Day 9: Favorite Tip…How to Handle Mono-tonal Pets!

Today’s prompt for the blog challenge is “Favorite Tip.” Aside from using Mistyfuse for EVERY project – seriously, you should – I recalled this post written after coming home from Houston a few years ago. Monotonal pets can be challenging – here are some really helpful suggestions 🐾!

One of the most frequent questions I received in last week’s (fun!) Open Studios sessions was: how do I handle my all-black dog? Or my all-white Maltipoo?

While these cuties are certainly more challenging than a high-contrast tiger stripe kitty, there are several tools at the fiber artist’s disposal:

    First step: use the photo-edit settings on your phone to maximize the contrast of the image. Play with the light settings to see which combination gives you the best image!
    Think texture: when choosing your fabrics, broaden your palette beyond quilters’ cotton. One of my favorite high-impact fabrics is silk dupioni- it has incredible sheen and a very pronounced grain which you can use to suggest the pattern of the subject’s fur. You can see where I placed on my friend’s adorable Westie and on our Jackson – on the spots where the sun was hitting their fur. In addition to different weights of cotton, silk and leather (take samples from stores, cut tiny pieces for noses 🐾🐾)…I am very excited about adding Cheryl Sleboda’s Power Shine in black to add even more surface interest.
    Thread!!! C’mon, you knew I was going to say that ;). For a white pooch, think about including every shade (off-white, cream, vanilla…) in different weights and fibers (cotton, polyester and wool). Aurifil cotton thread comes in an enormous range of weights; I love the 28wt for fur but it’s fun to mix it up. Here was my lineup for the Westie:

One unusual thread that I love for black fur babies is black metallic thread by Superior- it gives a very subtle shimmer to your fur-painting! Here is a closeup of another Jackson portrait where you may be able to see what I mean:

  • Fabric Ink! These pens can be your best friends when you want to create shadow. For instance, in one piece I stroked black ink under the chin of the kitty to further darken the hand-dyed black cotton…it can be subtle but you will find that it’s amazing how many shades of black exist!

Have fun creating! πŸΎπŸΎπŸ’œ

Published by neonkittyquilts

Laurie is a fiber artist who combines her passion for animals and quilting by producing pet portraits though a technique she calls "Pet-lique." A frequent teacher at IQF's Open Studios and The City Quilter in NYC, she has been published in Quilting Arts magazine and The Canadian Quilter. Her art quilts have been juried into special exhibits in Houston and the National Juried Show of the CQA. She sits on the board of the Quilt Alliance and is an enthusiastic member of SAQA. Laurie lives in NYC and Connecticut with her husband, their two angelic German Shepherds and three mischievous felines.

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