Postcard Album Pages

If you’ve been reading some of my recent posts you’ll know that I’ve been taking some classes in making art quilts, and that most of the efforts of those classes have been made into 8 x 8 inch pages for a fabric sketchbook. When we did a postcard exchange with a partner, I wanted a way to make pages to hold the two postcards. I decided to make pages that would be like photo album pages. They would hold the postcards in a way that would keep them removable for viewing.

Here are the postcards I wanted to mount:

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The one on the left is from my trading partner, and the one on the right is the one I made. I found a simple background fabric that looked a little like wood to use for both postcards. I decided to do some simple quilting for each page that would relate to the postcard that would be mounted on it.

For the postcard from my trading partner I did some free-motion sketching of branches and leaves using a heavy, variegated cotton quilting thread.

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I cut four 1 inch squares of a green fabric to use as mounting corners, like those that are used in photo albums. I folded them in half diagonally, positioned them to line up with the corners of the postcard, and stitched them down with satin stitch.

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For the postcard that I had made, I decided to make diagonal parallel rows of some of the programmed stitches from my sewing machine, to mimic what I had done on the postcard. I used a rolling ruler to draw randomly spaced parallel lines on the fabric.

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Then I stitched along each line, alternating between a few different stitches. I used the heavy quilting thread for this page, too, so I had to stick with simple stitches.

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Here is the page with the little mounting corners sewn on.

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To finish off the pages, I placed both quilted pieces back-to-back and finished the edges with a hem stitch, couching a decorative yarn inside the stitching to hide the edges of the batting. Here are the two sides of the new sketchbook page, with the postcards mounted on them.

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Overall this page was a success, however it really should have some stiff interfacing in between the two sides. Because the postcard with the tree is backed with a stiff interfacing it stays nicely in its mounts. The strip-pieced postcard is only filled with quilt batting and is not at all stiff. I find that when I am paging through my book this postcard tends to fall out of its mounts because the page bends too much. I don’t think it would do that if the page were stiffened with an interfacing inside.

The other thing I learned is to plan better for the placement of grommets when creating two sides of a page. If you’ll notice in the in-progress pictures above, I left room for grommets on the left-hand side of both page sides. Which seemed perfectly logical to me at the time. But of course, once the two sides are placed back to back the grommets will go on the left edge of one side of the page and the right edge of the other side. Yeah. So, I ended up having to rotate the second page by 90 degrees to put a larger margin on the right for the grommets. It still looks fine, but I had liked it better with a horizontal alignment, as shown in the in-progress photos above.

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The Colourful Postcard Exchange

A class challenge: we chose partners, and we each picked a personal colour scheme; we made two postcard sized quilts (4 x 6 inches), one in our own colour scheme and one in that of our trading partner; we gave our partner the postcard we made in her colour scheme, and received one in our colours in return. It was a fun exercise in working in colours we might not normally choose, and in working on a small scale.

My colour scheme was greens and browns (nature colours). My partner’s colours were drawn from a piece of fabric she gave me to use. It was a lovely fabric that had graduated colours along its width, from yellow to a lovely blue. It was kind of cruel of her to leave it to me to cut into this pretty fabric – I swear I was practically hyperventilating for the first couple of cuts. You know how that is, don’t you? Fabric so lovely that it’s almost impossible to cut into. Well, perhaps the solution to that dilemma is to make your friends cut it up for you!

After pondering for a long time what to do with that lovely fabric, I decided to make an off-centred four patch with each rectangle a different shade picked from the graduated colours. Then I dug out a ball of sari silk off-cuts and found some strips that were the right colours to coordinate.

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The four patch was first backed with a piece of batting. The silk strips were stitched down using a couple of the decorative stitches on my sewing machine. I love the way the silk coordinates with the colours in the fabric. The strips look a little like ribbon. It still didn’t look quite finished to me, so I added some hand stitching in a simple running stitch in embroidery cotton, and a little curve of seed beads to break up all of the straight lines. To finish off the postcard, I backed it with a piece of Vilene heavy interfacing, and stitched twice around with a satin stitch in four different coordinating thread colours. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. I like the combination of the messy silk edges with the more controlled looking design.

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I’m afraid that I got a bit lazy when I made the postcard in my own colours. Rather than trying to create something artistic, I decided to use it as a way to practice some thin strip and curved piecing. I used a method that I learned from an episode of The Quilt Show (episode 711) from guest quilter Rosalie Dace.

Once the top was pieced, I backed it with some batting and backing fabric, and quilted it using various programmed stitches from my sewing machine, playing around a little bit with the stitch settings just for fun.

Here is the postcard that my trading partner made for me in my colours. She was much more artistic in her work than I was, and I just love it. The tree trunk and grass are thread-painted, and the fabric leaves are embellished with stitching as well. It has a very three-dimensional look to it that isn’t really captured by the photo.

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In my next post I’ll show you how I made a page for my art quilt book to hold the postcards.