Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Celtic knot, tribal bear paw quilt

Some months ago, I chatted with a man who wanted to commission a quilt.

Tye is a tattoo artist and glassblower. Originally, he wanted a quilt featuring Sailor Jerry tattoos, but they are trademarked and I wasn't gonna go there. Then, he asked about Greek keys (or frets) and Celtic knots. I could see the Greek keys as a border around a central Celtic knot medallion.

One night, we happened upon a website of tribal tattoos, and Tye found one he particularly liked.

This presented several problems, the first being what did I know about celtic knots?? I surfed the net, and found several methods of drawing celtic knots: one tedious and labor-intensive; the other more freeform. I found a method of cutting celtic knots from folded paper (like snowflakes). I found a celtic knot typface which allowed me to design knots by typing on the computer keyboard. I believe I'll use the "freeform" hand-drawn method.

The second problem is a matter of construction. Unlike my other quilts, which are patchwork-pieced, this quilt will need to be appliqued. I don't have the time (or patience) to hand-applique, so I intend to use a fusible web to attach the design to the quilt top, and zig-zag stitch the raw edges.

The third problem is a matter of scale. The finished quilt will be king-size (10 feet square). I will need to enlarge the drawing, and use it as my template.

Speaking of drawing, the picture of the tattoo could not be copied from the site, so I taped a piece of paper to my monitor and traced the outline of the tattoo (a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem). I want to modify the drawing. My research shows a bear paw has five toes, not four.


  1. Next time to need to copy an image you can't save on screen try kitting the control key and the print screen key at the same time then open an image editing program and paste it into a new image. Then you can cut around the parts you do not need and print out the image.

    A Celtic knot quilt sounds extraordinary. Hope you post some pictures when you are done.

  2. Thank you, Tijir . . .

    I showed my tracing to one of the investigators in the office this morning, commenting on not being able to capture the image from the site . . . he did the very thing you mentioned . . . who woulda thought??

    (btw, I'm gonna edit this post and remove the name and link of the site I "borrowed" the design from . . . I don't wanna cause any problems down the road)

  3. Don't blame you there but I think once you make your own design, using it as reference for your own work, you shouldn't have a problem. Derivative works are not copyright infringements.