A River Runs Through It

As I worked on a quilt called Kansas, the piece I wrote about here, I decided it really needed a river meandering through the fields with oxbows and other curvy features.

aerial_photo_Geary_County_KansasThis is an aerial photo of the Kansas River in Geary County, Kansas. Locals call it the Kaw.

To create the river of my imagination, I laid a long, thin strip of tracing paper over the approximate center third of my top, and drew a curving line on it. Then, I cut along the line, put down the paper where I wanted my river to flow, and marked the line on the quilt with a blue, water erasable pen after I fused all the quilt layers together. Yes, I use fusible batting, Hobbs 80/20 fusible.


I ended up stitching over that line eight times with different blue-green thread, and even did bobbin stitching to emphasize the line. When it still didn’t stand out enough for me, I pulled out my paintstiks and a stencil brush, and got really emphatic.

The rest of the walking foot quilting is either straight lines to emulate plowed fields or curvy lines to follow the river. If you imagine the view from a plane flying over Kansas I think you might come up with something like this.

Kansas2I think it needs a horizontal orientation to echo the shape of the state.


Filed under Completed Projects, Techniques

10 responses to “A River Runs Through It

  1. Rebecca in SoCal

    Wonderful. Thanks for including the link to the beginning, as I wasn’t following you yet. Definitely agree on the orientation, not because of the shape of the state on a map but because of the solidity and open feeling of the prairies.

    • I’m glad to hear some folks use the links. The researcher in me persists in annotating my posts. I realize some bloggers post about their quilts in sequential order, but I often start and stop work on a quilt, so posts about the same quilt may be months apart.

  2. patty

    This turned out wonderful! You will have to bring it the next meeting so I can see it in person.

  3. Wait–you cut right into the middle of the quilt?! You must have nerves of steel! But I really do like the addition of the river!

    • Um, I didn’t actually cut into the quilt but used the artist equivalent of a crayon – paintstik – to mark the river. I thought about trying to piece in a river back in the design phase, but decided that sewing the kind of curves I wanted would be disastrous, and I’d end up with a 3D quilt.

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