Saturday, July 21, 2012

Olivia by Olivia...


A co-worker's young daughter made this very cool image in art class, and my friend has it hanging up in her office. In most homes, it would probably be displayed on the 'fridge. It has a slightly zentangle feel. It must be a standard art class exercise -- write your name in wonky block letters that fill up the paper, add some squiggles across the page, and then color in the areas that the lines define. I've probably seen it at least 100 times. One day, I really looked at it, and thought, gosh, I'll bet I could make that in cloth.

Fabric palette & mirror-imaged drawings
I took a picture, made a careful black line tracing, blew that up, and then printed copies -- rightside out and mirror-imaged. I used the mirror-image line drawing to trace the entire image onto paper-backed steam-a-seam2 fusible. Then section by section, I carefully cut-off a chunk, cut the chunk apart into its constituent pieces, selected 'colors' from my palette of fabrics (kept pinned up next to the drawing). I used a color mirror-imaged copy as a reference.

Transparency placement guide
I used a fat quarter of dark tone-on-tone purple as the background (which shows through in a few places). After fusing the individual pieces to their fabrics and carefully cutting out each piece in the section, I used a full size transparency line drawing to guide placement. Once the first large piece or two were in place and properly aligned, the smaller pieces tiled the surface so well that placement was relatively easy. After removing the paper from the fusible, the surface is tacky, like a 'post-it' and even tiny pieces stayed put with no problems. When all the pieces were in place, I fused the entire surface, layered with backing and batting, and then used a narrow free motion zig-zag to quilt in the black lines and to secure the raw edges.

The final little quilt is darker, but surprisingly like the original picture. I added a narrow stripey binding, and couched a black chenille yarn down right next to the binding, a touch of contrast that is starting to become a signature. There is also some hand cross stitching on the baseball, and I blanket stitched the label.
  This will be presented to Olivia's Mom next week. I sure hope she likes it. 

Update: Mom loves it. So does does Olivia and now its up to them to 'duke' it out.


  1. Love this quilt and it's back story. I think you are really on to something, with your technical explanations and information about your quilts.

    You rock!

    1. Ellen -- Thanks so much. You are my very 1st comment!

  2. that turned out so fabulously well. congrats!