Woof Woof!! Meet "Solly"

"Solly" in fabric, before quilting
(Note: the pink color is displaying much brighter than it actually is)

I've been watching the smiling image of "Solly," a sweet border collie owned by my friend Deanna, come to life on my quilt wall. It's always an adventure (kind of a scary one!) to start on a portrait quilt and wonder what the final product will look like. In this case, the guardian saint of doggie quilts has blessed us with this lovely image!
"Posterizing" the photo

How does something like this come together? I start with a photograph, and digitize it in Photoshop. It has to be "flattened" into a one-dimensional image that can be created in fabric. After many attempts and much angst, the likeness begins to appear.
Creating a pattern

I breathe a sigh of relief and start to make the pattern, by drawing the main lines onto wax paper. I won't bog us down with details here, but you can see it is a delicate process of tracing, drawing, comparing, re-drawing, re-drawing, second-guessing, and finally -- I have a pattern.

 Here are some of the pieces, showing how detailed this process can get!

Now it's time to choose fabrics... What is the right color for his fur? His eyes? Sometimes the color you think something is supposed to be is totally not the right color. Because Solly is black and white, I found that browns did not work in his fur. Black, white and grey were the dominant colors, with a touch of warm caramel for the eyes and three shades of peachy pink for his happy grin.

Choosing fabrics
Left eye

But wait -- we are far from finished! Now it gets even more intense, as I get out the threads and begin making choices, fill the bobbins, oil and clean my trusty Bernina, and contemplate quilting this puppy. (pun intended)

Check back soon as I post progress reports!