- One piece of amazing shibori-dyed fabric (this lovely piece by Wendy Olson Richardson)
- Small pieces of almost-solid hand-dyed fabric (here, 2 shades of green from Cherrywood, 1 dark grey from Carol Eaton Designs)
- MistyFuse…of course 🙂
- A big box of Aurifil (here, the first collection curated by SAQA)
- And the usual batting, backing and my favorite Topstitch 90 needle from Superior Threads
First step, MistyFuse all fabrics. Then, step back and take a look at this shibori piece…where do you see the sunset?
I selected a piece roughly 13″ by 13″ (finished quilt requirement is 12″ square) and a slice that looked like the brighter light near the horizon at sunset. Using a rotary cutter, I sliced a background and foreground piece from my greens.
Landscape done, now for the main characters. I enlarged a lovely shot that showed a person and dog in silhouette…traced into freezer paper…pressed to the dark grey fabric…and cut out very very carefully…positioned onto the background…and fused.
I am a huge fan of high-sheen polyester thread for many pieces, but I didn’t want too many distractions here…so I turned to one of the Aurifil boxes in my stash for a slightly more understated way to add texture and color.
Layered up and ready for very simple quilting! I simply followed the lines of the colors in the “sunset,” echoed the pattern in the greens, then turned the stitch size down and very carefully traced the edges of the figures with black Aurifil.
Facing on and set for the SAQA benefit auction :).
As the April 1 deadline approaches, I plan to stitch up a batch of one of my favorite designs. Please feel free to use my photo…or adapt to your own pet!
- The first step is to adapt the photo to a more-easily-traceable illustration, as shown below with the MobileMonet iPhone app:
- You now have a pattern…and two choices. If you are a MistyFuse fan, you will plan to print this picture as is, on freezer paper (sheets pre-packaged to fit your ink jet printer are a good idea). If you prefer to use paper-backed fusible, you will need to “flip” the image in Word on your computer. (Paste picture into a Word document…click ‘Format,’ ‘3-D Rotation,’ type in 180, and click OK.)
- Now that you have your pattern, set the document format to landscape and paste the picture twice, side by side…each image roughly postcard size (4″ by 6″). Print one per planned kitty card.
- Ok, now time to assemble the components of your project: For each postcard, cut one piece of Peltex II (I like to work with 4 1/2″ by 6 1/2″ pieces and trim to exact size at the end of the process), 2 pieces of bright fabric (one 4 1/2 by 6 1/2, one long and thin), and postcard-sized pieces of cat color- one light and one medium- use BATIK! You will ink in the markings for the dark fur; pens in green, black and grey are used for this kitty.
- Time to press! Press freezer paper to the unfused side if you are using MistyFuse…press paper-backed fusible to either side. Since you’re using batik, there is no need to worry about a “wrong” side of the cat fabric.
- Time to cut! From light fabric, cut out entire cat face…from medium fabric, cut out top part of face and body/leg. Before fusing layers, place the light head layer on top of a copy of your illustration and trace the placement of the eyes and nose. As you can see in this photo, it will come in handy later:
- Time to fuse! Careful place the layers of your kitty on the 4 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ background fabric…like so:
- Next, fuse your work to one side of the Peltex. Don’t forget a pressing sheet underneath or it will fuse to your ironing board 😳.
- Time to add the “curtain” behind which our kitty is hiding. I recommend putting monofilament in the bobbin so that you won’t need to change it…and it eliminates the problem of stitching showing through on the back of the postcard at the end of the process. Pick up the long thin piece of fabric and scrunch…tack down with some stitches right at the top left corner (these will be trimmed away). Fold a quarter-inch or so under the long edge neared the kitty, and stitch around her face. I find the batik is the easiest to sculpt, but I have experimented with other fabrics as well. This is a perfect use of very small amounts of decorative thread that you would like to use up!
- Now to the kitty. Choose a thread that is close to the “fur” color, but a bit lighter (I chose a light grey), and stitch the outlines of the medium value fabric.
- Time for ink! Green for the irises…black for the pupils and outlines of the eyes…dark grey (or dark brown…whichever hue you have chosen for the “fur”) to sketch in the lines of the pet’s coloring. I love Tsukineko’s Fabrico ink pens for this project. The eyes are one of my favorite parts; using 2 shades of green and drawing lines from pupil to the edge of the eye help achieve a more realistic look. After the black ink is dry, make sure to add a couple of highlights with white ink (or wite-out correction fluid).
- Don’t forget whiskers! Add a few grey dots along the jawline and use them as starting points. Using a shiny white thread (I love Superior’s Magnifico thread line), stitch out, pivot, and stitch back…repeat.
- Almost done. Take your portraits to your pressing surface and press a light-colored fabric to the backs of the Peltex. Trim to finished size (I stick with the regulation 4″ x 6″ size). Now switch your bobbin to a matching thread as the top, and satin-stitch along the border.
Finished and ready for official inspection!
Ok, we need to get stitching for this amazing organization!! Here is a review of my favorite (easy!) techniques to help inspire you.
1-print a favorite photo in its entirety on ready-to-print fabric…place a layer of batting between the photo layer and your stiff fusible…create depth by stitching the background heavily and using a lighter touch (with invisible thread) on your subject’s face…augment with ink if you like. I like to call this one, “Take Me to Your Leader” as it made me laugh 👽😉.
2-take your fave photo…alter with the app “Popsicolor” (selecting same color for top and bottom of image)…print, place on light box (or iPad app called LightBox), and trace with a fabric ink pen: heavily where there is lots of color, lightly where there is less. Fuse to stiff fusible. Thread your machine with desired color, stitch over ink…lightly stitch white background with white thread. Here is a pic of a larger piece but the idea is identical:
3-take a fave photo and alter in the app MobileMonet so that it becomes an easier-to-trace illustration…isolate a couple of props in addition to your pet…trace on freezer paper, iron onto MistyFused scraps, and create a simple but adorable composition. Suggest fur by a zigzag stitch along the edge and don’t forget whiskers! (There is a more detailed post on this card in my older posts.)
4-really fast! Print your picture on fabric in black and white…add a touch of color to eyes to create focal point…stitch details with black thread.