It all began with one of my favorite photos of my first most-beloved feline partners. The photo sat in my studio for years while I tried to figure out the best tribute to my boy.
I had run it through my favorite app to have a pattern ready…
…but, I kept procrastinating. How complicated a backing? A real quilt? Should I paint something?
Then this WIP took up residence…intended to be a lap quilt inspired by the “Zipper” pattern in one of Modern Quilt Studio’s fantastic books. It was slow going since a certain black cat was, umm, less than helpful 😂
Then, it occurred to me that the never-to-be quilted top could be the perfect background for my boy…
And I began to sculpt it around him (thank God for MistyFuse). After struggling with the layout, I reverted to a more traditional rectangular shape. But…it occurred to me that, instead of fur, I could stitch in some of the story about how GL came to live with us. Hmm. So, first I quilted him separately, stitching in each word…then placed him onto the backing and quilted his furry edges and some lines of his body. This allowed me to keep him more 3-dimensional. As always, creating the eyes was my favorite part :).
Since he was my quilting buddy, I created some “spools” of Aurifil thread and added them, as well as a loose “thread” of Aurifloss (couched on with monofilament).
Finally finished 🎉 ;)…now to create a Furstory for Loki, the Kitten Who Lived (apologies to JK Rowling)!
Anyone who follows my posts has probably noticed that I have become happily obsessed with the Procreate app for iPad 😁. There is actually a method to my madness as I have some big projects for which this will be incredibly useful…but as I cannot share those yet, I wanted to show you this tool with a photo of our kitten as an example ;).
So…first import the photo into Procreate. You will see this on the screen…
Next – IMPORTANT! – add a new layer. (You’ll see why in a moment.) Select the “fine tip” brush from the inking category…it will be the most precise for tracing the segments of your subject. Select a color (I use black unless it’s a very dark photo) and carefully trace around each piece. The pencil felt awkward to me at first but it is pretty amazing how quickly you can draw smoothly with it. Ok, now you will see:
Now, UNcheck the photo layer and you will have your drawing:
See why it’s important to trace in a different layer?
Now, decide your palette. You might decide to select colors that represent fabrics you know you want to use…or, simply play with the colors you see and adjust as you so. I like to title my palette for a specific piece:
Next – yup, another layer. This one will be for the colors you use to fill each area of your pattern. This is a great way to play around with different shades and see how they look before you commit to cutting fabric.
This step is time consuming but great fun…I am still learning the color drop method which is much faster than filling each section in with brush strokes. Lots more to do on this kitty but meanwhile, I can decide on the best background fabric by testing background colors. Add another layer (you can label them) which will be the background layer. Using the freehand drawing function, draw all around your subject (It might need to be in two parts because you need closed shapes) and use color drop to audition your colors:
Try it with a simple picture and have fun playing with the tools 🎨!