Monthly Archives: July 2018

Caption This! πŸ˜‰πŸΎπŸΎ

My latest piece all began, as they so often do, with an amazing piece of fabric from Carol Eaton…a 2-toned piece she added to my order for fun. The nanosecond I laid it out, I thought…hmm, black cat would look awesome on the red background, buff cat also awesome on the blue/violet.

I had pre-MistyFused pieces of Carol’s custom-dyed solids for Jesse’s other portraits and black silk from another piece featuring Jackson. Aha! I ended up not going with the other hand-dyed you see here, but instead the last precious scrap of Cherrywood black. (As you may know, black is a very difficult color to achieve in hand-dyed fabric…Cherrywood is my favorite, darkest black.)

The photo I immediately thought of was this one:

Summit meeting? Plot to overthrow human management of the house? Who knows…but it is a favorite of mine. The MobileMonet app turned it into this image:

…which gave me a paper pattern. Well, eventually…I played with re-sizing each cat half until it was the right size for the background. From there it was fast work to trace the outlines of my subjects onto their respective fabrics!

A brief side note on eyes: for very dark-toned pets, I sometimes prefer to use reverse appliquΓ© for their eyes…so Jackson’s eyes were traced, cut out then backed with a bit of Carol’s brilliant green fabric-

Next…arranged and fused…and ready for LOTS of thread 😁!

For the backgrounds, I just had to try the dark red Aurifil in a slightly heavier (40) weight…for the blue-violet, well, when you cannot decide, use both! (Using monofilament in the bobbin makes life easy when you plan to change top thread colors frequently.)

Then my favorite part: whiskers! I love using very heavy 12wt thread for this detail as it helps them to really stand out:

If you do this, don’t forget to switch to an even larger needle…I use a 100 Topstitch needle for whiskers (90 for nearly everything else).

Time to complete this piece: about 8-9 (all-consuming) hours. My biggest time-saver, by far, is to MistyFuse my fabrics in advance-this enables me to go right to the cutting-composing-fusing-changing my mind and re-positioning phase. (The biggest time drain was trying to adjust the highlighted sections of Jackson’s fur…too dark!…whoops, too light…oh, SO much fabric ink…)

Now, to decide on a title πŸ˜‚…what do you think?

I Love It! I Must Have It! … What Do I DO With It?

I recently introduced a friend to the amazingly talented Carol Eaton…well, more specifically, to Carol’s hand-dyed fabrics. I had to smile, remembering my initial OMG it’s-too-good-to-cut-into reaction. The vast majority of my pet portraits, big and small, are in no small part a collaboration with Carol’s gift.

Now that she has an Etsy shop:, I thought it would be fun to share the many ways you can use her marvelous fabrics.

1- Most obviously, as a brilliant background to a particularly cute subject. In the case of this quilt, I sent Carol the photo of adorable Ivy and she hand-dyed the “fur” solid fabrics I used to create the pup portrait against one of my favorite confetti-dyed backgrounds:

2- As a key ingredient of a piece…for instance, the leaves and vines in this portrait of Jackson were cut from an ice-dyed green I adored:

3- Consider functional pieces…such as this notebook cover I stitched for my Sweetie a few Hanukkahs ago:

4- Simply marvel at how nature imitates art (or vice versa?!)…I came home from walking the dog with this photo and realized I has a perfect background for a landscape:

I am a firm believer in the notion that our fabric talks to us and reveals its perfect use…this has been waiting for me for 3 years now, shouting at me that it must become this skyscape:

…while a few other pieces sit on my shelf, smiling mysteriously as they make me wait ;). I think the most important advice would be to enjoy the process…and when you feel that muse, don’t be afraid to cut into that fabric!