Pictures of a New Quilt In Progress

August 26th, 2007


This is not actually a whole quilt; it’s the center of a quilt that has trapunto and free motion embroidery. I try to get as much detail work done as possible on the parts of a quilt when they are still relatively small. This center part measures roughly 46″ W by 24″ wide at this point. Here’s how it started. The picture below is of my fused pansy sitting on a teflon sheet. These are handy if you want to assemble the pieces of a fusible applique BEFORE you fuse them to your background piece, and they’re also handy if you want to add some coloring detail with colored pencils, inkpads, crayons etc. This picture shows my fused pansy with some highlights that are difficult to see:


Note that the center is pretty clear…you’ll understand later why I’m pointing this out! I used water soluble artists crayons to color it:


…and I’ve used these before with great results. I applied them dry and then did a gentle brushing with light water to help blend the colors a bit, but what happened was that all the color wicked to the center, and collected near the fused edges! At first, this really bugged me, but the more I’ve worked with this piece, I’ve grown to like this effect. (I should add that I heat set these colors with my iron once it had dried). I fused my pansy to my top and then added my trapunto layer and did all my “outlining” in decorative rayon threads. Next, I went back in and did some threadpainting, but this time I went back in layers and changed my thread color with each pass. The camera doesn’t show this well, but this added a wonderful effect, giving the yellow center a much richer outline. If you could see it in real life, it would make you think of a lion’s mane, with a rich array of related, yet different, hair colors:


I did a similar thing in the purple top part of the pansy, but only went in with 2 thread colors:


I added a narrow purple border so that I’d have a better defined “bottom” of the quilt top, and this way, I could start fusing pieces around the pansy and feel ok about my placement. Once I’d fused my swirls in place, I did free motion embroidery around the edges of the swirls:


This is just a straight stitch done in what I call the “EKG free motion stitch,” since it kind of looks like a run of V-fib:


This is what the backside looks like at this point. If you look to the side, you’ll see the FME along the edges of the swirls. The nice thing about that stitch is that you stay INSIDE the fused area completely, so you don’t need to use a stabilizer:


One of my favorite parts of this is the little blooming thingy at the bottom:


I’ll post more as it’s quilted, but it will be a good while because I want to add some borders to it before I can lay it out in a quilt sandwich, so one last look:


Cute and Adorable Tiny Tidbits of Color and Fun!

August 20th, 2007


These are my newest additions to my family of pincushions. I am a soft touch for bright color and tiny things, so these easily got me sucked in. If it is colorful, tiny, and functional, then a pincushion has passed the test and gained entrance to my highly exclusive “pincushion club!” I try not to have favorites, but my new fav is pictured below:


And I really love the detail of the stitching on things as tiny as this:


They are quick and easy to make. First you fuse some tiny shape to your background piece, (I used wonder under and it is soft enough for me to push a pin through). I folded my pieces in half to get a rough idea of where to fuse my small color shape:


For some of these, I wanted my fused shape to kind of stand out, so for these, I did some free motion embroidery around the outer edges of the applique while it was still just a top. This one’s an example of that move:


Oh, how I just swoon for that combo of purple, orange, and gold! Next, I spray baste them onto a thin batting as below:


And then I do my free motion quilting all over the background. For the one’s where I wanted my fused area to pop out a bit, I then stitched around the outer edges with invisible thread. Once all the quilting’s done, you start cutting them in half so that you can “shuffle the deck” and mix the colors of your tops and bottoms:


(Some of these are cut and some are not). Once you’ve sewn them together, you can appreciate that little bit of extra zip you get from having more than one color, and you have a variety of quilting designs as well:



I stuffed them with this material I’d never used before. They are miniscule pieces of some type of synthetic material but they have a wonderful weight to them. Here’s a bag from Joanne’s:


And here are all the new recruits, ready for their first assignment:


But of course, they will never replace the mother of all pincushions…


…the arm of our sofa!!

Pincushion Love

August 18th, 2007

Not sure why, but I just love pincushions. When I see them in shops, it doesn’t take much to get me to go for that second look, especially if they are home-made and unique. BUT, they MUST be functional or I completely lose interest!

Have you seen or used the wool pincushions? Here’s a picture of a teeny one I love to take along to classes:


This isn’t a great picture because it’s made of several cool colors and I’ve got it so crammed full of pins that you can’t see the pretty colors! If you haven’t made yourself one yet, they’re a SNAP to make! You start with dyed wool batting like this:


You pull off a small wad into your hand and then add some warm water and liquid soap and just start working it, agitating it gently. Keep adding new scraps of different colors of batting and build it up to as large as you want. You’ll want to make it larger than the desired finished size, because it will shrink later on. Anyway, just keep adding and make sure at the end that you really like the colors on the outside, because that’s what you’ll see. Place it into an old piece of pantyhose and pop that baby into the dryer for about 20 minutes and just let that dryer bounce it around and agitate it. Take it out and you’ll have a lovely felted ball! Don’t like your colors after all? No big deal, just get it wet and soaped up and add some new colors of batting and repeat the process. These pincushions are great but I always glue a wooden scrap on the bottom because they’re so lightweight that when you pull out a pin, the whole pincushion comes with it! And you’ll love the feel…pins pierce it just like buttah!

Here’s a cute little pincushion I made a couple days ago. I think I’ve fallen in love with it because it’s so small:


And here’s some pieces of pincushions-to-be:


…but you’ll have to wait til tomorrow for the finished products!

3 New Quilts Started!!!

August 13th, 2007

Man, have I ever been busy! The past 10 days have been jam-packed with quilt-related activities yet I ‘ve had no photos to post until tonight. It began the weekend before this one with the Asheville Quilt Show, which is always a great show. My friend, Peggy, was visiting from Florida and Ern and I also began filming the next DVD that same weekend. I’m proud to say that we finished all the filming last Wednesday and it is halfway edited! That Ern-man is unbelievable!

With all this going on, I had no opportunity to do any sewing for myself because my whole focus had to be on sewing and preparing for that DVD. I finally got to start 3 quilts this weekend, and it was none too soon because 2/3 are due VERY SOON! The first one is kind of a stylized representation of neuronal synapses. It’s meant to be a fun quilt, not a literal one. I have just barely started the quilting part of it, but here are some pictures along the way to show what I was trying to do. This first one is an overall shot of the top before it’s in a quilt sandwich:


The blob-like things are the neuron cell bodies and the long branching things are the dendrites. I wanted the cell bodies to be kind of prominent, so I trapuntoed them with 1 layer of batting. You can see that looking on the backside:


If you look closely at that picture above, you’ll see some small wisps of stabilizer near the dendrites. I wanted them to be kind of prominent as well, so I stitched them with free motion embroidery when it was still just a quilt top so I’d be able to stitch around them with invisible thread once it was in a sandwich. That way, they slightly protrude OUT instead of sinking into the batting if I had just quilted them. Here’s a shot with some dendrites when it’s still just a quilt top:


Here’s a shot of a portion of it that’s quilted. The picture doesn’t show it well, but you can start to tell the cell body has some protuberance to it:


And here’s a close-up of some of the dendritic branching. Hard to tell in this lighting, but the branching doesn’t recede into the batting because it was free motion embroidered instead of free motion quilted:


My plan is to sew many small seed beads emanating from the axons and these will represent the neurotransmitters that the dendrites are picking up. I don’t generally use a lot of beads on my quilts, so this will be a bit of a departure for me. I do enjoy handwork, but this is NOT handwork that I’m looking forward to!

I’ll post some final pictures once it’s done, but it sure feels good to be sewing again!

Look What Evelyn Made!

August 1st, 2007

I got a nice treat from Evelyn Guthmiller of Alberta, Canada. She sent me this picture of a quilt she made after watching the trapunto video on YouTube:


Didn’t she do a wonderful job?! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to think my videos inspire other people to play around with all these techniques! Thanks, Evelyn!