One of the ideas was using an image of a sea turtle but the fabrics that I wanted to use I currently don't have everything I need so that idea is on hold. The next idea was the horse. I had a bunch of Stonehenge fabrics from Northcott and I knew I was off to the races :-). So the stencil quilts are basically a reverse applique technique using 2 layers of fabric (can be a quilted top or a whole cloth), one for the focal image and one for the background. I'm doing a wall hanging size for this project.
For my wild mustang I wanted to use a mixture of browns to blacks form the Stonehenge series and create a top that was just small blocks (either 1 1/2" or 2" square) and then I would have the top go on point. Since I wasn't completely sure which size would look best I did a sample of each from some left over fabric. It turned out that the 1 1/2" was what I wanted but in the process I also learned something interesting. Here the picture of the two samples.
If you look at the rows going across they have a lot of diversity but when you look at the rows going up and down there are only 2 fabrics worth of diversity. The reason for this is that my test was only done on 1 set of fabrics sewn together then cut into their strips. Then I just alternated those strips and sewed them into the larger block. This was not the look I wanted. What I was after was a more random mix of blocks so I had to re-think this.
I had 10 different brown to black fabrics and I ended up devising a grid in Excel that would give me the diversity I needed. I also decided that I would create several smaller sections and then put them together to create the final top since I didn't want to sew full width of fabric strips that were only 2" wide due to the potential of stretch and distortion. So I cut 5 2" strips of each of my fabrics and then cut those strips in half so I had 10 strips of each of my 10 colours. Here is my 10 by 10 grid that I used.
The fabrics were all numbered from 1 - 10, and I worked on 1 column at a time to keep things organized. Once all the columns were sewn, I had to iron the seams in alternating directions. So if I started ironing column 1 seams towards the top, then column 2 (red box #9) seams were ironed towards the bottom. Now the fun part was to sew the pieced columns together. I first tried to sew one set without pinning but there are just too many junctions that can move around and not meet where they need to, so I ended up having to pin everything but it was worth it. Here is a picture of one of the finished blocks.
I actually only sewed 9 of the blocks because once those were put together in a 3 by 3 configuration I would have approx. 42" top which was more than enough for what I was planning. Here is what the completed top looks like.
The background for the horse is made up of 3" horizontal strips of light neutrals through lighter orange Stonehenge fabrics. Then plan on putting a small inner border in a darker brown and a final border in the darker oranges. Here is the initial background top.
This is the image that I'm using for my horse.
This is as far as I have gotten. Next I have to baste the two tops together, then attach the pattern (not sure if pinning will be the best or if I will also have to baste it). Then I will be ready to sew the outline of the horse. I will continue to document the process as I go through with this project in case anyone is interested in trying it.