Revealed

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:

The Quilt Inspector

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.

originalI 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 outlinehindsight, 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.

Not quite finished

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!

Btw, I am linking this up to Thank God Its Finished Friday, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  Hope you enjoy what everyone is sharing in those linkups.

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3 Comments

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  1. I think doing portraits, whether human or animal, in fabric is much more difficult than the books lead you to believe. The difficulty is to capture the personality spark of the subject, and I think it’s in the eyes. I’m sure your son is enjoying this reminder of his buddy back home.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do think that having a very wide selection of fabrics would be useful, and in my search I saw some amazing pet portraits using a variety of techniques and fabrics, from realistic to quite wild and abstract. But as you said, capturing the personality is the real challenge!

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  3. Portraits are so challenging, but you did a great job! Your DS has a wonderful gift from home! Thanks for linking up to TGIFF!

    Liked by 1 person

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