Monthly Archives: July 2009

A Pantograph and a Freehand

I like to provide options.  That is why I have a lot of pantograph options and have made samples of my freehand designs.  Sometimes it seems a bit overboard but when my customers are able to see what the quilting actually looks like it makes it easier for them to decide.

Quilt by Connie Hansen

Quilt by Connie Hansen

Connie dropped off a lap quilt.  It is for her son.  She wanted something simple.  I pulled out my pack of Sweet and Simple Pantograph designs by Meredith England.  Connie chose ‘Hearts’.

'Hearts' by Meredith England ~ Quilt Pattern by Clothworks

'Hearts' by Meredith England ~ Quilt Pattern by Clothworks

The dark blue thread sets off the quilt beautifully.

Full view of back ~ Not very exciting

Full view of back ~ Not very exciting

Sometimes the full view of backs is not very exciting.  Especially when the light is poor.  Mental note to self:  Do something about lighting!

Close-up of back

Close-up of back

Oh…now see, that is much better!

This next quilt I learned something very important.  When a quilt top is made properly it will lay really flat.  When it lays flat the top needs very little tightening which means the back doesn’t need to be extremely tight.  I have to say that sometimes I worry about quilts being pulled too tight on the machine!

Quilt by Linda Nichols

Quilt by Linda Nichols

Also, some of these blocks were pieced by hand by my friend Linda Nichols (click here for more about Linda).  We had a chuckle about thread.

I asked her what color thread she would like.  “Oh, white would be fine,” was her reply.  Then the admission, “I’ve been known to use matching thread in every block before!”

Here’s where I pause.  Often times people get stuck into several ruts of thinking on quilts.  Let me count them off:  1) stitch in the ditch is the simplest, 2) my thread shouldn’t stand out, 3) a large meander or loops is good enough.

Ah…phooey!

First of all stitch in the ditch is a pain.  Literally!  In the neck, back, shoulders, arms…it is time consuming and the result is not very nice, in my opinion.  Sometimes it is called for but most of the time it is not needed.

Second, why shouldn’t your thread stand out?  I use really nice thread.  I want people to see it as well as the quilt.  If all you use is threads that match exactly you (and anyone who sees the quilt) are missing out on so much beauty and the wonder thereof.

Third, meanders and loops, although nice at certain times can be really obnoxious too.  I’ve come across many quilts that had been quilted too densely with little loops.  It detracted from the quilt top, made it stiff and unwelcoming.

As a professional quilter I encourage people to challenge themselves!  If you have a frame and quilting machine of any variety you’ve spent at least $2,000 (if not a lot more) to quilt your quilts.  Why not push yourself and the machine to new heigths!  I guarantee that, even if it is hard at the time, you will find yourself a better quilter and more pleased with your work.

Experiment with threads.  Try a variegated thread!  Start with one in which the colors vary only slightly so it isn’t drastically over-powering.  When looking at a quilt decide on a thread that would match perfectly then go a shade lighter or darker.  Pick a color on the opposite side of the color wheel.  Then, use the same color in the bobbin.   So what if it doesn’t match the backing?  That’s the beauty of quilting.  It’s the artistic flare you’ve been looking for.

So, back to Linda’s quilt.  I got it on the frame and started quilting the flowers, leaves and swirls she chose.

Lindas quilt on the frame.

Lindas quilt on the frame.

When I realized that things were a little too tight together I started making the flowers, swirls and leaves a bit bigger.  (I’m not convinced this is the best photo but, what can you do!)  The change was subtle.  Once the quilt was unfurled it was nearly imperceptible.  Most likely only a judge would notice and that is because they would be looking for such things.

Close-up of the quilt top...once again bad lighting

Close-up of the quilt top...once again bad lighting

Such a sweet pattern!  I’ve done this on so many quilts (mostly baby quilts) and the effect is always lovely.

Close-up of the back

Close-up of the back

I’ll spare you the full view of the back.  It’s pretty plain from far away…especially with bad light!

Thank you again for stopping by!

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

Last year I went to the APNQ Quilt Show.  It was amazing in the quilts that were presented.  Every quilt was made for this show with outstanding piecing and quilting.  The work put forward was cream of the crop, to put it lightly.

This year I had the chance to go to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.  One day of pure quiltiness was almost more than my poor husband could bear!  He could complain little as it was his idea and he organized it.

Quilt hanging in Mexican restaurant courtyard.

Quilt hanging in Mexican restaurant courtyard.

Close-up of block

Close-up of block

We sat in traffic heading into Sisters for about 20 minutes.  The scenery was so beautiful that we didn’t mind.  Also, I had a binding project to work on so it passed quickly.

When we finally got into town we parked in a spot that conveniently opened up just as we pulled around a corner.  Fortunately for us it was next to a gas station (water stop) and at the beginning of the show.  After we got our water we discovered a quilt on the side of the building!  Then there was a quilt on the next building!!  We soon realized that there is no area sectioned off for quilts, rather, the buildings had quilts hanging on them!  The whole town had quilts.

Lovely quilt made with Asian fabrics.

Lovely quilt made with Asian fabrics.

Talk about all sorts of fabrics, styles, designs!  It was fun looking at peoples creativity!

Asian Fans

Asian Fans

Kimonos

Kimonos

These pictures really are not very good.  What can one do with a poor digital camera?  These last three quilts that I photographed were all made with Asian fabrics in different patterns.  The last, Kimonos, was wonderful in details.

Picture 009 Picture 010

What I liked about the show was some of the quilts were for sale and some of them were not.  They each had a paper that the creator wrote a short description about the quilt.  Then it had on the top if it was for sale or not.  If it did it had a price and an additional yellow tag stapled to the bottom of the page.  If you wanted to purchase the quilt you removed the yellow tag and took it to the quilt show booth.

Elephants

Elephants

Animals are always items to be interpreted in fabric.  These elephants are an excellent example.

Close-up...

Close-up...

This picture doesn’t do the creases on this elephants trunk justice!  Nor its eyes!!  Okay…how about these cats.  It needs to be noted that there were at least two others of this fun cat quilt!

Cats!

Cats!

Of course, because of the bushes, I simply had a hard time get a better picture.

This little town seemed absolutely enormous as you wandered through it.  I thought that we would see every quilt…how silly of me!

Special Exhibitor Barbara Copeland

Special Exhibitor Barbara Copeland

Barbara Copeland had several quilts on exhibit.  Here is a stack ‘n whack that was pieced beautifully and superbly quilted.

Feathers with very small stipple

Feathers with very small stipple

I was astounded by her quilting.  If only I could do such beautiful work!!  (Need not worry.  I’m practicing!)  Absolutely awe-inspiring!

There’s so many more pictures I could show but I won’t.  The ladies from Gee’s Bend were there with a few quilts and sharing their stories.  We visited The Stitchin’ Post (which I didn’t get the name until I accidentally called it The Hitchin’ Post!)  It was crowded.  My brave husband helped me look for bunny fabric but quickly decided that he couldn’t handle being crowded into the shop with all those crazy quilting ladies!

If you visit Sisters we highly recommend Seasons Cafe & Wine Bar.  The food is delicious, they are thoughtful and purposeful with the construction of the sandwiches.  It was clean with tables indoors and out.  You could purchase beer and wine as well as a variety of sodas and juices.  Although busy it was never loud and the seating areas weren’t crowded.

All in all it was a pleasant day.  We enjoyed ourselves immensely and even talked about one day moving there.  One day…maybe…when children are grown?

Enough for today!  Happy quilting!!

Another Four Hearts

I meant to add the pictures of this project to the last post but, of course, forgot.  You see, when I appliqued my four hearts I got carried away and did twelve.  Please don’t ask me what I was thinking.  I really don’t know!!  Yesterday, on the way home from Sisters, Oregon for the Outdoor Quilt Festival (I’ll post pictures later) I finished the binding.

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The quilting is a bit different in this one.  I did squiggly lines in the pink parts of the pinwheel, “pebbles” in the white, swirls in the hearts, pink square, purple triangles and white border.  The tiny pink border has circles.

Picture 042

This is a perfect picture for up close.

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It feels good to have these two projects finished.  Here, before too long, I’ll have one more posted.

Happy Quilting!

Four Times the Love Quilted Wall Hanging

A couple of years ago I took an applique class.  We learned four different types of applique.  Of course, something went wrong and I put it away.  A few months ago I was going through stuff and stumbled across it.  Inspired to get through mountains of stuff I powered through it (could I find the mistake?) and here’s the finished project.

Four Times the Love Wall Hanging

Four Times the Love Wall Hanging

I used this opportunity to challenge myself in the quilting department.  The outside border, pinwheel, blue triangles  and inside square are all quilted with feathers.  The hearts, yellow inside border and white areas are all quilted with swirls.  That was the challenge.  Here are some close-ups:

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Picture 048

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It’s a perfect wall hanging for a babys’ room.  Excellent for a baby shower gift.  I’ve listed it on Etsy.  The link is to the right of this post.

Happy Quilting!

Patriotic Quilt Finished!

Continued from my previous post, I’m finished with the quilt using the Firelily pantograph by Urban Elementz.  This was a fun design and, although it looks complicated, it really wasn’t!

That is, in my opinion, what makes some pantographs wonderful.  The pattern repeats but when it is all stacked together on a quilt it looks almost free-motion.

Patriotic Quilt Front

Patriotic Quilt Front

Quite a spectacular quilt!  Here’s a close-up of one of my favorite blocks.

Block Close-up

Block Close-up

The back…

Patriotic Quilt Back

Patriotic Quilt Back

And close-up of the back…

Close-up of Patriotic Quilt Back

Close-up of Patriotic Quilt Back

I think this is one that I will use again.

Handprints for Heroes

One of my earliest posts (there haven’t been many) was about an American flag rag quilt I made in honor of my dear Granny who passed away last May.  The flag was given to the VA ECRC in Prescott, AZ at a Memorial Service for those who had passed away in their care.

While watching West Wing (a television show that is now available by season on DVD) I came up with another idea for the American flag that would honor our heroes of old.

My husband in the booth.

My husband in the booth.

In its infancy the idea was a bit more than a vague idea.  This would be a large quilt, king size when it’s finished.

The "Stars" of Our Show

The "Stars" of Our Show

The blue field will have childrens handprints in white paint representing the stars.

Our First Stripe

Our First Stripe

The red stripes would be older children and adults handprints in red paint.  We got a booth at the 4th of July Celebration in a small town not far from us called Orting.

You see, in Orting there is the Soldiers Home where soldiers retire to.  Usually they are destitute with no other resources, some of them have issues (PTSD and the like).  It is a wonderful place for them to live with others who have been through similar experiences.

As the idea blossomed it occurred to me that I can collect donations to buy toiletries and other necessities for the old soldiers.  Plus, I’ll donate the finished quilt to the Soldiers Home for them to hang.  My desire is for the signed handprints to be a reminder that we haven’t forgotten their dedication, service and sacrifice so we might have our freedoms.

Here’s another picture of the handprints later in the day.

More Handprints

More Handprints

In all we ended up with all the “stars” and enough handprints to do three of the seven stripes.  We also raised $73.25.  It was a satisfying day for a little idea.  As I get the quilt put together and more money raised I’ll post more pictures.

It must be noted that our two youngest handprint contributors were a 4-month old and a 10-month old!  There was one man who didn’t necessarily want to leave his handprint so he asked a mom if he could take her kids to have their hands printed…he didn’t even know their names!!

I’d like to thank the City of Orting for having me at the celebration.

Happy Quilting!!