Quilt for Two Rivers: Incorporating Found Objects into the Quilt

April 27, 2012 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

Fiber artists collaborating on the Quilt for Two Rivers are blogging about their quilt panels for the 40-foot masterpiece-in-progress which honors Sisters, Oregon’s Treasured Landscapes.  Featured this week:


I have lived near rivers most of my life.  Growing up in Astoria, I watched my dad fly fish for steelhead and cutthroat, all the while snagging crawdads in the shallows.  Same thing in Juneau, Alaska–only keeping a sharp eye out for bears!

Now, living  in Bend, my husband and I love river walks, both “tame”  (paved) and “natural”…Whychus Creek, for example!

Mine is quilt number eight  in the series.  I call the piece Lone Pine.  Our trip to Whychus Creek inspired me hugely!

Sarah Kaufman Quilt for Two Rivers panel - photos by Sarah Peery

I decided to  create “simple” — a smattering of rock, shrub, trees — with the river the highlight.  My background is paper pieced on calculator ribbon — two sizes.  It was hand quilted in a wavy horizontal stitch using perle cotton thread.   Embellishments then made the focal points.

I chose to give the river a bit of  “action” with a cluster of appliqued rocks, and white water from nylon cord.  The  river rocks are actually coral  (with holes in them) found in Hawaii!  I dyed them with tea.

The lone pine has leather strips for branches, and “pine boughs” from a nylon shirt with embossed leaves.  I had fun adding sticks for riverbank branches, some found near Whychus Creek, a few from the Puget Sound area in Washington State.  Perle cotton hunky-stitched grasses were added.

I wanted the feel of a few predominant rocks — almost the pumice look of our local rocks. Of course I had “pumice” tan in my fabric stash!

Finally, I decided the sky was too blue, in contrast to the landscape hues, so clouds were appliqued.  I used hand-dyed cotton gauze, stuffed with alpaca hair!  This came from a Sisters alpaca, I am pleased to say!

I did need to rein myself in with embellishment.  LESS IS MORE is a lesson hard to maintain!  I have enough sticks, twigs, rocks and alpaca hair  left over for another project…some day!

The real drama for me — and for all of us involved in the quilt I think — will be seeing the complete “riverscape.”  I can’t wait!

–Sarah Kaufman


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Quilt for Two Rivers: Triggering Childhood Memories Quilt for Two Rivers – Reawakening the Whychus

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