Thursday, November 15, 2012

Judy W's "Travel Bugs"

My travel experience to date has been minimal.  As an avid reader I consider myself more of an armchair traveler.  However, to my husbands delight I became a golf enthusiast this past summer, which sparked a mutual desire to pursue future annual mid-winter golf vacations.  Recently pet free and soon approaching retirement, our travel opportunity is growing exponentially.  Without a doubt, we've been bitten by the 'travel bug', so I chose to convey my travel theme from a whimsical perspective.

Ladybugs bear personal significance in a couple of ways.  My first dog was named Lady but I often called her Ladybug and we traveled lots of childhood miles together.  Ladybugs are also somewhat of a namesake. My nickname is Jude. I shared my idea with dear friends a couple years ago that if I had a Volkswagon beetle I would have it custom painted red with black dots, the headlights would look like eyes, and my vanity plate would say "Judebug".  Since then, we have enjoyed the ladybug theme in various gifts between us... therefore, my travel bugs are depicted by 'Judebugs'.  The letters "A" and "B" portray the term "Traveling From A to B".

My design was sketched freehand, translated to hand dyed fabric and embellished with running and back stitched embroidery, hand painted houses using Lumiere metallic, Pigma pen colored ladybugs and machine anchored three dimensional synthetic leaves.  Machine quilted details were free-motion stitched with clear mono-filament.  Unsure if I should add more quilting to the background, I refrained with the idea that I could always add more later.

Originally I'd planned to create a background fabric with Sharpie Markers and Alcohol dyeing but the result was too dark so it became the backside and binding of the quilt.  This is a dye technique new to me, which I will further explore.
I started with these colors scribbled on a white on white fabric but the result was too pale so I added darker colors that aren't being shown here.
This is the 'wrong side' of the dyed fabric, which offers a pale alternative of the original.
I had just enough fabric for both the backing and binding and a scrappy label.


  1. What beautiful clarity in your whimsical quilt...a pleasure to view. Love the contrasting border from the back and the houses, ladybugs and leaves. Glad you try out different materials and share your results.

  2. My first car was a Volkswagon bug that I paid $500.00 for ( a fortune in 1973). My guy friends installed red and black shag carpet and I had lady bug floor mats. Unfortunately they carpeted over the heating vents so heat consisted of a blanket in the winter. If I ever win the lottery that will be my first purchase, a 1969 bug. Loved your square and your story. P.S. my husband calls me Doodlebug

  3. Judy, your cheerful and happy quilt brought a big smile to my face! And I loved reading the back story. Thanks so much for such an excellently written account of how you constructed this whimsical piece! Like so many of the quilts based on this Travel theme of mine, I am learning so much about so many exciting techniques that I know I am going to go back and take notes from so many of your accounts. Not only is this quilt fun and clever, but it is so lovely to look at as well!

  4. What a sweet quilt! Love your path from point A to point B. Reminds me of the paths the cartoon Family Circus children would go. Much more interesting then straight roads. Thanks for explaining your methods. Question: What kind of synthetic leaves did you use? Are they like silk flowers?

    1. Yes, the leaves came from a silk branch of forsythia. I thought about adding a few flowers for color but they looked a bit out of place to me.

  5. This is such a sweet, whimsical quilt. This is one of the aspects of being part of a group who are exploring the same theme...even though your travel experiences to date are minimal, your perspective and creative approach to this theme is anything but! Thank you so much for creating "Travel Bugs" and the wonderful technical info that you have included. The Sharpie marker dyeing is fascinating.

  6. This whimsical quilt made me laugh out loud Judy! I put ladybugs out in my garden every year and find them adorable. This is a fantastic quilt and I appreciate your description of your techniques. The wandering path from A to B and the little houses add such a clever touch. It is just perfect the way it is; no more stitches are needed!