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:

Fantasy Flower Quilt Block

May 6th, 2018

I’ve been experimenting with a new large quilt block design and I’m calling it the Fantasy Flower Block.  This is another machine embroidery applique block, (meaning that it is appliqued and embroidered using an embroidery machine),  and after multiple revisions, I’ve settled on the final block above.  This a large block, (24 inches square), and it’s created in 4 hoopings.  Each block takes nearly 3 full days of dedicated work to complete.  All of the applique shapes were cut on my Sizzix Big Shot machine except for the stems, which were traced and cut by hand.  I like some of the details so I tried to take some close ups to show them.  Here is a close up of one of the flowers:

 

The center-most part of the flower (i.e. the thistle part of the flower), has a dual edge border treatment that I’ve never tried before.  I was trying to add a sense of “prickliness” or a “menacing nature” to that thistle, so we added those spikey edges.  I like the contrast of having an adjacent satin stitch right up against that prickly edge. I also really like the stems.  Here is a shot of 4 stems converging in the center area:

 

 

(Sorry, you need to ignore that center crosshair!  I guess I forgot to remove it before taking the photo!)  Each block holds 2 pairs of identical stems.  Here’s a shot of one color option on this block:

 

…and here’s a shot of another stem in a different colorway:

Here is a close up of a portion of a stem so you can see the details better:

I’ve used this same dual edge finishing design many times now, but it never ceases to amaze me!  I love the complexity of this design so I’m sure you’ll see me use it again. Here’s a shot of one of the fleur-de-lis shapes; their embroidered details are pretty “vanilla,” but I needed some “quiet places” on the block:

…and here’s a shot of the whole block using a little bit of a different background fabric:

 

I’ve finished the 4 blocks that will make the center portion of the quilt.  The center will measure 47 1/2 inches square.  I’m hoping to begin working on a border design in the next few days…can’t wait!

 

A Little Spring Color

April 13th, 2018

 

A million apologies for the silence on this blog.  My 2+ months of craziness has morphed into 4+ months of craziness and my life is no longer my own.  I’ve somehow managed to complete a few small projects during this time and will try to post about them over the next week or two.  First up is another table runner made from the Swirly Floral Quartet Pattern that you can find by clicking here.  Here is a shot of the block being stitched as a 2-part split design, just after the first half has been appliqued/embroidered:

 

…and here it is as that second side is being appliqued/embroidered:

 

…and here is that block once removed from the hoop:

 

Four squares were pinned to each corner, then attached by stitching along the diagonal to create a half square triangle in each corner:

 

…and here is the table runner once all 3 blocks have been pieced together:

 

 

Picking up An Old Quilt Project

December 9th, 2017

Remember this quilt top center?  I am going on almost 1 1/2 years since I first started making blocks for the center section of this quilt.  This past summer, I appliqued/embroidered the first border area and I finally added them on last week.  Here is what the top looked like at the end of last weekend:

Ooh-la-la!!  I am simultaneously excited and scared as I am moving ahead on this project.  Excited because the drama of these appliques against the stark black fabric backdrop makes my heart flutter.  Scared because I think I should quilt it with black thread and I know this will be a nightmare for me vision-wise!  My vision is actually pretty good for someone my age, but seeing tiny stitches of black thread on black fabric will be really, really, tough for these old eyes.  I am plodding ahead, though, and am now working on the next applique border section.  This shot below is the first of the 4 outermost border sections:

I need to add another dark blue border before the final applique border, but the end is in sight!