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Thumbnail Quilts

They’re like thumbnail sketches only different.

I’ve been feeling as if I’m about to give birth to emotional art, but I can’t figure out what it is that I’m trying to get out of me. Meanwhile, I’ve been wanting to make a quilt, but I seem to be design stuck. I’m still wanting to make an Antarctica quilt, but I haven’t been able to figure out what I want on it and how I want to make it. Window with several panes? Collection of rectangles not all the same size but fitting into a nice rectangle? Part of it batik? I’ve been sketching, but I haven’t been able to work out what I wanted.

I decided to make thumbnail quilts experimenting with a couple ideas. What if I used a double thickness of variegated thread and reproduced the stylized pine tree that I’ve been putting on mugs? I grabbed some scrap material – linen/rayon blend because that was a solid and on top of the scrap pile. I grabbed some scrap batting. Cut batting, folded the scrap fabric around the batting, and proceeded to see if what I had in mind could come out of my hands. Then, I thought it might be interesting to try stippling by hand.


Stippling by hand is…. ugly. I almost like the stylized pine tree. Maybe I’ll try an appliqué version. I might like that better. On the left, I tried quilting and leaving open spaces inside the tree. On the right, I tried quilting in the spaces inside the tree. I’m not wild about either of them.

So I tried a bit of variation. I got out embroidery floss and used three strands at a time. I grabbed a different color to make the veins in the leaf. I first thought about doing echo quilting like what’s found in traditional Hawaiian quilts. Then I got the idea that maybe French knots would work. It took a few tries before I figured out how to make French knots. It’s been a few years.


I like the embroidery part and I may play around with abstract lines. The French knots aren’t all that exciting. I’ve now got some leaf ideas floating about my brain.


Same blouse pattern but with the alternate hem. I really like this pattern. The blouse is cool, comfortable and I don’t have to wear a bra under it. What could possibly be better?

I also made Jim two pair of boxers from leftover fabric from this blouse, and leftover fabric from the set of pillowcases I made from fabric I bought for…. what was it I bought that fabric for? Must have been for pillowcases.



I retired from the Public Defender Dept. November 12, 2015 after 21+ years as a criminal defense attorney. Now, I'm a full time multi-media artist and writer starting on a new adventure. As an artist, I create with beads, fabric, fiber, and ceramic clay. Sometimes separately; sometimes in assorted combinations. You can find my on-line store at: