Archive for the ‘quilting’ Category

“Storm Coming” – New Fiber Piece

Asian Fantasy

Asian Fantasy

I’m unearthing a lot of unfinished projects and pieces of fabrics that can be turned into small art quilts for Etsy, and I also came across a couple of digital pieces (like the above) that need reworking for an upcoming show. It is just amazing to me how productive I have been at getting new – and old – projects completed since we set up the new studio. Here’s pics of the new studio – taken right after we unpacked and stored, so things are cleaner than they are now after three weeks of solid work. Good north light, and lots of surface area.

Large marbling tray

Large marbling tray

Stored behind the door, along with mats and combs…..

Cutting table and storage

Cutting table and storage

This can be closed up for an air mattress on the floor for company.

Extra storage

Extra storage

Filled with fabrics and patterns and lots of other goodies….no longer used for clothes!

Bernina 1008 and sewing table

Bernina 1008 and sewing table

Sewing table for the last 15 years, lots of room to the left to support larger quilts….almost impossible to keep clean……

Additional sewing area

Additional sewing area

For the serger and decorative stitches on the Brother machine….

Storage cubbies

Storage cubbies

Happy as a clam, and now to the piece in progress….which is some leftover from another completed piece.

WIP – Storm A’Brewin’

Thread choices –

Thread choices - Storm A'Brewin '

Thread choices – Storm A’Brewin ‘

Didn’t use the blue – too much contrast, and not what I liked – ended up pulling out all the threads…one advantage of not checking the tension – easier to pull out.

Thread work

Thread work

 Finished project, available in Etsy. I needed to simplify the design – got caught up in following the patterns, so I ended up leaving the bottom corner free of stitching, so it looks like everything is approaching from the northwest.

Storm A'Brewin'

Storm A’Brewin’

Serged edges, mounted on wrapped canvas, 12 x 16 inches. Moving right along!!

Suggestions Needed

GeckoBorder4Color

So I have unearthed a bunch of UFOs in going through one of the containers in the studio. One is up on Facebook, free to a good home for the cost of postage. A couple of them, I need suggestions for what I can do for the quilting. Plus, if you recognize that you made the item, please let me know so I can credit you – it’s been a long time since they were sent to us.

Here’s the first.

Log Cabin Sampler

Log Cabin Sampler

This was done for us as a way to use marbled fabric in a traditional block. Now I need suggestions on the quilting. I want to use it as a sampler in my fmq classes. I was thinking of outlining the blue marbling for the waves and then doing something with partial circles around the sunrise/sunset….Ideas?

Here’s number two.

Reverse Applique

Reverse Applique

This is reverse applique, and I can treat it as a Hawaiian block with outlining, but I’m wondering if there is something else. All suggestions welcome!!

Another Commission Completed

Yoga Susan's Quilt

Yoga Susan’s Quilt

This last quilt commission (which Susan is no doubt getting plenty of use in chilly Tucson, and we have our quilt off the bed, as it’s too warm here in Vermont….) was a challenge for me to fill space with quilting design. I LOVED how it came out, and as usual I learned a few things on it. So when I started this new table runner for a friend for Christmas (left-over pieces from a Judy Niemeyer pattern) I wanted to do an overall quilting pattern that was very organic and would unite all the blocks.

Big lesson – just because you can quilt it, doesn’t mean you should….which harkens back to Road to California in 2012. First time at a big quilt show, and hubby and I kept commenting on the amount of free motion quilting showing up. Some quilts didn’t seem to need that much quilting, and on some the quilting really enhanced the work. This was also when I began taking free  motion seriously, and in the last three years I am now teaching basic machine quilting.

But with this table runner, I realized to late (to   rip out half the runner) that I had too much quilting. Here’s my table runner that was on the table when our friends came to dinner.

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The block pattern is obvious, and at this point I was stumped as to how to quilt it – I ended up using invisible thread with wide circles. Ehh. So I wanted to do something different with this one.

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You can see the meandering quilting – I really just played with curved line to offset the sharpness of the design.

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You can see here that the quilting design when up close takes over and dominates the pattern. This is where hubby quoted Tim Gunn (yes, too much Project Runway in our house,……): Edit, edit, edit. Yup – bigger curved lines and no leaves or stones.

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Like I said before, way too late to take all those stitches out. However……when looked at from certain angles, all you see is the pattern. At other angles the quilting is predominant. And, ultimately I like them both.

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KathyRunner2

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Before I actually started the quilting, I was subbing one day and had time on my hands, so I was watching one of my Craftsy classes on machine quilting big projects on a small machine (and my Bernina 108 doesn’t get much smaller….). Spray-basting the WHOLE quilt. Nothing will move. I’m trying this, and lo and behold it worked WONDERFULLY.

KathyRunnerBack2

The spacing could be better, but NO TUCKS! Well, three little ones that actually ironed out. That’s the way I’m going from now on. My fingers will appreciate no more safety pins – this time a year ago it took hubby and me four hours to pin-baste a queen quilt…..

KathyRunnerBack1

So more lessons learned, and another commission in the works for March. I am having SO MUCH FUN!!!

Traditional Sampler Quilting Tutorial

About two years ago I asked for some volunteers to make traditional blocks using marbled fabrics, as I wanted to show what can be done with traditional quilts besides the art quilts I do. Now that I am improving my machine quilting skills, I turned one of the blocks into a new teaching sample for both quilting marbled fabrics as well as using marbled fabric in traditional quilts. First up is the back of the block – a list of all the threads and needle sizes used, as well as any (and all) tension issues, so they could be discussed (and I wouldn’t forget what I used where).

Back of traditional block

Back of traditional block

I quartered the block, and one section was left completely unquilted – because that is also an option. Here’s the front of the block:

Marbled quilting sample block

Marbled quilting sample block

Far left – unquilted. The yellow pieces have three different designs. I’m partial to the one with pebbles quilted throughout the piece. I used Bottom Line in the bottom, size 80 Superior needle, and Bottom line in the top.

Each marbled piece is done in a different free-form design. Lower center uses a Superior Thread Brytes, heavier, so I used a #90 Superior needle. Upper right used Bottom Line on the top and followed most of the curves in the pattern. Right marbled fabric used a variegated Superior Rainbows thread and only did a few of the wide curves. Different looks in all three. One of my favorite stitches is just following basic curves, and you can see that in this quilt:

Free motion quilting

Free motion quilting

For the white – BIG lesson was don’t use a distinct variegated thread unless your fmq stitches are VERY even. Spent three hours taking it all out. The white was patterned with circles and small crosses. For the bottom right I used yellow Bottom Line in the top for a hint of color and gridded the triangle,  using the fabric pattern as a guide. Upper left, also with white Bottom Line, I followed the circles in the white fabric pattern.  Right triangle I followed both patterns, also white Bottom Line, and found it too busy.

After the New Year, I want to experiment with more like this. Let me know if you have done something like this to determine different quilting ideas.

Baby Quilt Commission

It is SO GOOD to be back at the sewing machine! In order to get the groove back, I have been working on this really adorable baby quilt that my friend always coordinates for pregnant teachers at her former middle school. In this one, people completed blocks to represent a piece of children’s literature, and then for the baby shower, the folks bring the actual books to start the child’s library. Great idea!!

Here’s some pics of the finished quilt……learned a lot, as I always seem to do. Next time I am doing squares, I will back them with a stabilizer. The last quilt I did like this I was able to quilt in each of the squares to get them to lay flatter. Next time….but look at the textures in these squares!

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Vermont Quilt Show

Marilyn Young, Barton, VT

Marilyn Young, Barton, VT

I It only took me 21 years to get to the Vermont Quilt Show. When I was set to go before leaving Vermont in 1994, it was way over the 90s, and the person who was going to drive couldn’t handle the humidity. So I had to pass, but I finally went in June….to find out me camera took virtually no decent – in focus – pictures. Time for a new one, this time two or three steps up from my point and shoot – which has gotten me great pictures over the eight years I’ve used it. So here’s a few good ones:

 

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Marilyn Young

Marilyn Young

Marilyn Young

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A number of zentangles made their appearance at the show:

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Dresden Plate Zentangles – and reversible!

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Other side

 

Sorry - did not get the maker....

Sorry – did not get the maker….

Loved the colors in this next one:

Sea Glass - Lynn Whitton

Sea Glass – Lynn Whitton

And finally…..I am back to my own work!

 

Thoroughly Modern Gracie-Mae

My last finished project before packing the studio for the big move to Vermont. I made a modern quilt – it didn’t start out that way. I was going to do a log cabin, but then I decided I just wanted to sew half-square triangles using the paper triangles. After about 150 triangles, I realized there was no way I wanted to sew three times as many more for the whole quilt. So I made the center panel. (Needless to say, I have lots left over for another project….)

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All of the colors were chosen as to whether they would play nice with the blue fleece I’d bought in November for the backing – this color is my great-niece’s favorite – forgetting the fact that I’ve never used fleece for a backing…..

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Then I started playing around with borders to the center design, trying to get it into lap-quilt size. I had plenty of triangles left, so did borders with just a few on each end – I’ve seen something like that in a lot of the modern quilts I’ve looked at. At this point things became pretty freeing – I knew I wanted lots of space for free-motion quilting, and Maria from Quilter’s Market helped me pick out another fabric – she has an amazing eye.

The worst part of the whole quilt was sewing together all those triangles, lumpy intersections, and trying to quilt over them. But I LOVED how it came out. I was having serious rippling problems because of the stretch of the fleece, and Maria suggested using 505 to spray and corral it into place for the rest of the quilting – wonderful, with only a few ripples and they are not really noticeable. I ran out of my Silk Kimono blue I was using, which I loved….and if I hadn’t had several rippit sessions, I might have had enough to finish the quilt. But I had to go to the Big Local Fabric Store and once again I realized HOW MUCH I LOVE Superior Threads – the stuff I bought kept shredding constantly. I used Magnifico in the bobbin and LOVED it.

So here are some shots of the free-motion on the front:

Front1

Front2

Front3

Front4

And finally, the completed lap quilt for my great-niece Gracie-Mae on turning 13. (Seven more lap quilts for the other great-nieces and nephews over the next 10 years as they turn 13…….)

MainFrontGracie

Or if you prefer this orientation….

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I can now understand the freedom of modern quilts. I have a lot more ideas on how to use the marbled fabrics in some new smaller wall hangings, but that will need to wait until I set up my new studio in Vermont – maybe by July!

The Latest Finish…..Best to Date!

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This is the “before.” Nice and flat, virtually no texture. I remember when I went to Road to California a couple of years, I noticed everything was machine-quilted within an inch of itself. Both hubby and I thought, just because you can doesn’t mean you should fill it up with machine quilting.

That was before I started with the 2012 free motion quilting challenge with SewCalGal and got hooked…..I’m talking seriously hooked. Now it’s not about the quilt top for me, it’s about the quilting. There are seven different quilted motifs in this quilt, and I LOVE IT! It is so much more interesting than if I had just done quilting in the ditch and stippling. Yes, at least 10 hours of fmq in the quilt, and a lot of bobbin thread, but did I say I LOVE IT?

So here are some of the “after” pictures. For some reason the blue wave fabric looks to be black and white, and it isn’t. I used Superior Silk Kimono thread in the triangle backgrounds, the outside black border, and the final border. Magnifico by Superior for the bubbled in the corner triangles, Rainbows by Superior in the border of blue waves, and Bottom Line by Superior in the bobbin and in the black backgrounds of the stars. I guess you could say I really like Superior Threads….

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I LOVE THIS! I used the color adjustments in Photoshop to try and bring back the blues – this is pretty true to the actual colors. The maroon strips in the center are done in a cathedral square pattern. I gridded all the light blue triangles for the texture – I was only going to do the center panel but I fell in love with the effect. The bottom light blue triangles are done with a MAgnifico blue thread in bubbles – I was aiming for a stars at night over the ocean effect.SusanQuilt3

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The ironic thing here in this picture is the bottom right corner is the one I picked out all the thread on – what I call the “war-zone” corner. The blue stars themselves have bubbles quilted into the with a Rainbows blue.SusanQuilt10

The wave fabric here has one of Leah Day’s fillers in it called Ocean Currents. I happened to be on her blog one day and said yup, that’s the one.

SusanQuilt11

This quilt is for my yoga instructor, and so in one corner I did a free-motion “third eye” chakra symbol.

Now for the back….WHICH I LOVE LOVE LOVE – the texture is amazing!!

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SusanQuilt7

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Note to self – time for some smaller quilts……….

Meditative Rippit……

Waffle3See that bottom left light blue triangle? Eight hours later, I have learned a couple of new lessons. One, there is something to be said for trying out a motif on  scrap fabric and batting. Two ripping out teeny tiny threads can actually be meditative…..

That said, those bottom triangles were going to have a different pattern along the top and bottom. I was thinking a type of lotus blossom (a variation for me on a feather) with smaller feathers inside each petal. Because at this point I wanted a little relief from all the blue. I thought it needed some more color…..I was wrong, at least with the color I chose. I should have stopped after the first petal, rather than completing the triangle…..a lot of my decisions look way better after they are finished. But I was still wrong….maybe if I had left it all in the shiny blue….but it was still wrong. So I knew I had to take it out.

Were the quilt for me, I would have just put it aside until I felt like dealing with it. But no, it’s for my yoga instructor, and I want to get it finished before we have to dismantle the studio for the move. So I started with the seam ripper….three hours Wednesday night, music in the background….the petals were easy in the Magnifico thread – just slid out. NOT SO the feathers…..teeny tiny……three hours Thursday, three hours Friday (yes, a lot of tiny stitches, many on top of each other), and today after 20 minutes I was finished, with two very sore fingers for my efforts.

The fabric looks kind of like a war zone – it’s 16 years old after all, and nothing like that left in my stash – or I could have ironed on a replacement triangle and then quilted that. But the bubble stitching will hold it together, as long as the cats done find a few loose threads of the fabric. And the whole bottom looks much much better. Now for the triangles along the top, and then into the borders……I have to remind myself to plan ahead and if I want to do something fancy, try it ahead of time……..even if rippit is fairly meditative…….

Surprisingly meditative

Surprisingly meditative

The Hum-Purr of My Machine….

GeckoBorder4Color

Thank you, Cindy Needham, for talking about the hum-purr your machine makes when you are in the groove! And I have been in the groove this past month – another quilt under the presser foot, this one a  16-year-old top that I am giving to my yoga instructor. I haven’t done anything with the top prior to this, because there was an area I really wanted to do feathers in, and I wasn’t willing to hand-quilt them. So now that I can do feathers in free-motion, sounds about right to finish this top…..except the area I was thinking really needed something else…..so I did a grid pattern, and I LOVE IT! It makes the traditional top look much more modern.

Waffle1

Below is the quilt being basted – my safety pins have gotten quite the workout in the last few months! The quilt top originally ended with the blue wave border, but it wasn’t long enough to cover a chilly body. So I added another black and wine border – lots of ideas for quilting those – and yes, I will have feathers somewhere on this quilt!

Waffle3

Before I started in on this, I continued with the BOM from our local quilt store, four months to catch up on, and I’m pleased with how they look. Based on progress I’ve made with the amount of sewing over the last couple of months, I would probably do some colors differently in the original blocks. Here’s the new ones:

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Photography really isn’t doing them justice!

DSCN0674I love the green and orange one!

Up after this quilt is a lap quilt for my great-niece who turns 13 in August, and I would like to have it done for when we see them in May. I’ve made the commitment that all 8 of my great-nieces and great-nephews will get a lap quilt from me when they turn 13. This means lap quilts for the next 11 years…….

Baby Quilt Completed!!

In November I got a package of 8-inch squares from my maid of honor of many years ago. Her daughter was now pregnant, and could I take her work at put it together? I remember Shelby starting these squares the first time we made it back to Vermont in 16 years. Anything for my friend of oh-so-many years!

Kathy and I go way back – and I have promised many times to keep some of our more interesting escapades from her three children (which means a WHOLE LOT of interesting stories are sealed). But I think taking me in the Big Bird costume we built for our play stuffed in the front of my VW for Halloween dinner at KFC is probably pretty harmless. Oh, if only we had digital cameras then……a moment in history gone forever……(and that chicken wire frame did a lot of poking…..)

So on Tuesday I finished the quilt, took pictures, packed it, and shipped it off, where it should be arriving today, two weeks ahead of the baby shower. Here she be –

ShelbyQuilt2

Shelby wanted an ocean theme, so the blue is an underwater scene, left over from another quilt project. Love this fabric, and in the light it is even more gorgeous. The border is a stencil of fish, and the two empty blocks (which is the only thing I would revisit if I were to do this again) is some free-motion quilting in a blue Fantastico from Superior Threads.

 CloseupA

So much fun to do!! Now for the next quilt in line, for my yoga instructor…gotta get it done while it’s still cold enough to use!

One of My Ongoing Projects

A Border Full of Geckos

A Border Full of Geckos

Hawaiian Block of the Month from my local quilt shop, Quilter’s Market – which I will SO miss when we move this spring…..

This program is a monthly get-together through our local quilt shop, Quilter’s Market – one of the things I will definitely miss when we move. The theme for this year is Hawaiian Getaway. I’ve been keeping up generally with the blocks, but I will confess to being four  five months behind right now – it’s those deadlines for other quilts…. Forgive the pics – I was in a hurry…..

I decided after my first block that it was just too intense in color, so I made one that was softer, with more light fabrics. that got me started making two blocks a month, one saturated, and one that was lighter. The shop has what they call an “Oops Pack,” for when you make mistakes with the pieces of fabrics you get. I picked up both the light and dark packs, because I really liked the sherbet colors. So instead of 12 blocks at the end of the program, I will have 24. I’m planing to set them on point, with plain blocks in between that I can free-motion. For those I’m planning to use some of my adopted mom’s Hawaiian designs. I also really like the work Judy Madsen does (Green Fairy Quilts) with straight-line quilting, so I’m looking forward to designing the motifs.

Amazing how it used to be enjoying making the quilt top, but now I look forward to the quilting oh so much. The goal is to have the blocks done (April is the last month) before I completely pack up the studio for our move. I know it won’t get put together until the months after we are settled.

Here goes…..

HB6

HB7

HB1

HB2

HB3

HB4

 I confess to being very curious to see what I come up with for the whole quilt – I do know I am very much looking forward to quilting it!

The Christmas Quilt – Completed!

AQFULLC

I must confess, by Tuesday evening I wasn’t sure I would have the quilt for our good friend completed……We had plans for Wednesday and Thursday, so last-minute was going to be Tuesday evening…..and I still had to finish a rolled hem on a silk scarf………But I made it, hubby photographed it Wednesday morning and finished cutting off miscellaneous threads. It was a HUGE hit last night at the presentation – everyone needed to take a turn snuggling under it! Originally I was going to make another nap quilt, since the first one I made for our friend turned out to be too short to wrap herself in. This ended up queen size…..

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Works in Progress…

More Geckos

More Geckos

…and there are a lot! Four quilts lined up, including the one you’ll see pictures of here.

We have a really great friend here in Tucson, and several years ago I made her a lap quilt as a birthday present. Trouble was, she can’t get completely covered under it when she wants to take a nap on the couch. So I decided for this year to make her a bigger one…..turns out I processed “66 inches” differently from 5 and a half feet. This is one big quilt! It should easily cover his double bed, which is exactly what she would like.

I am using a pattern I saw from Geta Gamma from Romania – I loved the design, especially the quilting, and am doing it in shades of purples and blues. It’s getting quilted to within an inch of its life! Needless to say, I am getting very good at free motion quilting feathers. The stencil work has been interesting – at one point I forgot about the registration marks and turned the pattern, but I am the only one who knows that.Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 12.26.16 PM

I caused some bleeding with one of the fabrics when I attempted to use a stain remover to get out the rest of the gray chalk marks. I will need to use a little paint to cover that up. I have 8 days to finish – started about three weeks ago, and I should make the Christmas deadline. It is really looking good.

It is a little tough on the shoulders, cramming that quilt around under my trusty Bernina 1008, but I am getting much better at that. Thankfully the remaining three quilts are all much smaller. After this one, though, I am taking a quick break to do some traditional blocks in a Hawaiian theme for a block of the month, making a queen size quilt for my own bed…..then back to the list!

Some progress pics of my version –

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Sweet hubby helped with all the pinning…..

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Wrestling it under the machine….it’s looking gorgeous!SneakPeak10

Latest FMQ Commission

While I haven’t been posting, I have been moderately busy in the midst of still dealing with illness. I quilted a small wall hanging for my yoga instructor (whose house is now FILLED with art I have made for her). Here are some pics – she made the top and I finished it off.

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The brown blocks have a cathedral square pattern, the center brown and beige have a diamond pattern, the four corner blocks are a leaf pattern, and the green blocks are just a plain stripe.

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PS – this was the picture that made me realize I had forgotten to do one of the patterns……

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And….the back – one of my favorite pieces of fabric…..

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I’m still plugging away……

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