Quilted Wall Hanging Amy & Ernie Riding In Process

This is my latest quilted wall hanging, “Amy & Ernie Riding”. (That’s my husband and me on our valiant steeds, Cody and Destiny.) On the left is my inspiration photograph, taken last fall in Matthiessen State Park, here in Illinois. It’s a beautiful park with deep ravines, creeks, woods, fields, and 9 miles of riding trails.

Note: This wall hanging is NOT completed. I just thought I would share my work in-process. So far, I have not done any sewing or quilting. I think it’s important for people to know that they can create some quite nice fabric art without being able to sew. I hope to add some glimpses of earlier stages another time. 

The photograph, as I said, was inspiration. In my art quilt wall hanging, I’m not wearing glasses and my husband is sporting a nice cowboy hat (because I have a thing for cowboys!) I realized, after the fact, that I could have dropped 40 pounds between the photo and my version, but oh, well, I’m just keeping it (fairly) real!


Below is an earlier version—the foreground is naked here. I also had a different hat on Ernie. Great example of “I can’t draw”! I tried to make a cowboy hat from a picture in my mind. Well, don’t go there! I found a photo on my computer that I was able to create a better hat from.



I decided to add a lot of texture with the foliage. Here’s a glimpse at my technique. I cut lots of little pieces of green fabrics and laid them on a piece of freezer paper. This keeps them together and protects my wall hanging from any messes from my glue. Yes, I use watered down glue in lieu of pins to hold pieces of fabric in place. I use just little dots of glue, applied with a toothpick or piece of straw. The pieces are generally easy to remove and there are no glue blobs to sew through.




I used the same technique to apply the fabrics to the foreground.

Next step is thread work: thread painting and quilting! Stay tuned!






>Creating a Portrait in Fabric

Dad’s 85th birthday is coming up in a few days. I wanted to create something really special for him, something that he wouldn’t expect. I’ve had this photo of him at age 9 on my bookshelf for a long time. A couple of days ago I was finally inspired—-to create this photo as an art quilt!

I have begun the project and will chronicle it here. My first consideration was color. The photo is in black and white. I could copy this, but aside from not being very inspired, I don’t think it would reflect what I want it to. I want the piece to be interesting and reflect his long life. I
thought about doing it in life-like color, but I don’t know what color Dad’s hat and coat actually were. I have been looking at challenging myself by doing a monochromatic quilt, focusing on shade and tint, texture and line. I have decided to do the picture in sepia tones. This will give it an old-fashioned look, yet being a very contemporary style of art.
Next I had to enlarge this photo to a size I could manage. The original (something like 4X6″) is too small to replicate. I used my photocopier to enlarge it (in sections) 200%. The main figure itself is now about 24″ X 14″, so it will finish to
about 30″ tall. This will be manageable (I can finish it in 10 days) and large enough to be substantial (otherwise, why bother, right?)

The next step is to create a pattern. I have laid tracing paper on top of the enlargement and traced areas from
which to create fabric pieces. I kept in mind that I can’t have pieces too small to cut and place successfully. I also know that I will thread-paint details, so that will take care of some of the small issues.

Now……fabrics! I keep my fabric sorted by color, so it wasn’t too hard to pull out lots of shades of brown. I didn’t bother to research “sepia” to authenticate my color choices, instead I’m choosing shades and tints of yellow-orange. I’ve learned something about the importance of contrast to add interest to a piece, so I tried to find my very palest and very darkest pieces. I did discover that I have some browns that are more green-brown, and some are more gray-brown, so I tried to keep with the yellow and red-browns. I also got out a bit of solid black. There are a few prints with other colors in my piles….you never know, they might be interesting somewhere in the picture!

More to come……………..

>Crazy Piecing Tutorial continued


Crazy Piecing (continued) Be sure to check out the first part in Previous Posts

Image10Here I have started Fabric 3, laying a straight edge right side down along another raw edge of my base piece. I drew a pencil line with a ruler because my base piece wasn’t exactly straight. I’m laying my top piece along that pencil line and stuck in a pin so I can get it under the needle in an orderly fashion.

Image12After sewing along the straight edge, I Image11flipped the Fabric 3 over, right side up. I finger pressed the seam, stuck a couple of pins in along the foundation edge and turned everything over. Now I will trim away the excess Fabric 3 along the foundation piece edges.

Image13Here’s the crazy piecing now. We have the large flowered base piece, the painted fabric (Fabric 2) and the striped silk (Fabric 3).

Image14Next I decided to audition a new piece. I want to get the flowers pieced in without too much getting chopped off, so I lay the fabric on top, folding under right where I want the seam line to be. I finger pressed this fold to give me a sewing line. (This way you don’t have to worry about cutting, allowing for an exact seam allowance, before you sew.)


Ok, I stitched my piece on, leaving the dreaded “L”—2 raw edges to fill. Not to worry.


I sew my next piece along 1 raw edge and, after turning right side up, fold under the raw edge covering the other side’s raw edge. IMG_0018

I stitch very close to the folded edge. IMG_0020This is where embellishments can cover a multitude of sins! A little embroidery stitch or ribbon will look great here. And a button or other cute doodad at the corner completes it.

This new “fabric” will be used to make a handbag that I’m giving away to the 7th visitor today (or whenever). Haven’t actually made the handbag yet, but will in the next day or so and will publish a photo of it when I’m done!



To be a truly “crazy” piecer, you have to be a little crazy!
Here’s a shot of my studio Friday as I was starting to do this project! I’ve been doing a lot of different things, so EVERYTHING is out, and little Dickens finds the piles of fabric to make a lovely nest!

Crazy piecing starts best with a 5 or 6 sided piece of fabric.

Here I’ve started with a 5 sided piece. I usually do my crazy piecing on a foundation piece of fabric. Here I’m using some duck cloth. I like it because it’s quite firm, so when I get ready to do embroidery or embellishments, I don’t worry about using stabilizer.

If you’re crazy piecing to make a garment (like my vests), cut out your pattern with muslin, using EXTRA WIDE seam allowances all around. Here I’m just making a couple of rectangular pieces to make a handbag with.

Next, pick 1 edge and lay another piece of fabric over it, right sides together, with straight edges even.

The top piece DOES NOT have to be exactly the length of the bottom edge, just BE SURE it’s AS LONG.

Now stitch along the straight edges with a narrow seam allowance.

The seam allowance DOES NOT MATTER! (Hello, Quilters! Did you hear that! ; ) What does matter is that you sew a STRAIGHT line.

When you’ve finished, flip the new fabric over. Press (or finger press) the seam open.

Now you can put a pin or 2 in to secure your outer edges together if you wish–depends on how big a piece you’re working on.

Next flip the foundation piece over and trim off the excess of Fabric 2, even with the edge of your foundation.

Now turn everything right side up again.

Looks good!

This is the basic idea. You keep adding fabrics going around the edges of your original 5 sided piece, then piece around those until your base is covered. Because I use scraps that are oddly shaped, I sometimes draw a straight line with a pencil on my foundation piece to help guide me in sewing the straight edges.

I have tons more photos and wanted to write A LOT more, but formatting photos in Blogger is insane!!! Tutorials need LOTS of pictures and this site is not designed for ease of inserting photos. So this is to be continued………..

Well, I’ve found Windows Live Writer to help with blogging, so the rest of the tutorial is posted on May 30. Please post your questions here and I’ll answer them promptly.