Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Craft of Stretching an Art Quilt on a frame

Recently, I took a single-day workshop at the studio of San Antonio artist Laurie Brainerd.  Laurie, who is known for her meticulously-crafted art quilts, has been perfecting a new method of stretching and framing her work.  I have seen the results and jumped at the chance to take her workshop.  As an artist who has struggled with a variety of ways to mount mixed media textile constructions in or on frames (with mixed levels of success) I understood the basic concept behind her method.  Knowing my learning style, I figured going through the entire process under her guidance would be the best way for me to learn.  I was right!
Her workshop, "The Craft of Stretching an Art Quilt", was offered for the first time last Saturday in her San Antonio studio.  She will be offering a couple of workshops in the Austin-area in February.  I would encourage anyone who can do it to sign up!
Laurie provided each student with a custom-cut plastic corner template.  This template, while appearing to be a 90-degree corner, is not.  She worked out the precision angle that creates a perfectly squared corner after the facing is turned.
cloth to be used as both the facing and the frame covering are selected.
The pieces that will be used as the facing are first fused with Mistyfuse, then cut.
(Note:  This method can also be done by needle-turning the facing without fusible, if the quilt is to be mounted in a more "traditional" fashion with a sleeve rather than on a frame).

corners are clipped, then re-stitched without the bulk of the batting.

facing is turned.

Using a pointed implement, the corner is pushed out to a crisp edge.

Looking good!

Finished quilts are carefully measured, and then Laurie cut frame pieces
for precisely fit our quilts!
I love a girl with power tools....

Frame pieces are cut from poplar wood, which is less likely to warp.

Pieces were first glued together, then
we used an air gun to nail the corners.  
Woo Hoo!  I love tools.
Background cloth (chosen to be slightly duller than the quilt colors, yet blending a bit with the colorway)
Quilt is seated in the center of a piece cut to a size that allows it to be pulled around the frame,
then stitched in place with a running stitch)

Sides are stretched into place, all the while using the cloth to carefully "seat" 
the quilt into place on the frame and working toward, but not including, 
the corners, which are done last.

Here is the front and a side of the finished framed quilt

Look how nice and neat this is!
The best part:  no bulk around the edges, and no stress on the quilt itself!

Thank you Laurie, for showing me a better way to frame my work.  I will now try to frame a piece using a pre-stretched gallery-wrapped canvas frame.  

Since there were a variety of sizes of quilts, battings, density of stitching, etc., in the class pieces we  learned that there are a number of variables to consider when measuring the quilts for a frame.  
I look forward to creating another piece on a frame very soon.  Stay tuned!


  1. Leslie-this is timely post for me to read. I'm entering some textile pieces into a show in March that is requiring the work to be framed or mounted. I wish I lived in the area so I could take Laurie's class but your detailed instructions will be so helpful. Thank you!

  2. This is a wonderful way to mount textile work, and I think we have all struggled with this issue more than once! Depending on where you live, I am pretty sure Laurie will travel to teach. I recommend the workshop!

  3. Hiya! Does the rate of your posting depend on some thing or you compose articles when you have a special mood or spare time on that? Can't wait to see your reply.

  4. Interesting question, Maryann. The answer is all of the above, really. I post when I have an experience I want to share, a thought-process, or some photos that I think would be either helpful or inspirational. I try not to let more than a week or 10 days go between blog posts because I want my readers to stay engaged. And, like you, I will be interested in reading your response!


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