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, www.cheryllynchquilts.blogspot.com, 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.
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.