I am making a portrait quilt of one of our Collies, Merlin Lancelot, who is waiting for us at The Rainbow Bridge. This project is the most difficult piece I have made since I started quilting in 2008. The technique is complicated, but in some ways very easy. But here is the hitch: It requires the quilter to just “let go” and don’t try to make the portrait look exactly like the photograph used as the inspiration and pattern.
The most difficult part has been getting Merlin’s “fur” to be dimensional. I tried yarn and decided I didn’t like the look. So, then I decided to try the strips as seen in the photo above. I’ve been hours working on just this chest part. I think – but am not certain – that I’m happy with the look of the simulated fur, knowing there will be more strips of contrasting fabric to replicate shading. Click on the picture to get a closer view of the “fur” strips.
One may wonder where Merlin’s paws are. Well, after all the fabric is pinned down and quilted (with a layer of tulle applied on top prior to thread painting, which actually is the quilting, I will then applique Fall leaves on top of the tulle (then quilt over those) to symbolize the fact that we rescued Merlin in the autumn of his life (he was 8 or 9 when he came to his forever home with us).
This is an art quilt, so there is no pattern to follow, except the one that’s in my heart as I recall Merlin and what a magnificent pup he was. When I work on this quilt, I sense his presence and somehow, I want to make such a perfect piece in memory of him that I let that need get in the way of just letting go and being free in the moment and making of this unique kind of memory.
This has a very long way to go. Today, I will begin gluing down the pieces – at long last. My goal is to finish that by Sunday, when we have another class, where we will learn the thread painting technique. We’ve already been exposed to it and I’ve practiced it, but it will be challenging for me because it involves – AGAIN – letting your creative vision take over.
All of this said, I’m excited working on this project and enjoy the hours Merlin and I spend together, if he only in spirit with me.
Will post more pictures as I continue on this creative journey. Right now, taking a break to walk in the forest. Need some physical activity and time to commune with the nature.
Onward. Be well. Take time to breathe. Be good to yourself.