Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Evolution Of An Octopus... The Pattern

When a client requests a quilt version of their tattoo the answer is always "No Problem!" So late last year when I received a call from Henry a client of my good friend artist Rodney Raines I was very excited to take on the job. Rodney and I had been talking about a collaboration for a while and just never seemed to find the time. Since Henry wanted an exact copy of the piece Rodney had done on his calf it could not have worked out bettert. Little did I know what I was getting myself into LOL.

If you remember from earlier posts this is the original...

AND THIS... is what I managed to pull off. It only took 3 1/2 months, of planning, patterning, bitching, buying, cutting, crying, whining and of course the stitching. SIDE NOTE: I sincerely apologize to those of you that may have gotten in my line of fire while I was stressing over this project... lets just say I was a bit of a hot mess, diva quilter if you will!  

After it was all said and done I had only two days to take a good look at what I had accomplished before sending it of to a new home... I have to say I was pretty pleased with myself and how the whole process unfolded... Here are some of my favorite photos from the first few days! 

This is my pattern... with a glass of wine and some good music it came along quite easily. Rodney was nice enough to send me  a rough sketch of the original which helped me to fill in the bulk of the line work. I was feeling pretty good by this point in the process because I had yet to realize the amount of detail missing form the rough sketch.

The fabric choices were easy thanks to the fantastic selection at Quilt and Sew (I love my job!)
I had my eye on this piece called "Sun Surf and Sand" for a while now... waves really don't get any better than this, it was a no brainer. With all the fabric in line it was time to cut!

At first blocking out the large shapes was easy. This quilt, a lot like the Tiger, had tons of tiny overlapping pieces. But unlike the tiger these pieces must all fit together in precise twists and turns for the shape to come out right. These photos were taken just about the time I realized this was going to be a very detailed process and a much bigger project than I had imagined. Also about this time it occurred to me that I had over looked one very important thing, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to pull off these tentacles!!! Let the stressing BEGIN!

So for the next two weeks all of my free time looked like this... and my walls looked like this... and the floor....

Well the floor pretty much speaks for itself!!!

 ... and Cadence of course, she simply looked adorable as always!!!

I hit one road bump. As I started working in the finer details I realized that the woman in the original sketch was missing significant lines in her face. The octopus was also missing a good bit of detail. The pattern had so much going on I had completely overlooked this until now. I spent a good deal of time looking closely at the photos so that I could recreate her facial features as closely as possible. Its not a perfect match but all in all I was pretty happy with it =)

Here's a quick tip!  I cant stress enough the importance of labeling your patter pieces!!! 

Finally after about 3 weeks everything was cut, placed and traced and I was ready for the next step...THREAD!!!


  1. Dude. Your blog is so appropriately named!!

  2. That is so cool I think my head is going to explode!!! You could run a whole business just on making tattoo quilts, and I will be in line at the door on opening day!