Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lake Michigan Beach Boys Quilt

The Quilt!

Malcolm (turned five the next month after this picture was taken)
Dawson (was two in March before the photo
was taken in July, 2006)

Locke (turned 3 while we were at Lake Michigan!)

This was truly a red-letter day for me!  The pictorial quilt which I started at Quilting Adventures in early March was completed today.  This quilt was based on a photograph taken by daughter Susan five years ago, at Lake Michigan, when the boys were two, five, and three.  I am delighted with it!  I wish now that I had clocked the hours I spent on it.  Certainly I worked on it for perhaps 24 or more hours in March, while I was taking the class from teacher Marcia Stein.  In class, I fused the background pieces together, cut the little boys and their clothes out, using templates made from a tracing of the photo which we had enlarged at Kinko's.  I fused them down on the background using my favorite fusible product, Misty Fuse.

The actual appliqueing was done once I got home; I used a tiny zig-zag stitch, in threads matching the appliques.  I worked on that off and on in April, after the Waco Quilt Show.  (I had other quilts to finish that I had entered in the Show.)  During the first weeks in May, I machine quilted the piece, using "free motion" for most of the background, with hand-quilting for the sky.  This week, I finished up more of the appliqueing and worked on making the binding.

Marcia Stein recommends making bindings that blend in with the quilt.  Since around the four sides of the quilt there are a total of six different fabrics, this process was more complicated than any binding I have ever done before.  Fortunately, Stein's book PICTURE THIS contains clear instructions and wonderful illustrative photos, showing how to mark and then cut the binding with the correct angles.  I completed machine stitching the binding onto the quilt this morning, and then this afternoon I did the hand sewing on the binding to the back of the quilt, using blind stitching and the six different matching threads.

Now for some additional close-ups:
This photo shows the binding along the left side,
where three different fabrics were used.  The shadowing
on the boys' bodies and clothes, and on the sand,
were done with brown tulle, fused on
with Misty Fuse.

This shows some of the free motion quilting.

This shows the hand quilting in the sky.
It also shows the "thread sketching" I did for the "Dennis the Menace" sticking-up
hair on grandson Locke!  (His was the most dramatic, but all the boys had
this look, and I did the thread sketching for all three of them.)  Also you can see here
on the right side five different fabrics were used along the edge for the binding, and
how it blends in with the quilt.  Those angle were tricky!

This is the photo on which the quilt was based.  Notice that I left off some details:
the boat in the upper right, the toy vehicles, etc.
Also, I changed both Malcolm's and Dawson's hands,
as I had a lot of trouble making them look natural, as
they are in the photo.  So M's got tucked in
front of his body, and I sketched
a new one entirely for Dawson.
His is so cute in this photo, but try as hard
as I did, it kept looking like an animal paw!

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Box Turtle to Cheer Me!

When I was a child, growing up in Austin, we often found and took as pets box turtles and horny toads. It has been years since I've seen either one of these creatures, ubiquitous in those long-ago years, in our yard. Yesterday, after we returned from the sobering sight of our old neighborhood now being demolished, Bob came in to tell me, "We've got a turtle in our driveway!"

I grabbed my camera and ran out.  It was uncanny how much seeing this turtle cheered me up!  I told him that I would be most happy if he'd make his home in our flower bed!

Here are a few more views of him:

And now for a few sad pictures.  All of these piles of rubble were once houses of dear neighbors and friends.  It looks as if a tornado has demolished these homes, but not so--it was most definitely a man-made, monster machine after decisions made by the powers that be.  In less than a day, a two-storey house becomes a pile of trash.