The Free Motion Quilting Project: Hot Cast Part 7 - Painting a Quilted Quilt

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hot Cast Part 7 - Painting a Quilted Quilt

I took the weekend off for Easter and because James was out of school all last week it's making for a very weird week this week. Bear with me while I get back on track!

In the studio for what feels like the last 3 years (in reality only 5 days) I've been painting the surface of Hot Cast. To some, this would be a pleasant vacation. Right now it feels like a trip to purgatory.'s not THAT bad really. It would be a million times worse if I wasn't working my way through listening to the entire George RR Martin Song of Ice and Fire Trilogy. At least my brain is entertained. I don't think I'd be able to deal with the monotony any other way.

But this is still very time consuming and tedious.

You might be wondering why I didn't choose another method, like applique to add the different colors to the surface of the quilt.

Yes, that might have been more pleasant and certainly wouldn't have my neck and shoulders screaming in agony from sitting in the same position for so long, but I admit that I'm just not skilled with applique enough to create such tiny detailed work like these leaves and tiny stems.

free motion quilting | Leah DayDon't get me wrong - I certainly know it's possible to do this with hand applique and even easier with fusible applique, but I just didn't feel like dealing with a lot of fiddly pieces for this quilt.

And to be perfectly honest, I prefer the look of paint! Isn't that perfect - I hate to paint, but I love the effect it gives my quilts!

I especially love the paints I'm using over Hot Cast. These are Jacquard Luminere paints that add a spectacular metallic look to the quilt top. I could never have achieved the perfect molten metal look of the body veins with any other paint or fabric:

free motion quilting | Leah DayFor the body, it's been a multi-step process because I was painting over black fabric which just wanted to eat the paint up, but show no color.

First I covered the veins with white paint, then layered on a coat of Luminere Gold:

free motion quilting | Leah DayThen I dry brushed Luminere Bronze and Copper lightly on top. I only dry brushed the paint roughly over the middle of the veins so the color would be darkest in the center and lightest towards the edges.

I'm extremely pleased with how the body has turned out. Right now I'm less pleased with the leaves simply because I'm struggling to get the right color.

Originally I had planned to paint the vines and leaves with colored pencils, but after getting started I realized painting trapuntoed motifs with colored pencils is impossible. The extra layer of batting in these areas makes them too puffy and it's really difficult to get an even shading.

After playing with the top vine swirl for more than an hour I admitted defeat and pulled out more Jacquard paints, but unfortunately I only had Apple Green and this is just not the color I was aiming for in this area.

But what I've learned with painting is that it's never the end of the world so long as you have other colors you can try or you can mix to find the right balance. While it might be time consuming, you can always add more paint!

So I'm planning to take a break on the vines for awhile and finish painting the sun and columns. Yes, it may seem overkill to paint the columns, but I really want three things to jump out at you when you see this quilt: the goddess, the sun, and the columns.

The landscape and sky were always intended as the background so they will remain unpainted. As it is right now the columns blend in way too much with the sky and easily get lost in photos unless I really concentrate on getting the lighting just right.

So I'm heading back down for more painting, more excellent fantasy story, and more mind numbing tedium. Oh the things I do for love!

Let's go quilt,



  1. I love the way you work. You do things in such a neat way, things I didn't really contemplate before, and you keep at it till you like what you get! And you are right, the colums do just blend into the background. But the leaves look nice - I know they are not done yet, but they do look good the way they are wrapped.
    And it's always makes for a fun week when the kids are home!! I am glad you had a good weekend - and enjoy this spring!!

  2. It's beautiful. Now that you've added the colour, I see the emotions that you've expressed in the making of Hot Cast in the quilt itself.

  3. Leah, not sure if you've heard of Judy Coates Perez, but she paints her quilts:


    More specifically, she talks about her process here:


    (Sorry, but it wouldn't let me post with the link...)
    Not sure if you're even *thinking* about help/hints, but her work is great and i thought you might like to see her blog.


  4. The metallic paint against the black, along with the trapunto effect and dense quilting in the dark areas, is superb.

  5. Leanne, I love your work and really admire your perseverance with the painting. This is something I am just on willing to do on any level. This is going to be amazing when it is done. I can't wait to see the finished product.
    I am new to machine quilting and really love your site. I am trying to take the challenge and practice every day. Over easter I have quilted two lap size quilts and am just thrilled with the results on one - not so much on the other. I will improve with time. I know. And with you to keep inspiring me it will get better.

  6. Winter is coming!!
    (you simply must watch the HBO series after you've finished reading the books. I've seen the first one and I'm totally impressed so far)

  7. Leah,

    Why did you choose Jacquard paints over other mediums - i.e. paintstiks or something else? What about quilting overtop of the painted surface? How has he paint affected the hand and quiltability of it?


  8. Sewmuch2do - Excellent Questions! I'll definitely share more on painting and the answer to your question in my videocast this week.



  9. WOW--I am so impressed with what you do--this is AWESOME..I totally love what you are doing to this quilt.


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