Wednesday, January 21, 2015

For the love of a dog

I feel shy about showing my work here. I am a new quilter and do not have much experience in different styles of quilt creation. I've only ever sewn straight seams, blocks and rows. I have so many things I want to make, techniques to try and skills to learn.

I've had an idea rolling around in my head for a quilt for some time. I had no idea what I was doing- which was probably good - since I just jumped right in a let it flow. I started fooling around with this August 2014, and then let it rest for the past 4 months - until last week when I pulled it out again. Here is what I have so far:
I started with this drawing I made. But as usual, I'm terrible at following directions - even my own. And, I can't draw - but this gave me a general idea of what to shoot for.

I have NO IDEA what is happening here, I just kept going on intuition.

At this point, I was ready to throw in the towel. Many areas of the dog were just not coming out how I saw it in my mind. AND, I realized too late that I should have made templates for each section, then pieced the fabric to fit that section. OOPS!

So, I went back a few steps - generated some manageable size areas to piece and cut out pattern pieces to fit those areas. Now I felt like I was getting somewhere.

As you can see, I left the crucial area - the face for last - LOL. Talk about avoidance. I am a stickler for details, and with these dogs (Bernese Mountain Dogs) the face is so important and distinctive - I just wanted to get it right.
I was pleased with how the "fur" area was coming out in the black, and happy with the various greens for the background. I had a heck of a time with the nose and muzzle area. I must have made 5 noses - finally I cut it off and started over. Ouch. The next time was the charm, and it infused me with enough excitement to carry on to reach this stage:

So this is where I stand today. I am so proud of this accomplishment. I have never tried anything like this before and I found it to be a very exciting, frustrating and fun process. My hope is to use this as a center "medallion" to a throw sized quilt. I have many friends involved with this breed and I know they would die to have a beautiful quilt styled in this fashion. Current measurements are aprox  20" x 26".

I would welcome any suggestions on how to proceed from here. I've auditioned over 1/2 my stash, created tons of various blocks to audition around this center and - arghhhhhhh....nothing seems just right! I could really use some help.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and for visiting my new blog.
Have a great day

now to try and link up with Lee at Freshly Pieced...I wonder if this worked???



  1. That is amazing! You did a fine job. I have been doing thiis for many years and do the same thing you did. LOL.......with as many screw ups too!
    I have done it by using the base muslin like you did and working like mosaic like you did. And I have paper pieced as well. And a bit of both mixed up.

    go see Silver Linings. they have many breeds paperpiecing patterns. Bernese and Swissys too! A rarity.

    glen in Louisiana

    1. Glen, thanks so much for the feedback. I didn't end up using a muslin base - frankly I didn't even think of that as an option. That was a piece of packing paper behind the block that I had drawn the original design on for a rough guideline. I couldn't find the Silver Linings - do you have a link you could send me?

  2. Spectacular work! As a Berner lover I can definitely say you definitely nailed it! Bravo!

    1. THANK YOU! Where should I go from here? I am so stumped - I've tried many options for the next round and just can't get something that "clicks" with my end vision. I plan a solid border next to let it"rest" and I've tried geese, HST's, a wavey curve style, wonky strips and it all falls short of the magic - and I am unwilling to just settle. I feel like it wants to be a wall hanging - but I'm not a wall hanging kinda person - you know? I want it to be a throw size quilt, I've not placed the eye and the rust eyebrow on permanently. Those bits of fabric are just pinned on for placement. I'm also at a loss of how to complete that part of the face. Some of the detail will come from I guess it's call thread drawing when being quilted - I'm also not super pleased with the bit I chose for the actual eyeball. These things are HARD - LOL....geeze I think maybe I should stick with doing plain old blocks.

  3. Just and FYI... I tried to respond to a comment you left on my blog and it was rejected. I tried again but deleted what looked like an extra "e" in your gmail address as set up on blogger and that message seemed to have gone through. You might want to check that, there may be a typo.

  4. Hi!!!! Wow!!!! I think it looks wonderful!!!! It is great that you just jumped in and got going on it!!!! I think you learn a lot that way!!!!

  5. It's beautiful!! Well done! It's nice to see the different steps of your process. I would love this as a wall hanging. :-)

  6. Hi Pamela! This is fantastic! Very creative and beautiful! Your dogs are adorable. In Finnish we call this breed Bern's Shephard - I think it's the same. One friend of mine had two and they were most kind and sweet dogs! x Teje

  7. It is amazing what you have come up with! What a super job! The idea that popped into my head first, fwiw, is single bears paws in a border or something? Of course, I love bears paw blocks to...but I don't know if that would be a good fit with your improv background going on....just a thought :)


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