Second Experimental Quilt Finished

March 26th, 2007

Remember how I was conducting an experiment to see what would happen if I used contemporary designs in traditional quilts? Well, here I have the second quilt in this experimental series. Again, these blocks were purchased at auction and I then sewed them together and quilted it as below:


Here’s a close-up of it to give you a better sense of the quilting design:


You may recognize this pattern from my last post where I had several green pictures of different designs from the “Innies and Outies” family…this one is the irregular angled swirl, as shown again below:


Check out this wider view of this background design…to me, it puts me in the mind of the McTavishing pattern that is so intriguingly beautiful, but this one is quite simple to actually stitch:


I am really learning some good stuff by doing this. Lessons I have learned so far:

1. If you’re trying to maintain a “traditional style” with the quilting part of the design, you are always safe throwing in some feathered shapes. This is not necessary, but never hurts!
2. Thread choices are very important. In traditional style machine quilting, less is more. (Translation: make thread choices which permit the viewer to appreciate the pattern of the stitched design, but are subtle. This is not the place for heavy or high contrast threadwork!)
3. You can get away with a lot more background quilting designs than I would have thought. This doesn’t mean that you can get away with ANYTHING, (i.e. I wouldn’t use any variation of a loop-D-loop design on a quilt like this and I wouldn’t use a lines and angles design on a quilt like this), but there’s some good room for play here. Stay tuned to this blog because the experimentation is ongoing!

New Quilt Finished and Answers to Some Questions…

March 15th, 2007


Does this quilt look like my usual kind of work? NOT! I used to sew more traditional looking quilts like this one, but haven’t for many years. BUT, I came up with an idea for a quilt experiment and this quilt is the first in my experimental series. The question I am looking at is whether or not one can successfully use contemporary kinds of quilting designs in a traditional looking quilt and still respect the traditional essence of the quilt but at the same time, add a new kind of design interest in the quilted line. Time is very tight for me and I’m eager to play with this question, but I don’t have all that much time to sew, and that’s when I came up with another brilliant idea! I ended up buying some traditional looking quilt blocks at auction and sewed them together and they became the “petri dish” for my experiment! So, the blocks for the quilt above were not sewn by me, but I pieced them together and then quilted it. Now, I want you to look at the close up picture below to see the background quilting design:


This is not a stipple. This is a design that I call the irregular swirl design and that gets to part 2 of this post. I have been getting a lot of emails from people who want to know about this 3rd DVD. The third DVD is called “Fast and Free, Volume II” and it is a series of new designs that are again based on the fast and free concept of design derivation. Below are a series of pictures of just one family of designs that is covered in Volume II. This family is called the “Innies and the Outies.” See if you can figure out why..

Above design is the random swirl. Next:

Above design is the spooning swirls. Next:

Above design is the irregular swirl. Next:

Above design is the irregular angled swirl. Next:

Above design is triangle swirls. Next:

Above design is geometric swirls. Next:

Above design is swirled hearts. Next:

Above design is leaves. Next:

Above design is curvaceous leaves.

Isn’t this an incredible family of designs? What I love about them is their versatility…you can use them in art quilts, contemporary quilts, and traditional quilts with very striking results. Now, if we return to our new traditional quilt that I placed at the beginning of this post, let’s look at another closeup that shows the quilted detail better (bad pic, but it shows what I’m trying to convey):


If you look closely, you’ll see that this background design is the irregular swirl. I have used this extensively in art quilts but here it works very well in a traditional setting…it even almost has the appearance of a group of roses or some type of flower with lots of petals. Stay tuned because I’m finishing up another traditional quilt with another design from the “”innies and outies family and I’ll post it once it’s done!

Quilting Exhibition at “The Quilt Foundry” on Sat. March 17, 2007 from 1:00 – 3:00

March 13th, 2007



Hi Everyone! Just wanted to pass along that the Quilt Foundry (234 W.Wayne Street/Maumee, OH 419-893-5703) is sponsoring a quilting exhibition to celebrate the release of my first two DVD’s this Saturday, March 17, 2007 from 1:00-3:00. I’ll be doing live quilting demonstrations at 1:30 and again at 2:30 and the rest of the time, I’ll just be hanging out with lots of my quilts and hoping to meet fellow quilters! If you’ve never been to The Quilt Foundry, it is a longtime establishment in Maumee, Ohio, and it’s been nurturing quilters along for more than two decades…not many quilt shops can boast that kind of longevity! It is owned by four women who love quilting and just want to get more and more of us hooked on this wonderful craft. I started quilting 30 years ago and was self taught for the first several years. I took my very first quilt class, (the Lone Star pattern) over 20 years ago at The Quilt Foundry and my teacher, Peg Sawyer, is still teaching now! I learned hand applique in a class by Margaret and I took my first free motion machine quilting class by Gretchen just six years ago! Look what they did for me! These four women have just been honored by the editors of Better Homes and Gardens as having one of the 20 best quilt shops in America. Way to go! If you’re near NW Ohio this weekend, drop by!

Trapunto 102

March 7th, 2007

I have been meaning to post the second part of this tutorial for some time, but I guess time has just gotten away from me! If you refer back to Trapunto 101 in the 1/21/07 post, we finished up after we had done the trapunto under the appliqued butterfly. The picture below shows what the backside of this quilt block looked like when we were done:


Remember, you don’t have to worry about knots or long threads on the backside because no one will ever see it! The next step was to add the borders so the entire top was finished. I needed to finish the whole top because our next area of trapunto, (the flightpath of the butterfly) will be stitched in an area that will go into part of the border. This is the whole top pieced but not yet completely trapuntoed:


This next step is where it will get very fun very fast! What I did here was to trapunto some of the area that will be quilted. A technique like this is valuable if you are trying to make an area of your quilting more significant or important to the viewer. What it will do is cause the trapuntoed quilted area to stand out more prominently from the rest of the quilted area. Moves like this add more interest to your quilt by virtue of creating different depths and textures. Anyway, I digress! To do this, place a piece of batting underneath the quilt which is just a bit larger than the area you will actually quilt right now. (You can use spray adhesive or fabric glue, but I just pin it because remember, you’re going to have to cut away all the excess batting outside the trapuntoed area and it will be more of a hassle if there’s any adhesive involved.) An important point here is to pay attention to the type of batting you use here. You want a VERY THIN BATTING for this part-if you don’t, it may really distort your top in a way that could wreck your quilt. The picture below shows the top with the flight path stitched in place:


This next picture shows the backside of the top with the excess batting cut away:


Can you tell that there are 2 types of batting being used? The batting underneath the flight path was VERY thin and the butterfly batting is Hobb’s 80/20. Once that excess batting has been cut away, you’re getting pretty close to the finish line. I spray basted my top to batting and backing fabric and was ready to do my normal quilting. The first thing I did was to use invisible, (monofilament) thread to stitch all around the outline of my butterfly and also around all the individual “parts” and decorations of the butterfly. This makes them all stand out somewhat. Then I moved to my flightpath. Using the same monofilament thread, I stitched just outside my quilted flight path. I should tell you that the flight path itself was stitched in a very heavy size 12 pearl cotton embroidery thread because this was another move to make it more prominent or important to the viewer. I should also tell you that the area inside the plumes was hyperquilted or overquilted with polyester thread when I was still in that early trapunto phase, or before my entire quilt was put into a quilt sandwich. If I had waited and done that now, it would kind of un-do my trapunto effect, or lessen how much my flight path stands out. Then I finished quilting the rest of the top. See the picture below for the final product:


I don’t know that the picture does justice to how much these objects stand out. This gives you a bit better view of differing depths:


And this picture gives a bit better of a view of the flightpath:


Helpful New Product (At least new for me!)

March 1st, 2007

Have you ever NOT been able to get a temporary marking line out of your quilt? I finished a quilt and tried to eliminate the chalk line by wiping it with scrap batting…strike #1! Next, I used my trusty fabric eraser…strike #2! Now I was getting scared because this quilt had some delicate fibers that I had couched down on it and I didn’t want to wash it for fear of what might happen to these fibers. What’s a poor girl to do?! I was desperate and tried something I had never used before:


These small “Shout It Out” towelettes did the trick! They’re pretty wet and you just gently rub over the problem area and Voila, problem solved!