On Friday, I was able to spend a good portion of the day in my studio and accomplished quite a lot on my Henna Girl.
First, I wanted to finish her shirt and am finally happy with it. I think that the quilting will add the texture needed to make it look better…..
Next, I finished up the arm and then it was time to tackle the hands!!! The technique that have been using on this quilt is to draw each section out onto freezer paper………
I then pick the fabric that is most prominent in the piece and iron the freezer paper pattern to the back. Once cut out, I start adding the details. If it is a bigger piece, I am gluing it on but if it is a smaller piece, I am using wonder under to hold it in place…..
The plan is to put a layer of tulle over the top of the finished picture and then quilt in the lines of the piece. That way I don’t have to worry about smaller pieces being raw edged.
So, once I got the hand and arm connected, it was time to figure out how to do the Henna Tattoo. The designs on the girl’s arms were not majorly visible and I knew that I wanted them to show up a bit more in the quilt. I also could tell that they were not done by a professional but probably by someone just learning the technique. Instead of trying to replicate her designs, I decided to find my own!! After playing with several designs, I came up with this idea…..
With much trepidation, I pulled out a Fabrico Marker and started drawing the designs. They are a bit shaky, but that actually fits in with the idea of someone just learning how to do this!!
At the end of the day, I had finished the right arm, including the tattoo…..
I know that her wrist looks weird but remember that there is a bead bracelet that needs to go there. I am now debating about whether to do the beads in fabric or with actual beads.
Hopefully I can keep working this next week and get the other arm finished and MAYBE work some on her pants!!
Thanks for following along and for all of the encouragement!!!
In my last post, I mentioned that I had a project that I wanted to try but didn’t think that I had the ability to do it!! And, in my usual fashion, I have successfully avoided it for the past week or more, however, I will mention that my studio is SUPER clean!!!
Here is the backstory for the project….
In 2015, we spent several days in the city of Pune in India. On one of those days, I spent 6+ hours visiting the old-town of Pune with my guide Rashid of Chalo Heritage and Nature Walks. To read more about this day you can check out my blog here. But, this is the relevant information…..
Often when we travel, there is one moment that defines the trip for you and this was it for me….I asked if I could take a photo of a woman and young girl. They agreed and I got this wonderful shot.
I had noticed that the girl had Henna tattoos on her arms and asked if she would show them to me. She extended her arms and I leaned down to take the photo, focusing mostly on the designs on her arms. As I looked past the camera I realized that she was looking up at me with the most soulful eyes and beautiful smile. I backed the camera up further and was able to get this heart stopping image….
I have long wanted to try a portrait quilt and this image was stuck in my head. After seeing all of the gorgeous portraits at the Houston show, I knew that I had to give it a try.
I started by pulling the photo into Photoshop and playing with the “postser-ize” function until I got a photo that better showed the shadows…..
I then printed it in black and white onto a single piece of paper and drew the outline on acetate (overhead projection paper for those of us old enough to remember it)!! I then blew up the outline…..
….and was completely overwhelmed with the pattern and, once again, decided that it was a reason to NOT attempt the quilt.
THEN, on Thursday I visited with the Landrum County Quilters in South Carolina and gave my “Viewing the World Thru Quilt Colored Glasses” talk. As part of the talk, I show this photo and mentioned that I was having trouble getting started. After the meeting ended, Debbie came up and encouraged me to blow up the picture and use that as my pattern. DUH!!!! When I did that, the design became much clearer…..
I then began tracing around the major blocks using a fine tipped Sharpie. I had originally planned to do the entire body but then decided that I should start with the head first…..
The nice thing about using a Sharpie on paper is that it seeps thru to the back so that I end up with a pretty good reverse of the design.
At this point, I looked at all of the detail and walked calmly downstairs and told my husband that there was no way that I would ever be able to make this quilt!!! Yet another excuse.
So, today was the day for me to start on it, but I wasn’t happy with my fabrics. I had purchased some fabrics at the show but decided that most of them were not appropriate and used that as my NEXT excuse for not starting on the top!! Then, this morning I remembered that I had tons of flesh tone fabrics that my friend, Anita, had dyed for me years ago, so that excuse was gone!!
After I had selected 5 or 6 fabrics it was time to get started. I was originally going to use Wonder Under and fuse the pieces down but was concerned that it would get too stiff as the layers added up. Instead, I decided to use Freezer Paper to cut out the shape and then use small dabs of glue to attach it to the main piece.
I slowly started working thru the process…..
….adding one piece at a time, and even coloring a few pieces that needed to be a bit darker….
At each step of the game, I would look at what I had done and think……that does NOT look like a face…..
And, then I added the mouth and magically, it looks like a face……
….at least if you squint at it!!!
I realize that the big test will come when I add the eyes, but I am so excited that I have made it this far!!!
This face may never see the light of day outside of my studio, but it has definitely encouraged me that I MIGHT be able to do this.
If you remember earlier this summer, I posted about 2 baby quilts that I was making for Bo’s Bros!!!
Well, the Bros have arrived…..Ellis and Patrick are their names!!!
These two photos of them lounging on one of the quilts that I made fills my heart to overflowing……
….and reminds me of one of the reasons that I love the art of quilting!!!
OKAY…..Saturday was transition day for my blog as we left for a month in Europe. We will be visiting Italy (Naples and Rome), France (St. Ettiene & Lyon) and Basel, Switzerland. SO, for the next four weeks this blog will be more about travel than about quilting, although I ALWAYS manage to find inspiration as we travel.
When I first moved the blog to WordPress, I spent some time looking around for blogs of interest and came across “ARHtistic License” The blog is written by Andrea R. Huelsenbeck, with the intent to promote creativity. This is from her “About” page…..
And she has met these goals and more!!! She posts daily, and covers a huge genre of artistic endeavors. My favorite weekly post is “Creative Juice” which appears every Friday. In this post, she links to other blogs and websites which provide inspiration for creativity of all sorts.
A few weeks ago she wrote and asked if I would do an interview for her blog. I was very excited about this possibility but also very humbled that she would include me in her content!!
When I left you yesterday I had finally sewn all of the inner strips together to form the inside square of the quilt. I did not add the final dark fabric to it since I knew that it would make the applique harder. Instead, I just pinned it to the design wall so that I could get an idea of what it would look like……
Now it was time to start placing the “Catherine Wheel” circles that will be hand appliqued. I knew that I needed to be careful placing the circles so that the arc was consistent from row to row. To solve that problem I pinned the first three arcs into place……
…..and drew a paper pattern from the middle row……
I cut this pattern out of cardboard and used it to place the other rows……
I used a Wash-out marker to draw around the circles so that I could easily place them as I worked thru the hand applique……
My concern was that the Red and Green arcs seemed to not fit as well. I was having to adjust the circle spacing to make them fit, but I finished it up anyway and was happy with how it looked……
I removed everything from the design wall and as I was getting ready to take out the last few pins, I noticed it…….
Do you see it?
The strips on the bottom left and top right are 2 inches smaller than the other ones!!!! No wonder I was having trouble fitting all of the circles into the space!!
So, I picked out both of those seams and added 2 inch strips to the outside…..
Once again there are now MORE seams for me to applique over!!!
At this point I was so disgusted that I washed off the markings for those two sets of arcs and put everything away for the day!! But that night I pulled it out and started the applique circles on the 6 arcs that are correct.
The applique process has been relaxing and, so far, I am happy with what how it looks…..
Today we packed for a 4 week trip in Europe (hubby works and I play), and I am not planning to take this project with me. But it WILL be here when I return and hopefully, I will be able to “sort-of” finish it up!!!
If you have been reading this blog in the past few months, you may be wondering exactly what happened to the Color wheel quilt. I can assure you that it is still in process!! I was super excited when the fabrics that I had ordered arrived……
They are so much better than the pieces that I tried to dye for myself!!
This quilt has been a “sort-of” quilt…… I “sort of” knew how I was going to lay it out and I “sort of” knew how I was going to attach the squiggles, and I “sort of” knew how I was going to position the Catherine Wheel circles and I have “NO IDEA” what I am going to add in the outer corners…..but that is getting ahead of myself!!! Back to the “sort-of ‘s”!!
The first thing that I needed to do was to figure out the
exact size of the squiggle square because that would determine the dimensions
of my inside square. I started laying it out on the floor but…..
….I couldn’t make it square to save my soul!!! I would
carefully adjust one side and corner, only to have the other side not fit!!
If only there was some way that I could square up the sides???? Oh yeah, I have a laser square…..let’s try that!!!
And, amazingly, I had a good square laid out in just a few minutes……
A quick measurement of the center square (47 inches) and I
was ready to start cutting background fabrics…..and things started going
This is the layout that I was thinking about…..
I want the squiggle to be on the darkest fabric and will want at least 2 inches on either side of it. So, if I take 4 inches off of the inside square measurement, I need the center piecing to be 43 inches. These 43 inches will be split between 3 fabrics…..say 14.5 inches each.
Do you see my mistake???? There are actually FIVE strips in the inner square and not 3. So now I have cut all of the fabrics too wide….YIKES!!!
I trimmed them back down to the needed size and started working from the inside out.
The first step was to applique the inner color wheel. I had a “sort-of” idea about how to do this using bias binding to cover the edges. My plan was to machine sew the inside edge and then hand stitch the outside edges. BUT…..no matter how hard I tried on my practice piece, I could not get it to lay flat…..the binding would pull the circle in and cause it to puff out……
At least I had the foresight to practice my technique prior to working on the actual piece!!! After several tries, I decided to change tracks and applique BOTH sides of the bias tape which meant that I could make everything lay flat. I accomplished this by glue basting the bias tape all the way around the circle before I ever started stitching…..
However, I did manage to cut the bias tape too short the first time and didn’t leave enough to join it back together…..ARGH!!! At last I had it finished…..
….but then realized that the yellow had to be on point and not on the square side of the block.
At this point I need to say…..I promise that I am smart, although you couldn’t prove it with this day’s work!!!!
Instead of re-doing the applique, I ended up adding corners to each of the sides to put the color wheel in the proper perspective……
So much for not having many seams to applique over!!!
I will leave this disaster here for now and continue with “Comedy of Errors” in tomorrow’s post!!
…..at least INSIDE our house….the temperature outside is still well entrenched in the 90’s!!! And when I say voila….I really mean 7 hours of hard labor on this Labor Day Monday!!!
I have posted before (and this post talks about hanging my quilts) about my enjoyment of changing our decorating every season and Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. Even if I don’t start out super excited about “decorating day”, pulling out all of the artwork helps to get me in the mood……
I particularly enjoy the items that we have brought from various countries, including these fun items from Columbia…..
One of the favorite parts of decorating is hanging the “quilt of the month”…..
….and this one holds special significance for me!!!
I was born and raised in West Texas where “Autumn” lasts for about 3 days….ie the leaves go from green to brown with no intervening colors. Then we lived in Canberra Australia which had mostly Eucalyptus trees which were evergreens. Then came a short stint in Baton Rouge, Louisiana which had a proliferation of Pine trees….ie a storm of pine straw but no leaves.
Then we moved to Athens, Georgia where there is a good mixture of Pines and deciduous trees. A couple of years into our stay, I made an important decision to start eating better, lose weight and get active. The activity that I chose was walking and boy did I walk!!!
I started this new regime in September and as I walked, I was enamored with the leaves as they floated and spun to the ground around me. This idea for this quilt was hatched during one of those walks and I couldn’t wait to get started on it!!
As the idea grew, I decided to start in one corner with green leaves and a summer blue sky and have both the leaves and the sky change colors as they transitioned to dead leaves and a thin winter sky. I enjoyed working thru my scraps to come up with the needed fabrics and several quilting friends donated from their stash as well.
To finish the piece, I couldn’t get away from Geese flying South for winter. The geese thin as they go around the quilt and there are even some hidden ones quilted into the left hand border…..
I tried to mimic the swirling wind in the quilting…..
I love this quilt for so many reasons….. it was one of the first quilts that I designed myself and also it was the first quilt in my monthly quilt series!!
When I see it, I am reminded to look forward to cooler temperatures and the upcoming joys of Autumn!
While I am waiting for the purchased fabric to arrive, I decided to do a few other things to get ready for the next stage in this quilt.
I had finally finished preparing all of the circles and stacked them up ready for use……
I love how the colors pop, even though I can only see the turned under edges!!
The next step was to trim the “squiggle” down so that I can attach it to the background using bias tape. I started to trim right on the line, but instead decided to leave about 1/8th of an inch on the edge…..
The next step was to remove the Golden Threads paper that I had used as a base for the piecing……..
It is hard to believe that it has taken this much time to do work that will fit in a few zip lock bags!!!
One of my friends, Janelle, has been reading this blog and found a fabric that she thought might encourage and inspire me and she sweetly brought it to the latest guild meeting……
It really does give me some ideas about how to fill the corners of the quilt…..isn’t that what quilting friends are for!!!!!