Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Monarch of the Glen

For several years now, I have been trying to use my photographs for quilt patterns. When I got the new Fuji digital camera, I was really jazzed about it, I took loads of pictures. These butterflies were at the Elkton, Oregon, Butterfly Gardens, part of the Elkton Community Education Center. They have an enclosure where they breed butterflies and raise the cocoons, It is heaven for photographing, but they still flit away as soon as I get the focus adjusted on my camera. For my pattern, I took the plant material from one photo and the butterfly from another.
This is the full photo, as I traced it, but I thought it was too much blank space and not enough butterfly.
So I cropped it horizontally, and focused on the butterfly. I did add a few more leaves, as most had gotten cropped out of the bottom of the pic. I like the strong diagonal lines, and the balance of the butterfly hanging off the bottom of the branch.
I began with some of my hand dyed sky fabrics, I choose the lighter, almost turquoise fabric for the background. It sort of washed out in the photos, but it is a clear blue. Since I don't dye many orange fabrics, I was worried I wouldn't have the right orange, but I did. All the other fabrics are my hand dyed ones, except the black and the body. I had to simplify the flower shapes, 'cause they were too jumbled up. I could not tell if they were red or yellow flowers. I finally decided they were red petals, and the yellow part was the center of the flower, that popped up when it bloomed.
I used "Wonder Under" fusible web, to trace my pattern pieces and fuse to the fabric, and raw edge applique to hold it all down. When you have very specific shapes, the fusible is the best way to transfer patterns and get every thing to fit back together. I am a little bored with it now, after doing the ram and the butterfly. It is like paint by numbers, once the fabrics are picked out it goes together with out much creativity. Thread painting helps the creative process, but this one was simple and boring. I enjoyed the doing the ram more, because the fabric choices were more important.
Most of the time I use muslin on the back with an off white bobbin thread, but I decided to use matching colors in the bobbin. The background area, I used a "teardrop" pattern of free motion quilting.
The name of the wall hanging came from a TV series, from the BBC, called "Monarch of the Glen" the monarch on the show is the Laird of a Highlands Scottish Castle, trying to make the castle pay it's way, in this modern day and age. My husband and I have been thoroughly enjoying it, as TV watching is about all he can do. So we make popcorn and watch 1 or 2 episodes every night. I am almost done with the binding, then I'll post the finished pic.

I'll post this on Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday," click on the badge on the right hand column to see what other VERY talented artists have been doing in textiles.


  1. Your precise use of colour and line is wonderful in this piece! Lovely!