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:

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!

Ruler Work Feathered Wreath

May 21st, 2018

This trapuntoed feathered wreath was rescued from a  quilting UFO pile.  It’s a good example of how you can use trapunto to visually direct the viewer’s eye to see “zones” of a design by preferentially adding more dimension to certain portions of a given quilted design.  Different portions of this have 1 layer of batting, some have 2, some have 3, and 1 section has 4 layers of batting.  Between trapunto and how densely you choose to quilt portions of a design, you have tremendous control over how someone perceives or “sees” the design your are creating.  I’ll walk you through the process below, and know that these photos were all taken on different days, in different rooms, and in different lighting, so the colors will keep changing!

It started as a piece of commercial black mottled fabric that I over-dyed with purple.  I then quilted the center star using a digital file on my embroidery machine, (you can find that design file by clicking here), and  threw a scrap of polyester batting under the whole square but there was no backing fabric.  I started to enlarge that center design using arc rulers, but this all came to a screeching halt 2-3 years ago because I wasn’t sure I liked what I’d done.   This UFO has been sitting in my giant tote bag for all this time, waiting for me to do something.  I cleaned out the tote bag last week and ripped out what I’d started earlier and then went to work making a large feathered wreath.

My first move was to use my PTD 6.5 arc and PTD12 arc rulers to create a circular chain of 2-tiered crescents that surrounded the star:

(The pins that you see are holding another layer of polyester batting that will fall underneath the entire wreath.)  Next up, I started by adding multiple circles  to create “zones” in the spine area.  I got to break out my new set of Westalee Circle Rulers  that allow me to make circles up to 18 inches in diameter:

(These larger circle templates work exactly like the earlier Westalee ones, but you can see that they provide channels for creating larger circles.  You can find the Westalee COQ set 6 templates in our online store by clicking here.)  I then marked a circle in soap that gave me 2 3/4 inches for my outermost plumes.  This soap line is a temporary line that serves as the boundary for the edges of the plumes:

Here’s what it looked like once I added the plumes.  You can see that even though they are all a  bit different since I’m adding them freehand, they still look pretty symmetric and it’s all because of stretching the plumes to the soap line:

Next, I began filling in the narrow channels.  A single row of pearls is a great way to fill a 1/2 inch wide channel, and quilting this in a gold polyester thread will add a little bling and help “set off” that circle well:

In this next shot, you can see I’ve added fingertips (magenta polyester thread) inside the irregular channel that falls between the pearls and the circle of crescents, and also added small featherettes (lavendar polyester thread), inside the space interior to the crescents:

…and the last thing I did on this day was to add a single row of pearls in the outermost 1/2 inch wide channel:

I had no idea of what I wanted to place in that wide channel, so I walked away from the project to think about it overnight.  I cut away the excess batting that fell outside the wreath before I called it a day, so here’s what the project’s backside looked like at that point:

(Just to make it clear, there are 2 layers of batting underneath the center star, and 1 layer underneath the entire wreath at this point.)  I decided to add a series of triangles surrounding the circle, so I created those using a straight line ruler and then created a tapered channel inside those rays:

…and here I have added an Aztec featherette (dark blue polyester thread) inside each of the rays:

…and I’ve now added a featherette inside the outer triangle spaces:

These are not very striking, so I added hyperquilting inside the featherettes in turquoise thread.  You can kind of appreciate how much this adds in the next photo that shows some hyperquilted and others not yet hyperquilted:

Now, it is starting to get exciting, and remember, all this drama is being created using thread!  Here’s a shot once the whole wreath is done; you can see that it’s cool but seems king of “flat:”

Here is where I decided I wanted to set off different zones more, so I threw in yet another extra layer of batting that covered the entire center “circle” that ends with the gold pearls.  I wanted to exaggerate the difference between the 2 “featherette zones” inside that outer wide channel, so I added small pieces of batting over the outermost triangles.  Here is a shot of what the back side of this piece looked like at that point:

The rest is a downhill coast as I layered it unto the final quilt sandwich with a final layer of batting underneath the whole thing, followed by a backing fabric.  I preferentially stitched outside certain zones of design to set them off, and here is the finished product:

Another UFO rescued…or at least it will be once I make the time to bind it!

Quick Peek

May 17th, 2018
I had hoped to finish this rescued UFO last night but it didn’t happen.  I’ll post more photos later once it’s done:


More Quilted Ruler Work Swag Border Designs

May 10th, 2018

Can’t seem to stop creating these!  There is no end to how one can divvy up the real estate that lies inside an arched swag framework.  I used my PTD 12 arc ruler to make the initial framework, then threw in a 1/4 inch parallel channel, then a 1/2 inch parallel channel, and then a 3rd 1/4 inch parallel channel:

(Remember, all parallel channels are made using whatever ruler was used to create the original framework, so the PTD 12 arc was the ruler used for all the channels.)  Next up, I threw in a melon shape along the center vertical axis.  I used the PTD 6.5 arc for this, then threw in a tapered channel using the PTD 12 arc ruler:

I then added a featherette to fill the “empty spaces” surrounding the center melon:

…and then I added a row of pearls inside the 1/2 inch parallel channel:

…then finished up with a row of pearls inside the center melons:

I love, love, love designs that merge ruler work and feathers…can you tell?!