The Beginning of "At Sunrise"

Does your sewing area ever look like this?  Come on, be honest with yourself!

Ya, mine too.  Sometimes I am going so fast and creating a ton of things at once that I skip the cleaning part of quilt making all together.  Actually, I'm not really sure cleaning is really a step anyway.

Here is my cleaning remedy...  confetti quilting.

Grab a handy piece of fabric that you might not find yourself using in your quilting any time soon.  This is also a good way to use up fabrics that were doomed for the trash.

Cut a piece of left over batting about the same size as the backing fabric and place it on top.

Now start to layer up those small bits, pieces, threads, batting and lace that are taking over your sewing station (anything that you can sew through can be put down at this stage)

When I do get the urge to clean I take the time to separate my scraps... my large ones get folded and put in a drawer, my medium pieces are put in jars by color, and the tiniest bits get tucked into this fishing tackle container until it starts to overflow like this.

Using your rotary cutter or scissors cut the fabrics by color into toothpick sized bits.  This makes up the confetti that you will 'paint' with for your confetti quilt.

Here I am applying my confetti bits.  It's very scientific (har, har!).. I take a large handful of red... and toss, toss, scatter.  Repeat with the next color.  Really it's very freeing!

Keep adding and layering.  Remember to mix colors and textures.  Prints and solids can be used and the idea is to cover up every spot of batting although I do leave about an inch and 1/2 edge all the way around the piece.

I also found that a little hand mixing or spreading once the confetti was down helps 'smudge' the colors together.  Don't be shy to get your hands in there.

Once you have the colors you want, lay a large piece of tulle over the top and pin it down -- I use large quilting safety pins, but don't pin them shut so they are easier to remove as I'm quilting.  Next, I sewed the larger piece all the way around the outside (to secure the tulle) and then into smaller quadrants to hold the confetti approximately in place. 

The smaller quadrants also allowed me to adjust confetti pieces later as needed. 

And now you work to secure all the confetti pieces with free motion quilting.  I did wavy and swirly lines back and forth to create the sky texture and clouds from the sunrise picture I was working from.  I used pink, red, orange, yellow, blue, and purple threads to add to the overall feel.

Now that I had the background to my liking it was time for me to add the trees!  I cut out strips of black fabric... in this case an old collared work shirt my husband was ready to toss... and started to arrange them.

In this step, I also added a second layer of batting and backing... as an experiment mostly.  The background was getting a bit flat from all the quilting and I wanted the trees to take on more dimension.  It has made the quilting a bit more tricky, but I like the resulting texture.  Definitely something I can see playing around with again.

I pinned things in place once I had them to my liking.

This is the view from my window which shows the same trees I am trying to create in this piece, just from a slightly different angle.  Fun to think I am capturing them in this way!  And really fun to study how branches connect and overlap.

Yup, you guessed it.  More free motion to secure the trees.  I also found that using my walking foot worked well on the longer pieces. 

I also tried to run both black and dark brown thread through my needle.  And it did work, but I think it would work better with thread colors from the same brand.  The brown kept breaking (driving me nuts) and I decided to just use the black to keep me from pulling all my hair out. 

My last note here is that I also ended up changing my needle from a 14 to a 16... I think the extra thickness from the double batting was better dealt with by a needle meant for tougher sewing.  How did I know to change needles?  Well... I snapped the 14 after just a few inches... so that clued me in to try something else.

Here is a look at all the main trees quilted into place in a ray of sunshine pouring onto my desk.  And what glorious sunshine we had this weekend!

At this point I cut off the extra edge and the tulle that had been hanging off the edge (and getting caught in my sewing machine).  Funny how such a small thing as cutting closer to the final edge made this piece mature very fast!

And what would trees be without the hundreds of branches and limbs going this way and that?  I went back to free motion quilting and without marking set out create branches. 

I have really enjoyed this part!!  After a few more hours I managed to add branches to every tree.  And this also means that I completed my One Thing, One Week Challenge goal that I set for myself over at Amy's Creative Side.

Late last night I was trying to determine if it needed any other branches.  Of course the longer you stare at something the more you stop seeing it.  So, I decided it was a good point to walk away.  I am looking forward to getting back to this later in the day and deciding if it's in need of anything or done. 

Last step will be a pressing and binding.  And goodness me... I've no clue what color to bind with.  Hoping that idea comes to me soon -- or if you have any thoughts.. do share!!

I appologize for the extra long post, but it feels really nice to document this piece... I have a feeling it's going straight to the top of my favorites list. 

What did you work on this weekend?  And I will share the second half of our maple sugaring adventures tomorrow!


zsazsazsu said...

:-) courageous of you to show your working space this way. Mine is a mess toooo ! But it is really worth the beautiful result you have created ! Love it !!!!!!!!

Jientje said...

I LOVE love love how it came out. Beautiful Christie!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! It was neat watching it come together through your pictures.

Teje Karjalainen said...

Hi Christie! Oh of course it looks often like that, and it's so boring to spend time for organizing the place when we could create something in that time!
Your new confetti art quilt looks fantastic!
x Teje

monika@mysweetprairie.ca said...


I squealed louder and louder with excitement at each photo as I scrolled through. WOW! You are so awesome! I love seeing what you make. : )))) Super cool Christie!

Hey - for the little colors scraps, sorting them in clear ziplocs works good. It's like bags of paint. And you can keep stuffing more in.

SUPER AWESOME you are you are! : )

tusen said...

So interesting to see the process, thank you for sharing.

Seaweed and Raine said...

Wow! You have an incredible tallent for changing up little scraps into works of art! :) I think I like this one even better than your last scrappy-confetti creation. I was thinking about the binding... White would be too stark, and black may be as well (depending where you are going to hang it), but a rich deep sugared brown (or something simmilar) might work a treat. Have fun figuring it out. :)

Teresa said...

I absolutely love your quilt art. It also reminds me of a watercolour print that I have. As for the binding, can you use a layer of tulle? so it doesn't take away from the confetti. It would be "like" borderless.

Melinda said...

Really cool process and I love the way it looks so far!

pamela said...

I loved your quilt !!! Thank you for showing how you did it. It looks like so much fun and freedom!!!

Megan said...

My working space always looks like that! I have no organisation skills whatsoever!!

I LOVE this quilt. The colours are amazing and you've captured the picture so well! I think it needs binding in a dark colour, to emphasise those stunning trees, like a deep purple or black.

It turned out great as a bigger one too!!

Cassie J said...

Wow I never knew how they did that! Do you leave the tulle on there? Maybe I can add this to my list of one days! Ok, pinteresting right now.

Unknown said...

Thanks for this well documented tutorial. I appreciate your efforts. By now you surely have made many of these quilts.

Adnilnna1 said...

I used this as inspiration for my first one. Since I do machine embroidery I used sticky tearaway stabiliser with foundation layer. Most fabric stuck to the stabiliser. It was easier to handle and the paper was not difficult to sew with..I wont be washing it afterall. Thanks

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