applique portrait pt2

Gosh, this course module class seems to have taken the longest time to do but I’m happy with the end result. Stitches used were back stitch and straight stitch, with buttonhole stitch only to appliqué the red pinafore because the wool cloth frayed badly.  I re-stitched all the face in a brown thread, finer than the black I’d used when stitching through the tissue paper (see previous post) and the lighter thread colour and closer stitching enabled me to put in more detail. I have to confess that I’ve given my mother brown eyes here instead of the blue that they really were but if I hadn’t told you, you’d never have known. Call it artist licence. Size is approx 12 x 17 cm. I’m off now to write up my notes for this module, put this little portrait with my other samples, and then have a look to see what’s next on Sue Stone’s online course which is almost at an end!

having fun with stitches

These two little portraits were for a drawing class in the online course, using back stitch or running stitch instead of pen or pencil. A photo is traced and the outline is stitched through the paper and the ground fabric with the paper gently torn away when all the stitching is completed. Tissue paper is more flexible than tracing paper and easier to stitch through but you have to ensure that your stitches are fairly tight. My first portrait using mainly running stitch wasn’t tight enough and I ended up with lots of raised stitches but I like the resultant shadow/loop effect in unexpected places. In the second portrait I used back stitch mainly and tightened the tension and the final look is different again. I was really surprised when my camera automatically recognised these as faces. If any family members recognise these two portraits I’ll be delighted!


portrait quilt 2nd stage

I stitched all the fused appliqué pieces to the background with a straight stitch and I free motion stitched over the main face pieces a few days later but this additional stitching made Mum look extremely old and wrinkly (which she certainly wasn’t at aged 21!), so next day I unpicked all the unintended wrinkles, pressed out all the needle holes and left it for a day or two.

Yesterday I added a little hand stitching to highlight the eyes. Today I didn’t like the amount of fraying that was increasing each time I worked on this quilt so I went round each piece with a small zig-zag stitch and I think that was a better choice.

My quandry now is what kind of free motion stitching to use on the background fabric. I think it needs to be something smallish or possibly nothing at all. Grateful for any suggestions from any quilters out there.



stage 2-2


portrait quilt 1st stage

Big sis brought me some family photographs on her last visit here and amongst them was one of my favourites – my mother aged 21. It took me several days to work out the best method of making an appliquéd portrait quilt of the photograph and what fabrics to use and so on. On Saturday I numbered all the individual pieces on my master drawing and then traced them before copying them onto fusible web. Yesterday I ironed the fusible web to my fabric selections and then cut out all the pieces. Most of this afternoon has been spent assembling and layering the pieces into a recognisable picture and then fusing everything to the background. The next stage will be done on my sewing machine and by hand but just for a change I’m going to think carefully about how I do those, and not rush. The actual colours in the quilt are not quite as washed out as they appear in the image below – I don’t know what went wrong with that!

stage 1

quilted portrait

I’ve had a portrait quilt on the back burner for many months because I reached a stage where I didn’t know how to take it forward and when I brought it out of hibernation once more last week, I knew that I was going to have to be brave and just try something or start it all over again. Maria Elkins first gave me the idea for it from her article in The Quilting Arts Book by Patricia Bolton and today as a way to prevaricate some more over the partially completed one, I followed Maria directions to make a 6″ x 4″ portrait quilt of another family member.

portrait quilt


a new outfit too

Thanks to the latest comment from opusanglicanum about Doris, I’ve given her a new outfit today.



the redhead

I’ve been working on this little redhead for the past couple of days and I really like everything about her – even her outrageous nose!

redhead portrait