Monday, October 13, 2014

Accidental Art

I had intended to make a baby quilt, but somewhere along the way I realised that I had true art beneath my finger tips. 


After my flurry of quilting for babies this summer, I was rather burnt out. It was difficult for me to get excited about the next few babies that were on the way. I was also low on inspiration. Fortunately, the next mother-to-be provided the inspiration herself, by naming her "bump" Hawkeye- as in the comic book hero/Avenger. I knew I had to do something Hawkeye related, the question was what?

Our culprit, Clint Barton aka Hawkeye on the backing material.
First I went looking for fabric with Hawkeye on him. I scoured the Internet, looking for Hawkeye fabric in vain (unless I wanted to support the University of Iowa Hawkeyes) until I stumbled upon the idea of looking for Avengers fabrics. It was still a struggle, but I eventually found a line that had Hawkeye on it, and I scooped it up immediately. It would do for backing material, but what for the front?

David Aja's beautiful Hawkeye covers.
In researching Hawkeye, I came across the beautiful new comic covers by David Aja for the most recent Hawkeye comics by Matt Fraction. They were gorgeous, elegantly simple and stunning- which had the perfect potential to be translated into fabric. Hawkeye was confirmed to be a Hawkguy and so I wanted to use the blue/purple/white/black palette.

My first plan was to use the Hawkeye title lettering with a smattering of pieced concentric circles behind them, a la Vol 1. But then I realised that if I did that the quilt would end up an odd shape that I wasn't keen on, longer than it was wide. I considered other titles, but kept coming back to these, as I loved them. 

Layering up the appliqué.
As time went passed and the crunch of baby deadline loomed closer, Vol. 3 looked more and more appealing. It was had enough detail to be clear what it was, but not enough that it would be difficult to translate in the fabric. Then I went shopping and the perfect fabric just appeared on the shelf. I chose to go with a navy instead of black, as it just felt wrong to use black on a baby quilt.

It had to be appliqué. I couldn't face piecing all of those crazy angles and bitty bits. With my deadline, it had to be machine appliqué. Without large appliqué sheets available in Ireland and no hope of getting them in on time from the web, I had to make do. So my 505 did overtime, and I doubled up the edged both with straight stitch and buttonhole stitch. 

Pencil lines for quilting.
When it came to quilting, I went back to the concentric circles idea. Its Hawkeye, so there was no way he would be missing his target, right? I struck on the idea of a circle for each arrow, with the echoing circles spreading along the colour the arrow was on. So the large blue and purple arrows were on the white, where the navy arrows were on either the purple or blue. I began by digging out my compass, however soon realised that there was no way it would stretch far enough so most of the guidelines for the circles were made using a pencil attached to a string.

Best shot I have of the quilting lines. Each layer had its own circle pattern.
I considered doing the circles in the color of the arrow, but was worried it would make it overly busy. It would also have changed the art significantly, and by the time I got to the quilting I was starting to be shocked at how much like art and less like a quilt that a baby would play on this was beginning to look like. So the threads matched the fabric. 


The change I did have to make with the quilting was to add more lines in the figures themselves. My quilt batting couldn't live without lines in those areas, so I had to somehow quilt them. The concentric circles didn't make sense for the figures, so I tried to add details like T-shirt sleeve lines, a chin, neckline, and then followed the classic chevron on his chest. I also added in the lines to delineate the hand from the bow. Those lines are difficult to see in the shots I took, but I'm happy with my attempts at giving dimension to the figures without breaking the overall look of the piece.

The obligatory hanging shot.
There are things I would do differently if I did it again, there are points where I still made mistakes, and it was only after I had given the gift that I realised I had swapped the colours, but I am very happy with this quilt. I was so nervous giving it to its new owner, praying she liked it as much as I did, but her reaction made all the effort worth it and I know its gone to a good home. 


He's not here yet, but this Hawkeye has inspired me beyond simply this quilt. I love that I got to work with true art, and create something that is so breathtaking, both to others and me. Hopefully you will see that inspiration echoed in my next creation.

4 comments:

  1. This quilt is totally amazing. The lines and the colours are just beautiful

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    1. Thank you! Part of the credit has to go to the original artist who made such a beautiful piece to begin with. Fortunately, he liked my version! Yay!

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you! Its probably my favorite.

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