Monday 1 August 2022

Animal Kingdom: Fox Trot

The prompt, "Animal Kingdom," was my submission. I wanted to make a quilt from this original photograph taken by my friend from high school, Carol Galloway. This is Carol's original photo. 

Before I go on, I should say that Carol and I have known one another since the late 60's. She and I sat beside one another in our school band. We both played clarinet. We lost track of one another for many years, but then caught up again on Facebook. As it turns out, Carol is a very talented wildlife photographer. I'd be happy to even find the wildlife she finds for her photography. As her friend, I appreciate her photos of animals in their natural habitat, engaging in natural behaviors. I would never get a chance to see them any other way. If you're on Instagram, you can see more of Carol's beautiful photography by searching for "cgwoodchip" or you can click on that link.

While I was making the quilt, I shared my progress with Carol. This is what Carol told me about her photo:

I recognize this little one!! This den had 11 kits last year, in a field owned by a cemetery. But, they did not come back this year. I stop by once a week just to check since foxes are known to change natal dens from year to year, and to move their kits around as they get bigger.

Okay, so this is how I made my quilt. I first cropped the image to fit my large format printer paper. I use an app called VectorQ to create an image easier to work with for my purposes, creating delineation between shades of color. When I printed it, it looked like this:

While I've made many animal "pawtraits," this fox is the first wild animal I've created. 

For this project, I was trying out a new product. I've always used transparency sheets...the kind used for overhead projectors...and that has necessitated taping them together to make them large enough. This time I used some plastic sheeting, available at JoAnn and probably other craft outlets. It comes in different weights, and I chose the heaviest weight available at JoAnn the day I went shopping. The photograph is taped down to my work surface, and then the plastic sheeting taped over the top.

Then, I go to work tracing, using a fine tip Sharpie. Sharpies are the only pen I've found that won't smear when applied to plastic.

I always write "right side" on the traced image. Since I'm doing fusible applique, I want to remember to trace on the opposite side since I'll be producing a mirror image of the piece I'm working with. Then, I turn the template back to the right side for guiding placement of the fusible piece.

And then, I paw through bins of scraps looking for appropriate pieces, sorting by value.

The fox was first constructed on a teflon pressing sheet. It allows me to fuse the pieces down. When I'm finished, it can be peeled off the pressing sheet and applied to the fabric background. Tweezers are an essential tool since some of the pieces are very tiny.

I always start with the eyes and work my way out.

Here's the progression over several days.

When he was finished. I laid him out, experimenting with different background fabrics...

Until I settled on these.

He was then thread-painted using these threads. 

The thread painting is done through the quilt top and the batting. 

Here are some details.

Whiskers were added last.

When that part was finished, I add the quilt back for quilting, and used these threads.

I quilted some mountains and a sunset in the background.

A leafy motif in the "grass."

And some pebbling in the "dirt."

Then a "Greek key" in the left-side border.

Then it was ready for binding.

And here is my finished quilt. I'm calling it "Fox Trot," and it finished up at 24 x 22 inches.

Here's how it looks from the back:

The quilt was my gift to Carol for graciously giving me permission to use her photograph. In fact, Carol has given me blanket permission to do anything with any of her photographs at any time. And when I see her beautiful photography, it makes me want to turn each one into a quilt. 


  1. That is absolutely amazing! What a gorgeous quilt - you make it look so simple!

  2. Wow, what a fantastic job! Thank you for sharing your process with us. It was so interesting to see how this little character developed.

  3. This is gorgeous, a true work of art! It would have been great even if you stopped at the applique stage but the thread painting adds so much detail and dimension. I always want to do thread painting but I am always afraid I am going to ruin whatever I already have. :) Could you tell me what weight those threads are?

    1. They're mostly 50 weight cotton threads. There are some good books on the market about thread-painting. I'm self-taught from books. It is scary, but it's also very forgiving.

  4. Great piece. I loved seeing your process.

  5. I love Fox Trot. He looks so real. Thanks for sharing your technique. You made what was complicated seem easy. You are very good at picking right fabrics.

    1. Thanks! It helps to have lots of scraps!

  6. This is an incredible piece of workmanship and the final piece is stunning. I was very interested to see how you built up all the layers on the teflon sheet :)