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Spring Returns to the Land: a landscape quilt block - part one

Spring Returns to the Land
Cyndi Lavin, 2016

I spent the last few months working more on small quilt blocks than on jewelry, so the first couple of tutorials for 2016 will be focused on those.  Sometimes I turn to art quilts, collage, or other mixed media when I don't know where to go next with jewelry making, but other times I do them just because I love them.  I used to share most of them on Mixed Media Artist, and you can find lots of tutorials over there, but not all of them will have beads!

1. Sketch the landscape as you please.  I decided to turn mine into straight lines before transferring, to keep more of a crazy quilt look about it.

2. Transfer your design to muslin using a lightbox and a waterproof black pen (I use Faber-Castell Pitt pens).  Double the muslin before hooping.  I decided to add a motif that I had previously stitched separately on muslin.  Back it with interfacing if needed, and fuse it into place on the design.

3. All of my design is going to have to work outwards from this tree since I added it first.  I blanket stitched it in place and added the black pen outline.  Rather than blending into the block, this makes it stand out.  Use white floss and no outline if you'd prefer a more blended look.

4. Do some color tests with acrylic paints before painting if you wish.  I'm glad I did, since I ended up switching the order of two colors.

5. Paint, letting the color blend slightly over the lines if you wish ( I did!).  If you want super crisp edges, paint alternating stripes and let them dry before painting the rest.

6. Using the pattern that I drew for transferring to the fabric, I planned out my stitching and embellishing a bit.  In the past, I have rarely done this in such detail, but I became a partial convert while taking Kathy Shaw's online crazy quilt lessons, especially when it came to making templates for the seams.

Several things shifted as I did the actual work, including the two lowest stripes, but this gave me an idea about where I thought I was going.  Not every seam was planned out at this time...this is the pattern after I finished the entire piece, adding to it as I went along.  So it was really a compromise between total planning and flying by the seat of my pants!

7. Here are some of the templates that I used for my seams.  I placed measured dots on tracing paper (use graph paper underneath when needed), and then pierced each hole with the lead of a mechanical pencil to make dots for stitching. Before meeting Kathy, I had never done this before, and I do really like the more regular results for the seams.  The interiors of the "patches" I still prefer to do by eye.  It's a good compromise.

8. I also used the tracing paper technique for positioning the large clusters of flowers on my tree.  Once the outer edges are stitched, you can remove the paper and fill in as densely as you choose.  I was aiming for a springtime feel, so my tree is sparse and young-looking.

9. Here is the tree finished, with grass growing beneath it.

Next Monday, part two, where I'll show you how I decorated and finished off the block!

This post contains affiliate links: Dick Blick

Copyright 2016 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


That's really sweet and lovely, Cyndi. What kind of paint did you use? I love the dreamy color palette.
Cyndi L said…
Thank you, Eileen! I used Golden's acrylics. Mostly the heavy-bodied in the tubes, which I water down to almost a glaze.
Thank you. You achieved a beautiful muted look.