Methods and Materials

That title “Methods and Materials” takes me back to my university days when I was a science student. I spent a good part of my life in the laboratory in those days studying chemistry, physics, cell biology, bacteriology, biochemistry and so much more. Every experiment was followed by an exhaustive write-up which included ‘Methods and Materials’. I don’t plan to repeat that here, but it does make me reflect on how that hard work contributed to the skills I use in making my quilted portraits, namely the ability to observe details and the patience to stick with the process until I’m satisfied with the result.

In the past few weeks, I took a diversion from making dog portraits so I could focus on refining my methods and materials. The idea was to work with something I could finish fairly quickly so I could play around with my technique. After a little searching online, I found a copyright-free photo of a ceramic coffee mug that fit the bill. Its strong reflected light lent itself well to my method for conveying depth. I settled on a variety of chartreus-ey greens and yellows on a grey & black background and made this 10” x 12” mini quilt.

coffee mug, quilted, art quilt materials and methods

Coffee mug

So, just what part of my technique did I change and how did it go? Well, if you are an appliquér (is that a word?) you’ve probably noticed the wide variety of fusible products in the marketplace. It’s kind of mind boggling, isn’t it? Others have been down this road before me and written up their findings. Here’s a link courtesy of Susan Brittingham that summarizes the world of fusibles quite well. Elaine Quehl has also written a great blog article about using fusibles.

I’ve had success using Wunder Under but I wanted to try out a re-positionable product so I could put the individual pieces in place temporarily and moved them around if necessary. Steam-a-Seam Lite seems to be the leader of the pack so I picked some up at my local quilt store and went for it. As promised, it’s re-positionable which really helps when putting all the bits in place. Sadly, I found it added too much stiffness where the fabrics overlapped. I could hear and see the needle struggling to penetrate all those layers and the bobbin thread broke several times. All in all, I wasn’t swayed enough to switch to Steam-a-Seam Lite.

How about you? If you have a favourite fusible, what is it you love about it? The next fusible I’ll try is Pellon EZ Lite, another paper-backed repositionable fusible.

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