The Lion and the Lamb quilt is rather large, but still definitely a wall quilt, measuring 49 inches wide by 45 inches tall. I've always loved the lion and lamb imagery, and decided to tackle it using an applique/mosaic approach. I first researched images of lions and lambs, even to the point of sending myself a picture of a garden statue that I saw in Hobby Lobby! I picked my favorite photo and dithered with it in Photoshop Elements until I had a fairly simple black and white version, which I cropped, and enlarged somewhat and printed out. Using a sharpie marker, I chose the important lines and made a line drawing of the printout, kind of like what you see in a coloring book. Since I wanted to have a stained glass look, I needed to then turn the sketch into what I call a mosaic, where there each piece of the picture is surrounded by a bit of space, which would eventually be the black background fabric showing between the "tiles".
The next step was to enlarge my new sketch to final size, for a 'blueprint'. There are several ways to do this - but here's how I do it: I take a digital photo of the sketch, and in photoshop I 'clean up' any blemishes or shadows. I've been told that you can enlarge a sketch from photoshop, but I don't know how. I bought an inexpensive software program called Big Picture Quilt, which will enlarge and print any size out of a regular home inkjet printer. Obviously, the bigger it is, the more trimming and taping you have to do, but you end up with a large version to work with. I then laid this 'blueprint' on a flat surface and made a copy of the blueprint, this time on tracing paper. I've used clear plastic that you can buy at Wal Mart, but a roll of tracing paper is a lot cheaper. I would use the tracer paper blueprint to later place the fabric pieces onto the background fabric. Time to play with the fabrics.
I wanted turned edges on all the 'tiles', and I wanted to try out Stable Magic for Applique that I'd purchased at the Paducah show a while back, so I proceeded to, with a light box, trace all the individual pieces onto the stable magic and, while sitting in front of my computer watching episodes from the 1st season of Fringe, using glue stick to turn the edges of my fabric pieces around each stable magic template. What intrigued me about the stable magic was that I didn't have to remove it, like freezer paper, and it would dissolve away once washed and rinsed.
I focused on the lion's mane, first, and only worked with 3 or 4 traced templates at a time, thereby eliminating the step where most people mark the templates to remember where they go. I'd finish a couple and then lay them on the blueprint, and continued that way until the entire mane was done.
When it was time to move the pieces to the black background fabric, having already pinned the side edge of the tracing paper blueprint to the side edge of the background fabric, I could start transferring the fabric pieces from the paper blueprint. As you can see in the picture below, I pinned the side edge only so that I could gently fold the tracing paper away to access the background.
You may have noticed in the photos that I didn't make the face of the lion like a mosaic. I knew that I wanted to thread paint in his face to help make him more expressive and less abstract, so I decided to fuse the lion's face, excluding all black outlines. To do that, I put the blueprint on the ironing board, and began making templates of the facial pieces by tracing the whole lions face onto the paper side (back side) of fusible web. I used Wonder Under. Once you cut out the pieces, you can iron them, without steam, to the backside of the fabrics you've chosen for the face. I opted for 3 shades of blue with white, which I later decided to change to 4 shades of blue because the white was too bright. Once the pieces cooled, I peeled the paper, and using a larger sheet of the fusible backing paper on top of the blueprint on the ironing board, I assembled the face right on the fusible paper; (after it's used, that paper is excellent to use as a non stick surface for assembling all kinds of fusible pictures). The fusible paper is see through, so I could easily see the blueprint underneath for assembling the face, independently from the quilt. Once assembled and cooled, I transferred the face to the quilt, using the tracing paper to guide my placement.
I then turned my attention to the lamb. I basically followed the same steps as with the lion, including a few turned edge pieces using the Stable Magic. Keep in mind, I haven't actually attached any of the pieces, whether by fusing or gluing, to the black background fabric yet. I may want to adjust their placement once I've put the faces of the animals into position.
At this point you might ask, "How did I know when to fuse and when to turn edges?" Partly, as mentioned, to avoid the black "grout" between the pieces, and partly as a matter of dimension. The Stable Magic actually gave a tiny bit of volume to the pieces, actually giving them an almost subconscious trapunto effect. (that's what I call an effect or technique that makes barely discernible changes to the apperance of the project)
IT'S TIME TO GLUE AND FUSE!!!! Once the Lion's face and the entire lamb were nestled and fused into position, I gently lifted the tracing paper and made a few adjustments to where the 'tiles' of the mane were, and then started gluing. Again using a glue stick, which is much stickier right from the outset and holds more immediately.
The only assembly left to do before the quilting was with the mod flowers, which are a part of the challenge requirements and have always been a favorite of mine. If you don't believe me, check out the picture of the baby quilt I made for my first grandchild 3 yrs ago! I didn't want the flowers to compete with the mane, or overwhelm the lamb, so I opted for black and white flowers. Serendipity! I spent another afternoon watching episodes of Fringe on my computer while cutting out flower petals from Stable Magic and gluing the edges of black and white fabric around them. I wanted the flowers to have 5 petals, and for the petals of one flower to match each other, so I stacked 5 sheets of Stable Magic together, pinned them, drew 1 petal for each of the flowers planned, and then cut them out, keeping each stack of 3 petals pinned together.
I didn't worry about turning the edges or the base of each petal, which would produce unfinished centers when positioned on the quilt. My plan was to stitch some kind of flower center on each one, hiding the unfinished edges.
Finally, time for some stitching. I decided to layer the top onto black batting with spray baste BEFORE doing any sewing, mostly for stability. I used Invisible thread in both the top and bobbin, and free motion stitched around each flower edge. I originally had thought that I'd do machine applique, but then realized that it would mean keeping the feed dogs up and tediously turning the quilt under the needle. NO WAY. I really enjoy free motion, so I opted for that. After the top stitching, I threadpainted the Lion's face.
Then came the quilting, which meant putting a backing on it, also spray basted. Again, free motion quilting with invisible thread on the black background, which surprised me by showing up as sparkly instead of invisible! I used stippling on the black, but did no quilting on the mane or flowers. I curly quilted the lamb, except for the parts that had turned edges, which I left with just the topstitching around the edges.
Onced the quilting was done, I had the basic quilt top sans borders quilted to the batting and backing which were cut deliberately larger than the black top. This was because, though I wanted to have 2 borders, I knew that if I attached the before quilting I'd have bulges outward wherever there was a lot of heavy stippling. So now I could draw my straight edges around the stippling and add my borders. The narrow brown variegates border was chosen to complement the lion's eyes. btw - the lion is blue because I want his eyes to really show up well, and because blue seemed a pretty cool color for a lion! The final, unique thing to add, before squaring, binding, and adding a sleeve, was the free motion quilting in the brown border. Using a coordinating dark brown thread, I wrote the word love alternating with more mod flowers all around the border. And voila: