Thursday, January 23, 2014

Not A Bad Joke

Steven's Tattoo
 A guy walks into a bar... and asks if I could make him a quilt.

I work Fridays and Saturdays at the local tavern.  One of the patrons (Steven) asked me if I could make him a quilt using his tattoo as inspiration.  Well of course I can.  So we took a photo of his tattoo and and left me to it.

The design isn't a difficult one.  But I thought I would show a little of my design process on how this quilt is becoming reality.

Using a design program (Serif) I loaded the photo up and began building around the tattoo.  The lines on the tattoo are a little blurred so I had to improvise but I was happy with the overall look of the design.
The Design
The next step for me is to print out the design and trace it onto a transparent for my projector.  The quilt was originally designed to be about 60"x60".  Once it was sized properly I drew the design out full size onto freezer paper. 
Full size pattern on freezer paper
While discussing the design with Steven we decided that the quilt would have a very basic colour scheme of red on black.  So this is the usual point where I go buy my materials.  I found a great (masculine) red at the local quilt shop.  For this project I also purchased a large black flat sheet (since I don't want any seams in the background), red thread for the applique, fusible for holding the pieces in place, and batting.  I don't buy my backing until the top is finished since sometimes quilts change size (hahaha).

For the applique I ironed the cut out pattern pieces onto the back side of the red fabric, and cut out each piece (22) leaving approximately 0.25"-0.5" along each side to turn the edges.  I was originally going to do a raw edge applique (my favorite type of applique) but because the red contrasts so much with the black background any fraying would be far to visible.

Pattern pieces
Turned edges
Turning the edges of this pattern were a challenge since there are so many sharp points and tight inside corners.  But not to be deterred I whipped out my trusty spray starch and handy paint brush and got er' done.  Just for good measure I put a dab of Fray Check on each corner and point. 
Each piece was marked on completion.  Done! Well not quite.  The most challenging aspect of the is design is the symmetry.  I need those pieces to stay exactly where they need to be.  So for some staying power I cut up bits and pieces of fusible and ironed them onto the back of each piece. 

Fusible, marked on the paper side to avoid sticky mishaps... sigh. 

 Next step for me was to prepare the background (iron, starch, mark).  I ended up measuring the quilt for 70"x70" (told you quilts change size), because I think it looks better having more negative space around the applique.  I have the two central pieces placed perfectly (with pins for now), but the outside points are just layed out for show, as it will take me a while to place them perfectly.

 Well that's about how far along I have come with this quilt for now, but I'm planning on working on it for the next couple of weeks.  I think I'm going to quilt the background in black thread, but I'm not sure on what kind of design to do just yet.  I don't want to spend too many hours on super tight quilting since it's meant to hang on a couch, and personally I love snuggly things.

So that was my inspiration to quilt on this project.  I have definitely noticed that I love to create for other people this is my 6th commissioned quilt.  I love it when someone comes to me with an idea, I just find it super exciting and inspirational, thanks Steve.


  1. Getting that set up on the black will be a challenge...looks good so far:)

  2. Does this mean you are hand appliqueing it? Thanks for showing us your process. Quilting on black can be blinding (at least it is for hand quilting.) It's lookin' good.

  3. Wow! That's really impressive. Are you attaching by hand?

  4. You have an incredible amount of patience with such a fiddly project! Since the prep work for your applique is impeccable you'll have no problems continuing.

  5. ... 'isn't a difficult one' ... cough cough. That looks like a tedious project that requires a fair amount of skill! lol Wow. That's very cool. Cool story too. : )

    Monika in Saskatoon
    ps thanks for linking up!

  6. Cool. Is there a picture of the finished product?

    1. Yeah here is a link to the blog post with the finished quilt.