Nov 29, 2013

my dog quilt, part two

Here's my second post about the progress of my dog quilt.

The only thing to report so far, is that there are way too many distractions in life. You know, having to stop working in order to eat... sleep... interact with humans... exercise... (okay, that last one is not really a distraction since I tend to let that slide!).

In spite of all these happy distractions, I'm making good progress. Although, I'm a bit hesitant to share at this point because you can't tell what the heck this is from the photos. Right now it kinds of looks like an explosion... or just something truly weird.

But if you're willing to stay tuned, there are two things I can promise. First, this journey will be several months long. Second, in the end this will be an extraordinary art quilt dog portrait (... a lot of adjectives there, I know, but when you spend this much time on something you get to add extra adjectives!).

So here's where I am today. This requires a bit of imagination --- try to visualize a side profile of a big black dog. Here you can see his collar, his ear, and the bottom part of his head and the beginning of a lower chin.


This dog quilt is an original pattern and when finished, it will include approximately 250 pieces of fabric - all hand appliqued. When I finish that process, I will hand embroider whiskers and then machine quilt the whole thing.
This photo is the portrait that the quilt is based on. 
Here is the applique finished so far, with the pattern (drawn on tracing paper) pinned over the top of the quilt top. (Photo looks fuzzy - that is the paper on top of the fabric.)


















I started this quilt during a four-day workshop with David Taylor at Art Quilt Tahoe in early November. During the class, David explained the best way to applique this type of work. As I listened, I thought, oh, that's nice David... but I have been doing hand applique for 15 years, so thank you very much, but I think I've got this covered! 

Well... isn't it painful to admit how wrong you were?  Yes, David I hope you read this. You were right. I was wrong.  Here's the deal.

Each piece of this applique is completely dependent on the piece next to it, so you cannot pick this quilt top up and take it to the couch and sit and applique it! Not even to watch football. Nope. The pieces just won't line up right... believe me I had to redo dozens of them. Here's why. If you get one piece just a little bit off from its precise position, by the time you start to add the other 250 pieces, instead of a replica of a dog, what you will end up with is a big abstract mess.  

So.... you have to do as David suggested and keep the entire quilt top flat stretched out on a table at all times so the pieces won't drift! And then you must hand applique it while it is sitting flat on the table. And no, fusible will not work - at least not for me. The pieces must be carefully placed and secured one meticulous stitch at a time, otherwise the points won't lay right under the overlay and the convex and concave lines won't line up properly.  Very tricky stuff here, but that is what will give it is beauty in the end, at least that is what I am hoping for. There is a chance of course that it will still end up a big mess! 

Below is an image from my first post about this project. This photo was taken while I was still forming the pieces (before the applique/sewing process) --- each piece is pinned on top of the pattern (and into a foam core board).

















I'm loving working on this one. And if it weren't for the many distractions in life, and if my back would hold up from leaning over the table, and if my fingers didn't bleed from hours of hand applique, I'd work on this one 24/7!

In the meantime, I am linking up with Nina Marie's art quilt link up - Off the Wall Fridays. Check out all the other great work there.

http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com/2013/11/creatively-thankful-for-off-wall-friday_29.html

I am also linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday.  
http://www.freshlypieced.com/

15 comments:

  1. If you say so.... I would have fused it or done raw edge applique. Your work is just exquisite tho, the colors blend very well, and I know it will be a dog. It will be worth the effort for your cherished companion. I am Thankful for Off the Wall Friday!

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    1. Amy: you are right - I could have fused it if I had planned that from start. But I turned all the edges under... so, this was best way. I should have explained that. But it is going quicker than I would have guessed. Thanks for taking time to comment.

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  2. Amazing! This dog is going to look great. A similar process to a tree I am presently assembling - but my pieces are mostly fused and will do raw edge applique if I don't chicken out and machine stitch the whole thing. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Thanks Juanita. I look forward to seeing your tree quilt... at least we have a lot of choices for techniques. Keeps things interesting. Thanks for comment!

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  3. This is going to be fabulous, I love the detail and precision :D

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    1. Thanks Chrissie! Over 200 pieces, all very tricky. But having a lot of fun. Appreciate your comments

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  4. Love, love, love. I took a class with David Taylor two years ago, and haven't touched my project since! I think I started too big. I am adding you to my feedly so I can watch your process.

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    1. Hi Rachel. My class with David was a 4 day class, so I got a very good start on the pattern and on choosing fabrics. His classes are fun. Love his work. Thanks for your comments - honored you want to follow me. I will be posting more soon.

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    1. Yvonne: I appreciate your comments! thanks for the encouragement.

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  6. This is really cool! Love the way it is coming together!

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    1. Hi Renee: Thanks so much for your comments - appreciate you taking time to comment. I'm having a lot of fun with this one!

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  7. When I first saw your photo on Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday I thought it was a witches hat that had been nearly torn in two. I imagined the collar was the hat band and the ear was the tip of the hat that had been torn off :)

    You're doing an amazing job. I can see already that all the effort will be worth it in the end.

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    1. That is hysterical! I did worry about this photo since it looks so weird right now... but it will all come together in the end... I hope! Thanks for your funny comments. Love your name too.

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