The Story Behind The Quilt ~ Chapter 10: Soaring Dragonflies

First I have to tell you that most of these photos were not taken in good light when I started this project. The finished quilt is the true colors so you will have to bear with me!

I continued on my way of exploring something new  and heard about a water soluble stabilizer. I really wanted to try this out. After doing some research online and talking to different people that have used them, I purchased a roll at a quilt show. Not just a few sheets but a roll! LOL, Why do anything in half measures, right?

For a while, I have really wanted to do a dragonfly quilt. After drawing out my idea and then pasting it up on my work board I searched thru my fabric stash to find a grey blue background with movement. I opted for a lighter border around the blue. I pulled out my freezer paper and drafted out the large background and boarder then used the freezer paper as a template for each piece. It is one solid piece in the center and one solid piece for the border.

Dragonfly Background

Dragonfly Background

I then sent my husband to take some pictures of cattails which I enlarged on my computer to the size I wanted. The green leaves were easy enough to make by just taking green fabric and ironing heat & bond to the back side of the fabric and then cut out each leaf and then place them on the background piece of the quilt and iron them into place.

#217-Dragonfly 07

Cat tails!

Cattails done!

Now the top of the cattails were different. I got my water soluble stabilizer out and just drew out on the stabilizer the ruff cattail top. Then with a lot of thread, my feed dogs down on my sewing machine, with my darning foot,  I proceded to have fun going back and fourth with a variegated thread. Once I got the cattail top to look like I wanted, I cut it out and placed it all in warm water to dissolve the stabilizer. Took the cattail top and used more thread to attach it to the quilt top.Yay, cattails done.

Lilly Pad

Lilly Pad

The other background pieces on the quilt I did the same way with heat & bond. I even put all the dragonfly bodies on with heat & bond. Then I went and did a satin stitch around all the raw edges. Every leaf and every dragonfly body.

#217-Dragonfly 04a

What was left were the dragonfly wings. I wanted the wings to look realistic. Going to my local library and searching the shelves I came across this book that had a close up of the wings. I scanned the wings into my computer and then enlarged them onto paper. I took my wash away stabilizer and drew all the little connections of the wings with black ink. Then I placed a shimmering grey piece of tulle on top of that. Then I placed them in a small hoop to hold it all in place. Why tulle? Because if you look at the dragonfly wings and you just thread the lines once you wash your stabilizer out nothing is connected so it won’t stay together. Dropping my feed dogs and using my darning foot with black thread, I carefully went around each little area a couple of times so that it would stand out. I then very carefully cut around the outside of the wing as close as I could. In a flat pan with warm water I soaked the wings till the stabilizer disintegrated. Then carefully laid them flat on a towel to dry overnight. The next day I attached the wings by carefully going around the outer edge with more black thread and the main part of the wings to hold them in place. I did this with all the dragonfly wings on the quilt. Even the little ones.

Wings of Dragonfly!

Wings of Dragonfly

Adding the wings to the top of the quilt!

Adding the wings to the top of the quilt!

Once the quilt top was pieced the way I wanted, I layered my quilt with batting and backing and quilted away.

Before being quilted

Before being quilted

I decided on a pebble design for the outer edges like stones around a pond. In the water part there is a lot of quilting swirls to go with the water theme. Another quilt done trying something new!

Finished Quilt

Finished Quilt



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7 responses to “The Story Behind The Quilt ~ Chapter 10: Soaring Dragonflies

  1. Pat

    You are so amazing!!! Who knew that the wings would be so much work, but
    so worth it. Beautiful quilt!

  2. Gorgeous art quilt! Thanks for sharing your process – amazing work!

  3. Kathy kinsella

    This is SO beautiful … I love the way you changed the size of the pebbling in the border.

  4. Amazing! I can’t believe you completely sewed those wings. That is more patience than I have!

  5. Patricia, once again your work amazes me! I love the details, especially in the wings and appreciate so much that you shared the process with us.. : )

  6. absolutely lovely work of art

  7. I love your dragonfly. Your wings are so realistic! Great job.

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