandwich.
Then I made a pieced back for the cushion, using my remaining scraps of the gold and purple fabric and some gold and purple batiks.
I also used a bit of the Pacific North West hummingbird fabric (in a startling gold, orange and purple) to make the label for the cushion: I cut an oval with two birds in it, and appliquéd that to a plain oval that I could write on (the name of the cushion is Sah Sen, the native language name of the hummingbird), and then I appliquéd the label to the cushion back. Once again the back was made of a double layer of cloth to counter the weight of the quilted front (a process explained in the Blackford Beauty post) and completed with an invisible Velcro fastening.
The finished cushion has been added to the studio day bed, which now has a full complement of cushions and is very comfy for a nap or reading the latest issue of a quilting magazine!