New Tulip Quilt and Working on Halloween Preparations

October 30th, 2009

(Click on photos to enlarge them):



These are just a couple shots from the center section of a new quilt that features tulips. The applique is all via fusible web and the edges are finished using trilobal polyester and rayon threads stitched in the EKG edge finishing design. I still feel struck, everytime I work on edge finishing for fusible applique, by just how much simple thread work like this can add to any motif. My whole quilting life has changed in the last decade because the world of thread has completely exploded and opened up a whole new facet of quilting for me! This next shot was before I had actually fused anything down; I was trying to get a sense of whether or not the center section would work with the outer blue/green fabric:


This quilt will look completely different than this once it’s done. The center section will have an undulating edge and there will be applique all over the border as well, but that’s gonna take me some time!

On a completely different thread, we’ve been preparing our haunted graveyard this week. Here is our front yard with just the fencing up that sets the boundary for the graveyard:


…and here is the entrance. It looks much scarier at night!


…and here is one of the tombs. It was painted many years ago by the son of a friend of ours when he was quite young:


Notice the details, like the rat on the tombstone, black birds, and the hand coming out of the dirt…this is the part that makes it fun to do! Happy Halloween!!

Hyperquilting Fun

October 20th, 2009


(click on photos to enlarge). Here’s a before/after flower hyperquilting shot to get an idea of how much it can add to a design:


…and here’s a vine shot before hyperquilting; again, not much to write home about in the “before” state:


Portions of the center were busier than I liked, so I did selective hyperquilting in the green center. In the busiest spots, I didn’t go back in with the hyperquilting as I thought this might add to that sense of being overly crowded:


The 2 background fabrics on this top are cotton sateen, so they have a slight sheen to them. All the threads are either rayon or trilobal polyester, again because of their great sheen. Here’s the whole quilt shot:


First Experience with a New Product and a VERY Enthusiastic Book Review!

October 17th, 2009


(Remember to click on all pictures to see them as full size). I tried a new fusible product for the first time this weekend and I am very happy with the results. The center section of the quilt top above was fused to the background with an ultra-thin line of glue called Liquid Stitch, see below:


The remarkable part of this product is that you are left with NO STIFFENING because that glue line is so very narrow! I began by fusing my shapes and then trapuntoing them as I finished the applique edges. (I DID use Wonder Under for these shapes because I wasn’t worried about any stiffening there.) Notice how boring this center section is when it still has a rectangular shape:


…and here’s what the backside looked like at that point:


So, my goal was to create an interesting edge for this center section by introducing some nice curves, then fuse the edges only to my background piece. I first used a pencil to draw some gently curving edge lines on the backside of the piece; these would eventually be my cutting lines. Next, I followed that drawn line with my trusty tube of Liquid Stitch and you can see the glue lines in this next photo:


I waited about 20 minutes for the glue to dry (it dries clear, by the way), and then I placed an applique pressing sheet on top of it and ironed over those glue lines. I did this because I thought this would flatten the glue lines, but truthfully, the applicator tip on this tube is so small that they didn’t really even need to be flattened! I then took a pair of scissors and cut out my center piece, really trying to cut in the center of that tiny glue line. Once I was done, I placed it where I wanted on top of my background fabric, then fused it in place. I finished the edge using the EKG stitch (the thread is a color called “Grass” and is part of the YLI Variations Line of trilobal polyester threads-I love that colorway!) Once I was done, I cur away the background fabric that was behind the green center section:


To get an idea how much this added to this quilt top, compare it to this picture, where the rectangular center is laid on top of the background fabric-what a difference!


Now, if you read my blog, then you know that I am all about having fun with thread and using thread in cool ways to add interest and texture to your quilt. I have been excited for many months to see Sarah Ann Smith’s new book, called Threadwork Unraveled:


This book is incredible! If you are eager to learn all kinds of different techniques that utilize thread, this book is for you! If you already spend a lot of time playing around with thread, you’ll learn new information and you’ll love the photos and illustrations! I am hard-pressed to come up with any quilter who wouldn’t enjoy this book! Before I bought it, I really had no idea of the scope of this book; it’s full of great information about virtually all kinds of threadwork using your machine. The other thing about it that’s nice is that Sarah’s warm personality really shines through; it’s not written as a manual, but rather, like you’re sitting down with a quilting friend who’s casually explaining what she knows. Truthfully, some parts of threadwork can be kind of boring and dry, but Sarah’s enthusiasm shines through and none of it seems dry here. On top of that, it’s filled with beautiful photos of quilts, with lots of great closeups to reveal the threadwork:


…and also has great diagrams to get you excited about fun free motion designs:


This book would make a great gift for any quilter and if you don’t read Sarah’s blog, that’s another great source of information and inspiration!

Playing Around with Stencils and a SALE!!

October 8th, 2009

stencil 1

Thanks to Mary, (who is perhaps the most prolific quilter that has ever lived), if you click on the above photo and any others here, you’ll be able to see them in full size. Thank you, Mary! I’ve been testing out some of the stencils that we’ve been working on. This is for a series of square feathered wreaths that have center spine designs that you can swap out. I’m quite fond of that curly cue spine for the center of a wreath, and I love how it works even though the spine doesn’t have a “smooth” edge. Below is the same wreath after it’s been hyperquilted:


Here’s another one before it’s been hyperquilted:


…and here it is hyperquilted:

This next one is also one of my favorites. It’s the bicycle chain spine, but you hardly recognize it because it’s so wide here:

stencil 3

…and here it is after hyperquilting:

stencil 3HQ

and here’s one more before:

stencil 4

…and after:

stencil 4HQ

These are just a smattering of what we are working on, but I’ll tell you, they are all really FUN to play with! But what’s even more fun is a SALE! We can’t make it to Houston for fall quilt market and quilt festival, but we’re celebrating with a sale! Everything in our store is 10% off retail price for the next week! To get the discount, enter “Houston” during checkout when you are asked to enter a discount code, and 10% will be deducted off your retail purchase. Enjoy!

Quilt Finished and Something Fun!

October 2nd, 2009


This is a wall hanging I made to create a quick project that features Texture Magic. It went together quickly and was a lot of fun to make. I apologize for the size/detail of the photos here. I upgraded my wordpress blog and no matter what I do, I can’t seem to get large pictures anymore (the photos come out grossly distorted if I chose “full size,” so medium size photos is the best I can do. If anyone knows how to remedy this, please email me!!) Anyway, here is a shot of the quilting in the 4 corner triangles:


This is what I love about plume-based designs and feathers-you can force them to fill virtually any space because you can stretch out a plume or contract a plume to fill the available space. Here’s a shot of one of the side-setting triangles:


In spaces like the above where you’re trying to fill a larger “blank space,” you can stitch more than 1 feather to cover a large territory. I’ve shown the main blocks before; they have “improvisational pluming” as the background fill design and some free motion embroidery inside the flowers as well:


I learned something new when I quilted the outer borders. I did a “feather wave” border and some of the plumes just seemed too large, so I wanted to add some subtle hyperquilting to partially fill the plumes because I figured this would make the largest plumes seem smaller. Normally, if I’m trying to do really subtle hyperquilting, I usually just do inlining and use the same color of thread. This time I used 2 different green threads for the outer border and it’s subtle enough to not be at all distracting but it lends a really nice “punch” to that outer border:


I’m really disappointed in all these photos because it’s hard to see the detail that I’m trying to show, so if anyone knows his/her way around this upgraded wordpress, please email me and my next post will be more reader-friendly!

And now for something fun! We made a 3-part video tutorial (it’s FREE!) on Texture Magic and some fun ways to use it. Each part is 9-10 minutes long and the first part also has a bit about free motion embroidery as well. To watch it, go here.