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Kestrel Michaud


Classically-trained Fine Artist and Fabric Illustrator


Rose Process

I decided to create a new quilt to enter into the World Quilt Florida quilt show being held in Tampa next January. That was back in October. The entry deadline was December 12. I first put Apple Pencil to iPad screen on October 23, and finally finished "Rose" on December 08 after a marathon six weeks. Here she is:

Rose the steampunk privateer
Rose the steampunk privateer

The Concept

Rose is an amputee with a mechanical leg, a steam-powered dog, and a really big gun. She's a mile up in the sky riding a gas-filled airship and still dressed to the nines despite getting ready for battle. Everything about her is badass and cool and utterly ridiculous but still totally awesome...in other words, she is the quintessential steampunk character.

Steampunk is a genre of fantasy that is an adaptation of 1800s London. Think Victorian England in the industrial age with a heavy emphasis on steam-powered machinery. It's full of sharply-dressed vintage characters and crazy, over-the top inventions that are far more complicated than required to actually perform whatever function they're designed for. It's preposterous, wacky, completely fantastic, and therefore, just utterly lovable.

So, even though nothing about my process changed, Rose is quite different from any other quilt I've ever made. She's the product of my passions for both quilting and fantasy. I dreamed her up, fell in love, and had to turn her into a quilt.

I have to say I had initially imagined Rose on the streets of London. However, I was inspired by Abney Park's song "Airship Pirate" to instead put Rose on the deck of an airship.

The Design

As always, my design starts as a drawing on my iPad. Here's a partially finished version. As you can see, Rose is missing quite a lot of detail on her dress, boot, and hands. The gun also got redesigned later on, and looks different in the finished quilt.

Initial drawing of Rose
Initial drawing of Rose

After sketching the entire picture, I took the drawing into Adobe Illustrator and created a complete, colored template.

Template of Rose
Complete, colored template of Rose

The Assembly

Rose is made up of almost 2700 pieces of fabric, and every single one was cut on my Cricut. Here is an example of some of the more delicate pieces of fabric: The filigree decorating parts of Rose's gun.

Cutting the filigree with a Cricut
Cutting the filigree for Rose's gun with my Cricut

I drew all of Rose's skintones as digital paintings on my iPad and printed them on fabric from Spoonflower. Here is a screenshot of the digital painting next to a close-up of the printed portrait. The hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, and highlights are all separate pieces of fabric.

Fabric printed at Spoonflower
Rose's portrait printed from Spoonflower

Here is a picture of the finished, fabric gun next to the digital template. I've been asked before why I bother making the quilt when I go through so much effort just making the template into its own work of art. This photo demonstrates my answer: The fabric version always looks soooo much better than the digital!

Template vs fabric comparison
A comparison of the finished fabric gun and the digital template

Lastly, here are two photos of this quilt partially finished. The left shows Rose on my work table after I finished fusing all the fabric pieces together. The right photo is the quilt itself before Rose was stitched to it.

Rose quilt in production
Rose and her quilt partially finished

And finally, here she is! I've added three close-up images along the right side to better show some of the detail that makes up this quilt.

Rose finally finished
Rose finally finished! Shown with enlarged detail images.

Thank you for your interest in my latest quilt!