Sweet Riley – part 2

In yesterday’s post, I left you with ONE and only one piece ready to fuse.

Now it was time to get my skates on if I was going to meet the guild challenge deadline!!

As I cut out each piece, I would place my silicon sheet on top of the pattern and then place the pattern on top of my light board….

I could see thru these layers well enough to be able to place the pieces that were ready to be fused….

Once they were in place, I could easily slide the silicon sheet onto the ironing board and have the perfect place to fuse all of the pieces together.

In just a short time, the design started to grow…..

…but I didn’t think that it looked like ANYTHING, much less a sweet dog.

I was honestly ready to call it quits.

But, I took a photo with my phone and could actually see the design was coming together well.

I think that I was simply too close to it while I was working but the camera lens moved me back and let me see it with a different eye.

I decided to add her eyes and see what difference that made….

Okay….there she is!!!

When I had finished the initial design, I placed it on some background fabrics and carried it downstairs to show to Michael…..

He said that it was perfect and not to change anything, but my eye kept coming back to the top of her head and felt that the fabrics were too light in value.

So, back upstairs I went and, after trying about 15 different fabrics, I finally finished…..

When I sat down to quilt, the first thing that I did was to get the foot stuck under one of the background fabric edges!!

Then, I remembered the “applique” foot that I had received last year as a Christmas gift!! I pulled it out and started quilting again….

It made SO much difference!!

I always wondered if I would be able to see okay with the foot on but I found that I was looking down into the middle of the foot and could easily see every stitch…..

After I finished with the quilting, I carefully trimmed it down to the required 18-inches and got ready to put the facing on.

Then it dawned on me…

IF I use a facing that turns under to the back, I will lose 1/4-inch on each side and the quilt will now be 17.5-inches and not the required 18-inches!! ARGH!!

I turned the facing into binding and started again!!

I am thrilled with Sweet Riley …….

…..and was happy to see Jenny’s face light up when she opened the gift!!

That makes it ALL worthwhile!!

Sweet Riley

Since Christmas has passed and the gift has been presented, I can now share about our guild’s latest challenge.

The rules were to make an 18-inch animal portrait with some metal on it.

Many years ago, I made a pet portrait of my daughter’s first dog…..


For several years she has requested a portrait of her second dog, a German Shorthair Pointer named Riley.

The problem with Riley is that she is chocolate brown and I never had a photo that showed enough highlights to be able to make a pattern for the quilt. Then Jenny posted this photo on Facebook…..


I opened the photo in Photoshop Elements, using the Cut-Out Filter and the “Posterize Filter” and then took it to my local printer for a pattern…..

I decided to use the one on the left because there was not as much detail and I thought that it would be easier to do.

Oh, one thing that I forgot to tell you…..

I only gave myself 1.5 days to complete this challenge!!

I used a Sharpie marker to draw around the major areas…..the ink soaks thru, revealing a “reverse image” line drawing on the back of the paper….

I traced the design onto super-fine interfacing and set it up on an easel on my cutting table….

I was concerned that I would knock the easel off as I was working so secured it well with tape…..

I started out by picking the basic fabrics that I would use…..

Okay….I was ready to start….

At this point, I lost my nerve!! I don’t know why, but I was nervous about making this quilt. I don’t know if it was the short time available or what, but I simply couldn’t get started!!

It didn’t help that I had a dream the night before about making this quilt and having EVERYTHING go wrong!!

One of the things that came out of the dream was that I realized I did not want to use Misty Fuse and “free-cut” the shapes, but to use Wonder Under instead.

To get myself started, I picked the EASIEST piece….the shadow on her nose!!

The problem with Wonder Under is that when you keep fusing layer upon layer of fabric together, the top gets really stiff, but I had a plan to keep this from happening.

First, I traced the design onto Wonder Under….

Cut out the inside section of the fusible…..

…and then ironed the design onto the fabric….

….and cut out the shape…..

When the paper is removed, the outside edge is ready to fuse….

…but the inside is free from fusible.

This process may mean an extra step here and there but it is certainly worth the effort!!

So, with this first piece ready to put into place, let’s stop here and pick her up again tomorrow!!!

Sadie’s Background….Iteration #4.5!!

Well, after 4 tries, I think that I am finally happy with the background for the Saddle-Billed Stork collage.

Yesterday, I posted about painting this background……

As I looked further at it, I realized that I wanted to add a bit more shading to the two blue-green areas and also some more definition to the meadow in the foreground.

I decided that the best way to fix the meadow was using my trusty sea sponge and made a video to show you the process. If you have never worked with sponge painting, it is fun, easy, and adds SO much texture to the painting….

This is the final view…..

I am not super happy with the dark blue/green on the top left, but I think that I can work on it more with the quilting.

However, I AM super happy with the meadow area…..

It is going to be so much fun to add threads, thin pieces of fabric, and other yarns to make this area stand out.

Stay tuned for LOTS more!!!

Sadie’s background iteration #4

If you have been following along, I have now made THREE attempts to find a good background for “Sadie, the Saddle-Billed Stork”.

Yesterday I told you about painting a background with Tulip Fabric Paints but that it still wasn’t quite right!!

Now I ordered better fabric paints…this time using Plebeo “Setacolor” brand.

I traced my outlines onto the fabric using a GREEN Inktense pencil this time.

I learned my lesson about using BLACK…..it is too apparent!!

I started mixing paints and began the painting process using small strokes on wet fabric….

As I continued, I became happier and happier with the results…..

….and quickly finished the background…..

Once it had dried, I added Sadie….


As I looked further at it and compared it to the original photo…..

….I realized that the center section needs some more work so Iteration #5 will include changing the color and adding some shadows.

But, I haven’t done that yet so you will need to wait a few days for that post!!

I know that you are all DESPERATE to see the finished product so please be sure to subscribe so that you will know when the culmination posts!!!

Sadie’s Background iteration #3

For the last two days, I have been talking about building a background for the Saddle-Billed Stork Collage.

At this point, I was fed up with trying to use individual fabrics and decided to give painting a try!!

I had some Jacquard fabric paints but didn’t feel like I had the colors I would need, so I decided to make a run to Hobby Lobby and see what they had.

I was ecstatic to find that they had two packs of Tulip fabric paints, including one with “Nature” colors!!

I knew that these paints would change the hand of the fabric but hoped that it wouldn’t be too bad!!

I also purchased some new, wide brushes and also a new set of sea sponges….

This time I worked from a full-size template and used a black Inktense pencil to draw the lines onto the PFD (Prepared-for-dying) fabric. I found a fairly easy way to transfer the design by just lifting the fabric and roughly tracing the lines

The tracing looks really dark in the video but the lines were actually quite light.

After a bit of practice, I found that the paint worked better on a wet surface so I started out by misting the area that I wanted to paint. My first problem was that the black lines turned REALLY dark when the water was added!!!…..

But, as I added more and more water, and scrubbed the line using a “scrubber paintbrush”…..

….the lines finally faded out.

I used one bowl to do all of the paint mixing for the entire project and think that it helped to keep the colors in a similar tone…..

I sprayed each area and then started painting with short “X”- like strokes, adding more water as needed and continuing until the area was filled. I found that it worked better using an almost dry brush…..

After I had basically finished painting the area, I went back over some parts with a sea-sponge to add a bit more texture…..

When everything was dry, I added Sadie…..

….and LOVED how it looked.

BUT….. there are two problems with this painted background.

Firstly, it is REALLY stiff. The paints greatly changed the hand of the fabric.

Secondly, and even more disconcerting, the paints dried with a shimmer to them. They were labeled as Matte, but they obviously had some type of sparkle added in.

As much as I liked the overall look, the two problems made it unusable!!

So…come back tomorrow for try # FOUR!!!!