Friday, April 29, 2011

Ethan and Caleb's Portrait Quilts

I began these two pieces while staying in Spokane before Christmas.  I had completed Caleb's portrait, but just began Ethan's before we left for southern California in February.  I have been working on various fractured pieces, but knew that I had to complete these before returning to Washington in June, otherwise my daughter would just have one more promise of something which I was going to do for her.

Caleb's portrait was taken from a picture of him while he was on an annual camping trip with Nate's (Caleb's Daddy's) family at Icicle near Leavenworth, WA.  Caleb was spending some time fishing in the river with a stick rigged with string and a bottle cap.  I have titled this piece "Caleb, a Fisher of Men!" which is who I believe he will grow up to be some day.

Ethan's portrait is of a picture taken while he, Caleb, and their mommy were at the strawberry farm picking fruit for jam, which they also do annually.  Usually Ethan and Caleb have full tummies and red faces by the time the journey is over.  I titled this one "Ethan the Harvester".  I believe that his walk with God is just beginning and that he (Ethan) will do great things for his holy Father!

"Ethan the Harvester"

"Caleb, a Fisher of Men!"

Both pieces will attached to wrapped canvas and hung as portraits.  My next portrait quilt will be of my daughter Mandi, her husband Nick, and my granddaughter Pearl taken at their wedding over a year ago.  I think that this time I will try fused fabric rather than painting the faces and body parts!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

FFFC 56 "Splintered Leaves"

Original UFO

"Splintered Leaves"
The most recent FFFC was announced on Thursday and after working on it for the last two days, I have completed it and am pleased with the result.  I was the first one to post a completed piece on the FFFC Blog, and that is most definitely a first for me and an accomplishment which probably won't be reached again!

I had already been thinking about what I would use as a background for the next challenge, one of my UFO's!  I had another one in mind, but after digging through my stash underneath the bed in my motorhome, I came across this piece and decided it would work with the challenge theme of Nature's Rhythm.  I began with a piece of sun printed fabric which I had done about five years ago.  I had already trapuntoed the leaves, but was not enamored with the results, so I put it away, as I seem to do with a lot of the pieces which I am not happy with.  Little did I know, that I would eventually pull it out to recycle, redesign and rebirth it!

The piece had already been trapuntoed and layered for quilting before I rejected it.  All I had to do was finish the trapunto and cut away behind all the leaves.  After that, I took it to my cutting mat and began disassembling it with my rotary cutter.  Then I fitted the pieces back together in a fashion which looked good to my eyes and joined them with a zigzag stitch.  After that, I layered a thin flannel backing behind the piece and begin quilting the open areas and around the leaves.  I enhanced the trapuntoed leaves with jaquard and setacolor metallic paint.  I made 1/4" bias tape and applied it first with glue and then decorative stitching to cover my joining stitches.  My plan is to attach it to a prewrapped canvas and hang it as a piece of wall art.  It measures approximately 18 x 20".

I am very happy with the way the piece finished out.  I really like the color combination and the happy accident that the trapuntoed leaves form a diagonal pattern.  I am wondering if I need to somehow enhance the quilting in the right top corner to make the piece more visually balanced.  I was thinking about darkening the background behind the leaves to lift them, but this is supposed to be an abstract, so I am not sure that is warranted.  I also want the colors and interesting paint patterns to be apparent.  Any and all comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciate.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Wow, it has been three and a half months since my last post and I have no excuses for that!  Well almost none.  We were able to head south in February since our son-in-law returned home from his tour of duty in Afghanistan early.  The tank which he was in hit an IED, but thankfully he only reinjured his back and returned home safely.  We are counting our blessings and thanking God that he is home in one piece. 

I have to admit that I was seduced by the sun, blue skies, and warmer temperatures here on our RV lot just outside of Palm Springs.  I have been spending most of my time playing, learning a new hobby, making new friends and enjoying the wonderful places to eat out here.  I have been doing some quilting in my spare time and have managed to finish four of the five pieces for the Fractured Quilt Group which I belong to.  I haven't done the last two challenges for the FFFC, but decided that I needed to produce something for the March challenge which is Dance/Movement.

I decided to do a piece featuring a Native American female dancer.  I began with a piece of white fabric and traced the figure onto it using pen and ink.  I then drew the triangle pieces coming in behind her.  I trapuntoed the dancer, added the batting, and then quilted the whole piece before coloring it with Inktense Watercolor pencils, Tsukinkeo Inks, Gel Pens and Jaquard and Setacolor paints.  I initially had an orange background but couldn't make it work, so I painted over it with brown and copper paint and then antiqued it with the brown, adding more copper for highlights.  I am very happy with the movement of this piece which I think was achieved through the background quilting.