Sunday, February 18, 2024

Confetti Cat Portrait

BEFORE: In my last blog post, I showed this potential valentine, which my friend Jane pointed out, looks more like the Valentine's Day Massacre. 

I certainly couldn't give this to anyone I don't wish to maim. But then it occurred to me that my daughter's cat, Cleocatra, routinely combines love with blood. She doesn't allow claw-clipping, so when she plays with us, scratches can ensue. She's also an unrepentant lizard-tormentor and sewing-machine occupier.

AFTER: So I turned my violent background into this! The perfect Valentine for my daughter!

This technique has been around a long time, with many variations. If you were quilting 20 years ago, you might, like me, treasure your copies of the fabulous "Snippets Sensation" books by Cindy Walter. 

The basic idea: Lay down a piece of batting or or fusible interfacing (fusible side up). Cover it with fabric scraps. Cover those with one piece of tulle. Last, "quilt" on top.  

For the cat portrait, I had already put 1 layer of white tulle over the piece you saw at the top of the page. To add the cat and the caption, I laid more on top.

I backed a couple of inches of black and white fabric with fusible web. Then I used the "think" method: I stared at the photo of Cleo above, and freehand cut the components: black head and body, white snout and forehead, black and pink nose/mouth, yellow eyes, and black pupils. I fused and/or glue-sticked all those elements in place.

I used alphabet rubber stamps on white woven bias tape to create the words, "Sometimes Love Hurts." I glue-sticked those in place

I covered all the components with one more piece of tulle, this time dark purple. Next, I added a little more freemotion quilting in red over the background area, plus I used white thread to sketch in Cleo's whiskers and ear hairs. 

I stitched the square to a former Christmas necklace, full of bells. (They signify the bell that Cleo wears to warn victims away.)

My daughter loved it! Cleo was not impressed. But seriously, I adore this cat. Tips for tricking cats into allowing their claws to be clipped would be appreciated.

Find the Create Whimsy article that triggered this round of fun, here. More details are in my last post. Find my tutorial for playing around with this idea with silk scraps, to make fish and valentine jewelry, here

Want more ideas? I have some big news coming up soon! Please join my main mailing list, here.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Stress Relief with Confetti Valentines and Non-Valentines

 I was minding my own business, making a whole lot of improv triangle kaleidoscopes, like this.

I'm only using solids for this quilt. The smallest scraps were filling my "toss" bin.

But then the Create Whimsy newsletter arrived in my email. Lynn Woll, its curator extraordinare, had an article titled "Scrap Happy Confetti Quilts," with  Valentine's Day projects. Oooooo! It looked like so much fun...and I knew I had loads of fresh scraps. 

I plucked the solids from my "discard" bin and sent them into plastic bags, organized by color. 

Then I cut out a 4" square of fusible mid-weight interfacing (Pellon 809/Decor Bond), and started placing bits on them. Lynn suggests laying out squares of interfacing, fusible-side up, then adding a layer of mini-squares, working inward from the borders. That was too slow for me. I used lots of bigger shapes. A top of layer of tulle, to hold everything in place, is an option. I liked the way it looked with a square of purple tulle from my stash. The last step was machine stitching a grid.

That was good practice for the next one, more of an attempted Valentine. 
The blue is a batik, the orange piece on the far left is a tiny print; the rest are solids. I placed white tulle on top, which cut the intensity. I think this piece sends the message, "Although I love you, while wearing pink I was in a bloody duel with golden swords, and now my heart is sore and broken."  In other words, I can't think of anyone I actually want to send this particular (inaccurate) emotion to. (My clever friend Jane suggested it might work as a remembrance of the romantic Valentine's Day massacre.)

For my third try, I went for a design that's tough to ruin: Tree. I accidentally laid the 4" interfacing square down upside-down, so NONE of these pieces were secure! 
I didn't want to move them all to a different piece of interfacing, with fusible facing correctly up; so I just left it like that. I fused one more layer of Decor Bond to back. The extra layer turned out to be helpful for stabilizing the piece during stitching. 

Still, nothing was glued in place, so I had  to cover this one with tulle, too. First I tested white tulle. 
Too pale. So I switched it out to the leftover purple tulle. Much better, richer color.
(The moral of the story: Test different tulle colors.)
Instead of a grid, I did some contour quilting, switching thread colors for different areas.
(Note: the bottom red stripe is a piece of an antique kimono that happened to be on my work surface left over from a different project!)
I trimmed it to a slightly smaller square. But there were still blank spots (where I accidentally left white/interfacing showing) around the edges. So I trimmed even more, cutting curves. 
Finally, I edged it with variegated threads.  
Here's the back. In hindsight, I should have put a layer of fabric on the back before the stitching.
Then I realized that it was shaped exactly like toast. And what could be more romantic for Valentine's day than a scrappy toast-shaped tree scene? (That's a rhetorical question.)
More fun with tulle, trees, and love are in this blog post. Click on the words "Valentine's Day," and/or "tulle" in the word cloud on the lower right for even more.
Find the Create Whimsy article here. Please sign up for my newsletter, too, here. Lots of big news is coming soon!