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stars triangles logcabin hearts crazies crazies2 crazies3 red n green delectable mountains stars2 charm squares maple leaves logcabin technicolor snowmen nine patch crazies4 sunbonnet sue

Converting a photo to fabric takes fewer artist genes than you might think. My secret is using software to manipulate the photo into a “values” picture to use as a pattern. My package is Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 10 on Windows, but there are several alternatives, each with their own lingo:

  • Picasa: free download from “Crop” is in the 1st menu tab. “posterize” in the 4th menu tab (“more fun and useful photo editing”) does the values thing.
  • Corel Paintshop Pro $30 on Amazon: contours, posterize, and topology. Demo available
  • Tammie Bowser’s is $99 and up.

My directions below use the Photoshop Elements names for the various tools.


    • Photo (to which you have rights) scanned into computer.
    • Clear plastic to make a pattern (e.g. a clear photo sleeve protector or a shower curtain)
    • Dark sharpie
    • 7 or so fabrics; graded from light to dark.
    • Steam-a-seam-2-lite
    • Scissors for cutting paper
    • Iron
    • Applique Pressing Sheet (fusible won’t stick.)

pretty susanSteps:

  1. Choose a photo with nice contrast. For faces; make sure there are some shadows to delineate the features.  For example, I used this Polaroid taken by my father when I was little.
    • Lighting from the side is always good; flash photos may not have enough shadows.
    • Decide either the original colors from the photo or values of any colors
  2. If you are not using the colors from the original, then change it to black and white:
    Enhance… Convert to black and white
  3. Now, convert it to a “values” picture. In Photoshop Elements: Filter… Artistic… cutouts.  Try different number of levels from 4 to 7.  The best choice depends on the picture.

pretty susan cutouts   portraits pallette

  1. Choose fabrics
    • Original colors: about 4 value levels in any given color family; like face vs. clothes & hair.
    • Free colors: use the black & white tweaked photo with 5-7 value levels in any colors you like.  Previously, I always used realistic colors, but this time I experimented.
    • Avoid contrast in any one fabric; want constant value.
  1. Cut fabric
    1. Make a “placement diagram” by tracing face edges onto plastic with a sharpie and write POSITIVE on it
    2. With placement plastic upside down, trace individual shapes onto grid side of fusible leaving some space for overlapping.. leave at least 1 edge “extra” to tuck under another shape. (I draw “hair” sticking out where I don’t want to cut tight) Cut out loosely.
    3. For tiny dark bits, don’t make patterns.  Add those details later with markers, paint, or pens.
    4. Fuse all the shapes for each fabric level onto BACK of fabric.  Cut on shape line; except for the “tuck under” edges

    portraits diagram   portraits fusible    portraits fused

  2. Build the photo
    1. Use an applique pressing cloth for a base
    2. Arrange the pieces under your plastic placement diagram nudging into place.
    3. Set aside the plastic diagram (it’ll melt), cover w/ your pressing cloth & fuse together.
  1. Finish
    1. Fuse your motif onto the quilt.
    2. Anchor all pieces with stitch of choice. I used a free motion zigzag with invisible thread.  Other choices: the “snow” stitch (#105 on a Bernina), just free motion around like Tammie Bowser.
    3. Quilting: either quilt A LOT or not at all. Don’t mimic the color edges; those are not muscle edges and look funny. Actual edges like a nose or ear profile work.
    4. Invisible thread works, but hair likes colored thread work.

Daddys Girl

— Susan Kraterfield

2015-04 SQG Newsletter

Lecture: “Photos and Quilts”

Ann Shaw discusses adapting photographs for pieced quilts, her approach to taking pictures to make into quilts, and the design choices affecting the look of her quilts. She is happy to take questions from the audience. Ann Shaw teaches internationally and has been personally endorsed by Ruth McDowell to teach her style of quilting.  Visit Ann Shaw’s site for more information on this talented artist.

Monday, May 4th, 2015 10 am
Jacksonville Center for the Arts
Guest admission $5
Free for members of The Quilting Party, River City Quilt Guild and Floyd Quilt Guild

Workshop: Flowers of the Gorge

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 at 9:30am
Jacksonville Center for the Arts
220 Parkway Ln. S, Floyd, VA 24091

Ann Shaw 1-day design and piecing class based on the design and piecing techniques of Ruth McDowell.

Flowers have been an enduring source of inspiration for quilters with many traditional quilt blocks featuring flower patterns. Miniature wild flowers found in the Columbia River Gorge have inspired these patterns.  Ann Shaw’s designs will come alive with unexpected fabric choices. This workshop is suited to all levels including the confident beginner.

You will select one of several flower patterns, prepare a freezer paper template and then begin the process of selecting fabrics for your design. We will also discuss sewing methods and sewing order to complete your wall hanging.

Registration for members opens December 1st, 2014, for non-members February 15th 2015. $65 workshop fee per person for non-members

$55 for members of Floyd Quilt Guild.The Quilting Party, and River City Quilt Guild.

Pattern required (see supply list: approximately $8 – $18.00) More patterns to come!

For more information, please visit to find registration forms and supply lists.

2015-03 SQG Newsletter

February 2015 Newsletter

One of the new and exciting activities we are doing at the quilt show this year is a bed turning. You ask….Bed Turning…..What’s that? It is a visual way of telling the stories and history of quilts. If you would like to see one I have included a link of one that is on YouTube. This video is a bed turning that was done at the DesMoines, Iowa quilt show. Take a minute and you will soon see how one is handled. We will be doing four presentations during our show this spring, two on Friday, May 1st and two on Saturday, May 2nd.

Since the theme of our quilt show this year is “Vintage to Modern” our bed turning will show the history of quilts. We are asking you to share your quilts with us. We are looking for quilts of all ages and styles from colonial times to modern. If you have a quilt(s) that you are willing to let us show please take a picture of it and write a brief description including:

Who made it (if known)
Date Made (if known)
What fabric was used?
Was it machine or hand pieced?
Was it machine or hand quilted, tied?
Who did the quilting? (if known)
And any special information you may know (example: Made for great grandmother’s wedding, Made for 1932 quilt show, etc.)

Please give the photos and documentation to Cathy Fandel at the February guild meeting or email it to her at Cathy will be editing the documentation so don’t feel like it has to be perfect.

If you do not have an easy way to take a picture to turn in with the documentation please bring your quilt to the February meeting and we will take the picture. The committee working on the bed turning will meet to select the quilts to use. Sorry we cannot use them all. However we are planning on doing this again so if we do not use your quilt this time we will work to make sure that eventually all the quilts will be used over the next couple of years. Don’t forget we are showing the history of quilts so we will need recent quilts as well as antique. Once we determine which quilts we will use this time we will let you know. We are asking that if your quilt is chosen please bring it to the civic center when you bring in your quilts to hang at the show.
— Pam Flory

January 2015 Newsletter

December 2014 Newsletter


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