Saturday, October 31, 2009

Train Work in Progress - Part 6

Subtitle…..the saga of the little girl!!!!

As with each of the people on my train, I had to re-do MANY parts of the little girl and I am still not completely happy with her countenance, but you can help me decide that at the end of the post……

First the hair…..I was excited about doing the long flowing hair and started out with three beige/gold prints.  In the original photo,  the hair seemed to have some darker streaks running thru it, so I added a darker brown color into the mix.  After cutting out the basic hair outline in freezer paper and attaching it to a base fabric, I started adding slivers of the other fabrics to create movement.  It looked ok, but not exactly right.

As with the woman, I was afraid that I couldn’t get enough detail off of the photo that I had of the little girl,  so I asked a young friend to pose for me.  I knew that I wanted to use the original girl’s hair, but thought that I might be able to change the face out.  That, however, did not work at all…..the model’s face was simply not the right shape to go with the hair, even though I tried really hard to make it work.

I ended up making three different faces for the girl.  The first one used the new facial features and light colored fabrics …..she ended up looking like juvenile beauty queen!!   The second one used the original facial features, but with fabrics that were still too light.  My daughter said that she looked “mean”.  The final face was done with much darker fabrics and I am relatively happy with her looks.  I may still change the eye color….it seems too dark for the rest of her face.  I also decided to remove the darker brown highlights in the hair and replace them with a much more gentle brown and that made a huge difference.

Here is a picture of the “3 faces of  Eve”…  the one on the right is the final one….


I had fun with her clothes and ended up using cute pink and orange prints for both the pants and shirt.

I knew that I wanted the girl to be holding a book, so I photographed my model in that manner and used her hands for the pattern.  I had dreaded this particular part, but it went quickly and with only ONE incarnation.  The only thing that I had to change was to cut the book apart so that the angle could be changed.

Now I was down to the shoes.  As I said a few days ago, I am over doing super detailed tennis shoes so I went online looking for simple photos or drawings of shoes.  Unfortunately, the first site that I ended up on was a guy who had a shoe fetish and had pictures of himself wearing women’s shoes (100’s of different ones)!!!!  I quickly hit the “back” button to never return!!

I did find one simple shoe but it wouldn’t allow me to download a photo, so I took out a pencil and paper and drew it myself!!!!  Now, I have NEVER drawn anything before.  I have ALWAYS relied on patterns.  So, this was a wonderful revelation for me.    I went back to the original pattern for the little girl and sketched out the basic shape of her shoes and then added the detail from the shoe found online.  I was so excited!!!!

To finish the figure, I  added a bit of ric-rac to the bottom of her pants, and will see how that looks once I have done the threadwork….it may have to come off.

Anyway….here she is at the moment……

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After I have appliqued her hair down, I am going to add a few more fusible bits to the ends to make it look even more wispy.

So, one more person  and then a LOT of attaching and finishing to go!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kaffe - Day 2

Today I spent another day assisting with a Kaffe Fassett workshop. Last night I got to have dinner with he, Brandon and several of the people from Dragonfly Quilt Shop. It was a relaxing and enjoyable night!!! I found that Kaffe was much more relaxed and talkative during the evening, prompting me to believe that he “puts his game face on” when he enters a classroom.

Today’s workshop was the same design as yesterday, but he introduced it in a totally different manner. The results were just as magnificent as yesterday.

Once again, I enjoyed listening to his and Brandon’s choice of descriptive words, so here are a few more……

In describing what kinds of disasters you can come up with, he discussed quilts looking like “Minestrone soup” (too many colors), “Squashed Tomatoes” (too few fabrics or styles), and “Cat’s vomit” (not sure what causes this look).

In describing the color pallets used in the participant’s quilts, the follow terms were used…….instinctive and sensual, optimistic, elegant, jazzy cocktail dress, fresh and sparkly, smoldering, flittering with light, pure sunshine, playful, natural, strawberry shortcake, summer party, full of wonder and joy, and (his favorite) vintage trunk (meaning the fabrics look like they have come from old tablecloths, napkins, etc.

Some of the colors he described as Brown Sauce, Dark Rhubarb, Buttermilk Yellow, Moldy Wine, and Husky Red.

He encouraged them to “build their color scheme with passion” and to “get out of their brains”. He also suggested not using white for a design wall…. beiges and tans are a much better background for judging colors. He told them not to judge too early, but to let the quilt grow before they started editing and changing fabrics and placements. All of these were wonderful suggestions for the workshop, but also for our own quilts at home!!!

Here are a couple of photos of Brandon (on the left) and Kaffe (on the right) , hard at work ……

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And… is one of the Dragonfly staff and helpers……_A293219 (2)

I am in the back right, in the Turquoise shirt.

Another fun day….now onto the Train quilt again tomorrow. My husband returns from Portugal on Saturday and my quilt retreat will be over, so I am highly motivated!!!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


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The name says it all!!!! Today I helped at a workshop presented by Kaffe Fassett and his partner, Brandon Mably. They are two extraordinary gentlemen and are amazing connoisseurs of color. The workshop was sponsored by Dragonfly Quilt Shop and today had 27 participants. The workshop began with Kaffe and Brandon talking about creativity and color. They worked hard to put people at their ease, but also told them that they would not hold back on their opinions when it came to design quandaries.

After some basic instructions, the ladies headed to their table and design wall and started working. Brandon scooted from wall to wall, helping the women make their first choices, while Kaffe watched from a distance. He even sat down and did a bit of knitting……gorgeous!!!!

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After about 20 minutes, Kaffe got back up and started slowly walking around the room and looking at what people were doing. He spent a great deal of time just staring at the designs on the wall and then would go up and make suggestions.


They encouraged the participants to not “think too much”, but to simply throw up a fabric and make a quick decision about whether or not it would work and then move onto the next one.


Brandon and the Kaffe cookies modeled after one of his fabrics.

Brandon turned on his I-Pod and I asked about how he chose the songs to play. He said that the playlists were arranged based on the age of the participants. He also said that the music helped the women to not talk as much. At one point there was a spontaneous chorus of “Yellow Submarine”, as everyone started singing along and Brandon happily conducted!!

I found it interesting to listen to the phrases that they used to get their points across. Here are a few of my favorites….

“I like this fabric because it has more intrigue".”

“I think that you need to hike up your skirt and go shopping.”

“You need to lift this fabric or it will look like a pile of ash”

“Having that streak of blue on the yellows looks like mascara on a Whore.”

“That fabric is duller than old mop water”

“Purple and yellow are ghastly together. If you want someone to notice a sign, paint it with those colors.”

“If you make her do it (use a particular piece of fabric), you are going to have to buy her a bottle of Prozac.”

I also loved their descriptions of various colors……

…..Moldy Toast

….Old Sawdust

….Desert heat

…….Leather brown

…..Old dull purple

….Old 30’s knicker’s pink

…..inky grey

…..mustard yellow

…..flaming turquoise

I felt like the best comment of the all day was that you need to pick your colors so that they glow rather than eclipsing them!!

Here is a photo of one side of the room. It will give you an idea of what the workshop was about…..


I am about to leave to have dinner with them and then will help with the workshop again tomorrow……..such fun!!!

The train is still progressing….last night I did the little girl’s clothes and hair and hopefully can get her face done after dinner…….

More tomorrow………

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Train – Work in Progress - Part 5

You may notice that I have changed the name of the post from “Sneak Peak”.  I decided that, if you have been reading this long expose, you are no longer just taking a peak, but are participating fully in the creation!!!!

At the end of the previous post, I had finished the woman’s head and was pleased with it.  I then began working on the arms and hands and got them finished fairly quickly.  Unfortunately (here comes the rot again), I realized that I had done them backwards (again) and I also felt that they may have been a bit too small.

SO, I left them where they were and went on to her shirt.  In the pattern photo, the woman had a jacket tied around her waist and there wasn’t a lot of definition between the top and the pants.  I wanted to simplify this pattern, so I went back to the photo of myself and looked at how my shirt hung below my arms.  After two different attempts, I was pleased with how it looked.

I then moved onto the pants.  Since I had done the arms backwards, I knew that her legs would need to cross the other direction so I planned my pattern accordingly and looked for fabric.  After cutting it out, gluing the edges of the pattern and placing it on the design wall, IT LOOKED GHASTLY. 

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OK, no other fabric that would work, but I thought that I might get by with the back side of the ghastly fabric. 

I cut out another freezer paper pattern, ironed it on the fabric, cut it out, glued the edges and then realized that I had used the wrong side of the pattern and now her legs were crossing in the original direction, which meant that her arms and hands were wrong!$!!%!!

After a bit of deliberation, I decided to re-do the arms since I really thought that they needed to be a bit bigger and I also did them in a shade darker  fabric.  Much better!!!  By this stage, I have learned to write the word “Pattern” on the side that I need to draw from!!!

Now to the feet.  The original photo had tennis shoes, but the picture, once again, didnt’ have enough detail.  How was I going to photography myself (since Hubby in out of the country)?  I had recently learned how to use my camera with a timer setting, so I set the camera up on a shelf, focused on the char, hit the button and raced to get myself into the proper position.  The first photo was great of my crossed foot, but it didn’t get the one on the floor.  After 6 or 7 attempts, I was able to get a good photo of both feet._A263009 (2)

I printed the photo and started drawing the pattern for the shoes and suddenly realized that I DID NOT want to do anything with that much detail on them.  So, I went to my closet, got out my simply black shoes and sat down at the camera again.

The legs and shoes went together without too many hitches….I only had to re-do one of the fabric choices.

So here she is………

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I still dont like the pants fabric so will do some shopping today to see if I can find a solid that I like better.  I also feel that she is a little to “squat” so will think about how I can elongate the legs and may take a bit off of the hips….wish it was that easy in reality!!

Last night I started working on the little girl and was interested to see how different a child’s face is to an adult face.  But, more about that later.

Thanks for all of your encouragement on this project.  If you cant tell, I am having a BLAST!!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sneak Peek - Part 4

OK… has now been over two weeks since I created the young man (even though I only posted about it yesterday) and I was ready to start on the woman. She is not proven to be an easy or fast creation, but I have certainly learned a lot. But, lets start at the beginning……


Firstly, on Saturday afternoon my friend Anita arrived at my door with a bag full of hand dyes that she had made as possible flesh tone fabrics. This was in payment for some quilting that I did for her last month.

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Secondly, as I looked at the pattern that I had drawn, and went back to the original photo to see the details of the picture, I realized that the photo taken from the internet was too small to be blown up to show the needed details. So, I asked my husband to take photos of me sitting in the same position as the woman in my pattern and then I used the 8 mega-pixel photo to create the pattern for her face and hands. My thought was that, when translated into fabric, you wouldn’t be able to tell who it was.

I drew the patterns out and then used my photo copier to enlarge them to an appropriate size. On to the studio……

When I started, I was planning to turn under the edges (except for the REALLY small pieces) and then use machine applique (blanket stitch with monofilament thread) to attach them. I started out by cutting the face and other needed shapes out of freezer paper. I spent some time looking at fabrics and decided which ones I would use. In the back of my mind, I remembered reading that you had to use a lot of contrast, but thought that I had picked my fabrics well.

Then the rot set in…… As I was working on the first of the face shadows, I realized that I had not used the proper side of the pattern and that the face was going in the wrong direction. So, I re-cut those pieces and started again.

I decided to go ahead and sew one of the larger shadows onto the base fabric, but really didn’t like how it looked, so I changed my mind about the type of applique and decided to fuse all of the shadings onto the background.

SO, I started again!!! This time I was really happy with the look of the face. The shadings were good and it was really looking like a face. As I quit for the evening, I put the face up on the design wall, next to the original young man and walked away.

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As I turned around to turn off the light, I realized that…..1) in comparison with the young man, the face was too small, and 2) there was not enough color or contrast in the face…. when viewed from a distance it looked like a light pink blob with brown hair!!! Oh well, there was always tomorrow!!!

On Sunday afternoon, I sat down again and started working on yet another face…this time about 10% larger than the previous one. I took the darkest fabric from the original face and made it the base fabric for the new face. The first shadow that I wanted to add was the darkest one and I couldn’t find a piece of fabric that was the correct color. After thinking about it, I finally pulled out the black RIT dye again and dunked a small piece of the hand-dye to darken it.

I drew the shadow design on freezer paper, applied it to the fabric and then realized that I had, once again, used the wrong side of the pattern and the piece was backwards (By the way, this has been a recurring theme…you would think that I would learn !!!)

After re-doing the first shadow, I continued adding fabrics and getting really excited about the result. I had always been told that a face is not made up of lines, but of shadows and I can now see what they were talking about.

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I think that I will stop the saga here and continue tomorrow, but here is a photo of the final face….and it really does look like me!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sneak Peak - Part 3

OK, now it is time to start on the people and boy was I nervous.  The thought of making them look realistic was very daunting.  However, I again turned to Photoshop Elements and found a function called “Poster Edges”.  This takes the photo and marks the places where the color changes, which showed me where the shadows and other areas of fabric change needed to be.

I started with the young man on the left.  Here is the original  photo and the “posterized” version.


Boy - Poster copy

I was able to use this version to decide on the placement of the flesh toned fabrics.

Many of the details will be added as threadwork or quilting.  This version will also help me to decide where to place the wrinkles in the clothing.


I decided that I wasn’t happy with his shoes, so went online and found a drawing of a pair of shoes and I inserted those instead of sneakers.  I was having a hard time getting the shoes to look right and then discovered that I had them on the wrong feet!!!  I guess that is what happens when you are working on a reverse image pattern!!!

So, here he is….not yet sewn down, but in one piece. …..

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The freezer paper is still on the back of the fabric….I will not remove it until he is permanently attached to the background.

His arm is going to be leaning on an arm rest that I had forgotten until I looked at this picture.  A portion of his arm will also be obscured by a pole.

I cant decide whether or not I am going to put the letters that are on his shirt.  I probably should just to add some interest, but I can make that decision further down the road.

I am fairly happy with the result.  I sent a picture to my son’s girlfriend, who is a wonderful artist, and she said that all of the shadowing looked good so that was a great encouragement.  I will be starting soon on the woman…wonder if she will be any easier??????????

Until next time…….

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sneak Peak – Part 2

Continuing on from the last post……

After I got the photo pattern ready,  I put together a full size pattern.   This was done by printing out the photo using the poster function so that it printed onto 4 pieces of paper (2 by 2).  I then used a fine point Sharpie to draw around the shapes.  The ink leaked thru the paper so that the lines were also visible on the back.  I re-traced these lines, giving me a reverse image pattern.

This 2 by 2 pattern was taken to the copier and copied again using the poster function set at 3 by 3 pages.  This brought it to the final size …approximately 50 inches square.

Here is the final “reverse image” pattern…….


I decided to start out by working on the train background…, floor, etc.  I figured that those were the easiest parts to do and I could put off the harder (realistic people) parts till later.

I visited my local quilt shop (Dragonfly Quilt Shop) to pick up a few fabrics.  The first that I found was a Kaffe Fassett


As I mentioned in a previous post, I felt that it was a bit too bright so I over-dyed it with black to tone it down a bit.

As I worked on the seat, I realized that the bottom edge needed to be darker than the rest of the seat, so I over-dyed another piece….this time making it MUCH darker.

I also had a bright idea to place a seam in the fabric in the place where the seat would meet the seat-back. 

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I then began working on the base of the seat and the floor, but after piecing the first set of fabrics, I realized that the colors were wrong.  I had forgotten that this part of the picture  had come from a different photo and probably wouldn’t be in cream tones, but rather in silvers and grays.  So, after an unsuccessful  try at over-dying the entire section, I ended up starting over with different fabrics.

The next step  was to put together the window.  I decided to use one of the over-dyed fabrics as the window….I may add some quilting to it to show a bit more motion. 

All of this section was appliqued, using the Hand-applique by machine technique._A082803 (2)

The word “Underground” was printed onto fabric and then appliqued onto the window.  All of the window ledges were appliqued in place as well.  

I have used a brown for the door on the far right, but am thinking that I will change it to a silver tone before the project is finished.

I have not done much work on the upper section because I am not completely happy with my fabric choice, nor with the printed Underground map.  It just doesn’t fit right there….looks too small, so I may have to do some manipulations to it in Photoshop and try printing it out again.

So this is where I will stop the story again……next step is the boy on the left!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sneak Peak at Next Project

I haven’t been posting much about my newest project because I haven’t been completely certain that I would be able to finish it. I’m still not certain about that, but thought I would go ahead and show you what I am doing and see if you have suggestions……

In 2007 we spent 2 months in Oxford, England. During that time we spent a number of days in London and I spent many hours taking the Underground to various attractions that I wanted to see. While on the train, I enjoyed watching the mixture of people that would come and go from the bench seat opposite to me…..the view would change at each stop.

Like most quilters, I kept composing quilts in my head featuring these different people. The only problem with this idea was that I cant draw at all and the thought of trying to draw people was even more discouraging. Here is the sketch that I did while on the train….Original drawing

Then, I bought the book, “Photo-Inspired Art Quilts” by Leni Levenson Wiener . One of the ideas that she mentioned was to use Photoshop to create your picture and then use the newly created picture as a pattern for your quilt. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I found a free online Photoshop course and have been enjoying it over the past 7 weeks. One of the first lessons was how to make selections in a photo and then how to move the selection into another photo…..EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED TO DO!!!!

I got onto the internet and did a search for photos of London trains…this is the first photo that I found and it was the perfect backdrop to the picture that was in my mind……

393430988_fd5a862cc6 I then found two other photos that showed the top of the train and the bottom of the train bench. With some manipulation, the picture turned into this…..

Final Bench for quilt (2)

I then started looking for pictures of people on trains but found the problem was that you couldn’t see the entire body so I changed the search to people sitting on benches. As I searched hundreds of photos, I picked the ones that would best fit into the photo

I pulled all of the people’s photos into Photoshop, cut them out of their picture and placed them into the bench picture, adjusting them so that they looked as if they were sitting on the bench. As I worked, I was amazed with how much change could be made by pulling parts from different photos and adding them to this one.

This is the final photo that I am using as my pattern…..

final - side (2)I am trying to remember exactly how many different photos were used in this shot….

1 – the bench itself, 2 – the top of the train, 3 – the bottom of the bench and floor, 4 - the scene in the window, 5 - the “Underground” sign, 6 - the boy on left, 7 - the bottom of his legs (original photo was cut off at the knees), 8 - his shoes, 9 – the woman, 10 – her sleeves (she was in a tank top and the others were dressed warmer), 11 – the girl, 12 – the man on the right, 13 – the yellow poles, 14 – the pole holders

SO, the pattern is ready…..made up from parts of 14 different photos.

…..more to come…..

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halloween Harvest


P4211101 (2) This is the quilt that adorns my entryway during the month of  October.  It was made in 1995 and was a LOT of fun to make!!!   I  had tons of Halloween patterns that I was dying to use so I decided to use them all.  I picked out the patterns, determined the sizes and then worked with graph paper to figure out where to place them on the quilt.

It is funny how quilts evoke memories of when they were made.  In this case, I remember how excited my kids (ages 8 and 10) were about the upcoming holiday.  I also remember that my husband, Michael, was doing a lot of deer hunting during this time and he would often leave super early in the morning and I would get up and sew before anyone else got up.

It was also the first time that I   had used a striped fabric for the binding and I was particularly happy with the result.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The fun of over-dyeing

I have started a new project (more about it in another post) and realized that several of my fabrics were not quite the right color….in particular, they were too bright for the project. So, Deb from my favorite quilt shop simply said “why dont you over-dye them”. She also told me that she uses RIT dyes to do the job. On the way home, I stopped by a store and picked up a bottle of black RIT dye and hurried home to give it a try. I read the instructions, but decided just to wing it and see what happened……

The first step was to fill up a pan with hot, hot water…..

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Add a little salt

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Add some dye (no measuring here) and stir it around

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Add the fabric for a few seconds

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Put fabric into a cold water bath to rinse.

Here are the pieces that I over-dyed, with the original on the left side of each piece.

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In the two on the right, I ended up putting the fabric back into the dye a second time to make it a bit darker. The batik piece was hard to dye so I ended up soaking it for several minutes and even adding more dye to the pot. Apparently, the light dots are treated in some way that keeps them from absorbing the dye.

The bottom line here is that I LOVED the process and will never look at fabrics the same again!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Day at the North Georgia Folk Festival

Saturday was spent as a demonstrator at the North Georgia Folk Festival in Athens, Georgia.  Myself and several guild members set up a booth and proceeded to teach adults and kids about quilting.    We were one of approximately 20 vendors and demonstrators, not to mention a lot of fun bands and good music.    Here are some photos that capture  the fun of the day……

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Blogger Quilt Festival

This is my entry in the fall version of the Blogger Quilt Festival.......

We spent a wonderful July morning at the Eiffel tower, taking loads of photos from the top. Afterwards, we sat on the grass and enjoyed looking up at the tower

Once home my husband put these photos onto his computer as a screen saver. I devised the idea for this quilt as I watched the photos scroll past.

The Eiffel Tower and scenery photos are printed, but the lower part of the quilt is made using machine "Air Applique".

The girl is daughter, Jenny, and I am particularly happy with how her hair turned out!!! Although, the first words out of her mouth were "you made me look fat!!!".

Click here to see more quilt festival entries.
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