So let's back up to yesterday's class. We spent some time in the morning talking about fabric selection. The real fun of this technique is the fabrics. The quilts end up very colorful and whimsical, which is my favorite style. We talked about contrast first. Fabrics that are tone-on-tone can look boring until paired up with a fabric that has more pattern and texture. Also don't be afraid to cut out just small sections of fabrics to take advantage of a pattern. To my mind, it's a little like choosing fabrics for landscape quilting because I might choose a fabric with stripes to representing the siding on a building.
When choosing such bright fabrics for the subject of the quilt, the backgrounds will be less bright (perhaps), but still will contain lots of movement and texture.
You can see below with Curious Duck here that she's used many different patterns to create his feathers, while the background (which happens to be a McKenna Ryan fabric, in this case) is more toned down. For some reason, all the pictures I took yesterday were kind of blown out, and so it's a little hard to make out the movement in the background in the image below.
Here's an image of another Curious Duck quilt that was taken last year.
In the image below, she's suggesting using your fingers and thumbs to make a frame around certain areas of a fabric. This is especially useful with large scale fabrics. The fabric Ann is holding is a large floral, but you can see how sections of the petals could be used to create feathers, or grass, or a wide range of subjects if cut and positioned in a certain way.
With human subjects, like my brother, this method leaves the faces without detail. My brother's face will be created using flesh tone fabrics. The reason for this is that the method of piecing can leave a human face looking like a Halloween mask. On the other hand, animal faces are pieced in detail, beginning with the eyes. Eyes are often taken from flowers on fabric, and she's showing us an example of the kinds of floral fabrics that can be used very effectively as eyes.
We started cutting our freezer paper patterns into pieces yesterday. They're first cut out using paper scissors, and then ironed to the wrong side of the fabric we're using, then trimmed leaving a quarter-inch seam allowance all around. Here are some examples, and you can see that each piece is labeled for its sewing order and also has tick marks for ease of matching it up to its corresponding piece.
Before class, I sorted through the fabrics I'd brought from home, and then wandered through the store pulling bolts of fabric I thought might be useful in my piece. Care to guess how many of these I'm actually using?
The two greens at the bottom were pulled as potential snake skins. The one above those is one I really like a lot, but haven't yet found a place to use in my quilt. It's pretty doubtful it will get used. The one above that will be used for the overalls. The brightly colored one above that was a potential shirt, but we ended up switching it out for something else. The next two green ones are still in the running as backgrounds. The red at the top was another potential shirt. You'll see that I ended up using one like that, but in a different colorway. Finally, the one at the top was pulled to use potentially as shoes, but I already know I won't be using that one either. The little pile at the top are scraps from my stash. I will end up using a few of those.
So let's get back to the eyes, shall we? Here's the calf with just one eye added. His other eye isn't in the picture.
Here it is again a little closer.
Below are the eyes of the dog from a flower print. Amazing, huh?
Here are the beginnings of the cat's face and eyes. That bolt of fabric in the lower left corner has some other flowers that could be used as eyes.
And here's my faceless image. We settled on the flesh fabric and the hair right away. The hair has a lot of little pieces, and so I won't be doing any more detail there until I get home. It's easier to keep track of the pieces in the controlled environment of one's own sewing room...cats aside.
In the image above, we were experimenting with different fabrics for the snake. The two you see here are from my stash. The lower one was my first choice, but Ann liked the one above...I liked it too, until we stood back and looked at it. It kind of has the appearance of woven rope, and so we worried that the snake would be lost and began looking for a stripe. You can see it in the image below. There were many colors of stripes in the fabric I chose, but I ironed my pieces to take advantage of the darkest stripe. It helps the eye to follow the line and see it as a snake.
It's a great fabric with lots more shades of green stripes, and so I purchased enough of that to use for my quilt binding. It will be cute as a binding, and it will help the snake to pop out. Also in that image above, I'd started experimenting with fabrics for the shirt. It wasn't looking right, and so we switched it out for the green plaid you see in the image below. Also, I'm using some fabric from my stash for the contrasting collar and (eventually) the cuffs of the shirt.
In the image below, you can see that I have a sandwich bag pinned to my design wall where I'm keeping the tiniest pieces as I cut them off. I'm not ready to use them in my design, but I don't want them to be lost, and so they're stored there temporarily. As much as possible, we only cut the pieces we are using right away, leaving the sections whole as long as possible, and then pinning them back to the design wall to use when we're ready.
In the image below, I've added more pieces for the shirt.
And I continued on from there...a boy grows in Vancouver. We used a contrasting fabric from my stash for one of the pockets on the bib of the overalls. Eventually, that was switched out for a different fabric that I used for the cuffs of the pants.
In the image above, you can see where I left it for the day. In the image below, I've marked an area that I want to change. The orientation of the stripes in the fabric helps to give the pants the rumpled look from the photograph. (As a child, he's wearing clothes that he can grow into.) My thinking is that bottom wedge should point toward the outside of the leg and that will make a wrinkle in the bottom of the pant leg. As it sits, it seems too uniform to my eye.
Today I'll be building the shoes at the bottom, and then starting to think about background fabrics.
Here are the projects my classmates are working on. This first one is the calf.
In the image below, she's started adding fabrics for the straw below the calf.
Here's the swimmer doing butterfly. It's turning out remarkably well, I think. Ann really wants her to switch out that black swim cap for something more colorful and fun, but the artist is standing firm on the black.
Here's some more of the cat, and she's starting to piece in the leg. I'm curious to see this one at the end of today.
Finally, the dog with three balls in its mouth.
Okay, so we'll be doing more of the same today. I'll tell you more about today's progress after I get home. At the end of class today, my project which is pinned to a foam "design wall" will be loaded into the back of my car. All the pieces will stay right where they're pinned..at least that's the plan. When I get home, I'll start sewing them together. It might take me a day or two to get organized, so I'll get back to the blog shortly.
Before I go, however, I wanted to leave you with this chuckle. It's a quilt that was hanging at the entrance to a quilt show in Tucson (I think). It's a little hard to read there at the bottom. Can you read it?
"They touched the quilts." Let that be a lesson to you. A year at hard labor if you touch the quilts. Too cute. Some people are so clever.