Saturday, March 16, 2019

My Interpretation of How to Do Pieced Interpretations and Appliqued Interpretations of a Photograph


I have freely borrowed from my class with Ruth McDowell although I have done my own interpretations.



 How to Do a Pieced Interpretation of a Picture

  1. Choose your photograph.
  2. Make sure you have at least an 8 ½ x 11 inch copy in color as you will want to refer to that when piecing.
  3. Convert to black and white to see how much contrast you have
  4. Posterize the photograph.  I use Picasa  but you could use Photoshop if  you have it.
  5. Trace over the whole photograph trying to get all the key areas of changes in value resulting in a detailed outline.
  6. Blow up the traced photograph to at least double size
  7. Start deconstructing the image by determining the strongest and longest line you can draw. Continue to place lines in developing some large sections and no y seams.  Continue until you can start to see the original image somewhat. First you break down into big areas and then you sub-divide those large areas into smaller areas.
  8. Take your now deconstructed image to Staples and get blown up to the size you want. They can only go to about 24 x 36 so you may need to break down your image if you want it bigger or use an online program to do this. I make two copies, one to use as a master copy and one to cut into sections as I work in sections.  Ruth McDowell auditions fabrics over the whole image which I don't do.  Mary at my art quilt group suggested putting the image in Excel which will tile it!  I had thought of it but didn't follow through.
  9. Tape together enough freezer paper to complete cover your new image. Trace the image onto the shiny side of the freezer paper.
  10. Turn the freezer paper over and mark the intersections of pieces with x's and put matching marks along the sides.
  11. Outline the large sections with colored pencils or pens and slowly number each piece with a section letter and a number. The numbers should more or less correspond to piecing order. Number and outline the sections on your master copy. Also you can begin to hint at colors you want at this point.
  12. Get into your stash and get as many fabrics as you can find that might work  in the piece.  You won't use them all but it's nice to have choices.  Ruth uses a lot of different interesting fabrics.  I tend to use a lot of my hand dyes and "create" fabrics by sewing a bunch of fabrics together and then using them like one fabric.
  13. Decide which fabrics go where – make a guide if you need to.
  14. Iron freezer paper onto the back side of colors you are using and roughly cut around leaving room. Trim to ¼ inch and then start assembling pieces.
  15. Pin each assembled section onto the master pattern on a design wall of some kind.  Make adjustments in colors or pieces at this point.  Leave the freezer paper in as you may want to take out pieces and change.
  16. Final assembly is sewing the big sections together.  
This is the back of the above piece (upside down which I didn't notice!).






































If You Just Want to Use Raw Edge Applique of Your Picture  



  1. Do Steps 1-4 Above.
  2. Blow up the photograph to the size you want your final piece.
  3. Trace key areas onto clear plastic.
  4. Trace the clear plastic drawing onto the shiny side of freezer paper. If there are layers, you may need to trace onto more than one piece of freezer paper (face outline on one perhaps, with the features on another).
  5. Number the pieces on the plastic as well as the back side of the freezer paper.
  6. Iron freezer paper onto double sided fusible. Iron double sided fusible onto the back of appropriate pieces and trim.
  7. Use the plastic copy on top of the background to make sure the pieces get placed in their proper positions. 

You can see the steps in the above piece which I called Colin Deconstructed.  It always amazes me with this piece that you can see Colin even in the very beginning panel.

For a closer look with some pictures, go to the blog entry called Picture Piecing Steps which is has a  link on the left side of the blog under Popular Blog Entries.  I use this myself to remind myself of how to do this.






Thursday, March 14, 2019

A Little Dyeing Interlude

A beautiful sunset down at Ft. Fisher a couple of days ago.  You have to have just the right amount of clouds to get the best color.  I like it best when there is blue sky above all the color.  The thin white line is the Cape Fear River.

I spent one day last week dyeing some neutrals which I will need for the Great Egret.  I may have to do some more dyeing later to get some colors for the heron as well but concentrated on the egret this time.  I was very pleased overall with the lights and the variety.  The first row was just an overdye of some fuchsia I had which I didn't need.  I overdyed it with Strong Orange and loved the results.  It doesn't photograph well but the texture looks like flowers and reminds me of hibiscus which we have a lot of!  The blue is just a four step gradation of Basic Blue which is the only MX pure blue which tends to red rather than yellow.  The second row is a gradation of Cotton Black which I just got and wanted to see how it looked.  It is okay but a bit greenish in the darker hues.  The third row is a gradation of the pure Neutral Gray which is a weak color but just what I need.  You can see there is color when you place a piece of white fabric next to it.  The fourth row is a mix of Basic Brown and the Cotton Black -- even amounts of each.  

Just another view of the above!

Just another sunset view -- I  love the colors in this one particularly!!  These are un-retouched!!I

I have made progress on the heron and egret.  The "road maps" are complete for both of them and blown up to full sized and the lines have been transferred to the freezer paper.


Here is a first cut of the fabrics that will be used for the egrets.  Of course, I will not use all of them.  I haven't sorted out fabrics for the heron yet!  My biggest challenge will be to do justice to the rocks behind the egret and haven't yet decided how to approach this.  There may be some applique in this piece as I really want some interest in this negative space and the stark straight lines may not do it!







Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Rug is Done and Onward to the Egret and Heron

I got my rug done from the Ruth Humphrey class despite my Bernina acting badly.  I think I may need to loosen the bobbin thread as the old 830 usually sews through anything.  I had to go over the outside row numerous times.  I am pretty pleased despite the randomness of the scraps.

You might recognize the next two pictures as I had them printed on fabric and then quilted them.  I gave those two projects recently to a silent auction supporting coastal nature efforts here in NC.  I had always wanted to take a more "Ruth McDowell" approach with them.  I volunteered to do a demo at our next art quilt group on the Ruth McDowell techniques so had to get started.

It has been a tough couple of weeks as I have had a horrible cold and no energy to do anything.  Didn't have a real meal until last night!  Husband is down with the same thing so he hasn't been nagging about "what's for dinner" like usual!


This is one of my favorites and did quite well at the auction I understand.  
 The first steps are to convert to black and white and make sure you have lots of contrast.  Then you use software to "posterize" it.  These are the two photos converted to that step.

This one posterized especially well I think if  you look at the Great Egret, you can see the delineations of white to grey.  


The next step is to trace around all the areas.  I put clear plastic on top of the image to do this.  Somehow I managed to have reversed both images but will take care of reversing them back later.  I then blew these images up to four times their current 8 1/2 x 11 size.  I used an online program to do this.  The one I used to use now charges for this.  

Now that I have these blown up images, the real work begins.  I will take tracing paper and place over the image and try to deconstruct it using straight lines.  You can use curves as well but I like to try to not copy nature entirely -- make it a little abstract!  I usually do my own thing in the backgrounds as well, sometimes creating my own (in fact usually creating my own!)



I did manage to get out of the house yesterday and ran into the small herd of deer that live in Ft. Fisher.  They nicely posed for me.  I counted eight in the herd.  A truck came in and disturbed them so here they are heading out.  

Here are six of them.  Look at the top of the tail on the one on the far left.  They all have this very dark top on their tails.  Some of them are very dark brown as well -- very striking.

There  have been Snowy Egrets down at Ft. Fisher the last couple of weeks and they are getting their summer feathers.


Posing on one of the posts!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

A Rug Workshop with Ruth Humphreys


These are two samples of what the finished pieces will look like.  The red one is a rug by Ruth and the smaller one is a place mat done by Carolyn.

The technique is one I had seen many examples of online and I had coincidentally cut up the small remainders of many of the fabrics I have been working with into 2 1/2 inch strips.  I also had been doing this with all those odd bits of batting from all the quilts I have made this past few months. I was cutting up the batting because I had a nice bunch of strips and a pattern for a tote.  When the class came up, I decided that this would be a fun thing to do.

All the ladies are working hard sewing the strips together into one very long strip.  Then we applied the batting and sewed through the four layers of fabric and four layers of batting!!  The machines all had their work cut out for them.

This is my ball of strips sewn together and batting applied .  

One of the ladies stated sewing the strips together to start the center of her rug.  She had a really lovely palette.


This is the beginning of mine.  My poor old Bernina 830 (the original one) which can sew through almost anything is not crazy about doing a zig zag stitch through all these layers and I have had to slow way down.  I ironed it down and it is nice and flat which is good.

Hopefully I will get it done tomorrow.  The fabrics I used were all pieces left over from the bindings on all those quilts I did or left over border fabric so they don't necessarily go together.  I have a nicer palette still unsewn but wanted to try the technique first using the random scrap fabrics!




Sunday, February 10, 2019

Using up the Leftovers from the Blueberry Bagel Quilt!

I had one heck of a lot of triangles left after finishing the Blueberry Bagel quilt so spent one evening pinning darks to lights.  Here are the first 24 squares.  I decided to go with a 4 x 6 arrangement.  It ended up that I had made 49 blocks altogether so had one left over.  This is of course just a simple kaleidoscope block.  Squaring them up is a little easier now that I have new smaller square rulers.  It is still a pain.



I decided that these needed at least one border to contain all the light.  This one is a dark green and will have dark green binding as well.  It is about 44 x 58.  I have completed machine quilting this one as well


I surrounded this one with a blue hand dye with some purple turrounded this one with a blue hand dye with some purple tendencies.I spray basted these two plus one other quilt top I had finished and managed to get the machine quilting done on one of the kaleidoscope quilts.

This  is a closeup of the quilting on the green bordered quilt.  I was do the same with the blue bordered one.  I first stitched in the ditch between each square and then free hand quilted in all the light areas first stitching in the ditch free hand outlining the light area.  







Saturday, February 9, 2019

A Birding Blog - Yearly Trip to Mattamuskeet and North Carolina's Outer Banks

My daughter and I took our annual trip to northeastern North Carolina on a beautiful weekend in late January so that we could catch the Tundra Swans, Northern Pintails and Snow Geese.

A bonus was this lovely sunset over Bodie Lighthouse on the Outer Banks on our first evening.


 Our first surprise was driving along Route 264 on our way to Lake Mattamuskeet.  There was this temporary pond that was filled to overflowing with Tundra Swans who kept taking off and landing.  They were off quite  a distance except the flyovers.  There were obviously some other ducks in the pond as well but not good enough to identify.


These are two of the Tundra Swans that flew over us.  You can see what a beautiful day it was.  We also saw a couple of fields filled with Snow Geese off in the distance (I am assuming they were Snow Geese as that is what I usually see off in those fields).


We weren't disappointed at Mattamuskeet as there were hundreds of Northern Pintails.  We got a couple of pictures before the bright noon day sun was too much to get decent shots -- a common problem at Mattamuskeet for me.  We did see many Northern Shovelers, Blue-winged Teals, and of course lots of American Coots and Canada Geese.  We didn't spot our usual Bald Eagles though.


An unusual treat was to see two of those gigantic rat like creatures -- Nutria -- crossing the road and heading into the water.  I had seen them before but never out of the water.  They have very ugly gigantic blue buck teeth.


This is an American Bittern.  We have seen this bird quite often here but he was in a slightly different place.  He thinks he is hiding from us!  Look at those big yellow feet.




He deserved a closeup in my blog and may find himself in a quilt eventually.


I was surprised by seeing this Meadowlark sitting on top of a small tree off in the field, luckily where the sun was good.  What a handsome fellow.


We headed off to the Outer Banks from Mattusmuskeet.  We had decided that Pocosin Lakes might be too muddy this year as there had been so much rain a couple of weeks before.  Again this was a different angle from Bodie Lighthouse.  I liked all the pastels -- my daughter declared sunsets boring.


 The next morning we headed out bright and early to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.  I might note that these are all national reserves and therefore unmanned while we were there and the only facilities were porta-potties which fortunately all had paper.  I had gotten only about 4  hours of sleep because of the couple next door who woke me up at 3 and as I was intending to get up at 6, I didn't ask for another room but read for the rest of the night as there was no hope of sleep.  I did take the Do Not Disturb sign off their door the next morning though!


 The above picture and this one are of American Widgeons.  There was so little wind and it was so early in the morning, the light was absolutely ideal for these wonderful pictures of the ducks with their reflections.
 I believe this is a Blue-winged Teal female.


 This is one of the many Gadwalls that were there.



 This is a Greater Scaup.


This is a male Ruddy Duck.  There were a lot more females than male Ruddy Ducks there.


This was just a fun picture of sleeping female Ruddy Ducks and their perfect reflections.


So glad we got to see at least one White Pelican and even got a decent picture before he left!  There were a lot of Tundra Swans here as well.  Off in the distance at Bodie, there was a large flock of Red-headed Ducks but the light was too poor to get pictures.

We hadn't seen any Bald Eagles until we were driving home on Rt. 64.  I was asleep but my daughter spotted this one off in a field on my side of the car!  So we saw our Eagle finally.  We see one almost every time we go there.  

I am getting less mobile each year but hopefully I will get something done about this before the year is out...







Wednesday, January 23, 2019

QBTS January Meeting Neonatal Quilts and Show and Tell!

There were a lot of Neonatal quilts turned in this month!!  I didn't get pictures of all of them as people were just moving too fast and I am not quick enough!!  Below is a good sampling of them.  This Guild outdoes itself with participation in this project.


 This is the one I did from a quilt provided on the workshop day.  There are hearts quilted in the center of each square and it has an adorable penguin backinng.  It was flannel and remind me to never work with that again!!











This was one of my favorites.  As much as I dislike half square triangles, this one tempted me!

Carolyn shared the super hero quilt she made for one of her grandsons.

 She also shared a couple of the place mats she had made using the rug tube technique we have all seen.  I may do this.  I have been cutting pieces of leftover batting into 2 1/2 inch strips for awhile now and have a bag of 2 1/2 strips as well.  Not as pretty as these strips though -- looks like a  lot of Kaffe Fassett fabric to me!



 This was a surprise t-shirt quilt made for a husband who had been begging for one for awhlle!


Ann Millard made this adorable baby quilt for a grandchild for her first birthday!

 This wall hanging got a laugh from all of us!



 Great scrap quilt!


This was made from a panel and was just beautiful!


 This clever purse was made from several pairs of blue jeans.


We all "oohed" over this one -- a labyrinthe.  Beautifully made.


 A beautiful use of a panel by Barbara Hatton.


These next three are of the same quilt.  This one is a closeup of quilting in the quilt.


It's a large quilt.  It was done as part of some new year goals -- a Triple Irish Chain and a red and white quilt being combined in one quilt.


This shows the quilting on the back.


I showed the finished "Quilt from Hell" at the end of the meeting.


This is a closeup of the quilting.  I quilted around each of the arms (Snail's Trails) of the hexagon although I didn't do any stitching in the light areas.  I tested some stitching in one and didn't like it at all so let it be.


I showed the Blueberry Bagel quilt as well.
This is a closeup of the quilting on that quilt.