She swims with the horses: a quilt

Swimming Solo - hand dyed, recycled cotton.Swimming Solo is my newest baby, which I’m quite fond of!
Here’s how it all happened…

The process began when I sorted out the recycled pieces of cloth that were given new life from my dyeing adventure last week. I had to pick a few of my favorite swatches for use in the quilt–an extremely difficult task. I had so many favorites, but that left some dandy picks for other projects.

After I had arranged all the sections of dyed fabric into an artful composition, I fused them onto a larger piece of thin, rigid cotton so they would keep their shape and stability. Several of the dyed sections were from sweatshirt material, which was very stretchy and unruly to work with (especially when I started zig-zag stitching the edges), but the Stitch Witchery did its job well, and I soon had a very ocean-like collage of blues and greens.

Swimming Solo detail (horse) Wavey, watery curves.

Next, I scanned a sketch of the horse into Photoshop. I enlarged it and printed out several copies, using the paper copies to create templates for the four types of fabric that I used.

On one of the copies, I drew highlights and shadows in a “paint-by-number” style so that the small areas could easily be cut out of fabric. I cut a whole horse silhouette out of my darker brown and placed light brown highlight shapes and black shadow shapes onto the silhouette. The mane and tail were made from a coppery, thin fabric using a similar method.

I zigzagged with coordinating thread around all of the fabric shapes composing the horse and used a coppery metallic thread around the mane and tail for extra emphasis.

Various pieces laid out, waiting to be sewn. The soft, fleece back side.The quilting was done freehand on my machine, which was more fun than I expected and created the effect of wavy underwater currents. The back of the quilt is a cream colored fleece that feels soo nice when you’re curled up underneath it, and the binding is also hand dyed cotton, which is mitered at the corners. The binding is hand-sewn to the back, so that no stitches will show on the front (which took longer than I expected, but isn’t it always that way?).

With it’s smallish size and soft back side, this quilt would make a wonderful baby blanket. It’s very warm and cozy and sturdy, ready to comfort someone all the way through childhood.

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