Back in February, I was continuing to work on my “Henna Girl” quilt and completely messed up the quilting on her face…… see the post here.
I picked it out the same day that I quilted it and then put the quilt away until after my studio was finished and I felt comfortable going back to it. It just so happened that my comfort level finally returned last week!!!
After my initial disaster, one of my quilting buddies, Rosie, sent a diagram that she thought would help…..
After studying this for a while, I sat down with yet another photo of the face and started drawing in lines. After numerous attempts, I decided that this one had the most promise…..
When I got ready to do the quilting, I was nervous about trying to free-hand it again so marked some guide dots to help me along…..
This made the quilting much easier to do and, in a very short time, I was thru……
I finished the background using a ruler to quilt parallel lines at various widths.
The final step was to add the beads. I had original planned to use beads that I had on hand, but ended up at Joann’s one day and found the PERFECT beads…….
So….I am happy to present “Mahek the Market Girl”…….
Many years ago, the guild presented the challenge to make a personality quilt. It could be an actual likeness or an image that reminded the observer of you.
Back then, I had NO idea of how to make an actual likeness, and did not have the confidence to even try one.
Instead, I thought about my quilting personality and decided to show my quilting closet!! At this time, I worked solely on the kitchen table, often using the kitchen island for a cutting station. My fishing tackle box full of supplies sat on one corner of the island. Moving the cutting mat and fabric was often the first step to dinner preparation and there was no possibility of sitting at the sewing machine laden table. We typically ate our family dinner in the living room, normally watching Batman or Rin-Tin-Tin on TV.
A closet was the only place that I had to store my supplies. Fabric boxes were stacked on the floor and thread spools were hung on the door. The shelves held supplies, batting and all other necessary supplies.
The front of the quilt sported a door……
But when you opened it, you could see the full extent of my quilting closet…….
The top shelf held a roll of batting and my “tool box”……
Next came a shelf of books….quilting, gardening and music…..
I laugh now that there is even a book called “Successful Parenting” and another called the “Softball Team Mother’s Handbook”. Of course there is a book called “Financial Statement Preparation” and another called “Natural Hybridization” (Michael’s first book). Quite an eclectic assortment!!!
The next shelf had a very important box full of UFO’s with the note to “DO THESE FIRST”. The other side held some of my finished quilts. ……
I remember having fun with these finished quilts as I printed photos onto fabric. This was one of my first tries at this technique.
The bottom shelf contained an always teetering stack of fabrics……
It is fun to note that I still have some of these fabrics and have recently been carefully folding them to fit on my new shelves.
The final section was inside the door…..
This panel included photos of Michael and I, one of the kids. There were a few spools of thread and my current to-do list. And finally, my “quilt angel” award that I won at our very first guild show…..more about that in another post.
All in all, I am happy with my personality challenge. It was another situation where I was challenged to push beyond what I thought I could do!!
Today, I had a few hours in the studio and was able to get the other arm, hand and henna tattoo on my girl…….
I had mentioned in the last post that I was uncertain whether I was going to use real beads or applique them in fabric and several people told me that I should use real beads. So, today I pulled out a box of beads and found this beaded trim that I had bought somewhere…..
I clipped off a few of these bead sets and strung them together to give myself a idea of what it might look like……
Right now I am thinking that this is the way I will go, but I am not completely sold on it. Part of me thinks that they need to be a bit bigger…..we will see!!
Unfortunately, I may not have a lot of time over the next week to work on her, but am looking forward to the next steps. The things that I still have to decide are….
What color to make her pants and socks
What background do I want to use (I am leaning toward the vegies that were around her)
How big do I want it to be (I hope to enter it in some shows and want to make sure that it meets the minimum size).
And the real biggie…..how am I going to quilt it!!!!
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.