After The Party

The journal of the making of the quilt!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The background is painted

I've painted the background using the textile inks. To get a better coverage I used less water and left the piece to dry on the plastic before lifting it off this morning. When I did the first practise piece I lifted it off while it was still fairly wet and left a lot of the paint on the plastic underneath it. That meant the colour lost intensity but the cloth remained fairly soft. But because this larger piece would be difficult to manage wet and would tend to brush colour from one part to another if I lifted it I left in overnight. This has meant the coloured paint has all dried shiny, like a plastic coating, on the back of the cloth. The colour looks great but I'm not sure about the texture. We'll have to wait until its properly dry, ironed and maybe washed. I wonder if it could be tricky quilting through the plasticky paint.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Deciding on the background

I spent an hour or so this morning doing a couple of practise pieces using my cheap textile inks. The piece on the right is done on white fine cotton with the textile inks. The piece on the left Helen and I did this afternoon using her more expensive dyes, on a 100% cotton sheet which we intend using for the background. It has way more colour intensity but we don't know if we need that intensity for the background.

We also played with the leftover inks and did this:

Sunday, August 27, 2006

More Progress

Well! Some progress has been made! Some new fabrics and all the words are there. Some words have been done several times, especially the ones in the centre, not enough contrast to start with. I have to re-do "hitting" as it is too big. I will trace the letters again but make them narrower, so it fits in the space better. The vlisofix is doing its usual hissy fit and is peeling off in places so the next job will be to stitch around each letter. Yeah, some easy-on-the brain work.

I'm thinking about how we are going to do the background. How many different coloured paints do we need and should we try it out on some cheap calico first to see how it goes. Or should we think again about a pieced background, especially for the centre part where the cross is going to go. Jaggged edges and odd shapes keep swirling around in my head. (My painting skills are rather crappy so I'm leaving this one up to Janice.)

I must spend some time this week on drawing up the instructions for our quilt club's next instalment of our "Triple F" Challenge, so I don't know how much progress is going to be made this week. I think about this quilt all the time and want to be working on it at every available opportunity (energy levels allowing).

Monday, August 21, 2006

More Fabric Choices

This is the second lot of fabric choices. The bottom row is the backgrounds and the top row is the words. Still not sure I have got all the fabric choices right but I think the contrast is better. I think the 2 light lilac colours in the top row need to be a bit darker. I want both the words and the backgrounds to be dark in the centre, but still have enough contrast to be able to be read. As Janice said we don't want it to be too difficult to read so that people give up. The photo kind of washes things out but it needs to look good in the photo to be selected. I'm going to spend some time on getting the words completed this week so Janice can have another look at them.

I emailed the Human Rights Commission about the "noisy" part and got this reply:

Kia ora Helen,

It is excellent that you are working on a quilt! I believe that ‘noisy’ in the advertisement is symbolic only and refers to ‘making a statement’ – full brief attached. . .

So it seems that the "noisy part may not be so difficult after all. I was having visions of sewing clanging knives to the quilt or maybe including one of those cards that 'sing' when you open them but with our own recording of hitting and screaming maybe. (No idea how to go about that but I'm sure it would be possible.)

I have been thinking about the edge of the quilt as I have been working on it. We are thinking of an unfinished, rough edge. I'm visualising tearing and cutting part of it, making a car tyre tread on it and maybe burning the edges or scorching part of it with an iron or maybe cigarette burns. Or perhaps all of the above, and more, to symbolise the methods of physical abuse that are sometimes used. Or is that too "OTT"? (Not that the above has happened to me personally but I did have the car driven at me although I was able to get out of the way.)

My Friday night group saw what I was working on and asked about it. I found it quite hard to talk about it and just said that it was one of the challenges for Symposium. But one of the group knows and has experienced violence herself. As the quilt gets more complete I will tell them it is my story in the quilt. I'm not sure whether I am brave enough to show it ae club though.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Janice came around yesterday to look at the progress (or rather lack of it) that I have made with the words and gave me some fabric which might be suitable to use. I was getting stuck on the colour transitions and Janice very helpfully pointed out that I need 2 gradations, one for the backgrounds and one for the words themselves. Now why didn't I think of that! So that is my next task, to sort the one pile I have into two and I haven't felt up to it today. Must get onto it tomorrow.

The 'noise' part of this post concerns the fact that I have just looked at an ad the Human Rights Commission has published for this challenge and it is titled "Noisy 'quilt' challenge" and goes on to say 'Use your abilities to create innovative, powerful and noisy "quilts" which wil increase the impact of messages about family violence and motivate people to take action against it.' Huh? The part about noisy wasn't in the symposium brief we were reading. aaarrrggh!!!

Help! How does one make a 'noisy' quilt?? Is it back to the drawing board for us?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

First 5 words

Here is the piccy of the first 5 words. I think I am going to have to change the last 2, they are not working very well. I need to make some more fabric choices to get enough changes.

5 words done

I have been working on the words again tonight and decided to go back to the original size Janice and I worked out. The problem I had was cutting the backgrounds for the words too big. I went back to the original cardboard 'dummies' and worked from there. I got the first 5 words done and I am happy with the first 3. I don't think I've got the colour transition quite right yet. I'm not posting a photo tonight 'cos it is nearly 11 pm and I have to get up early tomorrow. Besides which I still haven't got my son to teach me (slowly enough so I remember!) how to get the photo from the camera to the computer etc. I must learn how to do this. I must learn how to do this. I must learn how to do this....

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Fabric Choices

I have just made some fabric choices for the quilt. I know it looks like more than half of them are dark but I'm trying to compensate for size. The bright outside ones will take up more space, relatively speaking

Helen's first blog!

Tuesday 15 August

This is my first ever post on a blog - thanks to you Janice!

On the morning of Sunday Aug 6 I woke up with the plan for a quilt in my head. The night before I had been looking at the blog of Tonya Ricucci (Lazy Gal Quilting) where she has posted lessons on how to make free-cut patchwork letters. I thought this was fun and got to thinking about what I would like to say on a quilt. The next morning it was there. The whole concept, the text and even the title"After the Party". I don't think I have ever thought about a plan for a quilt in such 'completeness', if that is the term, before. Nor have I planned anything so original (or so personal). Usually I just make a few blocks and play around to see what looks nice and go from there.

The story I wanted to tell was about my experience with domestic violence. Specifically the one incident that made me realise I had to leave my partner to keep my son and myself safe. It has been nearly 15 years since I left, so this story has been a long time in telling. I want to portray the idea of being bright on the outside but dark on the inside, the feeling of being little and vulnerable inside a big bright exterior, and of being sucked into a black pit. The title refers to the fact that this incident occurred after we had returned from a social occasion.

I checked the challenge requirements for Symposium 2007 and realised that I needed to have a 'collaborator' to make this quilt. I thought I would ask Janice if she was interested in helping me but I expected her to say no 'cos I know how much work she has on. Also the topic is not one everyone can deal with.

I showed Janice my plans and my first pieced word and after telling her she didn't have to say yes, she agreed to work with me. "Wahoo" I think is the celebratory word used online.

I am now at the stage of having done a couple of words and deciding that we might have the scale too big. I have reduced the size of the words to be traced but now I think I need to make some fabric choices before I do any more words. I need to get the colour transition right.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Second Sitting

Helen came to my place for another planning session a week later. She had made a couple of versions of the last word, 'out', using the pieced method we had decided upon but wasn't happy with the result. After seeing the ransom note effect of the mock up we had done in Photo Impact - which was really only done to help plan word placement - we started to think about applique - using different fonts for the different words and appliqueing them to a background rectangle. We cut out rectangles with the words roughly sketched on them and laid them out on the floor. We took a photograph of this placement and played with it in Photo Impact. We wanted to see if the swirl of coloured word rectangles gave enough movement if they were laid on a black (or plain) background or if they needed to be on a swirled background. In Photo Impact we painted a rough approximation of the background swirl of colour and overlaid the word rectangles on it. Wahoo! the rough and ready nature of both the swirl and the rectangles helped with the feeling of a person fraying and losing pieces of herself to despair. We decided to work towards a frayed edge applique style and also an unfinished edge quilt.

The First Draft

The first afternoon we spent on the computer drafting up Helen's plan. I felt her idea of spiralled text getting smaller and smaller on a progressively darker background was a very powerful design, showing the mind of a person curling tighter and tighter in on herself as her pleas were ignored and she felt greater and greater fear for her child.

We laid out the words in a squared spiral in Photo Impact and played with a background in EQ5. We were thinking of piecing the words first and then piecing them together.

After The Party

This is the second quilt I've collaborated on. Three years ago, my daughter and I together designed and made a quilt for my niece, Mary. It took us an hour or so to work out the design and a weekend to make the quilt - with household and childcare help from our lovely husbands! Which brings me to the point really, the point that I have trouble even thinking about, let alone talking about.

Helen has asked me to collaborate on a quilt to enter into our Symposium Challenge: Human Rights Challenge - to exhibit a clear statement (the problem and/or strategies to resolve it) about family violence and/or violence against women. Although I have read about family violence and understand some of the pathways that could lead a person to inflict violence or to accept it,
I have no personal experience of family violence. Its not easy to think about it at all so mostly I don't. Or haven't. But Helen asked me to collaborate and, while I'll leave her to tell her part of the story, she felt she needed to make this quilt. My initial reaction was to say no, I've nothing to add, I can't help. But in the next breath I found myself suggesting a change to the design, suggesting a way to achieve the impact she needed and understanding the feeling that Helen's design was projecting. I understood that we are bringing different resources to this collaboration and just like that I was part of the project!