Fear-less — Pixel Play Project Quilting 10.4 Challenge

Fear-less — Pixel Play Project Quilting 10.4 Challenge

This week Trish (our challenge designer for Project Quilting) chose PIXEL PLAY for our 10.4 challenge.

This week, I’d like you to be inspired by these particles, whether you pixelize a picture, make use of low resolution like 8-bit graphics, or are merely inspired by these hard-working colored boxes.

Since I love to work with mosaics, the thought of working with pixels was inspiring. So I’m definitely IN this week. Thanks Trish!

I found a website (Pixel Stitch) that will convert a photo to an embroidery pattern made up of squares. Although it’s made for embroidery, it creates a grid of the pixels in the photo with colors, so it works for pixelated quilt patterns just as well. All I had to do was figure out how big each square would need be to make a reasonably-sized quilt that I might actually be able to finish during a busy week.

https://www.pixel-stitch.net/index.html

Another site (Pic2Pat) does the same thing: http://www.pic2pat.com/index.en.html

We had an juvenile owl, called a “jumper” (because it was just learning to fly), in our back yard a few years ago. You can read about it HERE. It was rescued and placed back in its nest. I’ll never forget the surprise I got when I saw the little guy several days later. He had learned how to fly and was sitting on our back yard fence staring at me with those big yellow owl eyes, almost as if to say “thank you…I’m fine now…and I’m fearless”. I knew that I had to capture the fierce look in those riveting, yet beautiful eyes in a future quilt.

I thought I needed to print the pattern to the full size, but later realized all I really needed was a copy large enough to follow alongside my gridded work surface.

The printed pattern sheets taped together

The next decision was what technique to use to get all those little squares (half inch) together on a quilt? The squares are far too small for me to piece. I’ll have to use a raw edge technique. Hmmmmm… how about placing squares on some sort of foundation and stitching over them to keep them in place. But what kind of foundation? I’ve used fusible woven interfacing before and ironed them into place. I’ve also used Steam-a-Seam II. Or I could use a temporary glue on muslin to keep them all in place until they’re stitched down. Or even pin tulle over them before stitching.

I decided to use a technique I used to do the quilt of my father in a previous post. It involves marking a quarter-inch grid on a fusible light weight interfacing and ironing each 1/4″ fabric square to the grid using the printed pattern as my guide.

Half-inch squares of batiks sorted by value

Placing squares side-by-side on the fusible interfacing grid

Original print out helps keep me on track

I placed a shear tulle over the squares before I started free motion quilting.

Strips of paper help keep me in the right place

Superior & Aurifil threads for quilting

Closeup of free motion quilting

Closeup of the owl eye

And the little guy is done! Doesn’t he/she look fearless? And I finished just in time to enter it in this week’s Project Quilting Challenge Season 10.4 (2019).

COME JOIN IN THE FUN…go to their website to see this week’s entries and to vote for you favorites (hope one of them is mine, #36 “Fear-less Owl”, hint, hint). Voting starts Sunday afternoon, Feb. 24th and runs through Friday, March 1st, 2019.

HOW TO VOTE: Just go to the link above, scroll down to the bottom until you see the thumbnail photos of the quilts. Then click on the heart in the upper right hand side of the photo of the entry you want to vote for ❤️ and it’ll fill the heart in & tell you how many votes you have left. If there are over a hundred entries, you’ll get 10 votes. Enjoy!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Project Quilting Inspiration

Project Quilting Inspiration

It’s that time of year again! The holidays are over, and it’s time for Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams to begin the first week of the Project Quilting Season 10 challenge.

When I saw the first challenge phrase, “Hope Springs Eternal“, I instantly thought of a photo my son & daughter-in-law sent us of our sweet little granddaughter looking up in awe as she “helped” decorate their Christmas tree.

Isn’t she a sweetie? She’s just between 1-1/2 & 2…So this is the first time she’s really enjoying the tree. And that look on her face is just full of wonder and hope for what’s to come.

Not only does it represent the hope of things to come for her, it represents our hope of flying half way around the world to see her soon. I’m so grateful that I live in an age where we can video-chat online weekly and get instant photos every day, but it’s just not the same as seeing them all in person. I can’t wait to give her a hug and play together.

To start the challenge, I printed an outline of the photo on paper and used my Cutterpillar light box to lightly trace some of the important features onto white muslin with pencil.

Next I sandwiched the white muslin on top of batting and backing and started thread sketching (which also served as free motion quilting) with black cotton Aurufil thread and my Bernina BSR foot.

I decided to thread sketch everything…her sweatshirt, hair, and even the needles on the branches of the Christmas tree. And it helped to look at the photo of her beside me on my computer as I sketched in all of her features, starting with her eyes.

I’m so glad I’ve got a nice selection of variegated cotton Sulky thread! I think they really help add depth…

my granddaughter has the cutest pink cheeks (just want to kiss them!), and I couldn’t get the effect I wanted with thread…so broke out my stash of Derwent color pencils and started coloring… adding a bit if color to her lips, her hair, and some shading.

Now that’s a bit better!

A little more shading, and then I added a double border of batik fabrics.

Here’s some close up photos…

I started so late on this challenge, … I wasn’t sure I’d have enough time. But once I started, it just came together and I loved every minute. You really CAN do it in a week.

Participating in PQ is so much fun, because it forces me to try a new technique or idea and actually get it done. I don’t have time to worry about failing or to quit and start over. It is what it is. And I can’t procrastinate when it HAS to be done from start to finish in only one week!

The voting starts this Sunday afternoon (January 13, 2019). Come vote for your favorites…but of course I’d love your vote!

VOTE HERE. Be sure to scroll down to the end.

I believe the voting is open January 13-19 and the winners announced Jan. 20.

Until next time,

Happy Quilting!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Mosaic Quilts: My Infatuation Continues

Mosaic Quilts: My Infatuation Continues

So after seeing the gorgeous quilts by Heidi Proffetty (see my earlier post) and not having access to a digital fabric cutter (which is really a necessity for her technique), I thought I’d try creating another small mosaic art quilt using the simpler tiny squares recommended by Cheryl Lynch (see previous blog post).

I thought you might enjoy following along with the process.

The first step was to find a very simple, but inspiring photo that I could trace to make the pattern outline. I found a photo that I had taken last spring of a Trillium (my fav woodland wildflower).

I downloaded a tracing app for my iPad and used it to roughly trace the outline of the petals & leaves. Note: There are a lot of tracing apps out there (and I certainly haven’t tried them all), but this one (free) allowed me to upload my photo and trace over it with my finger or my computer stylus. It’s rough, but that’s okay…I can go over the lines again with a black Sharpie pen after it’s printed.

This particular app allows you to fade out the background (photo) so you can print only the lines, which saves printer ink. That’s a nice feature.

After saving the tracing as a jpeg file, I needed to enlarge it at 200% to get it to print to the size of a sheet of copy paper, which was the size I was looking for. Once my outline was printed, I used Cheryl Lynch’s technique of taping it to a piece of core board and then thumbtacking a sheet of Steam-a-Seam 2 over it, uncovering the top of the fusible to expose the sticky side up.

Next, it was time to go through my collection of cotton batik fabrics to see what colors might work for the tiles. I cut them into 3/4 inch squares, using Cheryl Lynch’s mini mosaic cutting guide and found that the more variation you have in the light/dark of each color, the better it looks.

Now for the fun part…placing each individual square fabric “tile” with a tweezers. It’s somewhat like putting a puzzle together…one area of color at a time, but you don’t have to make them all fit…you can trim pieces to fit as needed.

For a project this small it doesn’t take long to cut enough squares of fabric to get started. The variation in the value of each fabric color is the key. You don’t want them to look too flat by having each tile exactly the same color value. I added some bright yellow strips in the center of the flower.

It’s slowly progressing! It takes quite awhile to individually place each square with a tweezers, but it’s surprising how much is accomplished by working on it in 30 minute segments throughout a couple of days. Before you know it, it’s finished and ready to fuse to the “grout” fabric and add the tulle netting over the top …

…adding the borders, batting, & backing …

and do the machine quilting using white cotton thread and a walking foot. I stitched between the rows of mosaic squares in the “grout area”, and outlined the petals and leaves. I added a few quilted veins into the petals of the Trillium too.

Close up of the quilted veins & center of the Trillium

What do you think? Originally the background was all browns and green, but I decided it needed more contrast, so I took out some of the squares and re-did the top portion of the background in blue sky.

This one’s completed and for sale at my Etsy Shop.

I’m ready to try it again…how about you?

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Art Quilt with Ties

A dear friend lost her husband to cancer this past year.  When she approached me to make a memorial art quilt out of his ties for her mother-in-law, I didn’t have to think twice about it, since it had already been on my mind.

But I’d never worked with ties before as material for an art quilt—could I be successful?  How hard is it to take a tie apart?  How strong is the material?  Should I use a stabilizer? These are all questions I pondered while going through the huge box of ties that she provided.  I’d love to share with you what I discovered.

Ties1

First of all, it’s SO EASY to take a tie apart.  There’s one strong thread that holds the seam down the back of the tie.  Once you locate this thread, make one cut, and give it a good tug from the opposite end, and it’s done!  Take out the lining and you’ll still need to deal with both ends.  I chose to cut them off, but a little seam ripping would also work.

I had an idea in my head about what I wanted to do…a small landscape art quilt based loosely on a pattern I’d used earlier (see post HERE).  So my first task was to see what I had to work with.  I pulled all the ties that had the colors and textures that might work, and lined them up on my design wall (there were a lot more that didn’t make the cut and were left in the box for later).

What amazed and surprised me was the texture and beauty of the tie fabric once it was washed, ironed, and ready for use.  Some were very light weight and needed stability (I ironed on a light weight fusible woven interfacing to those).  Others were a heavier weight and I used them as they were.  I also found out that the reverse side is sometimes even more interesting than the “right” side.  I used both to get the shading I needed.

I knew I needed to wash all the ties—but when: before or after deconstruction?  I experimented, putting about a dozen ties in a zippered netted bag (the kind used for dedicates) and tried washing some before and some after deconstruction.  Both came out tangled, and both worked, but washing before deconstructing really helped keep the mess and tangles to a minimum and made it much easier to pull apart and iron. Once that was done, and the ties were all deconstructed and ironed, I started pulling out ties for the birds.

Here I’ve cut the pieces for the bird applique (using Steam-a-seam 2) and will fuse it together.

Ties2

I was surprised by the texture of the beautiful silks used in the ties.  I even used the linings for solid black and white on the bird’s head.  So the entire center of the art quilt was made exclusively with the tie materials.

Here you can see the chickadees fused and ready to be placed on the background.  I’m starting to choose the ties by color and texture that will work for the sky, mountains, and foreground.

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There were some limitations in the color selection, so I got creative and used both sides of the ties and added yellows and gold.

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Most of the tie material is not backed with interfacing, or Steam-a-Seam 2—they’re simply laid onto a fusible pellon fleece batting with the fusible side facing up.  However, the log cabin was prefused together the same way as the chickadees.  Notice the smoke coming up from the chimney of the log cabin—it’s that tie interfacing.  It was shear and luminescent and made the perfect smoke.

Here (below) it’s starting to take shape. I tried to get contrast between the sky, mountains, and foreground scenery.

Ties5

 

When the branches, leaves, and pre-fused chickadees were added, it really started to look complete.  Notice I placed a piece of parchment paper under the leaf in the lower left hand corner so it wouldn’t fuse down and I could choose to fuse it on top of the border after the border was added.  The backing and batting are about 3-4 inches larger on all sizes to make it easier to add a border if I chose to.

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I thought it did need a border, so I added a narrow inner border using black cotton fabric (the only part of the quilt that wasn’t tie material), and pieced a border of tie material for the outer border.

DSC06365

Then I quilted everything using several colors of veriagated cotton threads.  I used a bit of gold thread on the sky for sparkle.

Ties7

And here it is—finished and ready to present to my friend to give to her mother-in-law in remembrance of her son…

Ties8

After I finished, I really felt my friend needed a remembrance art quilt she could keep too, so I created a second art quilt just for her… actually, she can choose which one to keep and which one to give.  It’s based on the same idea, with the same Chickadees, but has a pieced background over Lake Mendota with the sun.

Ties9

And couldn’t forget her two wonderful children…  I thought they might like a Christmas stocking to remember their dad each year.  I couldn’t find enough “Christmas-like” ties to choose from so I used a red cotton fabric for the cuffs, backing, and lining and did a crazy-quilt patch design on the front, using tie material backed with fusible stabilizer.

Ties10

I really enjoyed working with ties.  It was a new experience, and I may get out the box of my father’s ties that I’ve been saving to do something similar.

Whether you have saved a loved ones ties, or decide to go to a thrift store, I encourage you to give it a try.  I found the tie material is so beautiful, the silks give your project a wonderful sheen, and there are so many patterns, textures, and colors to choose from. Why not give it a try?

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Project Quilting Challenge: Vacation

Project Quilting Challenge: Vacation

This week’s Project Quilting Challenge is “I NEED A VACATION”.  My favorite vacations are traveling to a beautiful spot, finding a cabin or home to rent, and relax by the lake, river, or ocean and just take in the beautiful view.  We might do some day trips in the area, like hiking or going out for lunch, but always coming back to the serenity and beauty of the surroundings of the spot we’ve rented.

I found a photograph I had taken this past summer when we ventured up to one of our favorite spots near Bayfield, Wisconsin.  A short walk from the back of our cottage is a rocky private beach with a spectacular view of Lake Superior, with Bass Island and the rest of the Apostle Islands, in the background…it was breathtaking!  I loved walking down to that spot with a cup of coffee every morning to take it all in.  So when I heard “I need a vacation” as the theme, this is where I’d want to be.

My first step in creating the scene was to find fabrics that had the same feel as the photograph (and my memory of it), and cut a piece of batting and backing to the size I wanted to serve as the backdrop “canvas”.

PQVaHow1

Then I cut and positioned the background and shoreline onto the batting.  I had just purchased something new—a Fons&Porter glue pen.  It worked great to keep everything in place.  I found it a lot less messy than the regular glue stick.

PQVaHow2

Bit by bit, auditioning fabrics–some that didn’t work, and others that did, I continued adding to the scene.

PQVaHow3

I thought the trees and bushes needed a bit more depth, so I got out my soft pastels and went to work, shading the foliage…

PQVaHow4

And adding some depth to the water and rocks…

PQVaHow5

I’m glad I purchased the set (on sale).  I used a blending stick to blend it in.

PQVaHow5a

The sailboat is small in the distance, so I decided to create it by thread painting…

PQVaHow6

After quilting, I wanted to add a border…so I auditioned several different fabrics and came down to three possibilities…

I didn’t care for the dark blue-grey, it seemed too dark and gloomy.

PQVaHow7

The blue batik was interesting, but the black piping was too harsh…

PQVaHow8

I felt the brown brought out the color of the rocks, so I went with that…

PQVaHow9

Here the borders have been added…along with more batting and backing.

PQVaHow9a

And here’s the finished art quilt…

PQVaca1

With a close up of the water…

PQVaca3

and the thread painted sailboat in the distance.

PQVaca4

PQVaca5

I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey, and that you’ll stop by Persimon Dreams website PROJECT QUILTING and vote for your favorite quilts!

ProjectQuVacation

 

The voting begins February 21 and runs through February 26 (2016).

UPDATE:  The voting has closed.  I came in #3 of 39 entries–no prize, but no bad!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Mosaic Pixelated Quilted Wall Hanging

Mosaic Pixelated Quilted Wall Hanging

I found this photo of my dad (Harry Haverkate) that I  just love.  Isn’t he handsome?

DD1

I’m not sure of the year, but It was probably taken around the time he was dating my mom (early 1930’s), when he was in his early 20’s.  Back in the time when men often wore suits and always wore a hat.  I thought dad looked so “dapper” with his hat tilted just right.  So I named this quilted wall hanging “Dapper Dad” to hang in our hall in his honor.

I found two websites that will make your jpeg photograph into a pixelated document for free:

One website is pic2pat:   http://www.pic2pat.com/index.en.html

The other is http://vam.demo.lemberg.co.uk/interactive/ppm/landing

I scanned the photo, cropped it, and then used the website to convert it into a document with numbered pixels (squares) that I could print out to use as a guide.  Next I drew a 1/4” grid (with my ruler and permanent marker) on a piece of light weight fusible interfacing, and placed it fusible side up on my portable ironing surface.  I cut strips of my hand dyed brown fabrics just a bit wider than 1/4”, and I sorted/numbered them light to dark.

DD2

Using the numbered grid as my guide, I started choosing and cutting individual 1/4” squares and “tacking” them onto the fusible interfacing with my small iron.  In areas where more than one square was the same color, I used strips instead. And in large areas with the same number I simply cut squares or rectangles slightly larger than the section.

DD3

It’s very much like putting a puzzle together, but you’ve got a guide to help you.  It’s very “mindless” and relaxing.  I love doing it.

DD4

Here (above) are the strips in a bin helping me keep the numbers straight.

DD6

You can’t see much of anything as you’re putting the puzzle together (see close-up shot above); you just have to trust that it’s going to work.

 

DD5

But when you back up a few feet, you begin to see the photograph come to life!

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Then back up even further, and it really begins to look like something!

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After adding the batting (pellon fleece) and a backing fabric, I took the fusible interfacing with the squares completely cover it, to my Bernina and free-hand quilted using similar colors of variegated cotton thread.

DD9

After adding a striped 3-D border, brown inner border, and paisley outer border and dark brown binding, it was ready to hang in my hallway.  (Sorry for the yellow tint.)

DD9a

From a distance, you can really see “Dapper Dad”.

Have you tried pixelating in your quilting?  If not, give it a try—it’s so rewarding.

Beagle1     MosaicCat1  pixelated Josh Rhi   Pixelated Pastor Brad

Hope you enjoyed reading about the process.

Have you tried pixelated quilts? I’d love to hear how your experience was.  Please post your comments below, and include a link to your photo if you can.

UPDATE:  I was so pleased to find out the photo quilt got an “honorable mention” ribbon at the Sun Prairie Quilt Show earlier this week!

  
Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Finishing the Border Collie Wall Quilt

Finishing the Border Collie Wall Quilt

Dog2So a few months back I posted how I tried paper piecing the Border Collie Dog Wall Quilt, and this month I finished quilting it.

First, decisions on which color of variegated threads to choose.

Dog7

Dog8

Dog6Then deciding what to quilt–I decided to follow the contours of the dog’s face, and add texture to his fur.

Dog1

The background was free-hand, free-flowing feathers.  They were actually a lot of fun to do.

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Dog9a

And it’s all done!  …and listed in my Etsy Shop.

Dog5

My quilting goals for 2016 are:

  1. to finish all my unfinished projects that are almost done.
  2. to focus on creating artistic quilts
  3. to enter more of my quilts in shows, contests (for fun).

What are your quilting goals this year? …to take a new class? …learn a new technique?  …finish those unfinished projects?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Want to wish you all a Very MERRY CHRISTMAS!  And glorious, peaceful New Year!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts