Next Steps in Using a Die Cutter to Make an Improvised Quilt
Select a background square to build on. This pickle juice green square will nicely contrast with the rich colors of the shapes I’ve cut with the die cutter.
Trim the square with a pinking blade in the rotary cutter or a pinking shears.
Place the square on a large piece of silicone release paper (the paper that comes with fusible web). There is glue on the pre-fused fabric and you don’t want to iron it onto the ironing board and curse the glue.
You could also use a Teflon sheet or parchment paper.
Add shapes to the background fabric playing with placement and spacing.
Try placing elements at an angle to give the piece energy and action.
Merge shapes to create variety and interest. Petals from the Daisy die flow into the negative (or cutaway) fabric cut to fit around the petals. The result is two little hills emerging on my background fabric.
Consider other fabrics waiting in the wings. What role do they play in your improvised design?
Slice bravely into your fabrics to create new shapes. Improvising means taking a chance. You may make a mess of things or you may discover something new.
Play with the fabric shapes arranging and rearranging them on the background.
Remember to repeat colors to carry the eye around the piece.
Ideas for Completing the Design
After completing my composition, it is lifted off the release paper and centered on the light blue background fabric. Framing the piece this way gives the design space to be enjoyed.
A few other ideas improve this stylized landscape. Adding a third element, like the sun, balances it out. Hand embroidery adds smaller details and machine quilting adds texture to the framing fabric.
I hope you enjoy working with pre-cut fabric shapes and find improvising with them fun and thrilling too. Be brave! You can do it!
This detail of my Natural Gardening project shows a favorite way of making artwork. It is a combination of using a pre-cut felt shape with free-form hand embroidery. There is a little bit of structure (using pre-cut shapes on a background fabric) and a whole lot of making-it-up-as-you-go-along stitchery. Improvisational stitchery means making all sorts of arty decisions. Yum!
I recently read an article on NPR which included this quote by Girija Kaimal, professor at Drexel University and researcher in art therapy: “Anything that engages your creative mind — the ability to make connections between unrelated things and imagine new ways to communicate — is good for you.”
Thank heavens art making is good for you cause that diet isn’t working for me.
What’s engaging my creative mind as I stitch? First, what basic stitch is needed to fasten the shape to the background felt? Then, what’s the best size and color of thread to use. And finally, what stitches will enhance the fabric shape and create a wonderful design?
Here’s the solution to my creative puzzle and the order of stitching the pink flower above to a dark green background: