My first introduction to the concept of a fabric mosaic came from Cindy Walter’s Snippet Sensations. The idea of taking small bits of fabric and arranging them to form a picture sounded fun and creative. Noriko Endo’s Confetti Naturescapes and Lorraine Carthew’s Mosaic Appliqué presented additional ideas for creating fibre art from scraps of fabric and I decided that this was a technique I wanted to try. It was, after all, a type of appliqué!
I had been working on a series of grapevine wreath quilts, challenging myself to interpret the original Baltimore Album design using different techniques. My first version was made using crayons, with machine embroidery to outline the edges.
I tried broderie perse, and created the wreath by cutting out grapes and leaves that were printed on fabric, fusing them to the background, and finishing the edges with a machine blanket stitch.
I used a three-dimensional appliqué technique and sandwiched a layer of fusible adhesive between two layers of fabric to create grapes and leaves. These were tacked onto a quilted background.
And then, I tried making a grapevine wreath fabric mosaic.
Small pieces of fabric were arranged to create the grapes, the leaves, and even the background in this quilt. Light Steam-a-Seam 2 was fused to the wrong side of each fabric scrap and the paper backing was removed before cutting the fabric into little snippets. This particular brand of fusible web has a sticky finish, allowing the tiny bits to hold in place until they are permanently fused.
How fun! This fabric mosaic is held in place mostly by the fusing of the swatches to the background, but I did add a certain amount of machine quilting over the layers as well.
I wanted to share this technique as a workshop but I wasn’t sure if the grapevine wreath would be the ideal project. I decided that a butterfly would work well and give students lots of opportunity for creativity and expression.
On my version, I layered the fabric in sections by color, starting with dark blue swatches for the body …
then adding yellow-green at the bottom of the wings …
pink and violet …
light blue …
and swatches of blue-green for the top of the wings.
I added some navy-blue swirls to the wings …
then covered the butterfly with tulle. I stitched the tulle around the outer edges of the butterfly then trimmed the tulle close to the stitching.
The mosaic was completed by couching navy-blue perle cotton around the edges of the butterfly and antennae.
To watch this butterfly mosaic come to life before your eyes, check out the video! (http://youtu.be/wIs75u5JUUE) If you would like to make your own butterfly mosaic, the class will be available on Friday, November 18th, 2011 at Quilter’s Cupboard in Uxbridge ON; Friday, March 16th, 2012 at the AQS Show in Lancaster PA; Friday, June 1st, 2012 at Quilt Canada in Halifax NS; or by booking directly for your guild or quilt group.