Ok, so it has been a long time since I have written anything here! Other parts of life have become much much busier and I am once again logging lots of air miles. But, new friends bring new subjects for pet portraits ;)…in this case, a little tribute to a much-loved and recently lost companion.

Poof was quite a beautiful (and fashion forward) girl, as shown on in this starting point photo:

First step, run the photo through one of my favorite apps to turn in the image into a more usable image:

Then, select fabrics. This was easy because I had a small but spectacular piece of Carol Eaton’s ice-dyed fabric that was perfect for Poof’s fur…and a light grey print from Janine’s first collection was just right for the sweatshirt. (We pause for a moment to consider how many of our cats would allow us to dress them…) The only real question for me was, which background fabric? Since her fur would be variegated, I wanted a simpler backdrop…

…and opted for a rich blue Grunge fat quarter. Time to MistyFuse!

I traced the outlines of Poof and her sweatshirt on freezer paper, then decided the fabric was light enough to trace in the features directly on the fabric before fusing to the background…

The marvelous thing about ice-dyed fabrics is the variation in color…it was easy to position the pieces to mimic lighter and darker fur. Then, of course, lots and lots of thread! Glossy polyester for her fur…Aurifil cotton for sweatshirt, background and whiskers ;).

I recalled – from a class I took years ago – a very simple alternative to a hanging sleeve, and stitched corners onto the back of the piece…the pencil shows where to put a bamboo skewer or similar thin piece for easy hanging:

I must admit I fell in love with this face while working on this piece! (In the studio now, a portrait of the incredibly cute Burrito…next post :)…)

Waiting for the Train


A delay at your commuter train station can be a perfect opportunity for a little creativity! This piece began with a pretty mundane picture of one side of the waiting area at the South Norwalk MetroNorth train station…a wall of glass interrupted only by a television and a large clock. By cropping the photo and running it through a neon filter in one of my favorite apps, MegaPhoto (filter #143), I ended up with a quilt-worthy image:

The red lines you see are from another app, GridaPic, which enables me to enlarge the image and print ‘cells’ out which – when taped together – become the pattern for a larger piece.

Next step, pull the right colors from my stash and MistyFuse all of them:

See those large rolls of MistyFuse? Simply the best…I cannot recommend them enough. On to composition…after studying this image, I decided to make the yellow batik the base and fuse other colors onto it, then ink as needed.

I like to take the strongest elements from my photos and wait to include details until the piece progresses. As you can see, I used a lot of simple straight cutting here, with the exception of the clock face and the brilliant green “sunspot” on the face. I inked in the clock details and brushed in a few shades of orange in the “sky” as well as a few green highlights…I can then use these ink marks as a road map for my stitching. On to the thread – my favorite part! I have my personal dozen Aurifil basics for my neon pieces:

I adore all of these shades! If you are curious, here are the shade numbers for these Aurifil 50wt beauties (my names on the colors, simply for reference here).


Another favorite step is deciding which thread shades to use where:

I usually delete a lot of details, and sometimes add ones that were not really there! I decided we needed a couple of birds on the wire to help the viewer see that these yellow lines were, in fact, wires…so, here are a couple of feathered friends discussing the latest train delays and agreeing they are happy that they can fly ;)…:

A million stitches or so later (OK, not literally…), I decide the piece is finished…usually when I can no longer find room to stitch. I decided to do a simple zigzag stitch to finish, edged with some piping to give the edges a little more heft. While my Bernina Stitch Regulator created 99% of this piece, I must give a shout-out to the 2A foot…much better than the open toe for taming edges on an art quilt. (Thanks to Cheryl Sleboda for this tip…her videos are always fabulous if you haven’t watched them!)

So…the next time you find yourself delayed in travel, use the time to grab some photos of seemingly-mundane objects…because you never know which will become your next inspiration!



Credit Where Credit Is Due πŸ˜‡

Many of you may have noticed that the new series of Quilting Arts TV is now on the air in many stations across the land. It was my first experience with taping a show and incredible for many reasons (most of all the fabulous fellow artists you get to meet!) 

It is also an amazing learning experience…and, along the way, one discovers little things about public television you may not have known. The only one I found frustrating was this: we were not allowed to mention the brand names of our favorite suppliers 🀐. Personally, I love learning about unfamiliar tools and supplies when I take classes…so I thought I would share a few of my favorite things, without which I would not be able to create very much at all!

  1. MistyFuse, of course…if you have not yet switched to this lightweight, repositionable fusible yet, you simply must check out the website http://www.mistyfuse.com/ and make sure to say hi to Iris at the next major quilt show you attend :). 
  2. Tsukineko inks…convenient pens for colors and that indispensable bottle of white for dabbing in highlights in your subjects’ eyes. Compare prices online if your LQS does not carry them…Amazon is rarely the cheapest source for this particular item! 
  3. Mmmmm, thread…Aurifil, of course, for unparalleled color (from your LQS)…Superior poly for shine and subtle shading effects in fur and eyes – their trilobal polyester is awesome (and their website includes lots of “threaducation”!) 
  4. Fabric…oh so many beloved sources…but much of the art you’ll see in my segments would not have been possible without my friend Carol Eaton’s gift at hand-dyeing! Check out her website at http://carolreatondesigns.blogspot.com 

What are YOUR must-have ingredients? 😁

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


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:


…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:


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…



…generating just a few scraps along the way!


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…


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.


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


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!