Trudi the collage art reindeer – auditioning the background and gluing down!


So far you have learned so much about collage quilting from my previous posts about Trudi. I wanted to take you from the beginning to the end of a collage art project. This post is about auditioning the background and gluing the collaged Trudi to the background fabric. I will save the post about the longarm quilting for later.

After finishing collaging Trudi, I cut away the pattern ease to reveal just the reindeer image. Trudi and I then took a little trip down to a local quilt shop to figure out a background fabric. I wasn’t going to repeat a mistake I made on my very first collage and purchase fabric before I had the collage finished. Getting stuck with over a yard of fabric you probably won’t use is not a happy thought.

So for Trudi, I knew I wanted a bright batik to really make her pop off the quilt. One of the lovely ladies that works at the quilt shop helped me pull fabric bolts down and lay Trudi across. I really liked the brightness of the lighter blue … but the reindeer didn’t pop. When I laid Trudi on the navy batik, we knew we had a winner! The lesson here is don’t rush when it comes to purchasing the background fabric. It can really enhance your collage art quilt.

After ironing the navy batik, I was ready to glue the collage onto the backing. This is so simple. I lay the batik, right side up, on the foam core board (the glue can bleed through a little and you don’t want glue all over your kitchen table). Place Trudi exactly where you want her on the background and keep her in that position. I use FabricFuse, a quick bonding fabric adhesive. There are several on the market. Place a thin line of glue around the entire outer back-edge of the collage and lift, for instance, one of the antlers … glue … then carefully lay the antler back down on the background. Repeat until you have the entire edge of your collage glued down. Follow the pressing/drying directions of the glue and you are finished with your collage art quilt top.

If you wish to purchase my original Trudi the collage art reindeer full-size pattern with step-by-step directions, visit my Etsy shop. Free domestic shipping is still available but for a limited time.

Trudi the collage art reindeer – a lesson in building your collage


Last week I wrote about building Trudi’s antlers and the method behind all the fun with little pieces of fused fabric.

Since then I have been Christmas shopping with my lovely daughter. Rice Village, a popular Houston shopping area, had an adorable reindeer just hanging out. I had to get a picture.

So this week let’s talk about some of the other areas on Trudi. It is instructive to see how an collage quilt comes together.

First, the Trudi’s eye gave me some issues. The eye originally chosen was a light brown fabric. It had a swirl in it that could suggest an eye. I knew Trudi’s face and ears were reserved for this beautiful medium blue/purple flower. Once the face was built, I placed the light brown eye. Unfortunately, it was totally lost in all that blue/purple. I struggled with different colors, but finally layered three fabrics. First white, then black and finally a pink center flower. Playing with the colors really paid off.

Next, I turned my attention to Trudi’s neck area. I knew the neck should be lighter in color and chose a cream with a hint of blue flower. I played with a thin red fabric to divide the neck from the body but didn’t like that at all. That red went in the trash. Once I had the neck covered with just the cream flowers, I still wasn’t happy. The flowers by themselves was too much. But by simply adding a few darker small flower motifs throughout the neck, it looked more interesting.

One of Trudi’s front legs was my biggest challenges. I interpreted the way Trudi’s two front legs are positioned on the pattern as a front and back leg. Actually, they are both FRONT legs. Note the mostly purple front leg. I kept looking at it until finally it came to me that it really was a front leg. I finally took off the purple motifs and built that leg much like the other front leg with red flowers. Instant harmony!

So I guess your takeaway from this blog post is to play around with the motifs. Experiment if something doesn’t feel right. Don’t be afraid to take a whole section of motifs off and start over. Add motifs to a section that looks plain or bland. Be bold.

Next week, I will show you how to audition a background fabric for Trudi. The background can totally change your collage quilt. I will also talk briefly about gluing Trudi onto the background and color options for binding.

As always, if you are interested in purchasing my Trudi full-size pattern and step-by-step instructions check out my Etsy shop. Free domestic shipping is still available but not for long.

Trudi the collage art reindeer – a lesson in getting started with the antlers!


Creating a collage art quilt is easier than you think. Just break the process down into little bites. If you need to review how to fuse, check out one of my previous blogs for new collage quilters on fusing. The link is provided here.

On this blog, I also have created several other blogs posts with lots of other tips, tricks and lessons on how to put together a collage art quilt.

With Trudi the Reindeer, I started with the most difficult area first … the antlers. All those little narrow areas and curves were going to take some time to cover properly with fused fabric. I already knew I wanted to use Philip Jacobs’ Orchid line of fabric in several different colorways. I previously used his fabric for Moo-Shu on the panda’s face and large body area. When figuring out the “look” for Trudi, I spent some time searching around the web just looking at fabric colors. I love the elegance of Kaffe Fassett and Philip Jacobs’ fabrics. But I could have just as easily chosen batiks, novelty or even thrown in a plaid or two. I discovered two additional Philip Jacobs orchid colorways that have brown and orange tones. These colors made Trudi’s antlers appear more woodsy-looking. I also mixed in the lighter orchid colorways to create interest.

After cutting out lots of motifs, I like to lay them out near where I am working. Then I start pinning them onto my line drawing drawn on the Pattern Ease-covered foam core board. I move the motifs around and pin them on until I like how they look. I cut larger motifs into smaller pieces if I need to.

When I have the antlers covered with fabric, I take each motif off, remove the paper backing, and place the motif back on the Trudi’s line drawing pattern. The motifs are tacky on the back, with the paper removed, and adhere gently to the Pattern Ease. When the entire Trudi line drawing is covered with motifs, a final fuse with a hot iron is finally performed and they will now be permanently fused.

If you are interested in purchasing my Trudi the Reindeer pattern, head over to my Etsy shop. The pattern includes full-size line drawn pattern, supply list and step-by-step directions. Domestic shipping is still free for a limited time.

Next week … I will talk about the challenges I had with Trudi and how I solved them!

Trudi, the collage art reindeer is coming to town


Need a Christmas quilting project to get into the Christmas spirit? Or perhaps you have a quilt lover on your list? While Rudolph is still getting into tip-top shape for the big day, his lovely cousin, Trudi was posing for the above quilt! With that being said … Trudi, my collage art reindeer pattern, is being launched today on Etsy. And yes … girl reindeer have antlers. At least that is what Google told me.

Head over to my Etsy shop and check out how you can purchase this full-size pattern with complete pattern directions and supply list. The quilt size is 42 inches wide by 56 inches high. And did I mention domestic shipping is free for a limited time?

Next week I will post more photos and directions on how to make this collage art quilt.

Click her for Etsy shop link

2018 Houston’s International Quilt Festival


Houston’s 2018 International Quilt Show is in full swing with exhibitions of hundreds of quilts and vendor booths. My little sister, Gretchen, and I made our trek to Houston’s convention center on Wednesday for Preview Night. We arrived around 4 pm and camped out on the second floor visiting with friends and eating a quick bite until the doors opened. Peering through the “porthole,” that overlooked the first floor vendor area, we looked down at all the colorful booths.

Each year I tell myself I will take lots of more photos and then, what happens, I wander down the aisles and just drool. I’m lucky to have taken any photos … the result … a small collection of the many vendors and a smattering of quilts on exhibit.

Subtle things I noticed this year … instead of selling fat quarters … many vendors opted for one-half yard cuts and fabric bundles. I counted only a few actually selling individual fat quarters. Interesting. I saw lots more collage quilting patterns and entire booths devoted to collage. I also saw lots more “quilt celebrities.” I only got the courage to ask one for a “together photo.” Emily from Collage Quilter is as lovely in person as she is in her videos. I also saw Kaffe Fassett and Jenny from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

The quilt festival lasts until this Sunday. Be there or be square … or a fat quarter … whatever.

New collage quilters – fusing fabric in 5 easy steps

I think fusing the fabric was my main issue with starting my collage quilt. Isn’t that silly? I had purchased a collage pattern the year before at Quilt Festival and then it just sat on the shelf. Every now and then I would pull it out and read all the directions. Then shove it into the plastic sleeve and move on to another project. Why was I letting the very first step in the process stand in my way of creating my first collage quilt? I had fused fabric before, but not very often … and there are different fusing products on the market. Also, I wasn’t familiar with the recommended Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible.

Supplies needed for fusing include: Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible, lots of fabric, Applique Pressing Sheet (my sheet is 13 inches by 17 inches), ironing surface and iron.

A few comments about Lite Steam-A-Seam 2. The fusible comes in a variety of widths and lengths and can be purchased online, in quilt and hobby shops. If purchased from a quilt/hobby shop you will find it on a bolt. I don’t recall the width but four or five yards is a nice amount for a large collage quilt. Since I intend to make lots of collage quilts, I purchased a 40-yard box. The fusible is 12-inches wide and comes in a large roll. This product has paper on both sides which works great for collage quilts. So lets start!

1. Cut your fabric and fusible in manageable lengths – The fusible is very sticky (when one side of the paper is removed) and can be difficult to handle (all that stickiness can fold up on you in a heartbeat) if you work with too large piece a piece. The Quilter’s Cut ‘n Press surface I use to iron and fuse my fabric on has a 12-inch by 18-inch surface. It is the perfect size for pressing collage fabric. But also great for fusing the sticky fusible to my fabric. Just know you can also cut your fabric in lots of small chunks and place on the fusible!

2. Iron all the fabric pieces you are wanting to use in your collage quilt – After cutting your fabric in manageable lengths, iron a stack that you will be fusing and set aside. You can save lots of time by using the efficient assembly-line method.

3. Cut lengths of fusible in manageable lengths – Cut the number of your lengths of fusible to match your fabric lengths and set aside. You will notice the Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 has paper on both sides. Don’t take your fusible apart yet!

4. Getting ready to fuse – Lay one sheet of fusible on your ironing surface. Peel off the top paper layer and discard this paper sheet. What you have left on your ironing surface is the sticky side of your fusible laying up … and the remaining paper layer down … against the ironing surface. Carefully lay one piece of your ironed fabric (right side up) on the sticky side of the fusible smoothing the fabric nice and flat.

5. Fusing your fabric – Take your Applique Pressing Sheet and cover the fabric/fusible. Slide your hot iron (cotton setting) quickly over the entire fabric/fusible. That is all it takes! The pressing sheet ensures the fusible will not get on your hot iron. Should a little fusible adhere to your pressing sheet it is easy to peel off and discard.

If you are interested in purchasing a Moo-Shu pattern (full-size) with supply list and detailed instructions, head over to my Etsy shop! Stay tuned for future Collage Quilt hints and tips and new patterns! I am working on a Christmas version of Moo-Shu and another Christmas collage pattern … to be announced!

And isn’t my grandson, Jacob, adorable? It cost me a quarter to get him to model for his photo! Totally worth it!

New collage quilters … a lesson in looking at fabric motifs!


Quilters new to collage quilting look at a photo of a finished collage quilt and are sometimes confused! Just how did all that fabric make it onto the line drawing pattern? I thought it would be fun to take away the mystery. Believe me … you will never look at a piece of fabric in quite the same way ever again!

When you look closely at Moo-Shu, my panda art quilt, you will notice lots of light-colored flower fabric in her face and body. When planning the quilt, I asked myself … how do I make Moo-Shu’s face and body look like white fur? The answer … why with white orchids of course!

I actually used three colorways of the same fabric line from the Spring 2018 Kaffe Collective. From left to right in the first photograph, I used Kaffe’s Black Orchids, Cool Poppy Garden and Natural Orchids. The fabric actually comes in five colorways and all are quite beautiful. The coloring of the orchid petals in the different colorways have different shades of gray, and also beige, which added another color dimension to Moo-Shu’s “fur.”

After fusing larger pieces of these fabrics which contain all kinds of colorful flowers, I basically cut away the background around the flowers with my Karen Kay Buckley scissors (baby blue handles). I left some of the flowers large to be cut smaller later, if needed. Don’t be concerned when you get to the edge of the fabric and you don’t have a whole flower to cut away. I use smaller parts of flowers all the time to fill in a spot on the line drawing pattern. I saved all the colorful cut motifs that were not “white” orchids to be used on Moo-Shu … or for a future project.

I used a pansy fabric for parts of the face between Moo-Shu’s eyes down to her nose and mouth. There was lots of fussy-cutting since I was interested in just the pansies with purple around the edges. Again, I saved the other pansy motifs in other colors for future projects.

Once you understand the concept of cutting away the background on a piece of fabric, the possibilities are endless! Not only flowers … but novelty fabrics are so fun to cut up and tuck in a collage quilt. Motifs like cans of tuna, fish, butterflies, birds are often not noticed when standing back from a collage quilt. But look at all the fun things you can see up close. My grandkids, Jacob and Ben, had so much fun trying to find all the different things tucked into Moo-Shu.

If you are interested in purchasing a Moo-Shu pattern (full-size) with supply list and detailed instructions, head over to my Etsy shop! Stay tuned for future Collage Quilt hints and tips and new patterns!