Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Quilting for Alzheimer's

This was one of the projects I both started and finished over the weekend. Okay, okay, it's only 9"x11", but still... It is intended to be donated to the Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts charity. It's fun to work in a small format, which is why I've always loved designing business cards. Truly. If you need a business card, I'm your woman. I find it both challenging and a great deal of fun to both convey the information that you need and make something interesting, creative, fun, even beautiful to look at in a very small space. Which is sort of the same process that goes into making a miniature quilt.

"Sweet Dreams Are Made of This"

I tried some new techniques with this one, because I figured if I hated it, I'd either 1) give it to my mom or 2) give it to my son. Neither one notices all the little irritating details that I do. But it turned out that I loved it! So much so that I talked my mom into bidding on it once it goes up for auction. And she'd better win. Or, alternatively, if one of y'all out there wants to bid on it, that would be okay too. As long as I know it's going to a good home.

Back to new techniques: I drew a simple sunset, made up of "layers" that went from bright orange to dark purple, based on a photo of my esposo's, which he took of Escazu some years ago.

My inspiration

The black triangles at the bottom are the hills, dotted with lights that you see once the sun goes down. I basically took a sheet of paper, sketched out the simple forms, and then paper pieced the background. Then I sliced it up, inserting "shards" of fabric that are supposed to represent memories (my mother's even though she doesn't have Alzheimer's [yet]) -- flower garden, cats, diving in the ocean. Then I sewed everything back together. To quilt it, I tried another new technique, because I'd been having terrible problems with metallic thread breaking when I use it in the needle. So instead, I loaded it in the bobbin and used clear thread on top, then quilted it from underneath. I also tried free-motion quilting in earnest for the first time -- I'd tried it before, and hated the way it looked. But this time I was determined. The last rays of the sun are quilted the normal way, from the top with poly threads in various colors. Once it was quilted and bound (I had planned on doing a back-to-front binding, but cut right through the fabric, so I ended up putting a separate binding on it), I did some fabric painting with glitter paints to represent stars, and metallic paints to represent the lights in the city below. I have been desperately trying to find glow-in-the-dark paint here in CR, but cannot find it anywhere. I would like to have some surprise glowing stars and city lights for the person who eventually owns the quilt. If anyone has a suggestion or would be willing to send me some, you'd be in my heart eternally.

Oh, and? If you are interested in painting on fabric, I've found that you don't really need to buy special fabric paint. I use poster paint (found a set of 8 metallics at the store -- score!), kid's sparkle-glitter glue, regular tubes of oils, etc. As long as you don't intend to wash it and the paint is not washable, I think it will probably work. I've even tried washing some samples with the metallic paints and they don't wash out. Not that I would suggest washing an art quilt, though.

I already have an idea for another Alzheimer's quilt. But you'll have to stay tuned for that one.

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