Fantasy Fern

August 15th, 2017
 
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This is a small wall hanging that I made as a donation quilt for the Indianapolis Quilt Guild auction in October.  It started out as a machine embroidery applique design.  In the shot below, you can see the internal swirls being stitched inside the fronds:
 
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Once it was in the final quilt sandwich, I outlined the fern using invisible thread, (Monopoly by Superior Threads.)  I then used 3 different solid colored threads to stitch the background designs.  These were rayons (Sulky) or trilobal polyester threads (Floriani and Superior Threads):
 
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When I’m working on a hand-dyed background like this one with blended colors, I try to change my thread color as I work:
 
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…and here it is bound.  I am officially hooked on that 2 color flanged binding now:
 
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There is something so yummy about quilting hand dyed cotton sateen fabric…it still thrills me every time I do it!
 

Back to the Drawing Board

August 6th, 2017
 
 
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I made this table runner last week.  It is actually made from a border design I made about a year ago and I’ve meant to adapt it into a table runner all these months but never got around to it.  It’s a machine embroidery applique design and it’s nice because it takes about 35 minutes to stitch each fern so you can get a fair amount of other sewing work done while it’s stitching out.  I’m not sure that the layout is quite right, though.   I normally verify that my applique shape placement is aesthetically pleasing by stitching  a mock-up of the placement outlines of applique shapes onto muslin, but I skipped that step.  This is another one of those “don’t do it” moments when you have to painfully re-learn that there’s a good reason for most of one’s “double-checking” routines!  I am in the process of making a revised version of this with a slight variation in the placement of the ferns.  I’ll post a side-by-side comparison in a couple weeks once it’s done.
 
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This was very fun to quilt and that part was very quick.  I used my PTD12 arc ruler to do the ruler work framing.  The fill-in is featherettes and the goal is to completely “use up” the available space within the ruler work framework.  The photos below show my strategy for doing this.  In this next shot, you can see that I have horizontal/vertical lines denoting my center point and axes.  Here is the first “quadrant” of the featherette being stitched using those guidelines:
 
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…and here the first “quadrant” of the featherette has been stitched and I’m moving on the the adjacent “quadrant” of the featherette:
 
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Here’s an example of the center featherette once it’s been stitched:
 
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The space between the ruler work design and the fern appliques is filled by stitching plumes that stretch from the ruler work to just next to the applique shapes.  Even though these plumes keep changing size/proportion, it works visually and you “believe” the end design:
 
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I use that same “bump-back” method to fill the 1/2 inch channel by the edges of the table runner with a long, skinny featherette:
 
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These featherettes are all made using the bump-back feather method.  If you’re interested in how to create featherettes, I wrote a nice blog post explaining it awhile back and you can find it by clicking here.  Alternately, you can learn about how to quilt featherettes in my Craftsy class.  We are now selling the DVD for my Craftsy class called “Ultimate Free Motion Feathers:”
 
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…and you can find it in our online store by clicking here.  There’s a lot of feather info on this DVD that is not on any of my Free Motion Fun With Feathers DVD, so it’s worth it to check it out.
 

Complex Ruler Work Frame Designs and a Short Video

August 1st, 2017

 

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Complex ruler work framing designs actually start out as very basic ruler work designs.  It’s really hard to take a good photo of red fabric and the center block in the above photo is in deeply saturated reds and oranges.  You can get a bit better sense of the framework design in this next close up shot:

 

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Here is how the center block of the above quilt began:

 

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This is all very basic arc ruler work, where a series of 2-tiered tapered swags were stitched using 2 arc rulers with different curves.  The framework becomes more complex by:

-filling in some of the “empty spaces” created in the ruler work framework; and

-adding level after level of new ruler work framework to what has already been stitched.

I make up these added levels as I go.  You can see that there’s a lot more available “real estate” to be filled in each of the 4 corners:

 

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In the shot below, you can see that fill-in work has occurred and I’ve used a heart shape to create a “template” for some swirl hearts that will have plumes spring from them:

 

 

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This next shot shows a little more progress in a corner:

 

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…and here the background fill surrounding the corner frame designs has been added:

 

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It has been glorious quilting this hand dyed cotton sateen, and it makes me feel like I need to get back to using more hand dyed fabrics.  In the meantime, Ern and I shot a teensy bit of quilting on this quilt as we made a short video about quilt suspension.  Here it is: