AHIQ – Summer’s End Quilt

In my last post, a Sentimental Journey, I filled you in on what’s been happening in my life the past few months. I had sketched a pretty good (for me) version of a wilting sunflower, and had an idea how to translate it into fabric. Once home, I decided to do an improv-pieced background and place my sunflower image on top of it. It turns out that the background I came up with was, actually, composed of two different improv ‘blocks’.

For the upper part of the background, the ‘sky’ I used strip piecing similar to a couple of earlier projects. I hand cut strips in a more or less consistent width, then stitch them end to end, in a fairly random order, then cut them into lengths equal to the width of the piece I need, then stitch them together side by side. For this project I used a variety of commercial fabrics, including some textural prints, and ginghams and shirting plaids, all in shades of blue.


For the “ground”, I put together some Sujata-Shah-style stack-and-cut strips of wedge shapes, also using different textures and shirting plaids, this time in brown and gold colors. They represent a late-summer field of dried grass, or corn stalks.

Here is a progress photo of the background piecing.

I sandwiched and quilted the background first, using a few different variegated Sulky threads, in golds, yellows, browns and greens, using a walking foot.

Then, I made a cartoon of my sunflower sketch, enlarged to fit the size of the piece (20″ by 30″) and cut out all the pieces from several hand-dyed fabrics and batiks. These were fused in place, edge-stitched, and embellished with more stitching, some free-motion, some not, in stages building from the background of the image to the front. The last step was to enhance some of the shapes with shadowing. For this I used Derwent Inktense® pencils and a fine-tipped ‘water brush’ to control the amount of water and prevent it spreading beyond the edges where I wanted it to be.  I used facings rather than bindings on the edges, which has become my preferred mode for these little art quilts. It makes a nice, clean edge that hangs flat to the wall.

One disappointment with the finished piece is that although the stitches do not, the lines of the quilting showed through the applique a bit. This is especially noticeable in the photo, though it is not so much in person.  But I am generally pleased with the finished piece. Even though technically, summer has just begun, here is Summer’s End, all done and ready to share. 

Linking up with AHIQ over at Ann’s and Kaja’s.

Thank you for stopping by!




21 thoughts on “AHIQ – Summer’s End Quilt

  1. I love it! I created the background for a twin bed size quilt that I wanted to do something similar on. I lost my nerve and it sits in the UFO pile. Maybe when I finish the postage stamp quilt that can be my next UFO project.


    • Thank you, Patty. I was pleased…but it was a piece that sort of forced me to put it together in a certain way. Hard to explain, but it worked.


  2. The background segments are very evocative of the lat summertime feeling. The sunflower does not seem lessened by the circle Quilting. It seems to be the warm air stirring a bit. A lovely Improv.


  3. What an evocative piece. I love the background you put together and the way you went about adding the sunflower. I don’t think that seeing a bit of the quilting behind the sunflower detracts at all from the piece, in fact I rather like it. I also very much like the clean edges- facing is just right for this. Thanks for linking up with AHIQ.


  4. I like the combination of abstracted background and realistic sunflower very much. At first, looking just at the background, I feared it would take over. But it doesn’t. Now to figure out why it doesn’t. 🙂


  5. I’m always amazed at the difference in background once your quilts are finished. They start off simple but always end up sophisticated. The sun circles through the sunflower emphasize the burning rays wilting the flower to me. I thought it was intentional and still think it works well.
    Thanks for linking with AHIQ.


    • I have been trying to study how to design what I see, but sometimes it seems like the best ones just happen. And that is what I love about it! Thank you, Ann.


  6. Beautiful work! I loved your background piecing and then wowsers! you added the incredible sunflower and all that wonderful stitching texture! Such an inspiration to see this and read through your process!


  7. I love your improvised background which seemed a design in itself …. until I saw the sunflower! What an amazing result, combining abstract and realism; I love it!


Comments are closed.