Wednesday, June 21, 2017

More Boats

Those of you that ask questions - I am happy to answer them by email, but if  you don't ever hear from me, then it is likely because you are still set to "Blogger no-reply".  Go into your settings and enter your email addy.

It would only be fitting since we are going on a cruise later this year that I quilt some boats.  This very large quilt was 10 days on the frame, and mostly done in a flurry of last minute quilting before all 3 of my kids finished school last Friday.  I spent some early mornings this week finishing it up as they were still asleep.
 Sue Garman's Ladies of the Sea is always an impressive quilt.  This is either my 5th or 6th to quilt in the last 2 years.  Every time I stare in amazement that anybody has the patience to quilt SO MUCH applique! And this one is another example of exceptional handiwork.
 The first thing I do on these is to ditch stitch the applique using a clear nylon thread.  It is time-consuming...14 or so hours to be exact, but it gives every detail a crispness that you cannot get otherwise.  The rest of the quilting is done in 40wt Glide thread, mostly in a tan color, but there is detail work in green and red too.
 I have tried to make each of these that I do a little different.  Several had a quilted ray pattern like is shown here.  I just wanted something other than that on this quilt.  It got a windy/watery quilting. The feathered diamonds create a beautiful secondary pattern.
 The 10" wide borders are immense and have so much applique.  It takes about an hour to ditch each one, and then nearly 2 hours to quilt the fill!
 The mariner's stars on the corners bring the texture of the crosshatching.
 Each time I quilt this I see things I didn't the time before.  Wish I had a rough number of hours that the maker spent on each block.  Some of the ships have a ton of embroidery and tiny beads in the rigging.

 A couple more pictures...
 There are loads of little circles...see?!?
 And the backside is just as beautiful.  For those wondering, my machine is home and stitches well (although this quilt does not have any fine threads).  I did test quilt it using silk on my personal quilt for a day or two before I loaded this beast!

Thursday, June 15, 2017


Here's a post about a handwork project I have going.  Wishing I could get it going just a bit faster.  It was envisioned to be a Paducah entry for next spring, but that means it must be done and bound by early December.  That seems unlikely. Never the less...

I started by making 4 of these bold blocks, all by hand.  The circles are silk, which just happened to coordinate nicely.

Next came 4 of these. They are slightly smaller than the first blocks, and also with silk circles.
Where is this going?...good question.  I thought I had a plan until I laid the blocks out to confirm the color selections for the larger center block. 

Hmmm... Not so sure I like all of them on the gray silk. It seemed like a good idea initially, but now I'm not so sure.
Then I pulled this scrap of what I "think" is grass silk Radiance.  I say "think" because I really don't know.  I have that many colors.  Kind of thinking it might be a better background choice. Not sure, but maybe.  Just ordered a few yards. I think it may be a discontinued color.
 It's time to make what I have work because I spent the bank on a summer vacation instead.  Either way, I need to get the center block pieced and then get onto the applique for the corners - one of the two designs!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Roseville & Big Shipment

 Some of you may be aware that I have had issues with my new machine as of last December not liking to quilt silk thread.  It was first detected in about February, and I was so busy with other things that I didnt give it too much thought.  Recently, when I was quilting my show quilt, and thinking I'd do some background fill in silk, it reared its ugly head again.  I futzed with it for nearly 8 hours over the course of a couple days.  My local rep's tech person who has done the servicing on my old machine for 7 years came to visit last Thursday.  After nearly 4 hours, he couldnt get it to run reliably. I was starting to feel pretty frustrated.  Not quilting silk is a definite deal breaker for me since my personal quilts use a ton of it.  Handi Quilter corporate got involved, as they should.  Anybody that knows HQ knows that their people are just fantastic.  I tried again to trouble-shoot for a day or so with their advice and suggestions.  On Friday, we decided that sending the head back to Utah for their top techies to look at it was best.  That is why the machine you see has all of it's "stuff" (handles, lights, laser, etc) removed, and awaiting another strong arm to get her into the big padded box.  With any luck in 2 weeks, she will be back and I will be onto those client quilts that seem to have slipped behind.  It is most unfortunate that my kids have 3 more weeks of school.  This is total crunch time for me.

Learning of the machine's fate on Friday, I had to burn the midnight oil this weekend to get my client's Roseville quilt finished.  It was partially ditched when all the troubleshooting began, and came off my frame 3 times last week. Lucky for me, I had a good plan of what I wanted to do, so after the ditching was done, the fills were fairly straight-forward.
I cannot imagine how many months my client spent appliqueing this -- it is absolutely phenomenal. Her applique is very clean, not a thread to be seen.   There is no excessive thickness like some appliques have either.  
There is certainly no excess of space for creative designing on my part, but I added simple frames and dense fills to pop the lovely applique.  One layer of wool batting is all it takes for this type of loft. 
 This freehand-feather filler is great for small backgrounds, and it fills in beautifully and quickly.
The center has so very much applique.  
And have a look at this insane embroidery...How many knots are there?!  It was a little challenging to quilt around, but hopefully looks ok.  I went a little lighter on the quilting  here since I had to use the 40wt thread.  Thank you machine, I would have much preferred the silk thread!
 The colors are simply yummy - it is a truly gorgeous design and execution.
 Some appliques were of a size that required stitching on them, but I always just try to keep this simple.
 Hope you enjoyed the pretty applique show...
 One last peek.
The next two weeks will be a diversion so I can deal with future teaching gigs, class prep for upcoming teaching, and finishing up a new book on the borders designs.  It all sounds so officebound. Maybe I will get some time in on this small quilt I have started.  These 4 star-dresdens are done, and there are 5 more needed.  It's most likely a pipe dream thinking this can possibly be done before the December Paducah deadline, but this girl is still dreaming just a little.
Have a fun quilty week!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Clamshells Quilt

This totally great new Neimeyer quilt is by CI Jackie Kunkel.  I thought I was going to have to wait to show it for another week or so until its unveiling at spring market, but when she posted a photo today, I knew it was safe to show.  I quilted it for her in December, and it is probably my favorite of all quilts I have quilted for her.
The colors are just yummy.  But then you already know I love lime green and orange!  It has a wool batting and is quilted largely with a peach YLI polished poly thread.  Pure white areas have white thread, but in person it has a pretty colored thread that shows, ever so faintly.
 Sorry, this is sideways, but I'm not patient enough to try to turn it.  I custom designed a feathery motif for the area beneath the clamshells.  This saved me from actually ditching all of those spikes.  I think it gives the quilt a pretty and unexpected flow.

Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of ditching done around all the arcs and triangles.  Otherwise they wouldnt have been so crisp.
 I love designs like this because though there is a lot of stop and start, it does fill pretty quickly.
 The white border has a pattern I also designed and happen to really like.  It is first quilted with the clamshell/semicircles, then the echo, and then the feathers last.  Gotta take advantage of even the smallest real estate...this was a 2 or 3" border.
Of course the back (why did Island Batik send Jackie aqua???!) shows a little of the quilting.  Or a lot!...
 And it seems that this just is not my day because this one is upside down too! Go figure.
Time to go putter on my own quilt, which is going at the pace of a dead snail.  Nice to know few things change!

Saturday, May 06, 2017


Time does fly.  My kids will be out of school in 6 weeks and the crunch is here.  As much as it feels like I work, there is always more. Should have been born male so when 5pm comes, I can just do nothing.

The biggest news is from a quilt show in Utah.  The show that used to be called HMQS (its now UQSM) is right now. I have 2 quilts there, and they have outdone themselves.  These are my newest finishes from late last fall and this spring).  One took 1st place in its category, and The Twisted Sister has earned her second Best of Show!  I was so excited to hear that this quilt did so very well. These are someone else's photos borrowed from FB because I am not there.

 Back in cold, wet Maine...I spent a week puttering.  That's code for "little of this, little of that, lotta nuthin".  I have a book in the works that may or may not be done later this summer. At some point I must switch gears and start prepping to teach in July and September. It still feels like there is a lot of content I need to tweak and prep.  Here's a sneak peek at one of a couple new class samples I have done on border quilting. I need a drone/clone that can just do all the things I think I need doing while I go take a nap.  I have a couple dozen borders still to draw.  Go, clone..
The extra body in my house is going back to work Monday. It will be SO nice to have my work space to myself again.  I spent time yesterday starting to quilt this quilt... It is my next quilt, but don't get any ideas you will see it finished before next April. This is the usual time I start quilting for an April finish, sigh... I have just reached the 1/2 way point with the ditching.
 I'm going to say this here, again.  I am sharing photos of this process so my readers can see them.  This is NOT something I particularly want you all to just copy and plaster on your facebook or pinterest.  Please don't. This is my personal intellectual property.  It's my design, and I'd like it not taken or copied before I finish. Thanks.
The backing is just amazing flower fabric.  No boring solid backing this time (even if it does show off the quilting better!).

After ribboning last week in Paducah, I realized I really needed to get a smaller quilt in the works. Somehow, all my quilts have gotten big - like 70" and larger.  I have always had a second entry that can go in the small quilt category until now.  I have a small hand-piecing project started. I might show progress in a couple weeks.  The theory is I may be able to have it finished by December.  I know, I hear the laughing in the background too...! LOL

Friday, April 28, 2017

Client Quilts

The last couple weeks have been rather unproductive for me, but I have been trying to get some client obligations out of the way.  My other half has been home for the first 2 weeks of (good God) what I think is a 4 week medical leave.  He makes being a work-at-home business owner a very difficult task.  The concept of "make yourself scarce" between 8am and 3pm AND be quiet does not make sense. Consequently, I have cried a lot, and gone for drives so that I can scream and yell in silence.

Never the less, I have tried to work through a few client obligations so I can get closer to loading one of my own quilts.  I am still a few days off because I forgot I needed to order batting (and likely silk thread too).

Here's a Neimeyer star quilt I did a couple weeks ago.  It's not the first of these I have done, but I have to say I'd be a happy quilter if all batik client quilts could go this easily.  Usually this tighter woven fabric causes all sorts of unpredictable issues.  Not this time.

 I used several threads, but dangit if I can remember what they were!...Probably Glide and Polished Poly if I had to guess.
 All features are SID with monofilament, then the detail work was added.
 Here's a quickie and cutie baby quilt my California client Jan sent me. I have done a dozen or more baby quilts for her.  It couldn't be simpler, but she lets me play.
I varied up the fills and then stuck in a couple of little birds, just for fun.

 I forgot to mention we got a new kitten.  She is 6 months old and arrived to us last weekend.  Miss Luna (named by my daughter Sophie) is a total sweetie.   She's oddly fascinated with the computer screen.  My husband noted that his screen said "...ssssssssssssdddddddddddddddddddd" and he didn;t know why.  Tee he,. silly man.

 One last client quilt just finished yesterday... She sent me a photo of this done by someone else, and I varied a few things. It is quilted to be cute yet expeditious and budget conscious.  I think I captured the quilt's features.

'For those of you fortunate enough to be in Paducah...know that I am realy envious.  I just hate that I am not there this year...with my book release and my quilts there.  One of them has a 1st place.  The other just cannot ribbon.  Don't know why!?!  Oh well, life goes on.

And remember, if you are interested in checking out my books, they are always available on my website