Saturday, October 5, 2013

Line by (Missing) Line

This week has been all about two things: precision and patience.

I don't normally work from photos. Ideas usually just kind of pop into my head, sometimes out of the blue (thank you, Spirit) and sometimes when I see a particular piece of fabric. However, as mentioned in my last post, this new project is based on a photo (left) my husband took in February at Lookout Mountain in TN, altered by superimposing this medieval-costumed lady, from a free stock photo on the internet, over me. (Believe me, you will never see a quilt with me as the focal point.) I also blotted out the railing, using the cloning feature in my photo program.

So as mentioned in the last post, I printed this out in a 16-page poster-style, gray-scale shadow/highlight-mode photo, killing two birds with one stone--more easily determining color values and enlarging the photo to roughly 32" x 40".

The first thing to do was tape some freezer paper together for an overlay on top of the 16 spliced pages, then start tracing. In pencil, by the way--this is not the time to go permanent. Why? Several times the lines had to be erased and re-drawn, simply because in this particular photo mode, there were often no actual outlines--just shadows and highlights. When I wasn't able to guess at the outlines, I looked back at the color photo for reference and drew them in as best I could.

At this point it occurred to me that killing two birds with one stone maybe wasn't a good idea. Maybe I should have printed a separate photo for shadows and highlights. Tracing would have been a lot easier on a straight-up black-and-white photo with actual outlines!
Anyway, it got done. Then it was time to ink the lines. That turned out to be fun. A medium-point Sharpie glides beautifully over the dull (paper) side of freezer paper, and it's gratifying to see a simple line drawing at the end. (Shadows and highlights will be dealt with later.) By the way, the extra chunk of building I added in the righthand background with those barely visible windows--that's going bye-bye. I thought the photo needed that, but changed my mind after it started looking like an old office building to me. Way too modern.

Notice a few trees were left out. One reason: The large window is now in the clear, allowing a shadowy male figure to be sketched in behind the bars. The other reason: too many elements can clutter up the scene. But that's a personal choice. You just do what looks good to you.

Next, pattern pieces were traced--again on freezer paper and this time in ink, since the lines were no longer iffy--for the various elements in the scene: 26 pieces altogether. Overlap allowances were added wherever they would be needed, and the trees were numbered, both on the drawing and the patterns, for quick reference.
Having these pattern pieces to iron on to the various fabrics will not only give me the exact shapes to cut out, avoiding any wasted fabric, but will also allow me to easily position a pattern piece precisely over a particular area of the fabric if desired.

And now comes the real fun...choosing the fabrics! For the stone structures, walls, and flagstone path, here are some possibilities from my fat-quarter stash. I tried several combinations but still haven't made a decision. 

Getting ahead of myself, though, because first to go down will be the sky fabric. I have several purchased ones, but they were all too cut-up or too full of fluffy clouds (boring in this particular scene) or made it look like a storm was rolling in--not the look I'm going for.

Then I thought of the Kona PFD cotton I 'dyed' with Tsukineko inks months ago. The colors are fairly vivid, and if I can cut and piece these bits of fabric just right, it might work. The 'joins' will have to be hidden, which is where the tower (pattern piece not shown) and trees will come in handy. I'm fiddling with that now, and hope to figure it out today.

Foundation muslin smoothed out and clamped down over inked drawing. Reference marks will be made at key points, in pencil. Unfortunately, that water-soluble center line will have to be rinsed out--it's showing slightly through the sky fabric.
Time to sign off and get back to it. Hooking up with Leah Day's FMQ Friday (what is that secret project she's up to??) and Sarah Craig's Whoop Whoop Friday, where you can sign up to be the next recipient of the traveling stash--a box full of pretty fabrics and notions! Read about it there.

Have a great week!



  1. Linda it's amazing to see your process - I can't imagine making a quilt like this, but I certainly enjoy seeing how you do it! Whoop whoop!!

    1. Sarah, thanks, and I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading your always makes me feel so happy, and I can't believe how many beautiful projects, both individual and group, you get done every week. So inspiring!!

  2. this going to be amazing! thank you for sharing your process and how you think and I am looking forward to seeing how it progresses. I love it so far :-)

    1. Thank you, I hope so, so far it's going ok, although there are a couple of concerns I'll probably address in the blog. I do enjoy sharing the process, though...kind of like thinking out loud, and I think it keeps me more focused and organized.

  3. This is going to be awesome! Can't wait to see it!!!

    1. Thanks, Janet! Having fun with it. Planning to work on the garrison today. See you soon!


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