Thursday, November 1, 2018

Kerry Cliffs - Another Quilt in Progress

Kerry Cliffs, County Kerry Ireland, Ring of Skellig
 Yikes it's been a long time since I shared what I've been up to here! Hubby and I went to Ireland in September and had a glorious marvelous wonderful time there. He did all the driving and we went to as many places as we could go in 2-1/2 weeks. If you remember what happened to us a year ago in Ukraine, then I'm sure you'll understand it when I say that this vacation was so sweet that I feel like the pain of last year has been forgotten. God blessed us. Big time. 

I had so much fun making The Narrows (Zion) last spring and summer that I decided to try that technique again with one of my favorite photos from Ireland.

I resized my photo and printed it out poster size. This will be a bigger quilt... I think 60 x 40 or so. Anyway, I taped all the pages together and traced the major portions of the cliff.

Tracing the cliff formations
 I started out tracing the larger formations and then decided that I needed to trace more details. (Too many details is better than not enough when creating a landscape with this technique. Stay tuned and you'll see why.) 
Tracing is done

 Once the poster was traced, I taped it to my sliding glass door - it didn't quite fit of course. I wonder if I can build a bigger door in my next house and claim a 'business expense'?!😁

The poster is taped to my door
 Next step is to create a big sheet of freezer paper and tape that over the poster - 
Lots of work. Lots. Of. Work.
 And now the tracing begins. It took quite a few hours! 
Traced cliffs
 I rotated the above pic so you can see what is going on a bit better. You can see all the detail I traced and as I build this landscape I can decide if each and every little shape I traced will be a different piece of fabric, or if I can lump pieces together because I found a perfect print for that space.

In my work space I have the poster hanging, and I made detailed colored photographs of the landscape to help me choose the right colors. Also, the poster size is washed out and I needed the photographs to help me choose the right value and colors of the fabrics. 
Along side my messy table  I have these leaning on the wall - both poster and detail photos
 Ok, I assume you are still with me? Below is the poster and my drawing. Now do you understand why I need the photos and posters right in front of my eyeballs?! That line drawing I made tracing the cliffs needs 'directions' and I compare the pattern I drew to the poster/photographs and figure out where I am in the building process. 
Poster and pattern
 The next step is to trace the major formations. I'm going to be building this landscape on a foundation - this time NOT the Pellon EK130 like The Narrows (Zion). Why? Because this one is too big and too complicated. I figured I'd use a fabric foundation and build all the sections separately. I thought if I chose the right foundation fabric then the tiny little pieces from my freezer paper pattern wouldn't have to be cut out, the background fabric would do.

Once all those sections are done I might fuse them onto sheets of the Pellon to hold them all together. We'll see when I get there. (I'm winging this quilt again... )
Major portions of the cliff face
 What I'm doing is cutting out each portion of the cliff face. You can see below that I chose a background print for the center face and I pressed the freezer paper pattern to it and then I'll cut out that whole piece. I do NOT remove the freezer paper from it, rather I start at one end and cut out bit by bit of the pattern choosing the right fabrics and fusing them on as I go. 
Pressing the freezer paper pattern to the background fabric
 You can see in the photo below how I'm building the landscape. I cut out portions from the freezer paper pattern and each shape becomes a template. (Sorry about the shadows in the photo - I have direct floodlight/overhead lighting in my sewing room and can't do anything about it. (I'm in the basement...) 
My pattern -
 If I had the perfect fabric with those striations that you see in the freezer paper pattern that I'm holding, then I could make that whole pattern piece out of one fabric. Alas I don't. Sooooo, each one of those horizontal shapes will be a separate piece of fabric.

I cut out each shape from the freezer paper and press it to the TOP of the fabric I choose. (The fabric will have Steam a Seam Lite or Wonder Under on the other side.)  Then I cut out the shape and fuse it to the background fabric.
(See below)
Building away
 Once I get the fabrics in place, I blend and shade using white and gray fabric markers. I also use sharpies... I press using a hot iron so I'm not worried about the sharpies bleeding. Plus I doubt I'll be soaking this quilt when I'm done.
Work on the middle cliff face. (The trickiest one if you ask me!)
 There is an old song I love - it was sung by Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger - it was written by David Mallett. It's called Garden Song and maybe you remember it?
The chorus goes like this - 

Inch by inch, row by row
Gonna make this garden grow
Gonna mulch it deep and low
Gonna make it fertile ground

It's really a cute song. John Denver also sang it. Anyway, that is the way I'm thinking about this quilt. Inch by inch I'm building the landscape.
The middle cliff face
 And the middle one is done. I'm having a heck of a time getting good photos of this quilt, they are all turning out to be washed out or too white. But, you can kind of see how it's going.  On to the next portion...
Let's do another cliff face!
 In the privacy of my blog, can I admit that I'm rather sick of creating cliffs?!
Thankfully, I'm about done. 
Kerry Cliffs so far...
And that's it for me today. As I look at my photo here I'm thinking that the far right is too dark. (There is a double meaning here, considering the events of the last couple of weeks here in the US. The far right is WAY too dark - that kind of hatred I just can not understand. Yuck.)

But enough of that. I'll keep working on my garden and building my quilt as I pray for our country and for leaders who will build people up instead of tearing them down and that insults and fear mongering will give way to kindness and respect for each other.

Boy - I sure took a different turn didn't I? Guess you can tell what's on my heart.  Today I'm off to Madison to visit my mom and to use a gift certificate at a quilt shop there.  I'll be back with the top part of the landscape soon. I'm saving the water for last because I'm freaked out about making it.

Yep, that's me. Freaking out and going for it anyway. Sometimes I think I'm addicted to stress!

Comments welcome and happy quilting everyone.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I haven't done much on it since this post - I'm hoping to get to it for a while today. :)

  2. You really do a beautiful job of capturing the beauty of our planet earth.

  3. Sure wish I could be a bug sitting on your shoulder while you work on this quilt ... as long as bugs don't freak you out ... so I could actually view what you are doing! I have read through this post twice now and will do so again at least twice more for better understanding of your process. I get most of it except for one section about 1/3 of the way through. I am sure it will clear up in my brain once I slow down to read more carefully. Thank you so much for all the photos and explanation of how you are making this photo come alive as a quilt. It's going to be spectacular for sure!

    1. I took more photos as I keep working and maybe you can see what I'm doing better in my next post. I get caught up in my work and forget to stop and take pics of each step. I'm starting the distant bluffs on the far left and then I'll work on the green land - I'm saving the water for last.

  4. Your work is amazing and I love reading about your process! Thank you so much for sharing. Do I understand you correctly that you 1. iron a large section of the freezer paper cliff onto background fabric, 2. cut that whole section of background out, 3. snip small sections off the details of the freezer paper to attach to the appropriate cliff fabrics, 4. cut them out and fuse them to the background?

    BTW I love that song and often sing it when gardening.

    1. Hi hippiechick! Yep, you got it! I haven't had a lot of time to work on it in the last week or so but I'll try to make some time this week. (And maybe post the next?!)
      I don't really like real gardening. Bugs, weeds, mildew, Japanese beatles... sigh. It's much better working in an environment I can control, lol!