Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Portrait Quilts

I’m really fascinated with making portrait quilts and am in the beginning stage of planning several. Take this photo
I need to decide how complex to make the face, so I’ve been playing with the cutout filter in Photoshop.
Should I simplify just a little bit?
A bit more?
Quilt a lot?
Or go so far that it’s only the suggestion of a face? That final image would certainly be easier to cut out and assemble, but is it pleasing?
I’ve also been playing with photos of our dog.
For "Lady at the Pond" I think this is about right. Five levels, with edge simplicity set at five, and edge fidelity set to one. Even at this simplistic a cutout, I may still need to  achieve some of the detail with thread painting rather than fabric.
And I may use the eye area from this 8 level version, as well as the tongue and teeth detail. 

If all this talk of cutouts and edge simplicity is making your head spin you might want to check out a wonderful publication called Quilting Arts. I have learned most of what I know about art quilt techniques from this magazine, and the writers regularly feature articles on how to leverage technology for better quilt-making. 
As for the projects I'm contemplating, I would love to hear what you think. We are headed off for a week at the beach in a few days, but one of these projects will be the first order of business when we return. Well, one of these, or another Ansel Adams tribute. We’ll see.

Monday, April 18, 2011


How is it possible that I haven't posted anything this month? Well I could blame it on a houseful of company, which I thoroughly enjoyed, or too many neighborhood commitments, or spring cleaning, or...
The truth is I'm having a terrible time dragging myself out of the garden and back to the computer or sewing machine. How can I think about sitting still in a chair hand quilting, when I could be outside looking at the day to day changes of the Spring garden?
 On Saturday I mentioned to my brother that the Peonies (Paeonia) where about to pop.

This morning I was greeted by this.

The Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) really sets off the Azaleas.
Could this be any more dramatic? 
Oops. Look closely. The macro lens caught some bad actors at work.
Bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana) is in full bloom. 
Tickseed is such an unfitting name for this cheerful flower. I prefer Eared coreopsis (Coreopsis auriculata)

The False Indigo (Baptisia) is also just about to burst out. I have white (alba), blue and yellow varieties.
When this Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) blooms, it will be light yellow and the gray foliage is a great foil for the baptisia nearby.

American Snowbell (Styrax Americana) is so delicate, I keep expecting to hear those little bells chime as I walk past.
And the American Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) will mingle it's gorgeous blooms with all the other plants it romps over and around.
So when will I head back into the house?
Maybe when pigs fly... but I will come back in with inspiration. So please bear with me. I'll be back to stitching and blogging about it soon.