Thursday, February 19, 2015

Morgue File and Oak Branches (in progress)

Overhanging Oak Branches -  in progress
 I've been getting a lot of messages from quilters who watched my youtube interview with Melissa from the American Quilter's Society. They want to know "What is this morgue file" you talked about!? 

Today I'll tell you. 
And show you progress on my latest quilt. 

Morgue File is a huge source of photographs. Some of their photos are designated Free Use. Some aren't. Here is a link to their archives of Free Use photos.

Once you get there, you can poke around all you want. I went ahead and registered because I use photographs to help me design landscapes, appliques, etc.

Here is a little bit about them from their FAQs.

Ok, lets look at an example. Here is their opening page.
You see the Search box? 

Put in whatever you'd like. In my example I put in "Sunset with moon". Hit enter.

Lots of images come up, I'm rather interested in this one - 
Sample image
When you click on the image information comes up, including the contact information for the photographer. From here, you can download the photograph.
Sample, Sunset with Moon
 Quilt shows are beginning to ask for proof that you had the photographer's permission if you tell them you were inspired by a photograph when you made your quilt. They want something in writing.

Though these photos are 'Free Use', and to be polite, I ask the photographer if I may use his/her image as source material and if I may exhibit my artwork. When they answer, I have something in writing.

See how easy it is? No laws are broken, both you and the photographer are happy campers. And so are the quilt show managers. 

Ok, on to my latest project. You saw my opening photograph? The quilting is in progress but let me show you a bit of how I started it.  

I had an idea for making twisty bulky oak tree branches overhanging a pond or stream in the fall.  So I got out my graph paper and worked on sketching out the branches.

Then I printed the pattern out (it took 12?! pieces of paper)
But here it is.  

Oak branches sketch
 Unfortunately, when I transferred the pattern onto freezer paper, I forgot to 'reverse' the pattern so my bigger branch is now on the right, not the left. Oh well!

I had strip pieced a background in fall colors, kind of. I just really liked these colors...

Instead of making a 100 leaves I made 1000 triangles. I'm going for a more contemporary look. Plus, I like all the leaf color and flutter I can get by using triangles. 

I just used a glue stick to attach them to the quilt top.

Beginning to add leaves
 I REALLY liked the triangles and the flutter! 

By adding all these leaves, I lost the look of the branches overhanging the pond water; I built the branches more like trees. 

Soooo, time to pull off some of the leaves on top and add more on the bottom. And add some more tiny twisty branches on top. (I'm trying to capture a bit more dimension. The top part of the quilt should look farther away from the bottom where presumably the viewer is standing.) 

The oak branches are growing away from us and out across the water.  

Final arrangement
Hopefully I'll be finished with the quilting by the end of next week. Company is coming for the weekend and so is my youngest son.  This means time in the kitchen instead of time in the sewing room.

But that's ok. I like visiting, playing cards and eating with family and friends.

Let me know if you have any questions! Morgue File is an excellent resource.

The jury is still out about whether or not I can make the background look like a fall pond. But however it turns out, this quilt is something new and fun and I like trying out new ideas! 


  1. You continue to amaze not only me but many from around the world! Your thoughtful eye for detail means that we get to enjoy your exquisite masterpieces. Genius! Bravo!

    1. This is Lisa by the way! As in Pavlik... 😉

    2. Hi LISAAAAA! It's so good to hear from you and your compliments is so sweet. Thank you! Thank you!

  2. This is lovely! I learned something about perspective regarding your removal of some of the top leaves. What a difference! On may way to order a copy of your book--it looks great. And thank you for pinning one of my 'ghost quilts.'

    1. Thanks Linda. I love your ghost quilts- they are so clever. It is a neat effect when you can make the inside of a quilt/picture reach out into the border area. :)

      Thanks for writing in!