Author Archives: neonkittyquilts

About 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.

You Should Buy That Fabric Because…

Ok, so most of you might not need an enabling friend. But…for those who do…I was thinking about my many friends who are on vacation, doubtless visiting quilt shops, and might be holding that fabric in their hands, needing a little nudge. This post is for you ;)!

#1 because that fabric will inspire a quilt you would never have considered!


See those REALLY bright fat quarters? At Quilters Take Manhattan, I grabbed a stack from Cherrywood and a stack from Kaffe Fassett’s fabrics and simply fell in love. OK so it’s a little bright 😎 but I love it 😁…

#2 It’s Christmas fabric…and even if you live in a household of only 2 humans, other family members can’t get enough of them….

#3 Because you WILL use them eventually…really. This piece created in January includes fabrics purchased at least 12 years ago (and nothing brand new, which gives one a sense of being a virtuous quilter…ok until the next time you walk into your LQS).

#4 Because they’re hand-dyed pieces, and therefore are one of a kind and are meant for YOU. (When you become friends with a really talented fabric-dyer, it becomes even more complicated πŸ˜‰…)


#5 Because you’ve met the designer and think they’re awesome! Hence my obsession with Uppercase…


(Janine, I am dying for the 2nd collection!!) and my impatient wait for Jamie Fingal’s new fabrics 😍!!
So, in conclusion…go ahead, pounce on that fabric!

Jake the Rottie

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The challenge: convey the (adorable) personality of this Instagram-star-pup in a gift for a special couple. Having never met Jake…having never actually met a Rottie in real life…hmm. What I did have was (lots) of amazing photos from his Instagram account; after much deliberation I chose this one:

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…and decided to flip it horizontally for my composition. I like to use relatively simple backgrounds comprised of interesting hand-dyed fabrics, and had found a green that is the groom’s favorite color (go, Packers!). Fur colors I have in abundance in my fabric and thread stash, so these were easy to select:

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More than I would need, of course, and all MistyFused and ready to go. I printed the image in 4 cells to expand it, and away we went with the rotary cutter…

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…generating just a few scraps along the way!

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Once Jake’s head and neck were roughed out, it was time for some ink and pencil to begin the process of blending the areas…

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Then, time to decide on the composition. I needed a couple of props in piece to accompany him, and decided (with the help of a few awesome friends in the SAQA network :)) that the suggestion of a park behind him, via a stone wall and some tree branches, would frame his face nicely.

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I love putting texture into a piece with tree bark and “stone” walls!

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Then, lots and lots of “fur” stitching…and the addition of an extra layer of batting for his snout (another reason to love MistyFuse – the ability to lift layers and compose as you go!):

 

For the background quilting, a simple lasso/leaf pattern seemed to work. Whew. I really must meet the real Jake soon πŸ˜‰ πŸ’œπŸΎπŸΎ.

Greetings from Thread Heaven!

Yesterday I received my welcome package from my friends at Aurifil…I am so thrilled to be a part of the Aurifil Artisan program! As promised, here is what I found…

Mmmmm…color charts for all of their threads! I knew there were a ton of colors but the impact is really brought home when you unfold…and unfold…and unfold…these babies. Of course, I had to pause my unpacking to jot down my current inventory :)…

In addition to the enormous spectrum of cotton threads, there are a much wider variety than I realized of wool, too (see the very first photo). Hmm, ok, what’s next…

Awesome – one of the really large cones of lovely neutral thread for all future piecing needs for my lifetime ;). This also strikes me as a potential shade for fur in future pet portraits. Next up…..

Squee!! Aurifloss and 3 shades of wool AND 4 shades of the fairly new 80wt thread…I can’t wait to try that one! And…

Oooooh…a 12-box set of large spools of the 50wt that I know and love…40wt which I’ve tried…30wt which I hadn’t…AND 12wt (in a couple of particularly glorious colors). Of course I had to do a little comparison stitching:

Yes, the 12wt does work in the top of the Bernina (I used a 100 topstitch needle just to play it safe).

Happy sigh…and many projects to plan. Thank you to the Aurifil gang – this was an AMAZING welcome!

(I’m going to close with another shot of the box of threads in case FaceBook picks up the last photo when it posts this…I don’t think you’ll mind another look :).)

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!

Memo from My Long-Arm πŸ˜‰


Memo
TO: HandiQuilter HR Dept

FROM: Laurie’s Avante

RE: Request for re-assignment 

Dear HQ:

Hi, it’s me, your 2011 model. Remember when you sold me to this apparently sane quilter, who claimed she wanted me to make lap quilts? You know, normal quilts?

Well, all was fine for the first couple of years…then all of a sudden “art” quilts showed up. One after the other. With some of the most bizarre materials you can imagine…definitely not covered in my training back in the factory. Paint…ink…plastic…sigh.

My colleague the Bernina is no help whatsoever…she just sits there with that smug smile. Take yesterday…I’m trying to stitch (another?!) already layered/quilted/stitched cat onto LOTS of layers of fused silk. With monofilament both top and bottom. Do I get any thanks? No, all I receive (when the thread breaks) is less-than-polite remarks that the Bernina wouldn’t have a problem. 

I have kept myself in excellent shape (ok, I’ll admit, she is very diligent about maintenance) and would make an excellent partner for a traditional quilter. You know, normal stuff. Thank you in advance for your consideration.