I combined a number of techniques to create this quilt, including hand-printed fabric, strip piecing and hand appliqué.
“Hato (Doves)” Quilt
66″ x 48″, machine pieced with hand appliqué, machine quilted
Getting started with printing fabric
I started this piece in 2014. I had an idea to do some block printing on fabric, and without much forethought, dove in and tried it. I cut simple blocks from a product called “E-Z-Cut” which is a synthetic rubber-like printmaking material. Like it’s name says, it is easy to cut with a simple lino cutter or utility knife. I printed some simple organic shapes on muslin, using acrylic paint that I watered down.
The fabrics I used are a combination of commercial cotton prints and batiks, mixed with the muslin that I hand-printed.
Lessons learned from narrow strip piecing
The light-colored central panel of this quilt is inspired by a pattern called “Beach Glass” by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, from their book “Quilts Made Modern.” This is where I incorporated my strip pieced fabric. Since the strips were so narrow, I decided to press all the seams open, which was very time-consuming but ended up giving me a nice flat surface. I used my walking foot for the piecing to get over all those lumps and bumps in the fabric. It worked great!
Starting with design inspiration, and making it my own
I liked the “Beach Glass” design, but thought long and hard about how to take it to the next level. That process took a few years, as I let this project sit as a UFO (Un-Finished Object) in my quilting stash. But five years later, I was ready with an idea to frame the central panel.
Finally finished, 5 years later!
It was fun to use the central panel as a jumping off point, and then build from there. I improvised the darker frame, and sketched the dove shapes by hand before cutting them out. The central panel and frame are machine pieced, the doves are hand-appliquéd, and the overall quilt is machine quilted in a freehand style. I wanted to emphasize the sense of light coming through an opening, and the uplifting feeling of doves taking flight. The quilt back is improv pieced using fabrics in subtle shades of cream. I used a simple face binding for a modern finish to the edges.
I was honored to receive a 2nd place award for this quilt at the 2019 International Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival, in the Pieced/Appliqué category. It just goes to show: sometimes it takes a few years to find the right way to finish a quilt!