Thursday, January 10, 2019

Windows Journal Quilts by Frieda Oxenham

Hope everyone enjoys entering a New Year filled with art and creativity. If so, you’re in the right place as StencilGirl®Talk is full of it every day of the year. I count myself very lucky to be back as monthly Guest Designer!

I’m starting off the year with a stitching project. I have been making journal quilts since 2004 and thought it was about time to share 2 with you here. Journal quilts are quite simply small quilts (usually A4 or American Letter size) that tell a story. Here is the UK Grosvenor Shows organize a yearly competition for Journal Quilts that travel with their shows to venues all over the country. Each year there is a new theme and for this year that theme is: Windows. I’m sharing the process with you here.

1.      I began by sorting through my collection of mopping up cotton sheets. As you may have guessed by now I’m not a tidy worker (and that’s an understatement!) and I always have sheets of plain white cotton to hand to mop up any overspill of paint or to clean up brushes and brayers. I found some that I really liked. Here is an example.

2.      Once I selected two pieces I wanted to use, I cut them about 1” larger on all sides than A4 using a rotary cutter and board.

3.      Using Window Ledger 9 and black spray ink (mine was by Liquitex) spray through the stencil onto one of your pieces of fabric and then quickly turn the stencil over and press the sprayed side onto your other piece of fabric. You now have the stencil image on one piece and the mirror image on the other.

4.      Layer up the pieces with batting and a backing fabric of your choice. There is no need to tack on pieces this small. I simply pinned them together with large pins.

5.      Start outline stitching along the black lines with a running stitch and then fill in all areas using a seed stitch. This is simply a running stitch but done in random directions. I used black cotton thread as well as space-dyed threads in matching colors.

6.      Applique on a bird to both journal quilts. I used ones from a fabric I had. WonderUnder or similar was ironed onto the back of the bird fabric, then the birds were cut out and positioned into place on the journal quilts and ironed on. They were secured by machine zigzag stitching using black thread around their outline and additional stitching was done following the lines of their bodies.

7.      Size 11 seed beads were stitched into position in clusters, using Silamide beading thread. The idea was to give the windows some sparkle.

8.      Stitch a black binding onto both journal quilts.

 © Frieda Oxenham 2019. To see more of Frieda's work, please visit her BLOG.


  1. Beautiful! Love the tip about flipping the stencil for a mirror/negative image. Makes me want to get out my wonderunder and thread and batting too


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