Sunday, September 27, 2015

International Fairy Tale Challenge

My finished project for the International Fairy Tales Challenge, is titled "Social Climbing." 30 artists from the USA, France and Japan participated. One artists from each country were assigned a Fairy Tale, so there would be 3 versions of each tale. The quilts are all going to International Quilt Show in Tokyo in November, and then Quilt Week Yokohama. After being in Japan for a while, they will go to France for a year, then return to the US, for shows here. Our last challenge, "International Painters" has returned to the US and will be in all AQS shows in 2016.
I was rather uninspired for a long time. The tale is from Iceland "A Cottager and His Cat," the cottager's father dies and leaves him a lot of ill gotten money, a spirit tells him to throw all the money into the river, and take what he finds there. He throws it a way and finds 6 gold shillings. He buys a cat, rather unique to Iceland I gather. He takes the cat to the castle and it kills all the rats. The king is so happy, he lets the cottager marry his daughter. That is why it is titled "Social Climbing." See no trolls, fairies, dragons or anything special, just a man and his cat. I finally researched traditional Iceland costumes on Google. The women's outfits are elaborately embroidered, but the men's rather plain.
So I sketched out an Iceland winter scene, with the cottager and his cat going to the castle. I began with a printed sky fabric and a plain white on white hill of snow. I have lots of birch tree fabric from my time spent making landscapes. This style is right up my alley.
Traditional men's costumes are dark blue, black or green vests over a white shirts, with beautiful embroidery, but I kept my embroidery simple. I began by making the vest out of a heavy blue fabric that I had, maybe it is linen? I textured the sleeves with folds of muslin, and made a simple stand up collar.
The snow scene started to take shape, as I added the road in shades of gray, darker at the bottom. The birch trees on either side have snowy branched trees in the background, and snow filled pine trees scattered on the hill side. I had just bought the pine trees fabric from this years Christmas line, it has beautiful woodland animals on it, deer, fox, rabbits, birds and other. It was a shame to just cut it up for the pine trees.
I found the cat pattern that I wanted in a stained glass book. It is walking forward, but looking up at the castle.
The castle is finished in a brown stone blocks print. It looks like it is leaning, I fixed that before I quilted it.
All the elements are in place and ready for quilting. I used a flat cotton batting, I use so much thread painting/quilting that I did not need the puff of a polyester batting. I do a raw edge applique to quilt it all together, the pieces are in place with Avery glue stick. I tried the Elmers school glue stick that everyone had this "back to school" season and did not like it. For one it was purple and the color showed through on light colored fabrics, and it was too dry and stiff.
I use matching rayon thread for the outlining of each piece, going back and forth, so each edge has three layers of thread. One line of thread can miss the edge too often or get to far inside the edge, this gives a good solid line and keeps the eyelash fringe to a minimum. The hat was made from a knitted sweater sleeve from Goodwill. I used the ribbing first and then tucked in a long triangle for the hat. Traditionally they are long tailed and tipped with a gold or silver tube and a tassel. I used the silver tip from a bolo tie. I still have to make the tassel for the end of the hat.
It was an enjoyable process, once I had the idea in my head, and knew what I wanted to do. Having a deadline helped, I thought I had to have it for the beginning of October, but when I looked up the info it said Oct, 1. All this was done starting last Saturday through this Saturday. Then I read the info again, it said finish by the first and deliver by the 10th, whew, but I am glad I got it done. One of the other participants, will deliver it to the US coordinator in Eugene, Oregon this week, so I don't have to worry about that. I was going to go up today, but I still need to put on the tassel. I unraveled a bunch of yarn from the sweater but it is kinked from the knitting. I think I'll get it wet and see if it will relax a bit. Thank you for following along as I make haste for another deadline. I am very happy with the way it turned out and hope you like it too.

I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column to see what other talented textile artists are doing this week.


  1. It turned out very nice. I especially like the three dimensional hat and the puffy clouds.

  2. the hat!! the cat!! Perfectly tells the story which I had never heard of. What troll told him to throw away money?lol He was rewarded with the riches of love...ahh

  3. That is just fantastic...the sleeves are so amazing..well..everything is.