Stone Sheep Mini Quilt - Aurifil Threads Used

Stone Sheep Mini Quilt: Layering & Blocking

Well, we have made it home. The tail end of our trip felt like a whirlwind; getting back into the lower 48 meant much higher population density than we had been used to all summer which made finding camp spots harder. We were also super fortunate to be able to stop and visit with friends along the way, so in all our time was used up much differently than the rest of the summer. The majority of my first 24 hours back home were spent unpacking and touching everything in my sewing room, and I have some ideas about re-organizing my space that I plan to work on over the next few weeks (stay tuned!).

Stone Sheep Mini Quilt - Spreading Out a Bit

Stone Sheep Mini Quilt – Spreading Out a Bit

I had planned to finish the Stone Sheep mini quilt while we were traveling, but it just didn’t work out to be possible. In the end, I am really glad that I was able to come home to start the next phase of the project: all the layering to create Mr. Stone Sheep. With the extra space in my sewing room at home, I am able to set up my laptop to show the photograph as a reference as I am working.

Stone Sheep Mini Quilt: Adding Definition to the Body

Stone Sheep Mini Quilt: Adding Definition to the Body

In terms of layering, I continued progressing from darkest thread colors to lighter and that meant that my focus quickly shifted to filling in the body of the Stone Sheep. The mini quilt became quite wrinkled and bunched, so before getting too far into working on the horns (the next layering to happen in thread color and definition), I decided to pause and block the quilt flat before continuing.

Stone Sheep Mini Quilt: Blocking

Stone Sheep Mini Quilt: Blocking

I simply ran the mini quilt under my bathroom sink faucet for a moment to get it wet, wrung it out a bit, pressed it between two towels to remove as much water as I could, and then I stretched the mini quilt flat on top of a towel and pinned it all to a cardboard base. I fully anticipate needing to block the quilt at least one more time (when it is finished) and possibly more in intermediate stages as the quilting progresses. I’m not worried about what “square” is at this point in time; I just want to ensure the quilt has the best chance possible to lay flat when it is finished and I will worry about square at the end of the process.

Stone Sheep Mini Quilt: Adding Detail to the Horns

Stone Sheep Mini Quilt: Adding Detail to the Horns

Adding detail to the horns was one of the most time consuming parts of the process so far. As you can see in the detail photograph above, which is about 75% of the way complete with the horn quilting, the stitches are very small and dense, so it is time consuming to fill in. But I am so in love with how it is looking!!

Changing the length and density of my quilting has a huge impact into how the quilting reads. For the fur, I purposefully used a longer stitch length and less overall density. For the very hard horns, I chose very dense, very small quilting.

Stone Sheep Mini Quilt: Continuing Layering

Stone Sheep Mini Quilt: Continuing Layering

I still have a few areas where I want to add layers for highlights in the horns, but I felt confident enough in the bases of the horns in order to move on to adding the fur to the face of the Stone Sheep.

Stone Sheep Mini Quilt: Progress So Far

Stone Sheep Mini Quilt: Progress So Far

For the face of the Stone Sheep, getting the direction of the quilting lines correct along with the variation in stitch length has been my main goal with the base layers. I bent, but thankfully did not break, a sewing needle when working on the face of the Stone Sheep. I decided the bent needle meant it was time to stop for the day. Stepping back and looking at the overall composition, I can see that the ear needs higher definition and the left side of the face along the background needs to pop out more, too.

Because of the variation in stitch density, the quilt is starting to be a bit wavy again, so I’m also thinking it is probably time to block the mini quilt for the second time. The first blocking was really helpful and before I finish the areas of the face I think it would be a good idea to smooth it flatter again.

Stone Sheep Mini Quilt - Aurifil Threads Used

Stone Sheep Mini Quilt – Aurifil Threads Used

I found a few more thread colors to work with when I came home and opted to leave a few other colors out. In total I have used 14 different Aurifil thread colors so far (eek, I missed one in the photograph above), and all of them have been 50 wt except for the one 40 wt color noted below (the colors added from the fact I had them at home and not on the trip are noted with an asterisk*):

  1. 2692 (Black)
  2. 4241 (Very Dark Grey)
  3. 2630 (Dark Pewter)
  4. 6736 (Jedi)*
  5. 5004 (Grey Smoke)*
  6. 2620 (Stainless Steel)
  7. 2600 (Dove)
  8. 40 wt 2340 (Cafe’ au Lait)
  9. 2326 (Sand)
  10. 2312 (Ermine)*
  11. 2000 (Light Sand)
  12. 2309 (Silver White)*
  13. 2021 (Natural White)*
  14. 2024 (White)

Catching the sheen of the threads in photographs is definitely a challenge; the mini reads a little bit differently when viewed at different angles relative to the lighting source. This is such a fun project, and I am really excited to be so close to a finish. Due to the needs of settling back in at home, I am hoping that means I can have a finish to share next week. Fingers crossed!

22 thoughts on “Stone Sheep Mini Quilt: Layering & Blocking

  1. belvesvalleywoo says:

    This is looking AWESOME! So interesting to watch the process as you go 🙂

  2. rl2b2017 says:

    Hi Yvonne! This project is progressing along so nicely. Blocking of the piece really did the trick, didn’t it. I can honestly say that would have never crossed my mind to do that step. I have had a few project that have been a bit wavy, and I wished I would have taken the time to do some blocking. I equate this piece with watching a person draw something – a few strokes and you see trees, a few dabs and mountains appear while my lines and dabs just look like blobs. This is fabulous. ~smile~ Roseanne

  3. Cynthia McGrew says:

    Outstanding! I love the thread color choices and the stitching length. He is coming to life right before my eyes.

  4. Annette says:

    Absolutely stunning! The sheep is coming along so well and looks very life like. Excellent job!

  5. This is wonderful! I’ve enjoyed watching the progress; but because we’ve been traveling (northern Cape Breton, Nova Scotia), I’ve had to view your pictures on my phone. I’m spending time this morning (between laundry loads), checking out the past five weeks of your postings using my big monitor; and I really like being able to see the details of your work. I look forward to seeing this complete. Thanks for the information about blocking your project. I have a small piece that is beginning to wave and I think this might help solve the problem. Thanks! 🙂

  6. Lea says:

    Wow! Yvonne, this is an amazing quilt. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

  7. Just gorgeous! I honor your willingness to block a few times, I am sure it will make it lay flatter and easier to work with. I am totally in awe.

  8. Rochelle Summers says:

    This Stone Sheep is going to be a real prize. I love all the detail that is coming out as you continue. I admire your patience in taking the time to block him out some. Letting it sit and dry would probably drive me crazy. Welcome home. For me, the return from an adventure like that would be bittersweet. Perhaps translating this photo (and perhaps others) is a way of keeping that wonderful time close to you, like a blanket wrapped around your shoulders.

  9. Mrs. Plum says:

    My, what a handsome boy! Thanks so much for sharing your process photos, Yvonne. I’ be enjoyed following you on your journey.

  10. Barb says:

    Thanks so much for showing your awesome work. I am working on getting my assortment of threads as well. I read on a post recently about Glid thread and my Quilt store is now carry it. It’s great for embroidery and quilting.

  11. This looks so amazing, Yvonne!

  12. dustyhuxford says:

    Always enjoy your blog. This ram is turning out beautifully. Thanks for sharing the process, it is so interesting to see it come to life. Bravo!!

  13. Patty says:

    Looking amazing! Welcome home!

  14. graymomma13 says:

    Absolutely gorgeous, you rock.

  15. Barbara York says:

    Your Stone Sheep is AMAZING!!!!!!!!

  16. Sue Rostron says:

    It looks amazing. I am so impressed at your thread painting as it seems very different to your lovely modern quilts.

  17. vivian383 says:

    Outstanding example of art by sewing machine ! He is so beautiful and worthy of being entered any ( and many) shows this year! I never knew how much difference blocking could make in a quilt. Thank you for showing this.

  18. Melanie says:

    I was not sure what to expect when I read the first post – but these pictures are showing amazing work! It is so artistic and I can’t believe how you managed that with “just thread”. Enjoy your coming home and the rest of the sewing xo Melanie

  19. Lisa J. says:

    Wow Yvonne, this is such an amazing process to follow along with. The details in the fur and horns make the sheep look so realistic. Thanks for sharing your process and welcome home!

  20. aquilterstable says:

    Your thread-work is really amazing on this piece, Yvonne. And what a wonderful souvenir of your trip.

  21. Kaja says:

    Welcome home! This really is just like painting. I admire your patience and attention to detail as well as the skill involved.

  22. Oh my goodness, the texture on this is just amazing! Glad you’re able to finish it at home with more space and your computer for reference.

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)