Friday, February 25, 2011

After the Rain - Project Quilting Time to Vote

"After the Rain" 20.5" x 23.5" Project Quilting, Season 2, Challenge 4: Hardware Store, Feb. 2011

Quick recap of the challenge "Hardware Store":
1. Visit a hardware store. Look around, take some pictures, get a feel for the place.
2. Choose at least 3 different things to be your inspiration. You can use the actual items in your quilt, but are not required to do so. Be sure to tell us about the items and how they inspired you.

Coincidentally, when I saw the challenge for this week, we’d just returned from the hardware store where we’d bought a combination lock (to replace the one we don’t know the combination of). So I went back out.

We have less 4000 people in our village, but we do have a local hardware store, and its part of the Do It Best chain. It’s pretty small, only three aisle and a basement (which oddly enough is actually under the business next door and not under the actual store), so I didn’t need a lot of time to look around. I took a few photos and bought a few things then went home to analyze them.

All of my items had holes in them (I guess I was thinking it would be easier to attach them to a quilt if they already had a hole) and two of the items, the drain cover and the washer, were water related. Then I remembered that there are drain chains that can be used instead of downspouts.

I was ready to start. I knew I wanted to thread yarn and ribbons through the openings on the drain cover, so before I got any fabric out, I got out my yarn and ribbons to see what color combinations I had.

Since embellishments are the last things I put on a quilt, I don’t think about it much during the design stage, but since this was going to be the main focus, I thought I’d start here.

Once I decided which color family I wanted to work with, I started looking through the fabrics. Right away I found a batik fat quarters that had rows of circles which reminded me of drain chains, and two batiks that co-ordinated with it. No need to keep looking.

I figured out the fabric layout quickly, the width determined by that fact that the bottom piece of fabric was a fat quarter, so I just used it all. I pieced the fabrics then started quilting.

The quilting starts at the top with straight vertical lines on top of some of the “drain chains,” then the quilting moves through the thin yellow pieces still as straight lines but this time at angles following the blue printed patterns (more noticeable in the close up photos), and then the quilting moves into the main part of the quilt and the lines are free motion curves following some of the patterns on the fabric and they go all the way down to the bottom of the quilt, representing the way water would travel into the earth. I don’t do a lot of free motion quilting, but it seemed appropriate for this quilt.

I didn’t want a visual binding at the edges so I used a facing technique that I’d just learned, one which makes the corners less bulky.

"After the Rain" detail

For the embellishments, I “sewed” gray cording on the drain cover to soften it visually and also threaded several pieces of yarn and ribbon of varying lengths then sewed it on to the quilt. This is the only item that I bought at the hardware store that I used on the quilt.

The embellishment in the upper left corner was made by cutting a piece of cardboard the same size as my washer and wrapping yarn and ribbons around it. I didn’t want to use the actual washer as it was pretty heavy and I didn’t want the extra weight, but I think it’s obvious that it was inspired by the washer. Since the fabric had printed chains on it, I didn’t feel the need to attach the chains to this quilt.

One of my quilting friends admits that hardware stores are her second favorite types of stores, after fabric stores of course. I don’t think I’d go that far, but I do have many items purchased from hardware stores that I use with my quilts including the hanging rods and picture hanging wire.

While working on this challenge, I thought of the many hardware items I used for displays at art shows including: chains and curtain rods (my first display system), pegboard (my second display system), mesh tarps (my third and hopefully final display system), rope, bungee cords, plastic tubes filled with concrete (to use as weights), and removable blue tape (which I use for almost everything).

More about After the Rain

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Click on any of the photos to see them larger.

To see the other entries, go to the Hardware Store page.


Unknown said...

this is so beautiful, pam! i agree that the hardware store is a crafters best friend. my whole jewelry line was inspired from a visit to home depot :)

Lori Gravley said...

Oh, hardware. What cool uses you've put things too.