Since last fall I have been working on a quilted diary. Originally it wasn’t my own idea. I was approached by my friend Lolita Braza, who is an artist herself, and works at Book Graphic Centre of Šiauliai County Povilas Višinskis Public Library
Lolita asked me if there was any chance I could make a book, that would be not a traditional book made out of paper and filled with text, but instead made of fabric and filled with stitches. I agreed to challenge myself and today I would like to tell you about my journey on this unexplored (by me) path.
Quilting is not a traditional Lithuanian craft. From my own experience I know that Lithuanians still associate quilting with traditional quilts made of geometric blocks. In my Quilted Diary I want to show that it has much wider meaning and many techniques may be used to work with fabrics as well as involving nontraditional and non-woven materials. Also I was able to use many of my left over scraps and leftover blocks that never made into my quilts.
I started making pages and chose the size of A4 format. I decided that pages are going to be one-sided, this way I can show how the back looks like. I thought that nine patch block would be one of the easiest to make:
That was not enough for me, so I made one more nine patch page:
Nine patch, hand quilted Hand applique, hand quilted
I continued to make a page that would represent my personal style using irregular log cabin:
Contemporary machine piecing Free hand machine quilting. Quilt is faced, not bound.
Then suddenly my attention switched to slow stitching:
Machine piecing and dense hand stitching
I always wanted to try stitching through paper and for this page I used tea bags as a background:
Hand stitching through tea bags
I also used crayons to give color to few details on this page. My cat Albinas is represented on it as well. I used his portrait drawn by my granddaughter Vita, that I transferred on a tea bag and stitched:
And last but not least was a page made of plastic bags. This is my favorite so far:
Plastic bags and fabric machine and hand stitched
Now came the time to make book cover. I knew I wanted my monogram to be on front cover, also I had this big button given to me by my friend, because it had letter M on it. There are also three irregular log cabins representing colors of Lithuanian flag, and a doily made by my Estonian friend Helga. For back cover I used four traditional log cabin blocks that I had left from some other quilt. That’s what I got:
The book looked perfect:
Then I realized that I can’t add anymore new pages in case I get ideas of making more, and I already had few ideas! So I ripped apart the front cover and added an extension. I really liked that I was able to add one more classical block- Flying Geese:
Extended book cover, front and back
I decided not to bind pages together. If I use this book as a teaching material, I can take pages out and spread them on a table or give them to different people to study closer. This new cover wraps pages together and I can add more new ones with no problem:
Few close ups from the front cover:
I will keep making more pages and first I must make one representing fused applique.
As the project at the library goes, I will be teaching class next spring. I would like my future students to learn more about quilting and quiltmaking techniques, also discover the joy of sewing and meditative nature of slow stitching.