Creating a Dog From Scratch Can Be Ruff

Fannie Mae

I have not forgotten about blogging over the last few months, but boy, have I been busy.  In May, I flew back to Delaware to visit my east coast partner in quilting crime, my sister-in-law, Mary of stitchinggrandma fame.  We had the opportunity to go on a four day retreat with Cheryl Lynch,,  at her lake house in the Poconos to learn how to take a photograph of our pet and turn it into a quilt.  I don’t normally do art type quilts mainly because I like to stick with bed sized quilts and I simply don’t have any wall space to hang an art quilt.  But I am game to try anything once, and besides, I wanted to have a quilting adventure with Mary.  In addition I figured that I could make a pillow top out of the completed project.  So I sent off the above photo of our dear Rottweiler, Fannie Mae von Nubbinwagger who passed on at the ripe old age of 12 around 2003.   My first clue that this was too large for a pillow top should have been the fact that we were requested to bring a 56 inch square design wall!   Indeed, the project ended up being 56 or so inches square without borders. Cheryl had us overlay our photo with a grid overlay, and following the grid, make 2 inch squares of fabric.  Sounds easy enough; right?  Well, not quite.  On top of many of those 2 inch squares, other little pieces of fabric needed to be added to make up the details of that particular grid square.  Some of the pieces I used ended up having up to 8 additional fabrics on the little square.

Here is a photo of the end product, minus the binding which I’m still working on.

I just love the way it came out, but was it ever a lot of work.  I have literally worked on nothing else, except for longarm quilting a quilt for a friend, since I got home just before Memorial Day.  I dreamed about this project.  I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about how I was going to achieve a particular effect that I wanted.  I emailed Cheryl and whined when things weren’t turning out the way I expected. (By the way, Cheryl is a wonderful and patient teacher.  I recommend her Pet Mosaic class if you ever have the opportunity.  We were treated like queens at her home.)  I continually asked my dear husband’s (Quilter’s Support Staff) opinion.  I remade the nose three times.  I totally redid the eyes four times.  I remade the eyebrows once.  I was worried I would make a mess of the actual quilting. I agonized over some of the fabric choices.  It was like being in labor for three months.  It was worth it, but I suspect that making art quilts will go the way of paper piecing in my mind.  Never again.  I saw, I learned, I did, I redid.  I’m done!  I am glad I did it though.  It was a real challenge and helped me develop some skills that will come in handy in other quilting projects.

Here are a couple of closeups of the quilting that wasn’t nearly as challenging as I made it out to be in my mind.  The hardest part was remembering which direction the fur on Rottweilers lays because we lost our last one 5 years or so ago so I didn’t have one to pet.


When I quilted the nose, I couldn’t see the thread on the fabric so I ended up going over the same spot several times trying to make a pebble effect.  The pebbles came out really well on the mustache area that you can see in the last photo, though, maybe because I got so much practice on the nose?

Now that this project is done, I can go sweep the cobwebs off the walls all over the house that have been ignored for so long, and maybe I can blog a little more often.


15 thoughts on “Creating a Dog From Scratch Can Be Ruff

  1. stitchinggrandma August 4, 2016 / 5:11 pm

    She looks incredible! !! I am planning on sharing your post! ! I am so happy to see how it turned out! !!

  2. Quilting Nurse August 4, 2016 / 7:55 pm

    I can attest to the time and effort needed for this beautiful piece of art. It is truly amazing to see up close in person. Carolyn’s love of a challenge certainly proved true during the creation of this amazing quilt.

  3. Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread August 5, 2016 / 10:37 am

    That is a beautiful finished project. And, I sure wish I had a quilting partner like you have to go on adventures with like you guys do. 🙂

    • stitchinggrandma August 8, 2016 / 4:01 am

      Judy – Did she mention she flew from California to the East Coast for this adventure? Delaware isn’t so far away as all that when there is a plane, a train or an automobile. 😉

    • oneblockwonderwoman August 9, 2016 / 8:33 am

      Thanks for the complimets, Judy. I’m blessed to have quilting partners on both coasts. It sure makes quilting a lot more fun. Do you belong to a quilt guild? That’s a good place to find quilting friends.

      • Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread August 9, 2016 / 1:07 pm

        There is a very, very large established group here in my area. They are out of my league in talent and budgets. 🙂 I wish there was a smaller Church or senior group. I tried to start one at the senior center but the person running it folded after a couple of meetings.

      • oneblockwonderwoman August 11, 2016 / 11:34 am

        That’s too bad about your group folding so quickly. I’ve become a quilting “pusher” in my little rural community, offering to teach anyone who wants to learn. Right now I have 5 students, 3 of whom are totally hooked on quilting now, which is why I say I’m a pusher. LOL! I’m not the best quilter in the area, but I can certainly teach beginners, and I learn as much as they do. I’ve only been quilting for ten years and some of the ladies I quilt with at our little rural 120 year old hall have been quilting since the 1970s. Way out of my league.

  4. Liz N September 20, 2016 / 5:52 pm

    Over the years, your artistic ability has grown stronger – you have a wonderful sense of color and design. It shows in your cooking, in your garden layouts, in your decorating and of course in your quilting. The quilting seems to be your medium – it has brought out your talent and clearly you’ve learned so much. Fannie looks marvelous – just as beautiful as she did on the floor of the cabin. She was a marvelous dog – even if ‘open minded’ about her digestive choices! LOL – this is a treasure and your write up is quite moving. Big hugs, Love, Liz

    • oneblockwonderwoman September 21, 2016 / 11:39 am

      Thanks for all the wonderful comments. We moved our bedroom furniture around and found a spot at the foot of the bed where she fits, so she is the last thing I see at night and the first I see in the morning. Almost like having a dog again without so many “extra” dogs getting left under the furniture. 🙂

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