Irish Door #5

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Yesterday and today I set about to complete the fifth door in the Doors of Ireland quilt.  My goal is to make 12 blocks.  They finish up at 8.5 inches, and so this will be a wall hanging.  It has been fun making them.  It has been nearly a year since my trip to Ireland, and while I don't remember all of the doors, I can recall the exact moment when I snapped the image of this particular door while I visited the public gardens at Kylemore Abbey.  If you're interested, you can read my blog post about the day of my visit right here.  This is the door I've been working on:

Since quite a few folks have expressed curiosity about the doors, I thought I would say a little bit about how I turn my images into quilt blocks.  Disclamer:  This should in no way give you the impression that I have any idea what I'm doing.  Each of these doors is approached with great trepidation to the point that I actually lose my sewing mojo for a few days as I anticipate starting it.  I am no kind of artist, and I am at best an intermediate when it comes to quilting.  But I stumble forward anyway, and each time the result has been good enough...which is good enough for me.

So I start with a 4 x 6 photographic print of my door, and I also print an 8 x 10 image onto plain copy paper.  The smaller print is so that I can see the finer details...the larger one is what I use to make my transparency.

The transparency is what I use to make my applique pieces.  I use this 3M Write-on Transparency Film that is available at any office supply store. 

I first mark the boundaries of my quilt block, and then trace the major features I want to include in my block using a Sharpie.  In this case, I drew in some terra cotta pots to the right of the door.  I can't draw to save my life, but for some reason, I have been able to approximate cylindrical and rectangular three dimensional shapes.  It was my favorite doodle while sitting in history classes back in the 14th Century.  History was my most hated subject, and so I passed the time doodling.

Then I place the transparency on my light box and I use it to make my applique pieces.  If I'm having a really good day, I remember to flip the transparency over so that my finished project doesn't end up being a mirror image of what I was shooting for.  If you want to see how I do fusible applique, you can read my tutorial here.

First I choose a background piece of fabric that will serve as the foundation of the block...in this case, the brick batik fabric.  Then I lay the applique pieces over the top for placement before fusing them down.

Yeah.  My perspective isn't great, but it's good enough.  "Good enough" is my goal.  I gave up on winning Paducah long ago.  Like...five minutes after I started learning to quilt.  It's a good thing to give up on.  Without that obstacle in the way, I can have fun sewing.

So once I have the applique fused down, I decide what details I want to top-stitch and what details I'll leave for when I quilt the finished wall hanging.  In this case, I wanted to top-stitch the lines on the door and the division of the three stacked terra cotta pots.  All the pieces are stitched around the edges to hold them in place, but the details may not be included.  For this block, I'll outline the rocks on the wall (and possibly the bricks) when I quilt the finished wall hanging.  And by the way, for the rock portion of the wall I used the wrong side of the fabric.  As you may have heard before, you pay for both sides of the fabric, and so you might as well use both sides.

I use a Frixion pen to draw in the lines I want to top-stitch.  If you don't know about Frixion pens, I think they are great for this application.  Also, I like them for tracing embroidery motifs.  You can see all about them by watching this video.

Some folks are put off by the idea that the ink will come back in cold weather.  For that reason, I think twice about how I'm going to use them.  Nevertheless, they are a perfect choice for certain applications.

So once I have my lines marked, then I do the top-stitching in whatever way I've decided.  And for this door, I also added a hot fix nailhead for the door knob and for the sign on the door.  And voila!  Door #5 is finished!

I think for my next trick, I might try the door below.  Shouldn't an Irish quilt include the name "Druid" Lane?  Also, I've been trying to make them all different from one another, and so I like the idea of including the orange color in the quilt.  Ha!  I just noticed you can see the photographer's reflection in the lower window to the right.

But that will have to wait for another day.

We have a beautiful week in store for us.  In our forecast, it's sunshine as far as the eye can see.

And warm temperatures for May!  Our last two springs have been impossibly rainy and cold.  Could we be in for a break this year?  Wouldn't that be lovely?

The kitties are enjoying it, and I'm happy to say that when they are outside, they have become quite companionable with one another.

The catnip is up for the year and fairly well established.  Gracie enjoyed a munch the other night...

...while Smitty, in a rare display of good manners, waited his turn.

So today I have a little bit of housework to do.  It's the same little bit I had to do when I mentioned it the last time.  Housework has a way of getting put on the back burner.  I actually am going to do it today, however.

Today might be a good day to take little Smitty and see if a walk in the woods would work.  So far, I haven't wanted to take him any farther than the little opening in the trees.  He gets so excited that he goes charging up trees way higher than I like for him to go.  Or he vanishes into the brush and I can't find him anywhere.  It's too soon to take him walking the way George and I used to do, but I'm hoping that as he gets older and a little wiser, we might some day be able to do it.  For now, we take our cues from his exuberance...which is abundant.

What's going on for your Wednesday?

21 comments from clever and witty friends:

treadlemusic said...

Great tutorial! Love the "doors" a ton! Our forecast is, shall I say, the opposite of yours and will bear a resemblance to one of the earth's "Poles"......UGH!!!!! And it's May!!!

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Wonderful door!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Love your new door and thank you for all the resources. Smitty is quite the gentleman and Gracie deserves some '1st' time.

Cath said...

The Irish Door quilt is a fabulous idea and what a lovely reminder of your trip. The tutorial was really helpful...maybe I will do a "Castles" one! Turning the rock fabric around was clever and makes the brilliant blue of the door stand out as it should, being the feature.
Cath@Bits 'n Bobs

Quilting Babcia said...

Super tute! And of course you had the perfect fabrics for this door. Another great quilt in the making!

Brown Family said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I might try turning a photo into a quilt block. Enjoy your warm weather. We had 80 today but will have 40 tomorrow with wind chills in the 20's and close to freezing Friday morning! Coldest temps for May in 30 years!


Kris said...

Barbara - That door block is absolutely fabulous!! Your kitties are beautiful and a week of sun in Portland?? Priceless!!

Kirsty said...

Great post! I am so impressed with both your photos and the door quilt you are making. Thank you for showing us how you do it. Love seeing the kitties out and about. Mr S seems so big and protective of Miss G...bless!

Lia*s Handmades said...

The door block looks great! :D

By the way, I have a secret swap going on my blog, maybe you wanna join in too :)

Diane Wild said...

The door is perfect. Wait, I said that before somewhere. Glad you are having beautiful weather. It snowed in Minnesota on Wed. We were suppose to get 3-6" but it didn't happen. Yay. I spent Wed. moving my sewing room to the lower level of the house. OMG, what have I done? I'm broken today.

Scrapbook-ChickADoodle said...

Love your door #5! Thanks for the tut and the link to your applique tut. It was really helpful to read it as I am new to applique.

works4me said...

Fabulous door and nice tutorial.

Your kitties, as always, are a joy to read about.

KatieQ said...

Thank you for explaining your technique. You make it seem so simple.
Smitty looks quite the gallant gentleman. Whenever I see Gracie's face, she reminds me of Kitty Cucumber.

ANudge said...

Wonderful tutorial resulting in a "fab" door! So enjoyed your quilt show at the fusible tutorial link you gave us. Learned some new things there also.

Teresa in Music City said...

Your "Doors" quilt blocks are among my favorites :*) Enjoy the beautiful weather - it is wonderful here today too!

quiltzyx said...

Love the new door - I like your step-by-step explanation too. I never have thought of using the transparency film. And I definitely think that you should put 'the photographer's reflection' into the next Irish door block!

Holy cannolis!!! Smitty looks like a GIANT next to Gracie in that picture! Wow!
Enjoy the great spring weather - we're into HOT-WINDY-FIRE time it seems. Supposed to be in the 90 - 100F range the next few days. Ergh. (Although, here at work, I could use a sweatshirt right now - they keep our little basement cold!)

Marti said...

I love your process of making the door block. Did you find the batik brick fabric or make it? It's just perfect, and the stone fabric too.

My cat doesn't want to eat the catnip until it's dried out a bit. I thought I lost it over the winter, but it's coming back everywhere now. I guess it really is a member of the mint family.

Lynne said...

Ooo, that looks like fun. I'm going to make an art quilt "someday" and it's not going to be perfect! But good enough is fine with me too!

Kate said...

Love your newest Irish Door! The way you did the brick looks great.

Dar said...

Your #5 door is wonderful. How do you manage to have the perfect fabric for all your doors? I love the upcoming orange door too. Can't wait to see what you do with it. Thanks for the great tut. Now I want to do some small blocks trying your method. Wish I had another lifetime to play with all these ideas. Love your blog.

LynCC said...

Love the teal door, and what a great idea using the transparency. Yes! Definitely need "druid" on an Irish quilt!