Nellie"s Needles

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Layered Curves My Way

Whew! I'm back. Our younger son's family had been here for a week plus. It was fun getting Tessa (5) and Winston (7) machine sewing quilts. I'll post about their and the the twins projects done already this summer in the near future. Both son's families just left for Chicago ... and WHEW! here I am.

I was so pleased that I could "make waves" using Karen Eckmeier's Layered Curves technique, and I just had to see if I could do it again. Or was I just lucky the first two times (refer to two previous postings). The instructions in AQS's magazine, American Quilter (Summer 2003) are extensive, including tips about perspective, values, and the effects of a chosen format (vertical/horizontal).

"Sunrise on the Outer Banks" - 12"x12" - 2003

I started out with the intention of depicting the sun setting over Lake Michigan. However, after it was machine quilted it just didn't feel like a sunset. It "felt" more like a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. Consequently, the handful of really tiny shells that I had sifted out of the coral sand through my fingers on Waikiki Beach in 1982 were glued to the beach along with the "flotsom and jetsom". By the way, this was my first sun over water quilt. To view the others, go to my August/September 2005 postings.

The basic Layered Curves technique is to free-hand rotary cut fabric into strips with gentle curves. The top edge of each piece is turned under 1/4" and pressed. Begin the sequence at the top of the quilt and layer to the bottom.

Karen instructs to top-stitch all the strips together in a top to bottom sequence ... then turn the whole piece over and trim away any excess fabric ... then layer that stitched together top piece with the batting and backing ... and then quilt it. The one major thing I did differently from these instructions, was to layer the curved pieces on top of the batting and backing. The top stitching that holds one piece to the next also became a line of quilting. I had lifted the flap of each just sewn down/quilted piece to trim the excess away.

Also, I added paint and oil pastels as well as couched yarn (the foaming crest of the waves) to get the effects that I desired.

This beach scene series was begun as a "playing around project" with my friend, Alicia, from Milwaukee. She created this delightful piece:

"House on the Hill" - 15"x13" - 2003

In the afternoons we would take iced capacinos and sit on the bank of the small lake that I live next to in Tennessee. She depicted one memorable such afternoon from her visit the previous year. That day had felt so crystaline. We were looking at a house across fields of spring flowers up on top of the ridge. There was a clothesline full of sheets billowing in a gentle breeze. For a few moments our part of the world felt perfect. That laundry part has to remain in our memory though, because we just couldn't depict that line full of sheets in this small scale piece without ruining its serene mood. Also, the houses and trees directly across the lake were omitted as well ... even then, we had just looked beyond them as if they didn't exist in our idyllic little world.

Diane Cross Durand created the following two pieces here at the cottage last summer. I had written about her "discovering" and utilizing this technique to express her style of drawing in the weblog posting titled "Mentoring".

"Untitled" - 16"x21" - 2005

Another difference from Karen's instructions, is that the shapes Alicia and Diane's pieces were bonded and ironed onto the quilt top. The bottom edges of each shape was caught in the seam between the curved strips. Karen instucts the raw edges around the top three sides of any shape be turned and pressed and then top-stitched in place.

"Untitled" - 13"x14" - 2005

Now I'm excited about playing with Karen Eckmeir's sunprinting with tissue papers that's described (in detail) in the Quilting Arts Magazine summer issue (2006) when Alicia comes to visit me here at the cottage in August. Karen's work is featured on the cover of that issue. If she were teaching any workshop anywhere near me, I'd most certainly want to "play" with her.


Esteemarlu said...

Your work is just beautiful. I love Sunrise On The Outer Banks. How long does it take to finish a project?

Nellie Bass Durand said...

I never keep track of the time it takes to make any of my quilts. However, these small beach scene quilts didn't take long at all...the first two were each finished within a day. This "Outer Banks" one took longer because it didn't fullfil my preconceived notion of what it "should be".

Fiona said...

Thankyou for sharing the technique - I can't wait to try it out (when I have a spare moment).

Finn said...

Hi Nellie, sorry to be missing in action so much lately...darn eye problems. But here now to say, that your sunrise over the Outer Banks is just marvelous. I love the little tiny shells, and the story that comes with them. Its one of the most appealing aspects of your quilts for me...they stand alone artistically, but I love the very personal way they connect to YOU. You must have had a ball with the grandkids there, so many good memories on both sides of the generations..*VBS*
I look forward to seeing more technique exploration, Hugs, Finn

Penny said...

At last I have found info on working with curves.I am dying to get to my sewing room and try out the freestyle curves. I love your little quilt.Thanks so much for sharing.

Ferret said...

Ahh I get it, thanks