Steampunk Selfie vs Leap of Faith
- Length: 1367 words
- Reading Time: 7 minutes
Earlier this year, I finished a quilt titled Leap of Faith. This quilt shows a girl bungee-jumping from a steampunk airship while taking a selfie photo. It's very similar — seemingly identical, in fact — to a quilt I made last year titled Steampunk Selfie. How is that possible and why would I do such a thing? This post will explain what the deal is with these two quilts.
A Tale of Two Quilts
Let's start by comparing the two quilts in question. There are three major differences between these quilts: Size, Design, and Stitching
These two quilts will never hang side-by-side in person, but fortunately I have photographs of both. I've scaled the photographs I have of each quilt to accurately show a comparisson of their sizes.
It's very clear these two pictures are not the same size. Leap of Faith is substantially larger, 150% larger in fact, than Steampunk Selfie.
Because Leap of Faith would be so much larger than Steampunk Selfie's original design, some of the pieces of fabric designed in Steampunk Selfie were too big to fit on my Cricut sticky mats after enlargement. Breaking those large areas into multiple pieces was a requirement. Since I had to add more pieces of fabric, I took the opportunity to add more detail to the design as well. The end result:
- Steampunk Selfie: 1269 pieces of fabric, appx. 60 fabrics
- Leap of Faith: 1508 pieces of fabric, appx. 75 fabrics
The extra detail I added is easier to see when comparing the templates for the two pictures. The templates are shown below at the same size to better emphasize the design differences between the two (even though in reality, Leap of Faith's template is the same size as the quilt and therefore much larger than Steampunk Selfie's template).
Steampunk Selfie is on the top; Leap of Faith on the bottom. See how much more depth Leap of Faith has, especially in the trees and rocky cliffs? The trees and cliffs were where most of the extra pieces of fabric were added. I designed in a fourth value of fabric to those areas, which is why Leap of Faith has those extra dark, shadowy areas.
The other very large design difference between these two quilts is the use of tulle. After making Steampunk Selfie, I felt that Faith, the bungee-jumper, blended into the rocky background just a bit too much. When looking at the quilt in person, it was just a bit too difficult to discern her hair and arm from the scenery behind her. To fix this problem in Leap of Faith, I added a single layer of light blue tulle across the background.
The tulle is hard to see, so I Photoshopped this dark blue mask over the photograph to show the area covered by tulle in the actual quilt.
Here is a close-up of the tulle. It covers the right pine tree, but not the left one, and continues over the rocks to the right.
The overall effect of the tulle gives the impression of atmospheric perspective. The trees in the above photo were created from the same three fabrics, but the tulle makes the tree on the right much lighter than the one on the left. The tulle equally lightens and adds a faint bluish tint to the area of background it covers, making that section look like it's a little further away from Faith while also making her hair, arm, and body stand out.
The last way the two quilts in this post differ is the stitching. Steampunk Selfie took me around 15 hours to sew. Leap of Faith, on the other hand, took me 86. Some of that extra time can be attributed to Leap of Faith being a bigger quilt. But the vast majority of the difference comes from all of the decorative stitching I added to Leap of Faith that isn't present in Steampunk Selfie.
Other than the concentric cirlces in the sky, Steampunk Selfie is free-motion stitched exclusively in raw-edge appliqué fashion. Every piece of fabric has a straight stich around the outside edge, but there is no decorative or filler stitching anywhere (other than the sky).
Here is a close-up from Steampunk Selfie.
Compare the amount of stitching in the photo above to the same area on Leap of Faith.
But...why make Leap of Faith?
Story time! Steampunk Selfie hung on display in the SAQA FL booth at QuiltFest Jacksonville in 2019, and I volunteered some of my time to work the booth at the show. For the two hours I was behind the desk, I watched person after person stroll down the walkway, glance into our booth, and then make a beeline for Steampunk Selfie. It happened again, and again, and again. I had never in my life seen a work of art act like a such a magnet. It was like it had a gravitational force; it was just sucking people in off the walkway. Everyone who saw it couldn't help but walk over for a closer look.
That experience convinced me that Steampunk Selfie was something special. By then I'd already gotten the news that it had been accepted into the SAQA Aloft exhibition, so I knew that it would be gone for the next 4 years. While I was sitting in the booth at QuiltFest, I said to myself, "I need another one."
Fortunately, I had the option of making another one because Steampunk Selfie is part of a stated Limited Edition (it's 01/05 in the series). So I could have made a second one that would have been 02/05 in the series. But Steampunk Selfie was 36" x 24" – meaning every other quilt in the series would have to be the exact size of the first – and I wanted the new quilt to be much bigger. Therefore, I did my best to differentiate Leap of Faith from Steampunk Selfie – by increasing the size, adding additional design details, adding decorative stitching, and even giving it a new name – so there would be no mistaking it as being separate from Steampunk Selfie's series.