(Just a reminder, Lynn and I have been working out of Jean Wells' Intuitive Color and Design book. We have been challenging ourselves to work through her assignments. This is our fourth challenge on this project.)
For our April Intuitive Color and Design challenge, Lynn and I decided to participate in a project that is being coordinated by EmCelebrates! (I gave you a sneak peek here.) Em blogged about the project here, if you want to read more. But, essentially, she challenged us all to make blocks from the book Vincent Van Gogh's Cat. If you haven't seen this book, it's a children's book about a cat that goes around and visits paintings from all the masters. She wants to make a quilt of the pictures in the book for a particular school that did a project using the book. It looked like a lot of fun, so I was in! I asked Lynn if she wanted to do it, and she of course agreed! I learned about it from Caroll, who is also doing it. And, of course Em is doing it, too. So, we're all posting our finished blocks today! You'll have to hop around and check out what everyone else is doing, too, I know they all came up with great stuff. You can get to their blogs by clicking on their names. I'll also give you the links again at the end of my post.
Before I show you my finished block, I'll walk you through the process I went through.
Grabbed my leftover green batiks from Tree of Life. (Yeah, yeah...I know, it's a huge pile of leftovers. I had to buy a stack of fat quarters that were bundled up for that project, so I have a ton leftover! I only needed a little of each.)
Next, I cut up the blues, using the gentle curve piecing strategy I blogged about here to make the base for the water. I gave tips on how to do it here. I thought I had a photo of how that looked when I was done, but I don't. Hang on, you'll see it in a moment.
I free-hand drew some amorphous shapes to be the lily pads on the back of some Heat N Bond Lite. I cut these out, ironed them to the backs of my green fabrics, cut them out again, and ironed them onto my blue water background.
It looked like this. To make the cat, I took the photo Em sent me, put it on my iPad, enlarged a little, and traced it onto Heat N Bond Lite. Quite a challenge with the touch screen! It kept going to other things on me. Also, I then realized my cat was reversed. Grrr. So, I put my drawing on the lightbox, reversed, and traced it again on another piece of Heat N Bond Lite. I haven't cut the square yet, but you can see my drawn line where the square will go. I wanted to do all my stitching first, before I cut it, in case it shrank up a little (which it did...just a little). You can see I put the edge about 1/4" from the cat's foot. I wanted it to look like he's walking on the seam when Em puts it all together.
I blanket stitched around all the edges using my Aurifil green threads that were in my kit from Pat Sloan. These were leftover from my Meadow Breeze project. Love how it turned out. (Though I wonder how it would have been if I had done smaller color blocks in the background instead of such big ones.) In general, I tried to match the thread to the lilypads. But I used the dark green on the cat, even though he was light green, because I wanted him to stand out more, as in the foreground.
Here you can see how I used darker thread on the darker leaves. The greens in Pat's kit of threads really go well with a lot of different stuff!
I thought it was looking good here, but I needed to figure out what to do for those splashes of red flowers you see in the photo. I really had to think about this for a while. Here is what I considered:
- Just get some red applique going with some red batiks. That would work. But I wanted something with a little more pizzaz.
- Do some beading. That's why I asked Lynn for the tutorial. That's what I really thought it needed. But I was worried that it would be too hard for Em to quilt around. Beading is probably best done after the quilting.
- Do some silk ribbon embroidery for the flowers. I loved this idea. BUT, I couldn't find my book on it (I think it's still packed in a box until we finish all the remodeling), AND there is NOWHERE around here to get some pretty silk ribbons. I didn't feel ready to order them on the internet. (Come to think of it, that's probably not fair. I never checked that awesome yarn store I found. They might have it!)
So, I e-mailed Em and talked to her about my dilemma. She told me to do what I thought it needed and let her worry about the quilting. That sealed it for me. I was beading it.
I referred to Lynn's tutorial (if you want to see Lynn's tutorial, go here for Part 1 and here for Part 2). I had purchased the book she recommended as well. Love that book, Lynn! Thanks for the recommendation. You can buy it here: Beading on Fabric
I hope it's okay, copyright-wise to show you part of one page. If you like this, please do go buy the book and support the author. Beading on Fabric I wanted the flowers to be sort of amorphous shapes, too....like in the photo. I didn't want them to be like little drawn flowers. So, I was really intrigued by this beading stitch called the moss stitch and gave it a try. (I followed the pictures in terms of how to do the stitch.)
And, tah dah! Here is my finished block! I am really happy with it, as it looks very much like I envisioned it from the start. I love it when that happens. I had such a strong image of what I wanted to do for this, it really interfered with me finishing my March challenge project last month. We decided we'd do this for April in about the middle of March or maybe even early March. I just wanted to work on this! I hope you like it, and I hope Em likes it! I was hoping the blues blended together more, rather than having the seam line be so stark. Em, if you're reading this, I am thinking that for quilting, if you used a blue variegated thread and made some wavy lines (not sure which way they should go), it might be just the ticket and help it all blend together like it does in the painting.
I'll give you some close up shots.
You can see that I had to bead with white thread. It's the only color of beading thread I could find here in town. It only shows if you look really close, however. It probably would have been better to have a dark thread. I finally just found some yesterday.
This morning it was sitting on the kitchen table, draped over a bunch of crap that's on the table. I know, probably not the best place to keep it, but this will help me remember to get it in the mail. Anyway, the sun was shining on it, and it looked pretty.
I love all the shadow play. I haven't seen the sun for so long, I haven't seen shadows, either. I put some of the flowers just in the water...I felt it needed something. I hope they don't look like blobs just put out there.
Anyway, I hope you like it. I hope Em likes it, and I hope Em doesn't have too hard of a time quilting around the beads! I hope it lays flat for you when you quilt, too. After I did the curved piecing, it didn't seem to want to lay exactly flat...I don't know if I stretched the fabric a little while piecing or what. But it's not bad, and I think it will be okay when quilted.
So, now you have to go see what the others created! (If their posts aren't up yet today, they will be shortly. We all agreed to post on April 30, 2011--in case you are looking at this after that date and are trying to find their posts.)
- Go see Lynn's here.
- Go see Caroll's here.
- And go see Em's here. (Oops, Em e-mailed me last night, saying that work had gotten the better of her this week and she'd not done yet. But I'm going to leave the link here, in case you want to check out all her other work!)
This was too much fun. Em, I can't wait to see it all put together. I'll be sure to post that for the rest of you, too, when she does.
What are we going to do next, Lynn? I might need to take a break with all the traveling I have coming up, but let's talk about our next challenge!
Hope you enjoyed.
Until next time,
(Updated weight loss again. Check Health tab. Down 7.4 pounds! Wahoo!)