Friday 24 March 2017

Dance of the Goddess

Almost a month ago I wrote about starting a show quilt which had lots of "first time" elements for me. I was so uncertain of every step along the way, I couldn't write about it. But finally it's finished and I can show you the end result:

aurora borealis quilt

The quilt is for this year's Hands Across the Border exhibition with the theme "Aurora". I spent hours looking at Aurora Borealis photos on Pinterest and some of them looked like huge sways of fabric or ribbon, reminiscent of the skirts and shawls of flamenco or gypsy dancers.

So I saw in my head this ephemeral image of a goddess who is dancing in the sky above the sleeping world in her glimmering garments. I liked the vision, but I had no idea initially how to recreate it in fabric, as quilting cotton seemed absolutely inadequate. I went searching for sheer fabrics and after some trial and error decided on using soft netting which comes in lots of colors and also found really beautiful deep navy cotton velvet for the background.

I also had to buy some rayon threads, as cotton didn't match the character of the synthetic netting, besides I needed some more sheen.

I also needed stars to shine through the aurora, so I had to glue some of them before arranging the netting appliqué, which was a nuisance as the diamanté didn't adhere well to the velvet surface and were getting in the way during quilting.

All in all it was tricky - the velvet, the netting, the rayon and the diamanté - each of them separately and all together tried my nerve to the point of breaking :))).

Here are a couple of process photos made with my phone for personal reference. Note that the netting had to be basted and pinned, as fusible interfacing was out of the question.

The whole thing was appliquéd to the assembled sandwich with free motion quilting, then I quilted the background with swirls, thinking of the swirls in the "Starry Night" by Van Gogh. I really like the texture of quilted velvet and the gentle sheen of the rayon thread which makes the quilting visible (which would not be the case with cotton thread).

With all this sheen and glitter using cotton for binding was out of the question, too. I wanted a velvet ribbon, but couldn't find the right shade, so decided on a sateen one. Sleeve, label, application form - and the quilt is ready to be submitted. The show will take place in May and I'm really looking forward to see what everybody else has been up to. So far I've seen Tomomi's absolutely mind-blowing quilt for the show, do check it out.

Linking up to
Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Finished or not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
Freemotion Mavericks at Lizzy Lenard Vintage Sewing


  1. She's incredible! I hope you do really well at the show, you deserve to!

  2. Hi Olena, WOW!!! What an amazing work of art. You got it just right - good thing since all of that frustration paid off. Congrats!

  3. You nailed it from concept through design. There is nothing like inspiration to push one to learn new techniques.

  4. Your quilt is amazing!! Absolutely gorgeous, great use of the unusual fabrics. I love your interpretation of the theme!

  5. WOW! A prize winner for sure!

  6. thanks for descibing your thoughts and processes,materials used.Thisis always interesting to me,after i look at the quilt, how each artist works! your results are gorgeous!!

  7. Thank you for allowing us to join in your artistry through your description of your process. The quilt is exquisite.

  8. This quilt is so stunning. I found myself staring at all the pics - I would love to see this in person! Good luck at the show, it's a wonderful quilt!!

  9. I am amazed and delighted with the beauty and artistry of this quilt!! It's fascinating to learn how you planned and executed this piece, Olena. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful talent with us!

  10. Oh my! This is beautiful!! Super job!

  11. Oh my! This is beautiful!! Super job!

  12. This is spectacular! I can see how difficult it must have been to work with these materials. Everything must have been moving constantly under your hands (and the needle). The result is worth it. Your goddess is gorgeous, with beautiful hands and hair (the two most difficult body part to make, in my opinion).
    I also love the winter scene you've quilted. Bravo!

  13. What a gorgeous quilt! The concept is amazing, and is has so much visual impact!

  14. Hello Olena,

    Truly amazing. I have always been fascinated by photos of the aurora borealis, and would love to see them one day. You have captured the colours and movement perfectly - and bravo for handling all those slippery materials!

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks - your quilt is project of the week!

    Love, Muv

  15. Oh. My. Word.!!! This piece floors me with amazement. All your exploration with techniques really paid off. So enchanting, and I now it must look 100x more so in real life.

  16. Very well done! It'a a beauty!

  17. So very beautiful! Makes my soul feel very serene, thanks for sharing!


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