Thursday, June 5, 2008

back to the drawing board

I've been thinking about thread painting and portrait quilting a lot lately. There are many more important things to think about, I know, but my brain has literally melted recently from thought overload. The shop, politics, family, feeling's enough to make a girl mad. Meh. I'm trying to focus on the simpler things and sewing always manages to take me back to my happy place.

I've toyed around with both thread painting and portrait quilting in the past and for whatever reason I keep going back to it. Portrait quilting is a bit daunting for me. It's not hard, don't get me wrong. It's just a lot of little nit-picky steps and I just don't have the patience, or the posture (thanks once again, boobies!), to carry it out. The banner at the top of this very blog is the beginning of a portrait quilt of Ben that I started years ago and never finished. It's scary how much it actually looks like him and yet I can't seem to finish. Thread painting is a lot of fun. I love being able to drop the ol' feed dogs and go to town. My brain loves to disconnect and swim around in these thoughts. I have so many ideas I couldn't possibly tell you about them all.

Over the past few months I've been picking up these piles of quilt pieces, thinking about them, and then putting them back down. This morning I loaded them up in my trusty oversized tote bag and started piecing them together. I'm happy with the color combinations and I love that each piece is a completely different size. Nothing matches, everything's random. My kind of quilt. But as I started sewing row one to row two, I felt the inevitable sense of dread that automatically comes with projects like this. I'm going to be tired of it before it's done and instead of a beautiful new quilt for our couch, or a quilt to sell in the shop, it'll find a new home in the unfinished project pile, never to be seen again.

And then it hit me.

What if I combined my love for quilting with my love for fabric portraits and thread painting and used this quilt front as the canvas for a new kind of portrait? I'm thinking about finishing a small quilt panel (roughly 24 x 36), pulling it taut over a canvas stretcher, and building a portrait on top. The basic sketch can be done by hand sewing the rough lines in white yarn, and machine stitches can handle the shading nicely.

Am I nuts? What do you think? Should I stick with the basic quilt and go on my merry way...IF I can manage to finish it? Or should I go with my gut and try something new? I'm all ears, kids. If I stick with the basic quilt, I'm sure I'd have enough material for a smallish quilt. It's not your typical color palate for a child otherwise I'd whip up a kid's quilt, but I tend to go the non-traditional route and stay away from pastels anyway.
Anyway, if you're not familiar with fabric portraits, check out my favorite fabric artist here. I had the pleasure of taking a class with her (where I made the Ben portrait quilt) and she's delightful. Such a sweet woman.
Threadpainting examples here and a video example here.


Jaimee said...

Go, Kate, Go! You can do it!

Here's a wonderful woman I found on Etsy whose work you might like:

Mare said...

I say do what you want. Stop thinking too much and just follow your heart and/or gut and go with it! Whatever you decide to do, it will be awesome! :)

diana @ please sir said...

Looks like some very interesting work! I agree - follow your heart!