Jul 25 11

Lots of Stuff

I fused up another center block option this weekend as I’m not sure that my original background fabric choice was a good one.  Don’t ya just hate it when you’ve put in a bunch of time on something and then realize that maybe it wasn’t the world’s greatest idea to begin with?!  Oh well, I’m sure both blocks will get used at some point.  I’m away from my design wall now but I’ll post some pictures soon once I can arrange all the blocks up there and can get an idea of how things look together.  For now, here’s the original center block that I made:

Today was the first day I’ve been able to work on the free motion embroidery of the other blocks on this quilt, and it’s been really hard not to work on them! I’ve been on a type of self-imposed exile. A few weeks back, I began quilting this quilt:

…and truthfully, the quilting was somewhat disappointing to me. The more I worked on it, the more disappointed I became! I like the quilt well enough, but the quilting added nothing to the overall design. Here’s an example:

I quilted these feathers spinning off the center in curves that mimicked the applique feather curves. Unfortunately, my thread choice was so subtle that you couldn’t even see those curves! I tried to save it by hyperquilting the feathers in a more contrasting thread:

…and although that shows well in this closeup photo, it’s still barely noticeable when you look at the whole quilt. I thought things would get better once the background was quilted:

…but you can see that even on the lighter blocks, the curves of the feathers barely show up!! Arghh! Suffice it to say, the further I got into this quilt, the more I was tearing my hair out! It got to the point where it was just painful to work on it, so I had to ban all other quilting/free motion embroidery work until I finished the darn thing! But…I am happy to say that it is now completely quilted and bound and I can move on to fun stuff! I’ll get a photo of the whole quilt once I can access my design wall again and you’ll see what I mean.

And now for something exciting, at least to me! Many years ago, I won an embroidery machine but it has never been used as I had no idea how to use it and really didn’t have much time to put into learning. I love quilting so much that I just couldn’t justify taking the little time I had for quilting and using some of it to master that darn machine! I’ve been admiring some of the beautiful machine embroidered applique work that folks have been doing, and decided late last year that I needed to learn how to use this machine. My plans were thwarted when my wrist got messed up last winter, but last week, I was checking out this blog post by Sew Cal Gal, and I was just mesmerized! Actually, I returned to her site many times a day and drooled over those photos (make sure you click on them to enlarge them), and then I realized that I really did need to learn how to do this! Long story short, but I finally had my first lesson on how to use my embroidery machine and each day, I’ve been embroidering a design to learn the basics of how to use this thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love free motion embroidery and free motion quilting and these are my first loves, but I’m thinking that I can be embroidering applique blocks on one machine while I’m doing freehand work on another machine and maybe I can get more quilts finished faster this way. I then went online and purchased Sarah Vedeler’s CD to embroider the applique hearts and this is going to be my lesson to teach me how to do this. I won’t be able to start on this for a few weeks but I cannot wait to give it a try! In the meantime, if you’re looking for some eye candy, scroll through these posts on Sarah’s site so you can appreciate the detail in her embroidery closeups…you may get hooked just like me!


  1. a1angiem Says:

    Oh ya…that quilt is just awful! NOT! Hey, if you don’t want it send it my way! You are amazing and it looks beautiful to me. I would make a quilt from your practice square scraps! It’s nice to see that you enjoy learning something new too…and have to learn and practice. (Bet not for long!) Received my Big Shot yesterday and now need to play. Question: when satin stitching narrow items (eg. stems, thin leaves) do you shorten the stitches so the whole thing doesn’t get covered by stitches?) I’m guessing yes but wanted to make sure. Also, just learned this tip “don’t forget to put the feed dogs BACK UP when you change your foot back to a regular one!” lol! Have a great day!

  2. Claire Pereira Says:

    Thanks for the post and update. Look forward to seeing completed projects!
    The colors of the new center block really stand out!! I love the red/orange tail feathers!
    Sarah Vedeler’s work is beautiful. Thank you.

  3. Pam Burke Says:

    Patsy, you have just made my day. Just to know that people who have the talent to make such beautiful quilts can really be unhappy with their own work, fabric selections, etc is such a relief. After being a traditional hand quilter for many years, I am now branching out into art quilts and free motion machine quilting. The learning process is difficult to say the least. Thank for your honesty. Oh by the way, the quilt is beautiful!

  4. Pamela Says:

    Dear Patsy, just thought I would let you know how happy I am to hear that you do not look down on machine embroidery and the people who use it to create their quilts. One thing I want to tell you is that you mentioned doing freemotion and other quilting work whilst the embroidery machine was going in the background which is a great idea in theory but it is a total pain getting up and down doing thread colour changes unless you are fortunate enough to have a multineedle machine. I do run both but constantly stopping quilting to change threads can get a bit tedious especially if you are having a good run with your quilting. I am happy to say that I entered an embroidered quilt in my states Quilt show, my first ever entry into a big quilt show so I entered as an amateur and I was runner up. I was thrilled as my quilt was the only embroidered quilt in the whole show and I got a judges highly commended on my first pictorial quilt too. What a buzz now I know why people enter their quilts in shows.Cheers Pamela

  5. Candy Says:

    I prefer option #2 for the center block (tulip quilt) because your applique pieces show up better with the more solid fabric–they were tending to blend in with the batik. You do such beautiful work and are a constant inspiration to me, esp. with my machine quilting. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself–your videos rock. And congrats to Pamela above for entering her machine embroidery into a quilt show–happy quilting all.