Keep Your Face to the Sunshine

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Do you ever try something way outside of what your usual just for fun? I love doing just that! It gives my brain a bit of a break, but also stretches my creative muscles!

Sunflower and butterfly art mini quilt

This month's Island Batik ambassador challenge was to use three (or more) different weights of Aurifil thread to make an art quilt. And last month's Aurifil Artisan challenge was to use a new-to-me thread weight. This sunflower mini quilt is the result of combining both of these challenges!


Needle punch butterfly made with Aurifil 12wt thread as art quilt accent



If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you already saw the result of last month's new-to-me thread experiment! Here's a look behind the seams of the process.


Needle punch butterfly made with Aurifil 12wt thread as art quilt accent

When visiting a local quilt show with a friend, I bought a punch needle and weaver's cloth (I bought a punch needle called the Purr-Fect Punch Medium Needle Kit, but can't find that one online. My friend bought this one and says it works great!). Several vendors were demonstrating the art, and after asking lots of questions, I thought it would be a fun thing to try with some of my 12wt Aurifil stash!


Needle punch butterfly made with Aurifil 12wt thread as art quilt accent

At this same time, I won a copy of "The Colors of Nature" by Lindsay Hopkins of Pen + Paint. It's a coloring and learn how to draw flowers book. I knew it was the perfect inspiration for my project!


The Colors of Nature by Lindsay Hopkins

I used my son's toy lightbox he got for Christmas to trace three butterflies from the coloring book onto the weaver's cloth, then placed them into small embroidery hoops. (I may have a small collection hoard of these, but I never use them!)


Needle punch butterfly made with Aurifil 12wt thread as art quilt accent

Based on the advice of one vendor at the quilt show, I used two strands of Aurifil 12wt thread for all of the punch needle work (I just hand wound some of the thread onto an empty spool I had). I started with Aurifil 12wt #2692 Black for the outline of each butterfly and their bodies.


Needle punch butterfly made with Aurifil 12wt thread as art quilt accent

The side you work from is actually the "back," and it makes small loops on the "front." Although, many punch needle artists often use either side as the front.


Needle punch butterfly made with Aurifil 12wt thread as art quilt accent

This was a really great portable project that I could easily pick up and work on when I just had a couple minutes here or there in-between kid activities.


Needle punch butterfly made with Aurifil 12wt thread as art quilt accent

After I finished with black, I filled in each butterfly with a different color of 12wt thread (Still using two strands of each. I hand-wound an empty spool with several yards of the thread, then used one strand straight from the original spool and a second strand from the hand-wound spool.)


Needle punch butterfly made with Aurifil 12wt thread as art quilt accent

I used Aurifil 12wt in colors #2265 Lobster Red, #4093 Jade, and #4225 Eggplant. (These are a bit hard to find online. If your local quilt shop doesn't carry all the colors or weights of Aurifil, I highly recommend looking for a sampler pack like this one so you can have lots of colors on hand!)


Needle punch butterfly made with Aurifil 12wt thread as art quilt accent

Then I cut the extra weaver's cloth away, leaving about 1/2" around each butterfly.


Fabri-tac glue

I snipped into the cloth right up next to the butterfly, then used Fabric-Tac to glue the excess to the back.


Needle punch butterfly made with Aurifil 12wt thread as art quilt accent

This finished the butterfly so that no weaver's cloth shows from the front.


Needle punch butterfly made with Aurifil 12wt thread as art quilt accent

Then for July, the Island Batik ambassador challenge was an "Artsy Fartsy" quilt, so I wanted to make a home for my butterflies. I thought a field of wildflowers would be a great place for the butterflies to live!


Improv Island Batik fabric background

I started out by making an improv field and sky. I really loved the way it turned out, and couldn't wait to add some wildflowers!


Island Batik fabrics for a meadow of wildflowers

Then I turned to "The Colors of Nature" book again to begin making the flowers.

After flipping through all the flowers in the book, I decided to start with a sunflower. I chose several golden yellow batiks from my Island Batik stash and a dark brown from a stash builder roll (5" x WOF strip).

For the brown flower center, I sewed a circle on two brown pieces, cut a slit in just one layer, then turned it out. Then I cut out yellow petals based on the images in the book.


Fabric sunflowers

Since batik fabrics don't fray as much as regular cotton fabrics, and since this is an art quilt, I decided I would leave the raw edges for the petals and leaves.


Fabric sunflowers

Working from the back of the brown center, I sewed the petals on using a straight stich and Aurifil 50wt #5013 Asphalt. It's not really brown, but the closest I have, and you can't tell at all that it's not brown! I folded each petal into a "Z" shape as I stitched it on, using my Hera marker to hold it.



Fabric sunflowers

I sewed two rounds of petals on, just like the sunflowers in the book.


Fabric sunflowers

Once all the petals were attached, I used my free-motion foot to quilt pebbles (from the front side) onto the brown center to mimic the texture of the sunflower.

I loved the way it turned out! I flipped through the pages of the book to look for what flower to make next. Then reality hit. Making lots of different flowers was going to take an eternity. And we all know my quilty ADD does not allow for that. So, a field of sunflowers would be just as cool!

And this is when someone should shout, "Plot twist!"



Sunflower and butterfly art mini quilt

After finishing three sunflower heads, I laid them on my field, and realized the stems and leaves would be lost in the field. It wasn't going to have the effect I really wanted. So...I got out a piece of neutral yardage aptly named "Flower Field." The blank canvas was a much better background for the sunflowers. And I also decided three was plenty for my field!

I cut two pieces of the Flower Field fabric (one for the front and one for the back) and sandwiched a piece of Hobbs cotton batting in-between.


Hobbs cotton batting

Now for some experimenting with more Aurifil thread weights!


Aurifil thread in many weights used for machine quilting

I chose an array of colors and thread weights for quilting the background fabric:
50wt #2000 Light Sand
50wt #5008 Sugar Paper
40wt #2410 Pale Pink
40wt #2902 Laurel Green
28wt #1147 Light Leaf Green
12wt Wool #8332 
12wt #2840 Loden Green

I kept the 50wt Light Sand in the bobbin for all the colors and weights, and I used the same universal needle on throughout too! I was so excited it worked to change the top threads without having to change anything else!

I just used my walking foot to quilt wavy vertical lines. I quilted four or five lines of each color, overlapping occasionally to keep it interesting.

Once quilted, I sewed several strands of jute twin inside a strip of green to make the stems.


Jute twine and fabric strips for sunflower stems

I trimmed the excess fabric from the seam allowance, then laid them onto the quilt and straight stitched them down with Aurifil 40wt #2890 Very Dark Grass Green.

I switched back to the 50wt #5013 Asphalt to stitch down the sunflowers. I only sewed once around the centers to hold them on.


Sunflower and butterfly art mini quilt

Switching back to the 40wt #2890 Very Dark Grass Green thread, I sewed the leaves onto the quilt. I initially wanted to sew more veins onto the leaves, but I decided leaving them loose to have a 3-D effect was better than having veins.


Sunflower and butterfly art mini quilt

Here's the view from the back. The quilting lines are all the same color, and you can really see where I stitched on the sunflowers, stems, and leaves!


Sunflower and butterfly art mini quilt

I trimmed up the quilt and machine bound it with a red dot fabric from another stash builder roll. I used 50wt Aurifil #2255 Dark Orange Red for that!


Sunflower and butterfly art mini quilt

I hemmed and hawed over whether to add all three butterflies or not. In the end, I chose to add just the red one. But I might still add the other two! I just machine stitched it down with 50wt Black over the black portion of the body.


Sunflower and butterfly art mini quilt

Phew! This one is finally finished!

This quilt was made possible by five different weights of Aurifil thread in fifteen different colors! And the Island Batik fabrics really brought the flowers to life!

It was really fun to try new things and make some quilty art! It was a great brain break from regular piecing!


The Colors of Nature coloring book

And now I'm ready to tackle August's challenges!

Sunflower and butterfly art mini quilt


Artsy Fartsy July 2019 Island Batik Ambassador Challenge



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13 comments:

  1. Your work is amazing as always. I know I rarely comment, but I am always inspired when I see what you have made. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. LOVE!!!! Great quilting design!! and well all of it!

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  3. So much fun to see this! I love the sunflower and those butterflies are so much fun. Does your "threader" for punch needle allow you to keep feeding from the spool, or do you have to use lengths? It is different that what I used for punch needle (yes I love tools).

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  4. I have a needle punch kit, and I haven't figured out how to use it yet (not telling how long I've had it - haha). This is a really fun quilt, with so many fun things to try. Cool finish, Laura!

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  5. Love your 3-D projects lately, so much fun!

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  6. Love it, Laura! You're very creative. Those butterflies turned out beautiful and that was a great way to showcase them. One, anyway. Are the other 2 staying in the hoops? They look cute that way, too.

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  7. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Such creativity. I love this.

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  8. You really are quite Artsy! These are just gorgeous!

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  9. This is beautiful! Great way to expand your creativity by making the 3-d quilt.

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  10. I love it!!! And I love reading about your process. I have not tried punch needle and now I'm thinking I should at least watch some tutorials. Projects that travel well are always good!

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  11. Laura this was a great post. I loved all the pictures and directions. (I'm a little late reading email) Your little quilt is just so cute. I have to post as anonymous because I can't figure out what's wrong with my computer.
    Patty
    paweis at yahoo dot com

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Thank you for visiting and for your comments! I try to reply to comments via email, so if you're expecting a response and don't hear from me, check if you're a no-reply blogger. Happy sewing!

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