Some folks in Sit and Stitch wanted to do an art quilt challenge in 2016, so I'm joining in. The idea was to play with new or less-familiar techniques in a small (48" perimeter) format, on a monthly basis. For January, I thought I'd experiment with water soluble wax pastels.
I ordered some PFD (prepared for dyeing) muslin and started coloring. These look and color a lot like crayons. Which is more or less what they are. Crayons for grown-ups.
After coloring, I just took a paintbrush and some water and started painting the fabric. It's best to line your table with plastic before beginning. The colors blended and soaked into the fabric, creating a nice watercolor effect.
I heat-set the fabric with an iron (the heat will help the pastel to stick, but I wouldn't wash the fabric). Then I sketched a simple landscape on paper. I used a freezer paper pattern to iron to the back of fabric for a machine applique project. I turned the edges under and starched them.
I haven't done a lot of machine applique. I was never really pleased with the results because you can see a stitching line and it's difficult to keep that stitching line right on the edge of the applique piece and not wander off. This time I decided to try using the Singer 99, and it worked great. Using a hand-cranked machine gives you great control and accuracy with machine applique. This will definitely be my go-to machine for precision sewing tasks in the future.
After the top was finished, I sewed it to the backing with right sides together and then turned it right-side-out so it didn't need binding. I machine-quilted it on the Megasaurus. The interfacing that I used added another layer to the quilt, and I definitely felt the difference in thickness during the quilting process. The machine quilting is much more dense than usual, and it was difficult to get a smooth line when working on such a small scale and with such a thick quilt.
The quilting is done and the January art quilt is finished. I experimented with tying off and burying the thread tails from the machine quilting. It took some time but looks good--no thread build-ups where you begin or end a line of quilting. From a critical perspective, if I had it to do over again I would have used a different fabric for the sky--the colors are too intense and it looks too much like the landscape below it, so it flattens the quilt--a lighter, grayer, less-intensely-colored fabric would have given the quilt more depth. Overall, not a bad art quilt experiment, though.