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?!

Fantasy Flower Quilt Block

May 6th, 2018

I’ve been experimenting with a new large quilt block design and I’m calling it the Fantasy Flower Block.  This is another machine embroidery applique block, (meaning that it is appliqued and embroidered using an embroidery machine),  and after multiple revisions, I’ve settled on the final block above.  This a large block, (24 inches square), and it’s created in 4 hoopings.  Each block takes nearly 3 full days of dedicated work to complete.  All of the applique shapes were cut on my Sizzix Big Shot machine except for the stems, which were traced and cut by hand.  I like some of the details so I tried to take some close ups to show them.  Here is a close up of one of the flowers:

 

The center-most part of the flower (i.e. the thistle part of the flower), has a dual edge border treatment that I’ve never tried before.  I was trying to add a sense of “prickliness” or a “menacing nature” to that thistle, so we added those spikey edges.  I like the contrast of having an adjacent satin stitch right up against that prickly edge. I also really like the stems.  Here is a shot of 4 stems converging in the center area:

 

 

(Sorry, you need to ignore that center crosshair!  I guess I forgot to remove it before taking the photo!)  Each block holds 2 pairs of identical stems.  Here’s a shot of one color option on this block:

 

…and here’s a shot of another stem in a different colorway:

Here is a close up of a portion of a stem so you can see the details better:

I’ve used this same dual edge finishing design many times now, but it never ceases to amaze me!  I love the complexity of this design so I’m sure you’ll see me use it again. Here’s a shot of one of the fleur-de-lis shapes; their embroidered details are pretty “vanilla,” but I needed some “quiet places” on the block:

…and here’s a shot of the whole block using a little bit of a different background fabric:

 

I’ve finished the 4 blocks that will make the center portion of the quilt.  The center will measure 47 1/2 inches square.  I’m hoping to begin working on a border design in the next few days…can’t wait!

 

Creating Machine Quilted Feathered Diamonds

May 1st, 2018

I think I’ve posted one or two times about feathered footballs like the one shown below:

 

These are created using ruler work, and for feathered footballs, the orientation of the ruler is in the opposite direction as when one wants to create feathered diamonds like the one below:

 

 

(You’ll have to excuse the colors in the above photo.  The background is a nice deep purple, but that was somehow lost in some of the “in-process” photos.)  Anyway, when making a feathered diamond, you need to use a long ruler with a fairly subtle curve.  In this case, I used the Quilters Groove Pro-echo 20 arc ruler, which you can find by clicking here.  The reason you need a more subtle curve is because you’ll lose way too much “interior real estate” if the curve of the arc is acute, and then you’ll be left with nothing to play with once you go to add fill-in designs.  Here’s how to make a basic feathered diamond.

 

Step 1:  mark a large crosshair through the center of your block.  I made small tick marks at 7 inches from center on one axis and 5.5 inches from center on the opposite axis.  I then used my Pro echo 20 arc to create the outermost diamond framework.

 

Step 2:  Add your interior channels.  In this case, I added a 1/4 inch parallel channel, then a 1/2 inch parallel channel, then another 1/4 inch parallel channel.  Using the same ruler, I then added a tapered channel using a tick mark that was placed 1 3/4 inches from the highest/lowest interior apex on the one axis.  Here’s what the empty framework looked like once the ruler work skeleton was complete:

 

 

Step 3:  Begin your fill in adventure!  I began my fill-in work with a new thread color and added a waterfall featherette inside the tapered channel.  Here’s a shot once that was completed:

 

 

I swapped back to turquoise rayon thread and added the “fingertips” design inside the 1/2 inch parallel channel.  Notice that I had to throw in a teardrop in each of the 4 corners of the diamond:

 

 

Lastly, I added an upright featherette inside the center diamond channel, and I used a different thread color (light aqua polyester) for that:

 

 

The shot above is a basic feathered diamond.  This can be converted to a more elaborate feathered diamond by adding plumes along the outer edge.  Because the design is highly symmetric, I felt like my outer plumes should be highly symmetric as well, so I made a temporary boundary line for them using a sliver of soap as shown below:

 

 

(I used my Pro-echo 22 ruler for that soap line, as it is an even more subtle curve than the Pro-echo 20 ruler I used for ruler work framework.)  That soap line is important as it represents the outermost edge of my plumes.  If I can force myself to “stretch” or contract each plume to meet that boundary line, I’ll end up with a lovely tapered featherette along all 4 sides.  Here is a shot of that once it’s been stitched:

 

 

I am a sucker for “empty space” on a  quilt sandwich, so I may end up adding something else…