How to Embroider a Cyanotype Quilt Block

Follow these techniques to quilt, embroider and stuff a cyanotype quilt block from scratch.

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Materials and Tools:

digital image (William Morris or other pattern)
computer with photo program and printer
transparency paper
sun blocks (cyanotype fabric)
UV light
piece of glass
fabric paint
paintbrushes
colored pencils
thread
embroidery floss
needles
pins
beads
embroidery hoop
border fabric
muslin backing
intermediate backing fabric
polyester stuffing
batting
sewing machine
craft knife
scissors
tweezers
wood frame
staple gun
rotary cutter and cutting mat
straight edge

Steps:

1. Manipulate a digital image in a photo program on a computer and invert the colors to create a negative. Print the negative on 8" x 8" transparency paper

2. Place the transparency over the cyanotype fabric and place a piece of glass on top.

3. Using a UV light box (or sunlight), expose the transparency image onto the cyanotype fabric for 15 minutes.

4. Rinse the fabric and allow it to dry. Iron the fabric.

5. Choose three fabrics for the borders. Contrasting patterns with similar color schemes work well. Cut borders with a rotary cutter and mat:

  • Cut two 18" x 4-1/2" border lengths (long).
  • Cut two 9" x 4-1/2" border lengths (medium).
  • Cut four 1-/2" x 8" border lengths (small).


6. Using the cyanotype image and the fabric colors, trace the image on a piece of paper and do a study (analysis) of the color scheme using colored pencils.

7. When finished, choose colors and start the fabric painting. Paint should be watered down and used thinly, almost like a watercolor. Build up thin layers rather than applying one thick layer.

8. Gather borders, batting and an intermediate backing material together.

9. Layer the intermediate backing, batting and cyanotype and small borders. Tuck a seam allowance of 1/4 inch before sewing. Sew the pieces together. Sew the medium and large borders to this piece using the same seam allowance.

10. Choose areas to quilt, trapunto (stuff), bead and embroider.

11. Place the design in an embroidery hoop to keep the fabric taut while hand quilting around the shapes with a running stitch and thread. Choose a thread that blends in with the background.

12. From the intermediate backing, use small scissors (or a craft knife) to carefully cut small areas open that will be stuffed (trapunto). These areas are inside the spaces you quilted.

13. Fill the holes with stuffing using tweezers. Hand sew the back to close.

14. Embroider beads in chosen areas.

15. Using backing fabric, fold under the quilt face for a seam allowance and sew to the backing fabric.

16. Stretch the cyanotype quilt block over a wood frame and staple it to the back.

Alice Pixley Young, Cincinnati, Ohio

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