What Lies Beneath is another new quilt for this year. This was made for the Central Oregon SAQA challenge, “Beneath the Surface”. When I was trying to figure out what to do for the challenge I had other ideas, ones that were really quite different from this. However, when I have a challenge quilt to do I try to make something that could be used for other purposes besides the original exhibit. In this case, I wanted to do something modern and I was inspired by mid century modern design.
I came up with this idea as an abstract way to illustrate how people, animals and nearly everything else in the universe are more complicated that they first appear. The original idea had a midline going across the width of the quilt, but at some point I decided it was better without it.
First I did a small sketch of some shapes, then had to decide the order of putting it all together. I also had to consider shrinkage since the size was supposed to be 18x40 (either vertical or horizontal). I had to make the background extra big and then guess that shrinkage would occur mostly in the width rather than the height due to the vertical background quilting.
I made a full size drawing and used hand applique and freezer paper templates to add the shapes. Then I layered and machine quilted the background. I started and stopped each stitching line at the shapes and since I like to bury the thread tails that took a really long time! Lastly, I added the hand quilting and hand embroidery. It was a lot of fun to to doodle on the shapes. I used a Pitt Artist pen to draw the doodles and then stitched over the lines with embroidery floss with mostly back stitch and satin stitch.
Finally, I added my hand stitched signature to the front of the quilt. I’ve been doing that on most quilts in recent years and I like the look. It feels like signing a painting.
I really love how this quilt came out and it was enjoyable to do (except for all the ends to bury!). The background fabric is Essex linen/cotton blend which is one of my favorite fabrics for hand stitching. I also love the backing print which is very busy, but so very cute. Those tiny houses are about 1/4”! It worked out great because I didn’t worry to much about doing the hand embroidery. Normally I would try to keep my embroidery stitches in the batting layer rather than going through to the back, but with the machine quilting lines it would have been very frustrating to do. With that backing being so busy all the errant stitches on the back don’t really show so I don’t mind them.