Saturday, 4 May 2013

Through all the circle of the golden year - a collage

A few weeks ago Minerva Craft's Facebook page had a challenge for bloggers like myself. They had a picture of a cutting compass and asked what we could do with, using fabrics etc from their website.
OLFA Compass Cutter
The cutting compass.

For a while now, I've had a collage idea in my head based on circles, producing a series of fabric and paper collages. This request gave me an ideal opportunity to start. I posted my idea and was fortunate enough to be selected. As well as the compass they sent me their orange fat quarter (FQ) bundle and some spotty bias binding (the colour choice was mine).
Assorted Yellow Colours Fat Quarters Cotton Quilting Fabric x 4 Assorted Pieces
Their orange FQ bundle, you receive a mixture of 4 from this selection
25mm wide Cotton Patterned Bias Binding Orange/White Spotty - per metre
Bias binding

I had a little trouble using the compass at first. I couldn't get it to cut and the fabric buckled. Needless to say my temper was not pleasant, even after I had looked at videos that I had found on Youtube, which did tell me not to worry about the fabric buckling! To keep my sanity I put it to one side and concentrated on another project.

A couple of weeks later, with the deadline for the post looming I had another go. I'm not sure what happened between the first time and this, but I managed to cut out a selection of circles, or near circles. 

 There is a more expensive version of the compass that has a ratchet that helps you move the compass around in one smooth movement, rather than having to adjust your hand to complete the circle (I found out about this on Youtube).

I used a piece of orange fabric out of my stash for the main body of the collage (backed with wadding) and used a mixture of the Minerva Crafts FQs and my stash for the circles, along with a mixture of orangey bits and pieces.

I started with a blank canvas, rather than planning it out, adding circles where I think they should go. The picture below is my first 'layer' amid sewing.

I used a mixture of stitches to add the circles, running, chain and blanket stitches. Basically I kept adding circles, either fabric or embroidered, and buttons, suffolk puffs, crocheted flowers, beads, rose flowers etc until I thought it looked done enough to back. I also added a quote from Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem The Golden Year.

I used the same orange fabric as the front for the back and also added another piece of fabric between the backing fabric and the wadding to make the collage bit more 'body'.

After pinning the layers together I added the back half of the bias binding onto the fabric sandwich using my sewing machine. I hand sewed the front half of the bias binding on (rather than sewing the binding on in one go, my hand sewing is much better than my machine sewing!). 

Once the backing and binding were complete I added a couple more things onto the collage to make it (in my eyes anyway) 'complete'.

So here it is, in all it's glory.

 I hope you like it, it's now available in the Elsie May and Bertha shop.

Thanks go to Minerva Crafts for sending me the cutting compass, fabric and bias binding. 

As usual, I'm taking part in Handmade Monday, pop over and see what other makers has been up to.



  1. That is really lovely, it will make a beautiful summer wall hanging. I am drawn to orange at the moment - it's not been one of my colours before and the bias binding is fab!

    1. It's not my usual colour either, but orange just seemed right for this project.

  2. It is absolutely beautiful - well done. The colours are bright and cheerful. Hope you have a good week.

  3. You fabric collage is just gorgeous. I like the combination of colors. It reminds me a little bit cutting paper for my decoupage.
    Best wishes.
    Selena (Jo)

    1. Thanks Jo, I do mean to have a go at a bit of decoupage myself.

  4. That is beautiful, well done, The colours are lovely and the design is fabulous. Isn't it funny, I have been using orange a lot lately too? xx

  5. Nice and summery just what we need at the moment. Have a good craft week.

  6. It's lovely and must have taken ages! I love the close ups, the texture, pattern and stitching look gorgeous.

  7. I too love the different materials that you have used to give a variety of textures. The orange colour is such a great warm colour. Well done for persevering :)

  8. It's so pretty, I love the summery colours, they all go so well together. The bias binding sets it off really well.

    Jan x

  9. beautiful!! I love all the detail you've added and the range of different textures and patterns gives it a lovely depth x

  10. What a wonderful piece! The colours and details are gorgeous - like Natalie, I really like all the different textures you have used.

  11. Its lovely, the colour combinations are great and I do love the spotty bias.

  12. So pretty. I love the way you've incorporated different textures into the design xx

  13. This is gorgeous and a fabulous idea! I love the flowers! I'm pinning this!

    Navy Wifey Peters @ Submarine Sunday Link Party

  14. The collage is beautiful and I think addition of the words really makes it.
    Ali x