As I was making Protective Instinct, a piece about sheltering our children from all the dangers in the world, I felt like the darkness was surrounding me and wanted to make a piece to combat those feelings. While I may want to protect my children from everything forever, I know that’s not possible and the best thing we can do is teach them to bring light to this dark world. To link the two pieces, I decided to use black and white with purple figures similar to those in the first piece. Instead of having the figures huddled in the corner, the figures in this piece would face the darkness.
I haven’t used paper piecing in years, but somehow, it felt right for this piece. I started with tracing paper the full size of the quilt (30″ x 30″) and created a design with rays from the bottom left to the top right. The fabrics would transition from white to black as they moved away from the figures. Each ray was assigned a letter A through E and each section in the ray got a number as well.
I then selected fabrics for each piece in the template and pinned a piece of paper with the corresponding letter and number so I could start sewing. I didn’t want to cut the template, so I traced sections of the template onto another piece of tracing paper and used that as the paper piecing foundation.
In this way, each section of the quilt top was sewn together right onto that tracing paper.
The sections were sewn together to complete the rays.
Once I had two of the rays together, I stepped back and realized that some of the gray fabrics weren’t quite right. So I replaced them with blacks that made the transition smoother.
That made it a little better, but not perfect. I decided to keep sewing the other rays to see how it would all come together.
After I had all the rays on the design wall, I decided there were a few fabrics in the wrong place. So I did some more ripping out and replacing.
Once I was finally happy with the transition from white to black, I stitched the rays together. All the sections still had the paper backing, so it was time to carefully remove the paper without removing or loosening any of the stitching.
Between all the scraps from the paper piecing and the paper from the back, it left a very large mess in my studio!
But it also left me with the quilt top ready to go! I originally planned to use photo transfer paper, but the sample words I did were not fully transferring. I didn’t want to risk an incomplete transfer, so I went to Plan B: printing the words onto Extravorganza, a sheer fabric that can go through an inkjet printer.
I thought that I would sew the words on first and then quilt the whole piece, but when I did a sample, I preferred the look of quilting first then adding the words. For the quilting, I decided to quilt half of the piece with white thread and the other half in black.
Once the whole piece was quilted, I decided which words would go where on the quilt. For the words in the darker areas of the quilt, I added a dark background so there wouldn’t be a bright white square around those words. I then pinned all the words in place and stitched around them in clear thread.
Next it was time to finish the edges of the quilt with a simple facing that wouldn’t distract from the piece.
The last element was to add the people. First, I created the figures the same way I made those for the Protective Instinct piece. Some of the people for this piece were made while my son was taking a nap at my parents’ house!
Before I could attach them, however, I needed a platform they could stand on. So I made a small foam floor from one of the white fabrics.
And finally, it was time to pin and stitch the family in place.
And another piece in the Parenthood Series was complete! It’s hard to get a real feel for what the piece looks like through photos on the computer screen, but you can see this piece (and the rest of the series) in person at the Harrison Public Library through June 1! I hope you can make it.