I had intended to post my finished quilt last week, but a combination of hesitation to post until DS had received it and the interference of work delayed the post. No one posted a guess on the direction of the quilt based on the very rough base I shared last post, but some of you might have had an inkling it was the beginnings of the Quilt Inspector. And here is the final product:
DS wanted a quilt to decorate his dorm room, and I thought a reminder of someone from home certainly thinking about him would be appreciated.
I have book by Charlotte Warr Andersen called Faces and Places that has an applique approach that leads to unbelievably realistic and stunning quilts, but I decided that was a bit beyond me on this attempt at least. Instead I scoured the internet for a simpler method. In the end I settled on a ‘fabric collage’ approach based on this video by Faith Cleary and this video series on portraits by Rob Appell.
I started with this picture, which I have always liked. I tried a variety of free photo editors to try to cut out the background but my attempts to “posterize” the photo did not work very well. In the end, I decided to work with the best of them and to trace from that. I don’t have a light box so I taped tracing paper to my computer screen and drew out the main outlines.
I photocopied and enlarged that outline drawing, ending up with this line drawing, that I felt captured the essence of the photo well enough. In hindsight, I should have added more detail to the muzzle, but it seemed fine to me at the time!
I then identified fabrics for the different pieces and eventually cut up the drawing, traced the pieces on scraps of Heat’n’Bond lite and cut a large piece of dark fabric to use as the base. It was really not a difficult process.
After deciding on the framing, I found that the only batting I had sufficient size scraps of was a beautiful wool batting that I got when participating in a class by Diane Gaudynski. I love how the loft of wool can give the look of trapunto without the work, and how beautifully it shows off quilting, but it really wasn’t what I wanted for this particular quilt. I knew it would be too long before I made it to Hong Kong to pick up a flatter batting though, so I went with it. As a result, although I had intended to use quilting to give additional shape to the face, I decided against it. There was just to much puffiness, and it ran the risk of standing out too far. Instead I used random lines along the fabric edges with the hope of giving the impression of fur, at least from a distance, and left much of the face unquilted.
Here are a few pictures of the work in progress. I was laying it out on my Dawn To Dusk quilt, which was lying on the table after basting and which I had not yet cleared away. That turned out to be a happy accident as I loved the way the face looked against the grey, and that decided me on the background.
I actually thought I was already done when I had it quilted and faced, and took this ‘finished quilt’ photo.
But the muzzle bothered me. It was too wide, and when I would look at the quilt from a distance or catch an unexpected glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye, I kept noticing it. I decided to add some additional quilting to give some shadow to the muzzle and narrow it a bit. I am not not completely pleased with the result, but once I started it was impossible to go back, and on the whole I think it is better with than without it. If I were to do it again, though, I would add more detail to the muzzle and/or cut the main fabric so it was more narrow. Perhaps one day I will make another attempt!
DS received the quilt just one day after his birthday, and was both surprised and pleased, so I think all in all, this quilt counts as a success! I have promised one more wall hanging to my son, a landscape quilt that I intend to post about as I go. Hopefully there will soon be something to show!