Week in Review 2022 – 02/25


Image of a tiger cat, bathed in sunlight, standing part way up a staircase and looking down
This is the image that launched a thousand headaches.

I’m thinking of adding a new gallery to my website. Not sure what to title it. Here are just a few of my ideas:

  • Am I Insane?
  • Really???
  • You’ve Got to be Kidding
  • Again?

One might think after more than 30 years of quilting, the vast majority of those years creating non traditional work, anything I started would flow gracefully from my brain, through my hands to a pleasing finished pieced. NOT! Instead, I find myself once more taking what appears to be a simple, easy to execute design and being overwhelmed by just how tricky it is in actuality. Really??? Why do I do this to myself?

Yes, Really!

The same image of the tiger cat, but this time in grayscale, blown up to a size requiring 4 pieces of letter sized paper to print and covered with notations, lines and post it notes.
Dana (my husband) used the scale sized printout to determine the lines of the staircase. The Post It notes indicate his calculations of the start and stop of each line. This is necessary in order to recreate the lines in EQ8.

It all started when I caught our cat basking in the sunlight on the stairs leading to my studio. I snapped a photo. Wow! I couldn’t believe the composition. Now this could be a quilt. A cat on the stairs, really, how hard could it be? Diabolically hard, even though I pared down the image to its essence and went artsy with the palette.

Colorful Excel Spreadsheet with the starting and ending point, by XY coordinates of 21 lines
The points from the Post It note are transferred to an Excel Spreadsheet, by you guessed it, my husband.

Artists approach recreating a photo image in fabric from a variety of ways. They may begin by cropping the image, or simplifying it to remove extraneous/distracting elements. Once satisfied with the photo it is blown up and printed to the size of the finished work. Depending on how they like to work, it will be printed on paper to be traced or directly onto fabric. Been there, done that and it doesn’t appeal to me.

I took the XY coordinates and used them to create a piecing diagram. A few lines were extended in order to be able to paper piece the background. This image is paper piecing blueprint. I also printed out the paper piecing units. Each color grouping is a unit. I use these to actually piece the background together.

It Really Works

Instead, I prefer to distill the image further, capturing just the primary lines and shapes. In this case, that means the stairs and the cat. Really, how hard can it be? Well, for this drafting/vanishing point challenged artist I might as well be trying to compete in the Ironman triathlon. Time to call in the personal trainer, aka my husband. He figured out all the XY coordinates for the lines. Then, I took the coordinates and plotted them in EQ8. I had to add a few “supporting lines” so that I could paper piece the pattern.

It’s a miracle! Between the right lines and choice of fabric the stairs look like stairs.

Lola on the Stairs is beginning to come together after some very harrowing, hair tearing, you’ve got to be kidding days. Phew! Perhaps this is what it means to be an artist. When you are at your wits end, you dig deep and push forward. It is worth it. Really! 🙂 Here’s proof. I finished Monarch Majesty this weekend.

Monarch Majesty is done.

I am linking up with:

By Gwyned Trefethen

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


  1. Oh I’m excited to see where your cat-stairs quilt goes! I love the pink/yellow for the stairs and found myself grinning about your perspective drawing/table/spreadsheet. I have been there myself!

    1. What can I say? Dana grew up in a home with a drafting table and father who designed model B24’s scaled to about 12″. Scaling and drafting come naturally to him. He is very generous to help me out when I get myself into such binds. My plan is to donate this to the Benefit Auction. I’m also taking a 4:3 photo and turning it into a 1:1 with the addition of more background. Do you think my cat might be checking out your creepy crawlies?

      Glad you like the palette. It makes me happy.

    1. Yes, I am very blessed to have such a talented husband. Especially one who is willing to drop what he is doing and help me through my latest angst and crisis in the studio. I have been following Chris’s progress on the cityscape, too. Fascinating.

      There are many things I like about being an art quilter. One reason is there is room for so many styles and approaches. Another is the community, getting know the artists and their work, like you, Margaret.

  2. Yes, thank goodness that there are infinite possibilities when approaching art! Your style, even with the drafting skills of your hubby, would be IMpossible for me, but your results are sooooo amazing. Keep doing what you do so well and know that you are enriching the art scene!

    1. Kathy, your comment means the world to me. Thank you. Depending on the day, I can see my work as traditional or I can view it as courageous that I am comfortable enough to do my own thing. I have learned to call myself an artist – took about 20 years. 🙂

      Love seeing what you are up to. Your black and white crisscrossed with thin lines of eye popping color is so exuberant and fun.

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