Lisa’s quilt – drawing

i have a 60×60 inch design to do, first step.

but before that, to learn about my picture, i’m going to do a practice picture, and play with how the colors lie in patches. i have to think about the colored fabrics i will be working with.

strange, when i was a kid, i used to while away the time in boring classes by taking my pencil to the black and white photos of presidents andinventions in our schoolbooks. all of my books would end the year with every photo marked up in pencil, a line surrounding each area of equal tone. that’s what i’m doing here in transferring a complex scene to fabric. i’m outlining areas of equal color, lightness, texture. then it’s all paint by numbers. or so you might think.

the photo and the fabrics to work with

above’s a picture we took in ireland. that’s the (other) rock of cashel, on cashel bay, in county galway, in ireland. it was a mostly cloudy day with a patch of blue. that yellow stuff is gorse in bloom, the green is new shoots of what looked like being iris in a field of old brown grass. in the back under the hill, that little blob of white, is cashel house, a great place to stay all round

surrounding the photo are the cut up bits of the photo of the fabric i have to work with (that my sister brought me – old family stuff that no longer fits). that’s the color range i have to choose from, and it’s not too bad a match. i hope i have enough of some things that look awfully skimpy to me at the moment. i may have to redye some of the fabric i have, but that’s cheating. i can spill coffee on it, however.

i painted the following – my first watercolor in seveal years – as a study of the design i’m going to be working with.

the watercolor study

at 10″ on a side, it’s a whole bunch smaller than the quilt top, which is (calculator) 36 times larger.

the next step is to do it on graph paper, or at least a larger contour sketch of the various fields of color in the picture.

and then i guess after that it’s a matter of cutting out rough shapes of the various color swatches, and then fitting them, and then figuring out how to sew them.

as usual in all my projects, i spend most of my time reinventng the wheel – figuring out basic steps over and over again. but it’s fun; i like it.


Lisa’s quilt first step – dimensions

my sister susie tells me lisa has a queen size bed. that’s 60″ wide x 80″ long. so that’s my primary picture plane. the part that drapes over the side shouldn’t be part of the picture, nor should the part that goes up over the pillows. they are considered the frame. here’s more information. it says you want 15″ on the sides, and a 10″ drop on the bottom. taking 20″ for the pillows, my picture plane is a 60×60 square. so.

here are other sample irish landscapes i could use. i suspect i’ll end up with several pieced together, appropriate for a quilt.

i could use these. they’re basically taken under broken clouds, and the problem is that there’s no blue in the picture, but the light is fantastic. i’ve got plenty of blue fabric to work with, however.

there’s plenty of blue to work with in these pictures, so they’re more likely to be my base reference. you’ll ntice that there’s almost no green to work with, so i’ll need to change the foreground. but i have figured out what i’ll do with that bright yellow turtleneck – gorse flowers.

then there are the fields and their stone walls, which will use up all the green fabric and some of the grays i have to work with. these are in sunshine.

these fields and walls are under cloudy skies. personally, i like the cloud cover, because all the colors of the landscape come out. but we work with what we’re given.

Project: Lisa’s quilt

i got my little sister lisa to bring me a bunch of discarded clothing for a secret project i was about to embark upon. she must have figured it out, because she brought me not only bunches of old mildewed cothes, but also a whole mess of scraps of things she must have been making over the years, only some of which are unusable because the fabric’s too ripe.

but now I have to figure out what i’ m going to do with it. below is a shot of the range of fabrics and colors i will have to work with. it’s a bunch of neutral whites and off-whites, a range of blues, some greens, some reds, a few darks. hmmm.

what occurred to me when i had the clothes in the washing machine (vinegar rinse does wonders for mildew) is that i should quilt a picture of some of the irish landscape we were recently driven thru on the occasion of my other sister’s wedding.

originally i had envisioned sewing a sort of crazy quilt using the entire face of different pieces of clothing, sort of a story of her family’s growth. but she’d long ago given away most of the baby and little kid clothes that would make it cute. (a few years ago at a street festival i spotted someone doing quilts made out of whole blue jeans, and was really struck with it. unfortnately i didn’t have my camera, so i couldn’t capture it and make it my own. maybe this year). so i was left with some other idea to follow.

here’s a sample irish landscape that i’m thinking of turning the clothes into.

here’s the range of fabrics i have to work with.


additional project – something for the guests

finished batch of paintings, ready to set

unable to leave well enough alone, i volunteered to make wedding gifts for all the guests. strictly family on both sides, we were talking about 35 people minimum. so i narrowed it down.

i was originally going to make pocket handkerchiefs for everyone, but since nobody bows their noses on cloth anymore, i thought it would be a useless gesture. then i thought about totebags, after seeing a friend’s daughter’s wonderful version. i said, i can do that, and the project changed just like that.

so now i was doing tote bags. this would work for the guests, because the vast majority of them were married, which meant that half of them were women, and women know what to do with a totebag.

but what to put on it? my sister to the rescue, sending me a cute little picture of an adorable catholic church in the west of ireland, st james church in cashel bay, connemara – near our wonderful hotel. so i drew out a 9×9 pattern, and did 2 dozen silk paintings on lengths of silk left over from the kimono.

i got the instructions for making a padded tote bag from this website, gathered some spare batting, hand-dyed some cotton for the lining (sorry, no picture), bought 2 yards of denim, and got to work. of course i ran out of denim after only 2/3 of the straps were done, but not to worry, i used the dyed cotton. i figured nobody would care.

after 2 dozen bags, i now know how to assemble them in my sleep. the rest of the paintings i stretched and framed, for those single men who wouldn’t appreciate a pretty tote.