The Hummingbird Part 2, Moving into the studio and preparing to quilt.

Birds all around!  As I headed into my studio today, I found a house wren perched on my loom.  I have no clue how he got inside but he looked quite content.  I had to walk through the studio to open the doors which frightened him up into the rafters.  I grabbed a broom and tried to gently nudge him toward the door but he had other ideas.  Stormy, our dalmatian, became curious and came to help.  I was finally able to get the bird out without Stormy taking it on as a toy.

So, now back to moving the hummingbird project into the studio.  Once I had the image finalized on the computer, I printed it out.  I had to “tile” the image in Photoshop Elements to print it using my home computer.  I ended up with 12 pages to tape together.  It’s in black and white as my printer doesn’t do colors.


I drew lines with a sharpie to delineate different colors.  I usually start with the lightest colors and proceed from there.  This can get tricky as some pieces are tiny.  I go ahead and mark them at this point, and decided if and how I will put them in with fabric later.  The grey scale is great at showing value, but colors having the same value won’t show up as being different from one another.  I keep a color copy of the posterized image close at hand so I can add lines delineating these colors as well.

I decided to focus on the hand first and the hummingbird later.

Now comes my favorite part; choosing the fabrics!  There is something so satisfying about handling batik fabrics.  And something therapeutic about playing with colors.

I figure out what color families I will be needing.  In this case:  greys, pinks, greens and tans/browns.  I have my fabrics sorted into bins; each bin contains a color family which contains varying values of the same color.   I will pull these bins out and pull out any fabric that I think might work color-wise with my design.  I will often end up with thirty or forty fabrics on the table.  Then I will finalize color selection according to the number of shades I need and how they complement each other.  In this case, I used the colored poster on my iPad to determine colors.  The posterizing can change the color a bit but, in this case, that was helpful as finding flesh colors wasn’t required.

This is what I ended up with for fabric for the hand.  Looking at these fabrics, I couldn’t quite see a “hand.”  This had been my problem with this project from the beginning.  I just wasn’t 100% convinced these would morph into a hand.  But I knew I had to take the leap or this quilt was not going to happen.


Each fabric was arranged according to value within it’s color family and each was assigned a number.  I went back to my pattern and located where each would go and labeled it by number.  (Remember painting by number?)  Finally, I covered the pattern with a sheet of mylar and traced the outlines and numbers.  This will help me with placing elements onto the foundation.


I dyed a piece of fabric for the background.  It is almost solid black, but has a bit of dark blue swirled into it.  (More on dyeing fabric in another post.)  I cut this into a rectangle several inches larger than I wanted the quilt to be before adding any borders.  I’ll use this as my foundation.

Next step?  I’ll begin “painting” the hand with fabric.



  1. Me too, I agree, it’s gonna be the coolest quilt! This is defiantly going to be a labour of love! I look forward to seeing it as you build it. Post lots of pics! I hope to see it when I return. xo

    1. Thanks Dani. I will keep snapping photos. You will probably get to see it when you come as Blaine doesn´t have any wedding plans as of yet, and I am not planning another trip stateside for some time.

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