Bluebonnet the art collage longhorn – collage lesson #3


When last we met, I demonstrated how to fill Bluebonnet with fused/cut out fabric motifs onto the pattern ease longhorn pattern. I also took you through one way of tracing a larger collaged area (longhorn’s horns and legs) onto your fused fabric. Now onto your next collage quilt lesson.

Removing the Paper Backing on Flower Motifs and Placement – Now that your collaged image is filled you might ask … what do I do with all these straight pins sticking out of my longhorn? Working in sections, you now need to take off each flower motif, score the back of the motif with the tip of the pin, discard the pin, peel off the paper backing and discard. Now place the motif back onto the pattern ease area where you originally had it pinned. Overlap or underlap the motif so no pattern ease shows through on the longhorn. The motif back is tacky and will easily stick to the pattern ease until you have every piece placed. You can also easily move these tacky-backed motifs if you don’t like their placement. Looking closely at the photograph with the sea turtle, notice the paper backing removed from the backing. You just now need to repeat this step until all motifs completely cover the longhorn image. Warning … I have noticed that just because I have pinned down my motifs, it doesn’t mean when I pull the backing off and place it, there won’t be a few areas with pattern ease showing through. These small areas need to be filled with a motif. This happened to me on the top of Bluebonnet’s head and I just added an astronaut.

Fusing the Collaged Top – Clearly this is the easiest part! All your motifs are temporarily attached to the pattern ease. You’ve checked to see that the entire longhorn is covered with no pattern ease showing through. Now you need to have all those motifs stay put. Set your iron on cotton. Place the iron for a few seconds on an area and then lift the iron and reposition until all the areas on the longhorn are permanently fused.

Cutting the Excess Pattern Ease – Now you are ready to cut away the excess pattern ease. Your Karen Kay Buckley scissors work great for this process. You will notice on the back of your longhorn the pattern lines. Use these lines as a guide to cut away the pattern ease. But also know that you can cut around flower motifs that spill over the pattern lines. I did this on the top of Bluebonnet’s head where the flowers are located and on the lower legs covered with flowers. It can make for a more interesting look!

Next week’s collage lesson – I will move onto my favorite part … auditioning the background. Also, talk about gluing down Bluebonnet to the background, quilting options, binding and hanging!

As always, if you would like to purchase one of my collage art quilt patterns head over to my Etsy shop for full-size pattern, supply list and detailed instructions. Domestic shipping is free.

Bluebonnet the art collage longhorn – collage lesson #2


Last week I wrote about having a general plan when selecting fabrics for your collage quilt. Decisions like will I be using themed fabric, batiks, or my personal favorite, Kaffe Fassett fabrics? Also, do not hesitate to pick through your fabric stash, especially if something isn’t working while building your collage.

COLLAGE LESSON #2

Filling up Bluebonnet with fabric motifs – Your collage pattern has been traced onto the pattern ease and taped on a foam core board. You have cut out your fused fabric motifs and laid them out. Grab a bunch of fine point pins and let’s get started.
I like to lean my foam board on an easel. It makes it easier to work. For the longhorn, I started on the top of her head and overlapped slightly the different flowers. I added the astronaut later when I discovered I needed to cover an empty spot with fabric. You don’t want any of the pattern ease to be showing. By the time you are completely finished pinning motifs, the entire longhorn needs to be covered so you cannot see the pattern ease. Also, you do not want to have too many layers of fabric. The only exception might be with the eyes. I believe I have three layers of fabric for each eye. The goal is to overlap slightly so as not to create too much bulk to quilt through. And remember, it is fine to let the motifs spill over the pattern line. I think it creates an interesting look in some areas … notice the longhorn’s flowered legs … when the excess pattern ease is finally cut away.

Creating the bandana horns and legs – I always knew the red bandana fabric would be used for Bluebonnet’s horns and two of the legs. I also used it for the longhorn’s nostrils. While I could have covered Bluebonnet with just small flower motifs, I thought it would be fun to try some larger pieces that were not flowers. There are probably a few ways to create the horn and leg shapes for these areas. I chose to trace, with tracing paper, the horn and leg lines with pencil. Any area that shared an interior line, I created an additional inch in those areas. You do not want to butt fabric up against each other. The extra margin of fabric allows enough area to overlap slightly the fabric motifs that will be laid over that small margin. After you have traced an area, cut out the tracing paper and lay it over the back of the fused bandana fabric. Make sure you have the tracing laying in the right direction so when you cut it out, the fused side covers the outlined horn area on your pattern ease and the fabric is facing up. You can now peel off the paper backing of the horns and legs and place them on your pattern ease to be ironed down later.

Next week … we will talk about cutting the pattern ease away, auditioning the background fabric, and gluing down Bluebonnet on the background.

As always, if you would like to purchase one of my collage art quilt patterns head over to my Etsy shop for full-size pattern, supply list and detailed instructions. Domestic shipping is free.

Trudi the Collage Art Quilt Reindeer – all quilted


Trudi, the Collage Art Quilt Reindeer, has been back from the longarm quilter, A Needle and Thread, for some time and I just realized I haven’t blogged about the finished product! I guess I’ve been busy creating the next collage pattern! Trudi’s quilting is custom with the lovely Erica catching lots of the flower motif edges. She also enhanced lots of the areas to make them puff out. The outside edge of Trudi is also outlined. Finally, Erica quilted an “all over” pattern in the navy background. I used a marbled deep red for the binding and made a hanging sleeve for the back.

I love hanging my quilts and auditioned Trudi in my sewing room. Ultimately, I decided Trudi was meant to hang out in our entry foyer. What do you think?

Next week, I will be launching my next pattern just in time for rodeo season in Texas!

If you wish to purchase any of my patterns head on over to my Etsy Shop. Domestic shipping is free.

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!

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.