Sew Much Variety

After spending three solid days on Maggie's Pawtrait, it was nice to take a break from it and work on some other things. Today is

and so I'll be linking up to show my embroidery and my quilt binding. First the embroidery. The Hocuspocusville block is about half finished now. I moved my hoop yesterday, and here's where it stands.

It's hooped up again and ready to continue on now.

I'll be setting it aside for a few days, however, because I'm working on Block #45 for the Live, Love, Teach quilt. The next block is Rachel's block.

The bus and details are fusible applique, and then the details were stitched in by machine. The rest will be hand embroidered. I think I might take some yellow crayon and highlight the headlight like it was done in the original submission. Anyway...I got started on that this morning. It will probably take a couple more sittings to finish all of it.

Also, I made the March block for
Join me on the Block Lotto Blog

When I first saw the block for the month, I gasped, thinking it was paper-piecing. And you all know how I love to whine about being forced to do paper-piecing. It's not. It's pieced in the good old fashioned way.

Then, finally, I decided it was time to quilt Samson. This is the "make and take" project I made when I took June Jaeger's class at the Northwest Quilting Expo. It's the class that put me onto making pet portraits. It was sandwiched and ready to go, but then I realized I hadn't stitched in any whiskers, or eyebrows, or ear fur. Well. A cat can't live without all of that, and so I finished off those little touches and then did a little quilting on it.

It's a small piece at 11 x 14 inches, and so it was only about half an hour before I was ready to sew on the binding. That's a binding scrap left over from another project. Using scraps is good. To my way of thrifty thinking, using scrap bindings is better than ever...probably because I have a whole bag full of them.

By day's end, I'd also hand-stitched the binding, and Samson's long wait for finishing is over.

Only when I took this picture, I realized I'd forgotten to give him ear fur in his ear there to the left. Sorry Samson. I'll fix that today.

Looking at this, I realize it's much more primitive and less detailed than the pawtraits I've made since then. Nevertheless, it was a good class, and I learned a lot about creating quilts from photographs and about how to make the eyes look realistic. I'm kind of teaching myself how to do this and building on the concepts I learned from June Jaeger. Please bear with me while I think out loud in print. 

With these pet portraits, I've come to the conclusion that it's really all in the eyes. For one thing, you need a good photograph in which the pet is looking directly into the lens. I held Maggie's favorite toy next to the lens to encourage her to look where I wanted her to.

In so doing, you can create a pawtrait in which the pet appears to look directly at the viewer from the fabric. Can we agree on that much?

Also, I've realized that the rich and varied colors of batiks give the eyes the variation in color that they need to most closely resemble the actual iris.

So, now I'm getting myself geared up to top-stitch and quilt this, and I'll probably work on that next. Today, however, we have a wine shipment to pick up at one of the local wineries. As we discussed it this morning, we decided it was a good excuse for a lunch date. The weather is crappy and rainy, and so there won't be much more going on.

7 comments from clever and witty friends:

Jennifer said...

Your embroidery is amazing. Love the bus as well as your kitty portrait.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

It won't be long before you have the Cauldron Cafe done. Congrats on finishing Samson

quiltzyx said...

I see the bus is speeding right along! As is the Cafe. I really need to make myself clear out all the crap & clutter so I can think & sew more. Sheesh. Tonight some of it will be done, as they are turning off the gas in my park tomorrow & I felt that it would be nice if they had access to relight my pilot lights when they're done. Luckily my friend Sara can come stay at the house to let them in. Otherwise I would have no gas - no hot water, no stove, no heater (all tho' I wouldn't worry about that one). Wish me luck!

Quilter Kathy said...

Love the Cauldron block and how you are putting in bits of orange stitching!

Jenny L said...

Keep thinking your quilting out loud!! It's a really useful insight to how you execute your work. Just love how Maggie is coming along. I revisited my one attempt at a cat portrait and I think you are bang on, eyes forward, a relaxed smiley face and using batiks does give the variation needed. Needless to say mine had none of those things!! I used Kona solids and as much as I love them, for animal fur, with all its tints and tones, it doesn't quite cut it. I must get me some batiks in my cats' colours!! Using both sides is an inspired idea. One thought about Maggies portrait, is it worth experimenting with a tiny circle of white to reflect the light in her eyes? With your method easy to remove if it doesn't add anything.

Brown Family said...

I like the purple flower block. to me it looked simple if you break it down to 4 blocks and the components of each.

Kate said...

The school bus block is turning out beautifully and so did this month's block lotto month.