10/6/15

Meowna Lisa

It was a much-needed relaxing day at home yesterday. I had a little housework and some laundry to do, but mainly, I just sewed. Four days with no sewing is four days too many, if you ask me.

When I went into the sewing room, I wasn't really sure what I was going to work on, but Gracie's unfinished portrait was sitting on my work table, and so I studied it for a bit and then decided to just go for the finish. Here's where I left it last time I worked on it.


And here's the original photograph.


My goal was to stitch down all the pieces, and I did that using a smoky monofilament, but also some white, green, orange and brown. Also, I needed to add one more black piece over the right eye and then stitch in the eyebrows, whiskers, and ear fur. Also, I added the details to the mouth and nose. In addition, I wanted to add a little free motion machine embroidery to lighten up the black on the left side of the face. Finally, I wanted to add the "eye spot". The eye spot is important in photography because it brings life to the eyes. I did that with a French knot and some white embroidery floss. Then, I quilted it and bound it, and Voila! Gracie rendered in fabric and thread.


I took it upstairs to where Gracie was napping on our bed and tried to get her to pose with her portrait. I suppose she could have looked more bored, but it would have required more effort on her part.


She perked up a little when Smitty stopped by for a smooch.


Smitty wants to know when I'm going to do his portrait. 


I don't know about you, but I've been too chicken to try projects like this. Having this one work out so well has been very empowering. I've been hearing snippets of interviews with Elizabeth Gilbert recently because of the release of her new book "Big Magic" about the creative process. While I've heard of her and her books, I have yet to read any of them. Nevertheless, I was impressed by the interview I heard, and so I decided to "like" her Facebook page.

Even though I'd already created the photographs, the "posterized" photographs, the transparency, and the pattern, I was still feeling pretty intimidated at the idea of starting the quilt. I feared it would be like so many of my big ideas where I walk right up to the precipice, and then turn around, too scared to jump. The next day after creating the pattern, I read this meme on Elizabeth Gilbert's Facebook feed:


and I got up from my chair and went straight into the sewing room. Gracie's portrait is what came from that one bold step. It isn't perfect, but it's finished, and now I'm feeling equipped to try it again.

For now, I'm going to try to catch up on some of the other blocks that have been waiting so long for their turn. Today is a CSA pick-up day, but aside from that, it's going to be another day of sewing.

By the way, did you see the video Lynette posted on her blog What a Hoot? I had seen it someplace else, but didn't watch it, thinking I wasn't going to see anything new. But then Lynette's enthusiasm caused me to give it a second look, and whoa! Now I'm singing the praises of this method too. I tried it on Gracie's quilt, and it was so much easier than the self-threading needle method I've always used. So, here it is again. Take a look, and then give it a try:


And thanks for bringing this to our attention, Lynette. Great find!

20 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Sorry Gracie was not impress, but I think it is wonderful.

Kaelyn Angelfoot said...

Looks great!

gpc said...

LOVE it, and I can tell by her face that Gracie loves it, too! I read Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat-Pray-Love" a long time ago and it is a life changing book in an odd way. I didn't actually think it was that 'good,' but I loved it because it had kernels of ideas that just blew my mind open. I can't wait to see how those ideas have grown in her new book. I'm in the mood for some mind blowing these days. :)

Debbie said...

Great job.....you captured her exactly.

Sarah said...

I think the portrait is perfect but the smooching photo is just precious - that deserves to be enlarged! Can't wait to see Smitty's portrait now.
BTW - I just checked amazon.com for the Best Friends book and there weren't any. phooey. now it's on to Mr. Google...

Janet said...

It is fantastic! I was going to try this technique a few years ago. I got as far as choosing a photograph and posterizing it. That was it. I should go back and work on it.

Quilter Kathy said...

Way to be creatively brave!
Love the video idea for thread tails!
And love the portrait with the subject :)

Dana Gaffney said...

It looks so good, the quilt and Gracie together proves it. I got Big Magic the second it came out, I've heard a lot of good about her and this book is supposed to be wonderful.

Lou said...

Gracie turned out beautiful!!!!
It's so hard to step out of our comfort zones but it is something we need to do. Remember it's only fabric and you can buy more:) ha ha!!!

LethargicLass said...

Gracie turned out beautiful, I love it!

Barb H said...

I think you did a great job on Gracie's quilt and I'm sure Smitty's will be even better. Thanks for the video. I usually just thread the two tails through a needle and then bury them, but Lynette's way will require me to only thread once--the needle with the loop on it. If I keep that needle threaded, I'll never have to thread it again! What a time--and frustration--saver!

works4me said...

Gracie's portrait turned out really well. Congratulations. I can certainly see why Smitty is waiting somewhat impatiently for his.

liniecat said...

Just adore Gracies picky! Smashing!
Does this mean after Smitty's you'll be making pics of all your loved n lost lovelies as well?
It would make a great wall hanging : )

Shari said...

You did a great job on this! I might have to try it one day.

Betty said...

Gracie's portrait turned out great! I do believe Smitty is a little jealous.
Thanks for sharing the video, looks much better than what I've been trying to do.

Kate said...

Definitely a masterpiece! Sorry Gracie didn't appreciate it more.

crazy quilter said...

This is the spitting image of the sweet Ms. Gracie! You are an artist indeed! I can't wait for you to get started on Mr Smitty!

Brown Family said...

Gracie's quilt is beautiful!

Michele said...

It is so sweet and I'm sure Smitty is now bugging you daily to make one of him since he is so handsome.

Sandra :) said...

OMG I'm in awe - I saw the picture at New to Me and came to take a peek. This is just incredible. Fabric Gracie and her namesake are amazing (and Gracie appears to be a bit of a flirt, LOL!) - Smitty is mighty handsome as well! I'm too chicken too, to do projects like that - but you - wow. JUST WOW. You did good! Very very VERY good! (I'm a cat lady too - we lost our sweet Z a few years ago)