Monthly Archives: May 2017

Christmas Angel


Taking down the Christmas tree is just about my least favorite thing to do. This January, as I was about to take the strands of lights down, Jesse decided to stage a sit-in and protest the whole idea…


This was funny and touching and oh so bittersweet since we knew this would likely be his last holiday with us. When I saw the photo I knew that it had to become a quilt as a tribute to our boy.

First step, run the photo through one of my apps to create an easier pattern. Then, to the stash! This is one of those very rare pieces for which I literally bought nothing πŸ˜‡. I pulled a yard of dark red dupioni for the tree skirt…some dark brown batik for the tree trunk…2 shades of green Cherrywood for needles…a piece of beige linen for the wall (which sadly didn’t make the cut, was not really the right shade)…and, for Jesse, a mix of holiday-themed light gold batiks and Carol Eaton’s amazing snow-dyeds. As always, Jesse helped…


I decided to construct Jesse first, with a layer of wool batting, on my Bernina, and then add him to the quilt with light stitching (trying to preserve a 3-dimensional effect).


Next, the background. A small piece of tan Cherrywood for the floor, and lots of fabric for the tree skirt! Thank goodness for MistyFuse…


It was great fun to bunch up and wrinkle the red silk to simulate the folds of the actual tree skirt. I think of it as sculpting fabric!

Next, ripped strips of fused brown batik were arranged (the trunk properly wrinkled) and fused. For the needles, I first thought it would be cool to do lots of rubbings with a dark green PaintStik, using a branch from the actual tree. It soon became clear that it would take an awful lot of paint and that I needed more texture to balance the dense tree skirt and cat, so the green Cherrywood it was:


This was another step that would not be possible without MistyFuse…pressing those “needles” then needing to rearrange more than a few πŸ™„. Finally, time to quilt! Just a little thread…


…and some fun textures:


The tree lights were a bit of a challenge…I tried simply stitching in some sparkly thread, but it was not nearly enough. Angelina to the rescue- I pressed a sheet of it, fused it, cut into small rectangles, and scrunched on top of each light location. If you’ve never tried Angelina, do…it is incredibly fun to use.


Finished and ready for a facing…as you can see, Jackson kept me company as I finished the hand-stitching ;).


Now back to a clean studio and my next pet portrait 😁…have a wonderful long weekend!

Jelly Roll to the Rescue!

I think of pre-cut “jelly rolls” as excellent emergency supplies. They rock when you have, umm, forgotten a key item while away from your studio πŸ™„ and thus cannot work on that art quilt in progress…or, as instant baby quilt ingredients anytime! 

I like to line the strips up first to identify value…


…using a black and white photo to assist. See that turquoise? I would never have expected it to read as light as it does.

Then I try my best to distribute the strips to maximize contrast and bring a little sparkle to the mix:


For this piece, I pulled out the duplicates…these 8 strips will come on handy for a border.

Lots of very zen stitching to join the strips…


After stitching the last one, stitch THAT one back to the first to form a tube…press carefully…and slice. Of course here is where you can slice unevenly and create bargello…I wanted to keep it simple and keep the emphasis on Janine’s awesome fabric (so I opted for 2 1/2″ slices to create perfect squares).


Time for the seam ripper! Detach each ring one square down for a very simple effect. (Basically making a quarter of that traditional Round the World pattern). Decide which strip will be your starting point…


I like to piece with abutting seams, so I then press the seam allowances in alternating directions. Double check each time before you begin stitching or you’ll end up doing this πŸ™„:


Pressed and ready for border strips and some Aurifil quilting! Jackson helpfully offered to help hold the spools ;)…


Happy weekend — here’s to lots of β˜€οΈ and stitching!

One Subject, Multiple Scales

What is your comfort zone for the size of your art? I found myself thinking about this subject the other day as I work on a piece featuring one of my favorite subjects 🐾🐾.

For me, very dramatic faces are easier to explore on a large scale. My feral sidekick…the cat behind the original Neon Kitty quilt…has an incredibly striking face. Cleopatra would have envied her ‘eyeliner’ ;). Our adventurous black cat may be monochromatic but his enormous emerald green eyes speak volumes.

By contrast, our Jesse had a gentle, mild demeanor that went with his personality. My smaller pieces (the one above is 6″ square, this one 12″) were able to capture his spirit….


…in a way that I don’t think I was able to capture in this larger wall quilt:


So, my work-in-progress addressed this by constructing a smaller Jesse and placing him into a much more interesting setting…the topic of my next post :).

Happy stitching!