Paper patterns and choosing colors

The easy part of the arches project is done. I made a decision to go with the quick sketch, as is. No worries about correct perspective or size…this is a fantasy idea and should not look realistic. Next step was to make a copy to use for cutting out the rock pieces. It’s very important that you do not cut up or destroy your master drawing! Ask me how I know!

Traced out all the rocks…see that number 59 on the right hand side? Yeah–that’s how many rock pieces I have to have.

Paper pieces 2

Decided that I would make the actual pattern pieces out of paper-backed fusible, rough cut, since I thought I’d probably be using a different fabric for each rock. I had to remember to reverse everything so that the fusible would end up on the back side of the fabric. I’m a little challenged when it comes to reverse-the-image projects, so it took a little while to figure out what I really needed to do.

Finally, here are my little pieces, all 59 of them, ready to start fusing to the fabric.

Paper pieces 1

I had thoughts originally of using some silk, and scrunching up some fabric for extra texture, but when I looked at the pile of little papers, I got real again and knew that it would be about all I could manage to find fabric, fuse and cut these little things! There is a reason I don’t do applique and like to piece with BIG chunks of fabric!

When I started, I thought I’d build one arch at a time, choosing light and dark as I went along. That lasted for about 10 pieces.

Choosing colors 1

My ‘better’ plan was to go for all the light first, fuse the parts down before I lost the pieces and actually just choose the order at random. It worked pretty well.

Choosing colors 2

A seldom used treasure in my studio is an industrial light table. It’s big enough to trace a body if I needed to. I do not think that I could complete this project without having that light shining through the master drawing. It makes it so much easier to place my pieces where they need to be and since it’s a glass top, I’ll be able to tack fuse my pieces in position before I have to move it. The table really belongs to my daughter, but lucky for me, she doesn’t have room at her house so I get to use it!

Decision time for the darks is next. The first bunch that I pulled all looked too purple to me, so I have to go back and re-assess before I start fusing. Believe me, I am NOT going to fuse anything without a trial. I don’t want to have to cut out a bunch of pieces a second time. Random selection will not work for this part–I couldn’t get that lucky again.

Choosing colors 3

I’m also coming to the conclusion that I will not be making this piece again in the opposite colorway. I may explore arches and doorways further, but it will not be with dozens of tiny pieces! There are other avenues of exploration…why, I painted it once on paper. It might be easy to paint a version on fabric, too.

But I need to do all those dark fabrics first! My cutting hand might get just a bit sore before this is all over!


10 thoughts on “Paper patterns and choosing colors

  1. Clearly you have relearned something about yourself. Can so relate to the “simple” project morphing into something larger. Not to mention the struggle with reverse image piecing.


    • I have certainly learned that I have little self-discipline. I already knew that I have no patience for tedium and repetition. I like working in a series, but each piece of a series for me must be very different and only reflect the same general theme. Hope I can stick with this one!

      On Sat, Dec 13, 2014 at 11:59 AM, Quirks Ltd. wrote: > >


  2. Looking fabulous! Can’t wait to see the finished product. I was looking through my sketch book for something else and came across a sketch I had done several years ago of my old front door. I now have my starting point. Just have to pick out fabrics. Oh and find the time to do it. Yay!


    • It’s always great to have the inspiration and starting point—*before* the deadline! Mine couldn’t be going much slower, but it’s a busy time of the year. I know you’re busy, too, so good luck! Ho ho ho!

      On Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 11:29 AM, Quirks Ltd. wrote: > >


    • Time investment is a necessary component and I’ll be glad I took the time to do it right when it’s all over. However, if I continue in this series, I think I’ll try other techniques and not repeat this one! Perhaps the richness of wool!

      On Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 8:13 AM, Quirks Ltd. wrote: > >


  3. I taught this process in a class I called photo interpretations. I think I wore everyone out with all those pieces. I brought all kinds of fused fabric pieces from my stash and labeled them dark, light, medium, warm, cool. Each piece was cut from freezer paper pattern that the student made and then fused onto a background piece. Oh yeah, this was tedious. However, at our last quilt show, I was amazed at what all these students had made from this class. I still use this process for pet portraits. I am anxious to see what you do with this.


    • This is not a popular process in this studio! I so rarely make anything to an exact shape or pattern anymore that I have forgotten how tedious it is. Guess I’m truly a crazy improv person through and through!

      On Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 7:52 AM, Quirks Ltd. wrote: > >


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