Week in Review 2023 – 10/13

Creating Portraits

I am obsessed with creating portraits, recently. For years I have gone nose to nose with portraits made by other artists, whether these artists create with paint, fabric or mixed media. How do they do it? Could I do that? There is only one to way to find out and that is to try.

The process begins with a photo.

Animals are Forgiving

Owl Moon – 12″ x 12″ wrapped canvas

I have created more than a dozen, perhaps as many as two dozen animals from fabric and thread over the thirty-six years I have been making quilts. Whether I am making an owl, a cat, a highland steer or peacock, it is easy to tell what it is. However, people are another matter. Well, sort of. You can tell when I create a young boy, but can you distinguish him from other young boys? I believe the answer is yes. Certainly when I look at my Portrait of a Young Boy, I see my son, Adrian.

Portrait of a Young Boy is finished! This is what it looks like before being wrapped around a 12″ x 12″ canvas frame.

Unlike traditional quilts, my current portrait quilts are made to wrap around an already wrapped canvas frame measuring 12″ H x 12″W x 1.5″ D. This presents technical/design challenges. There are many ways to handle how to solve the slim 1.5″ x 12″ edges. Some fiber artists paint the canvas and then attach a 12″ x 12″ quilt to the front of the framed canvas. This can be done with velcro or more permanently with glue. I prefer to actually wrap the quilt around the frame. This means the quilt image must flow naturally from front to side.

This is a cropped image of the full quilt. It shows what the top 12″ x 12″ section, the “quilted canvas” looks like. The base of the shirt and the elbows are wrapped around the edges of the frame, so none of the canvas frame is visible.

Planning for Edges

I am a pro at planning for those edges now. Not so, when I first started. There are two key things to bear in mind. One, a quilt contains batting and is therefore too thick to pull around the edges, fold at the corners and ultimately tack to the back of the frame. Therefore, I only layer the central 12″ x 12″ section with batting. Second, the image needs to continue around the frame and to the back. I like a neat finish. So, I also hem the other edges. True they can only be seen on the back, but doing so provides a professional look.

I create a suggestion of how fabric drapes on the body through quilting.

Rainbow Scrap Challenge

I finished my Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt! So, I thought I would share a quilt I finished in 2017 that includes a rainbow colored bee and is done in neutral colors. 🙂

Bee Alert

I’m linking up to the following posts:

By Gwyned Trefethen

I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.


    1. Thank you, Staci. My technique for translating an image in thread should, in theory, come close to a resemblance. This is only my second attempt at a human face versus an animal. So still testing the technique.

  1. Thanks for the peek at your techniques for wrapping a canvas. Although, I do not have your fabulous talent, I like the idea of wrapping, even a traditional small quilt! Thanks again!

    1. There is nothing like writing a post, to realize what I should have put in. For example, I meant to get a picture of what the backside of the quilt looks like before it is wrapped around the frame. Hope my post gives you the confidence to just go for it.

  2. Congratulations on finishing up this incredible piece of art! Thanks for your suggestion on my house quilt. I did that on my Condo Complex quilt, but hadn’t considered adding landscaping on this one.

  3. Your portrait of Adrian is amazing, Gwyned! Your discussion of handling bulk at the corners when wrapping a quilted piece onto a stretched canvas frame reminded me of how professional drapery workrooms handle bulk from flannel drapery interlining, table felt or upholstery batting when making an upholstered window cornice. They would position and secure the top and bottom edges first, staple those nice and straight, and then use a scissors to snip out a square of interlining/table felt/cornice padding at each corner immediately before folding and stapling the mitered corner into place. With a quilted piece like yours, the layers aren’t free at the point of framing, obviously, but I wonder whether you could mark approximately where those corners would lie prior to quilting and avoid putting quilting stitches there so you could trim the batting out afterwards, or even cut the corners out of the batting prior to layering and quilting? I know that quilting shrinks and moves everything, though, so that might cause more problems. I’m very intrigued by your framing process as I have some wall pieces stewing away in the back corner of my mind that I might make someday.

    1. I do something to similar to drapery workrooms when I face a quilt. However, since the corners only require a very tiny snip of seam allowance and batting I quilt right to the edge. The facing seam secures the stitching and any stitching outside of the quilt at the corners is easily handled. Thanks for the suggestion. It shouldn’t be too hard to manage. The biggest problem will be remembering to give it a go the next time I am wrapping a frame with one of my small quilts.

  4. Wow, the portrait of Adrian is wonderful. I love the way you plan to attach the back behind the frame. Such a neat finish from the front.
    I love this bee quilt too, and the neutral hexie background.
    Thank you for sharing, and linking up.

  5. Wow I am so impressed with your work on this project! Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog.

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