Week in Review 2023 – 04/06

Make A Plan

Starting photo of Lola in the Linen Cabinet.

I make plans. I excel at making plans. “Failure to plan is planning to fail” is a mantra that reinforces the importance of planning. However, and this is also key, staying flexible to allow Plan A to be overruled by Plan B and Plan B by Plan C is equally important. I suspect my posts read as though I come up with Plan A and stick to it. False. I am constantly adjusting, modifying and tweaking my plans. There are times when no adjustment is necessary. Experience is a great teacher to avoid plan redos and tweaking.

Lola in the Linen Cabinet cropped to a square 15″ x 15″ image.

Follow the Plan

I do have a plan for how to go from the original image of Lola in the Linen Cabinet to a 12″ x 12″ finished piece to submit as my SAQA Benefit Auction piece this year. Step one is to crop the image from a rectangle to a square with the focus tightening on Lola. Done. The image now measures 15″ x 15″. This leaves a 1.5″ border to allow for natural shrinkage and some wiggle room to select the best 12″ x 12″ final cropping of the piece.

Lola in the Linen Cabinet must finish at exactly 12″ x 12″ to comply with the SAQA Benefit Auction regulations. Experience has taught me to make the piece 15″ x 15″ initially. This allows for the natural shrinkage of quilting and judicious cropping/centering of the image. This pattern, created by tracing key elements of the photo in EQ 8, is my guide for piecing and placement.

Perhaps it is more apropos to say keep the plan loose, than actually break or redo the plan. I like to create a blueprint or pattern for my work in EQ 8. One of the advantages of using this program is I can import and trace an image. The tracing is very rudimentary, but close enough. Best of all I can print the tracing and piecing lines to size, or if I want to go from 15″ x 15″ to say 23″ x 23″ EQ 8 handles all the math and pattern adjustment behind the scenes.

I am threading painting Lola. The remainder of the image will be pieced and appliquéd in a loosely interpreted abstraction. This allows the focus to be on the star, Lola.

Here’s the Plan

I will be thread painting Lola, as I have for previous Lola pieces. I further cropped the 15″ x 15″ image to zero in on Lola. This image is 8″ x 8″. This is where planning is crucial. It is the perfect size to print on a standard (if you live in the US) 8.5″ x 11″ fabric sheet designed to go through my copier. I use EQ Inkjet Fabric Sheets.

The photo is printed on fabric. I use the image as my guide when selecting and stitching the thread.

Tempting as it is to launch right into the studio part of creating art versus jumping from computer program to computer program cropping this and printing that, having a plan is that ounce of prevention needed to makes sure my studio time isn’t spent realizing Lola is too big, too small or I won’t end up with a 12″ x 12″ quilt. Bet it saves on experimental (wasted) fabric and thread, too.

Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Time to make the purple blocks

There are two purple in How Does Your Garden Grow. I am super excited to have finished both my iris blocks this week. My plan is to use the rest of if it is April it is time to work on purple month making the supporting stems and finishing the “iris” section. Will I stick to this plan? Who knows. I have some pretty compelling other projects vying for my attention.

How Does Your Garden Grow will look similar to this when it is finished.

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. Lola makes a great model 🙂 I love seeing your process for getting the project ready to stitch; thanks for sharing that. Your iris block looks fantastic, too.

    1. I am so fortunate to have Lola as an in house fashion model. She is constantly striking cute poses. One of my advantages from years of designing my own work is developing and tweaking strategies on how to approach the creation. I am fascinated by the “how” and process of others. So, that is what I tend to share. Perhaps you and others will find it something resonating or useful in your own work.

    1. Irises are my favorite flower, especially the traditional paper iris with their deep purple and yellow highlight. So naturally, when designing my How Does Your Garden Grow quilt I had to include a couple irises for purple month. I’m so bad about taking process photos except when I need them for myself, as I do for thread painting. So, it was easy to put together a photo story for post. Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. One of the reasons I am happy to immortalize Lola in my work, beyond how special she is to me, is that she is a quintessential tabby. Who can resist those green eyes and the tabby markings? Clearly not you, since you share your home with Darla.

      The iris block proved more challenging than I anticipated. Frustrating, yet a good stretch for building my paper piecing technique.

  2. I love watching Lola coming into a quilt, and reading about every step.
    Your purple flower is beautiful too, I love the contrast with the green stem.
    Thank you for sharing your creative process, and linking up.

    1. I set aside a bunch of green scraps for the stems in How Does My Garden Grow. It is a scrap quilt, so no making the stems from the same green, right? I am partial to tints/brights to add that sparkle. I am glad you are enjoying the evolution from Lola in person, to photo, to quilt.

  3. I love seeing your process or rather plan for process. I’ve never done a block from a picture, so that’s really interesting to me.

    Also, your iris blocks are gorgeous!

    1. You don’t need any of the applications I use to go from picture to block/quilt. Simply resize the photo in whatever program you use, print it and trace the image with the help of window with the sun coming through. You use the window like a light table. I did this for years. However, photo applications (photopea is a free online application similar to Photoshop Elements) make all the resizing and other editorial decisions easier.

      Isn’t it fascinating to see the different approaches people take and how that may or may impact the end result?

  4. I always admire your dedication to your work. Lola is adorable and you certainly do her justice in your pieces.
    I should do an Iris for my purple month of stitching. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Yes, please do include an iris in your purple month of stitching. They are a favorite flower of mine. My HS colors were blue and gold. It was a private girls school with a graduating class of 29. We each brought out own bouquets and wore white dresses. No cap and gown. Of course, I selected paper irises from our garden.

      Thanks for the generous words, Norma.

  5. What an interesting way to incorporate Lola into your quilt block! I knew that flower was an iris as soon as I saw it. I used to have a neighbour when I was growing up who had a lovely garden full of irises.

Comments are closed.