Quickie Quilted Wall Hanging

July 19th, 2018

This is my donation quilt for the Silent Auction held this September at the Asheville Quilt Show.  One thing that’s been nice is I have so many blocks that are preliminary stitch outs of machine embroidery applique designs that it’s always pretty easy to come up with a basis for a  donation quilt.  I made this one by coupling design files from other block designs.

Quilting it was a total blast.  Once I’d outlined the applique shapes with invisible thread, I started with very basic straight line ruler work to create a frame:

I never fill 1/4 inch wide channels, so those are added only to add intricacy to the design.  I filled the 1/2 inch wide channels with the “fingertips” design, then added a 1/4 inch channel to each lateral side as I created triangles for 2 featherettes.  All of those design elements were added in this next shot:

I then filled in the inside space with a loose variation of the “igloos” free motion quilting design.  Note that I change my thread color as the background color changes:

At this point, I started feeling that frame was too understated, so I drew a temporary soap line to create a boundary for feather tips, then added plumes to the outside edge of the frame:

If that part about the soap line didn’t make sense, look closely at the shot above.  There was a temporary soap line that ran the length of the outer border of those plume tips.   I use that soap line to tell me how “wide” to stretch each individual plume.  This is how you achieve a sense of symmetry when you are working freehand.

I then added the background fill design.  Just like I did with the interior, I changed my thread color a few times as the background fabric color changed:

I love the luscious texture of the background fill design.  If you are wanting to try stitching this out yourself, here is a video we made last year that shows how to do it:

And here are some other shots:

-Fabric:  Hand-dyed cotton sateen for background; 100% cotton batiks for applique shapes

-Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool/Cotton Blend

-Threads:  Variety of Filament Polyester Threads and Rayon Threads

Want it?  This could be your wall hanging!  Be sure to visit the Asheville Quilt Show September 28-30, 2018!

Finished a Wall Hanging!

July 6th, 2018

This was my preliminary stitch-out for the 24-inch Fantasy Flower Block, another machine embroidery applique design.  I ended up changing a number of things but I’d invested so much time into this block (and  also liked it), so I figured I should go ahead and quilt it.  I began with a basic ruler work framework.  What you see below eventually had another 1/4 inch parallel channel added to both the large and small squares:

As basic as it appears above, that straight line ruler work framework really “makes” this wall hanging design special.  I am still amazed by how much ruler work can elevate a design!  Anyway, here are some additional shots.  This first one is a close up of the both frameworks once they’ve been filled in:

…and the center-most framework:

I don’t know how well these photos show it, but there’s a nice 3-D texture to the piece:

And here’s one last one:

How I Spent my 4th of July

July 4th, 2018

 

I had a glorious day, dyeing fabric out in the hot sun:

These are 1 yard pieces of cotton sateen that I use for backgrounds of applique scenes.  These 4 baking on the blacktop are nearly dry, so the colors are close to what they should be once washed:

I also dyed several smaller pieces of 100% Egyptian cotton to use for applique shapes.  Those have much less variegation of color in them:

 

Most of the dye powders I worked with today are over 10 years old, so I’m not allowing myself to get excited yet because old dye powder usually means not so great color.  Several of my dye platters were still damp when I brought my stuff in this evening, so the washout will have to wait until tomorrow…I just hate waiting!

 P.S.  The washout went great and all my luscious reds and oranges are still luscious and saturated colors after the washout!!  Yippee!!

Hope you had a nice 4th of July, I sure did.

Feather Adventures Book is Back and Other News!

June 22nd, 2018

 

 

 

It’s true!  We’ve had so many requests for this book in the years since it’s been sold out that we finally went ahead and printed a short run.  Just like the original “Feather Adventures,” this second edition is 140 pages of full color feather education and inspiration.  Learning to quilt feather motifs will take your quilting to new heights and transform your quilts.  If you missed out on scooping up a copy from the original printing, don’t miss out on this new opportunity!  You can find this book in our online store by clicking here.

 

As if the Feather Adventures news weren’t big enough, we also have a new set of arc rulers that are debuting today!  The PTD Shallow Arc Ruler Sets are a set of 4 arc rulers that are cut from 18-inch diameter, 24-inch diameter, 30-inch diameter, and 36-inch diameter circles.  This means they hold curves that are shallower.  Why does this matter?

  1.  Shallower arcs are ideal for creating diamond-based ruler work designs.  This is because arcs with more dramatic curves leave little “interior real estate” inside the diamonds, and this means less room to subdivide with channel work or beautiful free motion quilting work.  If you’re like me, that “empty space” is your playground, and shallow arc rulers will deliver!
  2. Adding to your arsenal of arc rulers will always pay off.  In ruler-guided free motion quilting, we are always working off either piecing landmarks or applique landmarks, so having a nice stash of curves available means you’ll have just the right arc to deal with whatever curve you’re working around on your quilt top!
  3. If you like making large feathered wreath ruler work designs, these arcs are a great tool to have on hand.

Here are a couple of “stand-alone” diamond designs I whipped up with the shallow arc set:

 

 

In this next one, I changed the internal design and also added plumes to the outside of the diamond:

 

 

Here’s a diamond border design:

 

 

…and here’s another diamond border design:

 

 

…and here’s one more:

 

These diamond borders are as much fun as arched swag border designs!  You can find the shallow arc ruler sets in our online store by clicking here.  If you’re looking for a bargain, there is a 15% discount when you purchase the PTD Ruler Work Starter Set and the PTD Shallow Arc Set at the same time.  You can find that merged product in our online store by clicking here.

I’ll post some tutorials about how to create these designs in the next couple of weeks, so check back at the blog!

Adding a Trapunto Layer to The Fantasy Flower Quilt Blocks

June 20th, 2018

Remember the Fantasy Flower Block I showed you several  weeks ago?  Here is a shot of it to jog your memory:

While I was trying to figure out what to do about borders to surround the 4 of these blocks in the center of the quilt, I decided to add a little trapunto to these 4 blocks.  I began by pinning  a piece of scrap batting behind each block, then began my design by using ruler work that played off major applique landmarks in the block.  Here is the initial outline that I made:

I then added a 1/4 inch parallel channel inside the outline, then a 1/2 inch channel, and then another 1/4 inch wide parallel channel.  Once all that was done, I added a cross-like ruler work shape that played off landmarks in the center of the blocks.  I began stitching at the edge of one of the periwinkle embroidered shapes, carried the thread line to the adjacent stem base, and then moved to the next edge of an embroidered shape.  Once done, I threw a 1/4 inch parallel channel inside that design, and here is what followed:

I cut away all the excess batting that fell outside those designs, and here is what the backside looked like at this stage:

I went back in and filled  my 1/2 inch parallel channels with a single row of pearls, then added plumes that sprang from the stems to add some yummy featherwork.  Here is a shot of one of the gold blocks at that point:

Once this entire quilt has been pieced and thrown into a quilt sandwich, I’ll outline these areas with invisible thread and it will really make all the various “zones” of this ruler work framework pop.  I think it will highlight the centers of the blocks and help set off these ruler work designs from non-trapuntoed ruler work designs elsewhere on the quilt.  I have my work cut out!