A Little Quilt Progress and Blog With Beautiful Machine Quilting!

June 28th, 2010

I was originally going to add a different applique shape to the offset blocks on the blue & yellow quilt, but then I decided that I liked their simplicity, so I didn’t add any applique but instead created trapuntoed square feathered wreaths using the 8 inch wreath stencils.  Here’s a sample of one of the blocks:

…and here’s what the backside of a typical block looked like before I started piecing them:

And here’s what the back of the center portion looks like once the entire center has been pieced:

(Note to self-don’t forget to cut out the very center sections of the wreath batting on each block!)  Think how much easier it was to do all this when every block was just in the block stage!  Here’s the center section as it stands now:

And now I’m stumped, because the fabric I had planned to use in the border really doesn’t look right, so I’m pondering my next move on this quilt.  Don’t you just want to kick yourself when that happens and you’re rarin’ to move forward?!  Drat!

In the meantime, if you want to see some beautiful machine quilting, check out Wendy Sheppard’s blog here. Take the time to keep scrolling backwards to appreciate all of her gorgeous work!

Quick Post To Say I’m Alive and Kicking

June 25th, 2010

I’ve been getting some emails asking  where I’ve been, since all has been quiet on the blog front.  I’m still ticking but have been pretty quiet as we worked to get caught up on the post-spring quilt market flurry.  Things are settling down now and I’m really hoping to get back to needle and thread over the next couple of weeks.  Here’s the beginning of a quilt that features those little flowers that begin with a Texture Magic Center(these are just the center blocks thrown up kind of wonkily on my design wall):

The nice part of working on a quilt like this is that you can get a lot of the preliminary thread work done when these are just blocks.  Here’s a shot of one of the flower blocks before I’ve even begaun piecing the quilt top:

If you watched the Texture Magic videos from last fall, I changed the way I handled the edge finishing/embroidery in that inner purple block.  I did kind of a wavy sun ray kind of a design.  The flowers here have been trapuntoed, so here’s what the back side of a block looks like, again before the top has even been pieced:

I’m going to do some kind of trapunto work on the blue/yellow blocks tomorrow; I’ll post if they come out looking cool.  If not, it’s back to the drawing board…

New Cool Feathered Frame and Thread Give Away Winners Announced!

June 11th, 2010

This is a quadrant of another feathered frame design.  (Don’t worry, I’m gonna show you a picture of the whole thing, but I want to walk you through the steps first so you’ll know that you can do this!)  For the past few months, I’ve been walking around with many neat ideas in my head about different ways to frame designs using feathers, but I just haven’t had the time to stitch them out.  I finally got that chance a couple days ago and stitched out the first frame that is based on the notion of framing a wreath (or whatever else you’d want to frame) with a design that is based on circles.   This is in contrast to the feathered frame designs on the most recent DVD as they dealt with rectangular frame designs.

You start out by tracing a large circle around your wreath (or whatever you’re framing) and of course, you do this with a temporary marker.  Then you take your scallop ruler and mark the swags that will actually make up the skeleton of your frame.  I divided my circle into 8 equal swags and I did this by placing a protractor in the center of my wreath and dividing 360 degrees by 8.  This told me I needed  to place a mark on my circle every 45 degrees-these were the spots where one swag would begin and another swag would end.  Here’s step one after I’d actually stitched the skeleton for my frame:

If you look at the places where the swags intersect, you see right away that there’s much more space in the 4 corners to stitch a design than there is in the centers of the block, so I started in the corners with a large design.  Does this design look familiar?  I just traced the corner design from stencil PT24 and this is also one of the designs on stencil PT35, so it wasn’t a big deal to come up with these corner designs.  I stitched them out in turquoise rayon thread and here’s what the initial design looked like:

I used a 40 wt rayon thread by Wonderfil for those corner motifs and this was my very first experience with Wonderfil thread.  I have to say it was a very positive experience!  This is very heavy thread, so it shows up quite nicely!  There is no correlation between one thread company’s 40 wt thread and another thread company’s 40 wt thread, and this comparison of 40 wt turquoise thread by Sulky and by Wonderfil really illustrates that difference:

Doesn’t that Wonderfil look like it’s at least twice the size of the Sulky?  Wow!  Wonderfil is a Canadian company and I’m looking forward to trying out some of their other lines of thread as well.  Anyway, back to our story…I was getting jazzed up about hyperquilting those corner motifs and I couldn’t wait, so that was my next move.  Here’s a shot of the quilt on my machine bed.  (These are the moments when you’re all alone in your sewing room and you’re heart beat is starting to race with excitement as you see this first unfolding!  Isn’t it nice that we can now share these moments of solitude electronically?!)

(I should have also mentioned that I didn’t stitch the swirls when I made that first pass with turquoise thread and I added them at this stage when I did the hyperquilting-just another way to jazz things up a bit!)  Next up, I added the motifs in the block centers.  These were lifted from a portion of stencil PT27:

And in my last step, I hyperquilted the small motifs in gold thread and added the pearls inside the swags.  Here is the end product:

Boy, those pearls inside the swags really dress this baby up, don’t they?!  Now I am debating whether or not to stitch some design between the wreath and the frame.  My instinct is not to do it, but it’ll be something that I’ll mull through in my thinking over the next several weeks.

And before I forget, the winners of the Star Thread give away were Ray Janikowski and Donna Adams.  The spools of thread are in the mail, winging their ways to their new homes!  Congratulations!

New DVD, New Pattern, and New Stencils Now Available!

June 2nd, 2010

It has been a very busy winter and spring and I’m happy to announce that “Free Motion Fun…With Feathers!  Volume 4” is now available!  This DVD was really fun to make!  It’s all about feathered border designs and feathered frame designs and the cool ways that you can manipulate feathers to make a border look complex when it’s really not complex at all!  Believe it or not, this DVD is easier than the last 2 feather DVDs, so if you know how to stitch a basic freeform feather and a feather with a stitched spine, then you should be good to go with all of these designs.  Looking for a way to add a designer look to your feathered borders?  Look no further, as this DVD will show you how to do it!  Go here to watch the preview video clip and you’ll see for yourself just how much fun this new DVD is!

On top of that, we’ve also got some cool “hybrid feathered wreath” stencils available, and even better, all of these are compatible with the interchangeable center spine designs that go with our basic 12-inch feathered wreath stencil, PT5.  If you’re not sure how to use these interchangeable feathered wreath stencils, then go here to watch a short instructional video that will spell it all out for you!  Wondering what these new stencils look like?  Here they are:

Did this last one look familiar to you?  It should, because my prototype for this stencil was my entry for the Alliance for the American Quilt Auction, as shown below:

Looking for a new tote bag pattern? Then check out our Sassy Quick Tote Bag, that features a center block with a small feathered wreath:

Worried that you can’t stitch that feathered wreath? Of course you can! That block uses our 8-inch feathered wreath set with interchangeable center spine designs, so you could actually create 30 different feathered wreath designs using these 2 sets! Just think of how many different tote bags you could make for gifts, and no two bags would ever be alike! Not sure how to do it? Go here to watch a video tutorial that shows you exactly how easily it can be done!

If you can’t tell, I just LOVE to quilt feathers, and I’m hoping that between the instructional DVDs, the stencils and the tote bag pattern, I can get the rest of the world as hooked as I am!