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!

Moo-Shu’s seven tips to finish your collage quilt

The whole collage quilting process is so much fun! Choosing fabric for your collage, fusing, cutting out the motifs and placing them on your Pattern Ease foundation. But now you have to turn it into an art quilt!

1. Cutting out Moo-Shu’s outline – You have a decision to make. Cut along the marked outer line of your pattern … let a design motif spill over or cut along the motif line. I do both depending on the look I want to achieve. Look on the back side of your fused design and decide!

2. Moo-Shu’s Background fabric – Audition your background fabrics for Moo-Shu. I chose two bright green batiks. Ultimately, I liked the look of the flatter green batik for Moo-Shu’s background … and used the wilder bright green batik for the backing.

3. Steam it! – I have had two quilts machine-quilted and have heard from my awesome longarm lady at A Needle and Thread that the fusing sometimes gums up the needle slowing down progress! I have read many online comments that suggest giving Moo-Shu a great steam. Apparently, this makes machine quilting easier. I will let you know if it helps on the next quilt!

4. Machine quilting needles – Since I send my quilts out to be machine-quilted, I do not live in that world. For those that machine-quilt at home (not longarm), several kinds of needles have been recommended at various online sites: Madeira Embroidery Anti-Glue needles, Schmetz Embroidery Gold, Schmetz Super Non-Stick size 4. I have no knowledge if these needles could be used on longarm machines. I welcome your suggestions!

5. Quilting Moo-Shu ideas – There are so many ways to quilt Moo-Shu. I chose to have Moo-Shu custom-quilted around various motifs to make them puff out. Moo-Shu’s outside edge is also outlined. The idea is to catch as many of the free edges as possible so your quilt will last a very long time. This is an art quilt and meant to be hung on a wall. The background has an all-over design. I have seen collage quilts quilted with very close parallel lines and also cross-hatched. It is up to you!

6. Moo-Shu’s Quilt label – My lovely friend, Sally, machine embroidered Moo-Shu’s quilt label. Labeling a quilt is important. My awesome son-in-law, Chad, has a quilt handed down to him from a relative that is priceless … but no label. So … give your Panda quilt a name, put your name on it, and who quilted it. Don’t forget your town/state and the year finished. Fifty years from now someone is going to want to know a little of the story behind your quilt.

7. Moo-Shu Hanging sleeve – Moo-Shu is going to hang in my sewing room just as soon as I get the quilt label finished and the hanging sleeve on. I have five quilts hanging at all times in my house, rotating them for the seasons, and no two are hung the same. Blame that on my engineering husband. He is so creative. But each quilt has the same type of easy hanging sleeve made from fabric the width of the quilt and around 9 or 10 inches in length. Fold the fabric, finishing the ends, make a tube, turn inside out and hand-stitch to the upper back of your quilt.

I hope you found these tips helpful!

Interested in purchasing Moo-Shu’s collage quilt pattern? My first pattern is for sale on Etsy.

Moo-Shu, my collage art quilt panda

Yesterday, figuratively speaking, I jumped off a cliff and released my first collage art quilt pattern. Yep … I have my own Etsy shop! Moo-Shu comes with her own full-size pattern, supply list and detailed instructions. The link is provided, or you can head over to my “Home” page, and click on the “Etsy” button.

Over the past forty year, I’ve done lots of different types of quilting. I love it all! It has always amazed me how fabric can be manipulated and turned on its head to create a personal story. Every quilt is so unique … and no two quilts are alike.

It wasn’t until I took a collage quilting class earlier this year, that I found my joy. Everyone in the class was making a different Laura Heine collage quilt. I was the only making Lulu, the elephant. It was so fun creating my own interpretation of the quilt. I think my husband thought I was a little nuts when I bolted through the door after the first class day. The emotion expressed was “excited” and it was an understatement. He encouraged me to create my own pattern and Moo-Shu is the result. It took me a couple of months to create a prototype quilt. I wanted it to be perfect.

The basic premise of collage art quilts is fusing small amounts (fat quarter size or smaller) of cotton fabric, cutting out the motifs you want to highlight in your quilt, and pinning them on a background (your line drawing). After you like the way your collage looks, the paper fusible backing is removed on each motif and placed back on the background. A final fuse with an iron and you are onto your next step. Next week I will write about that!

Notice the word “sewing machine” has not been mentioned. There is no sewing involved until you get to the machine quilting stage.

Let me know what you think about Moo-Shu! I am also pondering my next collage pattern. Any thoughts?

Lulu collage quilt – she is finished!

Picked up Lulu from Erica, the awesome long arm quilt lady at A Needle and Thread, and couldn’t be happier! It was so fun to collaborate with her. Erica quilted an outline around the entire elephant image and custom quilted around the flowers, leaves, butterflies and other critters. I especially love the puffy textures she created with thread on the fishes. On the background yellow batik, Erica quilted an lovely all-over leaf design.

I’ve seen collage quilts quilted in tight vertical and horizontal grids. I know this ensures the fused fabric pieces will stay in place … but then I saw an alternative. Our collage quilt instructor, the awesome Jo Lynn, brought several completed collage quilts to class and they were stunning. On her quilts, the collaged image was custom quilted around the whole image as well as into the flowers, feathers, critters and such. I loved the look!

The amazing Sally embroidered the patch for the back of the quilt in hot pink thread. I had Sally place it on white fabric to remind me to “audition” background fabric on all future collage quilts. I almost had a huge “Oops.” I originally purchased plenty of white fabric for the elephant background while still taking the collage quilting class. I was obviously trying to hurry the process. Thank goodness I brought an unfinished Lulu for “show and tell” to the prayer quilt ministry I volunteer at on Wednesdays. The ladies stepped up and gently prepared me for an intervention. Yep … I would be making a huge mistake with the white! It was either Noreen or Cathy that suggested yellow and it really works on this quilt!

So what is next? I created a collage pattern and am busy working on a prototype collage quilt. Stay tuned! Future blog post in the making!

Lulu Collage Quilt – part two

In a couple of weeks, Lulu will be hanging out with the longarm lady getting some custom quilting work! But first a little progress report. Lulu, the collage elephant (pattern by Laura Heine), went from having lots of fabric pieces pinned to her … to taking the fused backing paper off all the pieces, and repositioning the pieces back on the quilt. The backs of the pieces are tacky enough to stay put until the final fuse over the entire elephant shape. Next, I cut around the elephant shape. I was now ready to fuse Lulu to my background fabric. But there was a little snag.

I had purchased the background fabric for Lulu at the fabric store where I took the class. Big mistake on my part. I was in a hurry and didn’t really think it through. Lulu was left behind on her board in the workroom and I just wandered around looking for … whatever!

Thank goodness for quilting peeps! I recently dragged Lulu for a little “show and tell” to the Prayer Quilt Ministry at our church. Before fusing Lulu to the background, I wanted to audition her with the background fabric. Right away I could see by the many frowny faces that the white backing I had picked wasn’t doing Lulu justice. Yeah … I had those thoughts but didn’t trust my gut. I went back to the drawing board and found this bright yellow batik! Quilting disaster averted! After some serious ironing of the batik fabric, I positioned Lulu on the backing fabric. I applied the fabric fuse around all the outside edges and pressed with a product called FabricFuse by thermoweb. It is a quick bonding fabric adhesive which dries in four to six hours. I’m certain most quilting shops/craft stores sell something like this product.

I’ve also have chosen a purple batik for the backing and a Kaffe Fassett fabric for the binding! In a couple of weeks, I will post the finished quilt!

A collage quilting class!

Several years ago I purchased a quilt pattern at the International Quilt Festival for a collage quilt by Laura Heine of Fiberworks. I’ve never made a collage quilt in my life but absolutely LOVED this quilt! The quilt’s name is Lulu the elephant and the sample quilt was a sassy hot pink elephant. I had to have it!

When I noticed Painted Pony ‘n Quilts in La Porte was offering a collage quilting class, I jumped right on it. The class was taught by the awesome Jo Lynn O’Neil. She teaches and runs a quilt retreat house west of Fort Worth named Rock House Retreat in Santo, Texas. Her rooster collage quilt is named Doodle-Doo Rooster and is fabulous! Two long, creative days were spent in a classroom. I was one of a dozen ladies laboring over our creations. The technique is nothing like I expected. In a peanut shell, large pieces of all kinds of fabric are fused and then cut out into smaller pieces. Karen K Buckley makes awesome scissors for precisely cutting these pieces. The smaller fused pieces are pinned down on the quilt pattern. After the pieces are where you like them, the fusible paper is removed and placed a little more permanently onto the pattern. Heck, it is a little more complicated than that but you kinda get how to get started. No sewing machine involved until the quilt is actually quilted.

I was the only one making the elephant and it was, of course, the largest pattern. You know me … go big or go home! We had two ladies making the pincushion and two creating the Cora the owl. The two ladies working on Purrfect Cat had two completely different takes on their creations and both turned out amazing! The dress form (entitled “Perfect Form”) was made entirely with Victorian fabric and stunning. I was sorry I didn’t take more photos of The Guardian Angel (made with narrow little strips) and The Dress collage quilts. Both were turning out awesome!

My Lulu the Elephant all started with her floppy ears. Nearly all my fabric is Kaffe Fassett with some Tula Pink. Personally, I didn’t know where to start. But I had these large pieces of elephant ear fabric cut out. I guess the teacher could see my hesitation on where to begin. Jo Lynn picked up the elephant ear fabric pieces and placed them where they now reside. I was up and running! I took Lulu home probably with most of the fabric pieces placed. Now I am working on getting the fusible off all the pinned pieces. I was amazed how quickly this kind of quilt comes together. In about a week, I should be able to take it to be machine quilted!

Below is a taste on how Lulu is progressing!