How to finish...

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janok wrote
on 1 May 2009 6:19 PM

This is a little art quilt I created by first watercolor painting the image of the boats, scanning the painting, and then printing it on silk fabric.  I got the idea from a Quilting Arts magazine article.

I put the two hand dye fabrics on as borders, but I don't really like how it looks....too boxy or something.  I'm wondering how to finish this in an unconventional way (no traditional binding)...

I have two more of these images printed so I'm also wondering about ways to frame the image for the next two.  Thanks!  This is fun.

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pandabolt wrote
on 1 May 2009 6:44 PM

You know, you might be right about the border choices.

For starters, just switch their positions.

Or try one or the other of the two colors on all four sides.

Or see what happens if you just simply miter the corners.

I think what you may not like is the value of these pieces.  They are pretty heavy for the delicacy of you painting.  So if you don't mind having the piece a little larger, how about decreasing the size of these and adding a lighter, wider border beyond.

Perhaps try the aqua as a narrow accent, and the red as a frame.

I'd also consider other colors.  These don't seem to make your subject matter too happy.

On small piceces I like to just do an envelope style finish.  I have also used very narrow binding effectively.  For small pieces I cut my binding 1 1/4" and single fold.  Use a scant 1/4" seam, fold like you would for any quilt, and Stitch In the Ditch from the front.  I also do each side separately instead of mitered corners like we are used to doing on bed quilts.

I'd love to see what you finally choose to do.  Will you share it with us?

Peggy Holt

Missoula, Montana


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Carole31 wrote
on 1 May 2009 8:21 PM

First, IMHO, they are too wide. Take them off and audition them w/o borders and use that fabulous fabric, in the same layout for a very narrow binding.

Granted, your piece will not be the size you want.

Another alternative could be to make it narrower on the right, because the blue/turquoise is similar in color to the 'painting', why not extend some pf those lines

into the 'border. even paaint above the blue water line, add quilting lines.....

these are just my thoiughts. I like this little piece a lot!


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gaydenesse wrote
on 1 May 2009 9:23 PM

I really like your painting.  But, I agree that the red is too heavy.  It takes away from the watery feel.  I like the aqua on the other side, and I think it would look good all around.  The aqua would make a nice background for some beading in those watery colors.  Some ideas for finishing besides a narrow binding would be serging or zigzaging on the edge with some variagated thread in the same watery colors.  Or, make some beautiful fabric paper, then stitch your quilt right to the fabric paper.  It would increase the size of your quilt, and you could use blue, green and pink  tissue, torn in strips like waves to make the fabric paper.  I think it's Beryl Taylor's technique.  You could free motion waves onto the fabric paper, or maybe add a little touch of metallic paint stick here and there.  You could guess that I like to look around my stash of things for other mediums to use with my art quilting. 

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Posts 78
on 2 May 2009 8:42 AM

Congrats on creating a great watercolor painting and transferring it to fabric. It's lovely! I agree that the aqua fabric is great with it and the other is too heavy.

Art. Just Do It.


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Jody Johnson wrote
on 2 May 2009 9:09 AM

I love the water colour transfer. The colours and the water create a very calming effect.

I have to agree that the reddish-brown border is really too strong for the quilt and the strong visual weight at the top of the photo instead of the bottom where it would be more grounding is quite unsettling. This is fine if you want to create an unsettled feel, but I would guess this is not what you are looking for. I think even the greenish blue fabric mught be too strong. When I look at it from a distance without my glasses (I am really blind and can only see colour and rought shapes without them), I see the borders first and then the photo. I think you really want to see the photo first.

Maybe try some lighter fabrics and/or a narrower border if you are not worried about the final size of the quilt.

I look forward to seeing what you come up with and your other two paintings.


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janok wrote
on 3 May 2009 7:25 AM

Thanks to all for these good ideas.  I agree about the rust border being way too much. Unfortunately, the silk fabric is too delicate for me to take off the rust border entirely, but I can reduce it and put more emphasis on the blue, as was suggested.  I'm intrigued by the fabric paper idea.  Is there a QA article that discusses the process of making fabric paper?  I looked at Beryl Taylor's site and love the look of it...

If this one doesn't turn out so well, you have given me some good ideas for the other two prints.  I'm thinking I'll do the quilting in the water a lighter shade of blue next time too..

I was a river guide in the Grand Canyon for many years, and I rowed dory boats, like these.  So, this little image has some signficance for me.

- Jan

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on 3 May 2009 11:52 AM

Wonderful watercolor transfer, very nice indeed!

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janok wrote
on 3 May 2009 4:42 PM

Here is what I did today...I plan to do more beading and maybe create a fabric paper background for it. 

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Jody Johnson wrote
on 3 May 2009 5:26 PM

I like it. Keeping the larger aqua border and reducing the reddish brown really makes it feel less boxed in and the photo now pops.

Can't wait to see the next two.


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gaydenesse wrote
on 3 May 2009 9:46 PM

Wow, that made a big difference.  It looks great.  There is a tutorial on Beryl Taylor's fabric paper on Quilting Arts TV.  It's in the project series 100.  It's 102-2.

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MellyT wrote
on 10 May 2009 4:31 PM

Nice job! This binding does keep to scale and draws the dark red back to scale. 

Author: Inspired to Quilt
Melanie Testa<--my art
Go play in your studio!!!

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Posts 469
on 10 May 2009 5:06 PM


Here is what I did today...I plan to do more beading and maybe create a fabric paper background for it. 

Oh, now this is lovely! I think you achieved your desire to show an unconventional side to the piece while maintaining a nice balance.

- Judi

My Blog   My Art


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Posts 35
geniebird wrote
on 14 May 2009 10:25 AM

I don't give critiques, but I do know what I like.  And I really like the direction this piece has taken -- especially like the way you continued the water out into the green area with the quilting.  That is a nice touch.

IMHO borders and bindings are things we have to decide on a case by case basis.  I tend to work rather intuitively and let each piece I am working on tell me what it wants.  More and more my work does not want to be restrained by a traditional binding at all.  I've been just leaving raw edges more lately, or running one line of stitching around the edge, or pinking it, or beading or doing an overcast stitch with thread (I love mettalics) or yarn, string, etc.

I'm also not doing borders much.  No real reason that I am aware of --  the pieces I've been working on just haven't seemed to want them. 

I do think if we will listen to our work, it will tell us what to do.  Sometimes that means taking time to live with the piece for awhile instead of trying to work on a deadline, but if we listen it will tell us.

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lheureux_art wrote
on 14 May 2009 2:04 PM

Absolutely beautiful!  The original red border detracted from the wonderful painting, but this works really well.  It gives the painting a frame, without overpowering it.  I agree that the quilting into the border is a great touch.

Michele Ann L'Heureux
Fiber Artist
Lancaster, California

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