Quilt Canada 2018 Quilted Postcard Challenge

Janome artisan

Have you ever made a fabric postcard? I hadn’t, but when I found out that there was going to be a quilted postcard challenge at Quilt Canada in Vancouver, B.C., where Janome Canada will be one of the sponsors, I thought that it was time to try. How hard could it be? I was about to find out…

The theme of the postcard challenge was “Inspired by Nature” so that meant that there were lots of design opportunities. Rather than creating a complicated design, as is typical for me, I decided to keep it simple. That usually works out best, doesn’t it?

I knew that my Janome MC9400 with its hundreds of stitches would be up to the challenge of making my design come to life, once I had settled on my “simple” design. I knew that my design was going to be appliqué (my favourite technique) and I decided to use some of the decorative stitches on the Janome MC9400 to finish the edges of my appliqué pieces.

Postcard fabrics

Some of the fabrics I considered for the fabric postcard – the light batik background is on top.

I chose a light batik for the background of my postcard scene and added some stabilizer behind it to ensure that my decorative stitches would look their best (read my blogpost about why this is so important to a good finish). Since I live in Calgary, Alberta, the mountains are an ever-present backdrop and I had to include them in my postcard. After gluing my mountains to the background fabric, I used two lines of straight stitching to accent the mountain peaks: one of which I adjusted to be a longer length than the other to give visual interest.

Postcard green stitched

Mountains, foothills and prairies all down and partially stitched

I needed some landscape elements in front of the mountains, so I cut out foothills and prairies from two colours of green fabric. All of these appliqués were stitched down using decorative stitches on the Janome MC9400. I used the Heirloom 22 stitch (H22) on the first green fabric and the Decorative 29 stitch (D29) for the second green fabric.

Now it was time to place the focal elements: two wild roses, Alberta’s provincial flower. I added these in front of the background elements and decided which stitches I would use to accent them. I used the Quilt 5 stitch(Q5) for the back rose and the Decorative 5 stitch (D5) for the front rose.

Postcard Flower 2 stitched

All appliqué elements stitched down, just waiting for the edge finishing.

When it came to the flower centres, they were quite small so I thought a decorative stitch would be lost on them. I decided to accent them with some free motion thread play. (To learn about setting up for free motion quilting on the Janome MC9400, click here.)

Once all of the design elements were stitched to the background fabric, I still had to add a backing and, since I wanted the postcard to be firm, I added a stiff interfacing in the middle. Once these three layers were sandwiched together, I need to bind the edges, so I chose a satin stitch for this edge technique (and save me from doing binding!).

Postcard and threads

The variety of threads used in the postcard

Wow, did the Janome MC9400 perform well for this application! I used the Utility 8 (U8) stitch and shortened both the length and the width – a lot! I made one pass around all edges of the postcard and then did a second stitching over the initial one, increasing the stitch width just a bit. The result was a smooth, even satin stitched edge.

So how would I rate my first postcard creation? Well, if you’re at Quilt Canada in Vancouver in a few weeks, you can let me know what you think. The whole process gave me a chance to try creating a design on a small canvas and the end result will help support the B.C. Children’s Hospital. A win all around!

Postcard finished

Completed postcard

Happy stitching from Kim Jamieson-Hirst, a Janome Canada Artisan in Calgary, AB.

FOOTNOTE: While the 1st May deadline for entering these postcards to be judged has passed, CQA will nonetheless still be very happy to accept your fabric postcards. These will be displayed at Quilt Canada 2018 in Vancouver later this month (31st May – 2 June). The postcards are being “sold” by donation and all these donations will go towards BC Children’s Hospital. So do have  ago at making one or more postcards – not that hard and you have Kim’s easy How-to here to help you!

About Kim Jamieson-Hirst

Quilting teacher, host at Chatterbox Quilts and The Quilter's Way, inspiring and encouraging quilters through education.
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