Free Motion Quilting Play Time

November 29th, 2017




I think that part of the key to developing free motion quilting skills is allowing one’s self the luxury of “free motion play time.”  This is time set aside just to mess around with quilting designs, with no goal other than to play.  Sometimes, removing the pressure of coming up with a completed project really allows one to develop creative ideas.  The “feathered football” above is an example of just messing around, somewhat aimlessly, with rulers.


Here is the ruler work framework (all done with the PTD 12 arc ruler):


At this stage, it reminds me of an eye, how about you?  I swapped to an open toe free motion foot and started the “fill-in” process:


Notice that featherettes always look a little different since the shape you are filling is never quite the same:


…and the final chain of pearls completes the fill-in:


Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile.  I wasn’t able to upload any photos into my blog for the last 1 1/2 weeks, and there’s not much point to a blog post if there are no pictures.  I am happy to say that all has been fixed!  Expect more blog posts this week!

Volume 2 DVD “Ruler Work for the Sit-Down Quilter”

November 18th, 2017
The ruler work feathered wreath above will be one of the ruler work designs we’ll cover in the 2nd volume of our Ruler Work DVD.  This DVD has been a lllooonnggg time coming.  We filmed portions of it 1 1/2 years ago but we put the project on the back burner when Erns dad became ill shortly after we began shooting.  His dad died last Christmas, but we didn’t feel like we could resume work on any major projects as both of our moms were having some issues.  Both our moms have done well for the last many months, though, so we’ve resumed the DVD project but literally started over from scratch.  I am guessing this DVD wll be out in late winter to early spring, providing there are no health emergencies.  The design above will be the hardest thing on the DVD, but trust me, it’s a lot easier than you might think.  I won’t detail all the steps below, but if you look closely, you’ll be able to see the step-wise progression.  Here’s the initial ruler work framework:
(The circular soap line around the outside is the boundary for when the plumes are added at the very end.)
This next shot will confuse you…The wreath above was stitched as a trapunto design, so the next photo shows the wreath once it’s been placed into the final quilt sandwich and various “zones” have been outlined with invisible thread.  This is what helps the viewer’s eye see the compound spine area as discrete “design zones:”
…and now the background has been quilted using the “igloos” design:

Free Motion Quilted Swirled Plumettes

November 3rd, 2017


Can you see that in the above photo, the plumes are curling away from the swirl’s center?  Now look at this next photo, where the plumes swirl toward the swirl’s center:



Here’s a quick video that Ern and I put together to show you how to create both of these designs:





More Playing With Rulers and Bears!

October 30th, 2017



Here are 2 more ruler work arched swag border designs, the first of which is posted above.  These both begin with an identical ruler work framework, or “skeleton.”  This was created using the PTD 12arc ruler to stitch the “parent” arched swag, then using the PTD 6.5 arc for the “splayed” design in the bottom center area.  Here is what the empty framework looked like:



The first thing I did was to fill in every other section in the splayed channels that sprang from the bottom center of the design:



Next up, I quilted an upright featherette to fill the upper tapered channel area:



It looked ok but seemed to be missing something, so I hyperquilted the featherette to add a little “bling:”



I liked it better but something still seemed “off” to me.  I ended up adding 2 additional splay lines in the bottom center area, then filled in the central area.  This is what the final version of this one looked like at that point:




Sometimes, it’s surprising how much a little thing like that last maneuver can add!  The next shot below is another option for filling in that original skeleton.  The top section holds a waterfall featherette as opposed to the upright featherette in the earlier design:



I could just go on and on and on coming up with ways to subdivide arched swag “real estate!”


And look who was munching on acorns outside the front entryway this evening…



…he even came right up to our front porch and chomped away, as Ern and I stood watching just 2 feet away inside:



They really are beautiful animals, but we are happy to be on the other side of the door!


October 25th, 2017
The table runner above probably looks kind of familiar, but it’s actually a first.  It’s a variation of  a fern table runner I made a few months ago, but it’s a bit wider and the distance between the 2 sides of ferns is a bit wider as well.  Here’s a close up of this new one:
The ruler work was all done using the PTD 12 arc ruler and the main thread is Glide.  The loop-d-loop in the background edges was done using Invisifil.  This was because I just wanted a texture there and wanted to avoid drawing attention to that stitching.  This next shot shows the 2 table runners next to one another:
I am chuckling because I can hardly tell them apart when they’re together, yet I was REALLY bothered by the width of that first table runner and that’s what made me re-create it with a different layout!  Here’s a closeup of the two together:
I still like the wider one better, even though the difference is kind of subtle!   This is a machine embroidery applique design (meaning it’s done on an embroidery machine) that I originally designed as a border design but I like how the design works with the mirror image ferns across from one another.  I’m hoping to have this pattern available by Christmas.