Archive | February, 2017

Self Portrait Behind the Pixels Quilt

“Self Portrait Behind The Pixels”, 70″ x 70″, made in November 2016.
This is me, an actual human being behind my online presence. As we talk to each other online, please don’t forget that I am a real person behind the pixels. Let’s all be more understanding, respectful, and kind.
This is a concept that probably rings true for many of us; however this idea did not guide the design. In fact, I found its meaning after I made it.
It started with a selfie on Instagram – something I rarely post. Hey, I just got some highlights in my hair!

I cropped the image a bit, placed it in a grid, and applied some digital effects. Why a grid? It’s freeing. It makes an enormous project approachable – just make one square at a time. A grid makes it easier for me to find order and to help make a design come to life. It gives me a sense of clarity and confidence. Without it, I’m a bit overwhelmed and design is daunting. It just so happens that a grid gives a digital, pixelated effect that I love. And it’s pretty perfect for quiltmaking.

I brought the image into the Procreate App on my iPad, and used the Apple Pencil to translate for sewing via foundation paper piecing (FPP). Here’s a video of my process:


Here’s the resulting image.

And here’s the lines-only version.

I brought it into Adobe Illustrator, cleaned things up a bit, and established my color key. I gave myself the constraints of only using the fabrics that I already have, and only prints.

I separated each square into a FPP pattern and printed them off.

As I started making blocks and throwing them on the design wall, I felt a bit iffy about the fabrics. But I just told myself to go with it.

FPP is definitely one of my happy places, so I gladly just focused on that.

A bit more progress, and still a bit nervous. I worried that the eye was too weird. I powered on.

Finished with the blocks, now to sew them all together.

Then peeling off paper from the back. Oddly satisfying.

And the top is done! I changed up some of the background fabric choices, even using the “wrong” side of the fabric to give some value variation, a first for me.

Rather than quilting it myself, I sent the quilt top to my friend Laura Pukstas who has a longarm quilting machine. I told Laura that it’d be cool to have horizontal straight lines on the background, with the shapes (hair/eye/etc) to be outlined and filled with whatever she thinks is good. I love what she did.

So while I didn’t set out to make a statement quilt, it happened anyway. This design was guided by the simple art concepts of a grid, polygonal shapes, and materials constraints, yet I happened upon its perfect narrative at the end, without even thinking of assigning any meaning during the making process. Fascinating. I wonder how intentionally connecting meaning early in the process will affect my work.

I’ll leave you with this: Let’s look through the pixels, see each other as the beautiful humans we are, and make more of an effort to understand one other before passing judgment online.

Vader Quilt

Yeahhhhh, Vader. I designed and made this for a Vader-loving girl in New Orleans as part of the 2016 May the 4th Mini Quilt Swap #MayThe4thMQS. It measures 24″ x 24″ and includes 5 colors of Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton: black, pepper, charcoal, coal, and iron.

The design started with a photo, then I applied some digital effects, put it in a grid, and drew strategic straight lines to make it into a foundation paper piecing (FPP) sewing pattern. This project “forced” me to hone my Adobe Illustrator skills 🙂

Most of the squares are made from very simple FPP, and some are just plain fabric squares. I sewed all the squares together and then it was paper removal time. A bit fussy, but so worth the effort to get such a precise design.

Wanting to see the design come to life results in a sewing frenzy that’s hard to stop, which is often how it goes for me with FPP projects. You know when you design something, and you’re not quite sure how it will actually turn out, and then it surpasses your expectation? Yeah, that! And in case you were wondering, I pressed most of the seams to the dark side.

Quilting is a simple diagonal cross-hatch.

I had a lot of fun making this, and it’ll likely be the only time I make this quilt design. I contacted Lucasfilm asking if I could make the pattern available for free, and they said no. Disappointing, but it is what it is.

Lips Quilt

So, I made a quilt of my lips. The vibe: 80’s geek chic.
I made a few of them, actually. This one is 66″ x 66″. I used just three fabrics: a textured dot ombre, flat ombre, and white background.
The design started with my lipsticked smooch on a piece of paper. Quite silly, but fun.

I scanned it to my computer and added some digital effects.

I drew digital lines and made a foundation paper piecing pattern. Each square is paper-pieced then sewn together in rows then columns. Here’s another smaller version, measuring 33″ x 33″. I used batik fabrics for the lips, pale solids for the pixel-y edges, and a creamy white for the background.

Here’s another mini version, measuring 22″ x 22″. Prints for lips, flat solids for pixelated edges, and a light background.

I quilted each differently, opting for straight lines on this one.