A few pics of quilts that made me smile:
March 10, 2014
A few pics of quilts that made me smile:
March 9, 2014
I spent a good bit of yesterday designing quilts in EQ6. These are quilts that I’ll be able to show right around Spring Quilt Market. I know, I know, it feels like I’m teasing. I’m not. I’ll share it when I can.
I did (re)learn something about working on the block yesterday: tweaking the settings on the work table gives better control of the grid which means that drawing lines becomes easier because the end up where I want them. I can tell you that for a while I was having a bit of a bang head here moment! Rrrrg. I’d move a line here and it would snap back to where I originally placed it. Tweaked the settings and voila. I also remembered something about drawing equilateral triangles: say the triangle is 4″ on each side, if I place a middle line and draw the sides two inches on either side of that line I have the triangle I need. Whew! Would you believe I did really well in geometry. I’ve just got to spend more time learning all this new fangled quilting stuff. Or just use it more often. Use it more often and at some point upgrade. From what I’ve read on the message board since EQ7 came out it’s so much more intuitive.
Several people have sent me photos of their feathers, I’ll be sharing those and their comments later this week. And an interview. I have an interview with Sue Reno coming up very soon! Watch the Generation Q Magazine website later this week for my very first blog!
March 8, 2014
I must admit that whenever I get my hot little hands on Melanie’s printed cloth I go all giddy. Last July Melly gave me some of her printed cloth and I made a quilt that has yet to be quilted.
There is something different in Melanie’s work now. The colors are richer, somehow more joyful and speak who I know of Melanie to me. It’s vibrant and joyful. Not that the cloth wasn’t before, it was, it’s just richer, deeper, clearer.
There were originally 6 pieces of cloth, I gave one away to someone who’s been very encouraging over the last few months and has had a few struggles herself. I can say that it brought a smile to her face! Mission. Accomplished.
I am looking forward to making something beautiful with this. I have a project in mind for a demonstration I’m doing in about 6 weeks.
March 5, 2014
to spend some time with Melanie Testa. We’re working together on a fun project that will be revealed at the right time. I’m thrilled to bits to be working with Melanie on this and to spend sometime with her. I come home energized and renewed.
On the way in I’ll be reading the current issue of Generation Q Magazine. In talking with Melissa last night I do know that my first blog will be 3/13. I’ll link over from this blog on that day.
I’ll be heading into Lancaster next Wednesday so if you’re going to be there please let me know.
Have a great quilterly day!
March 3, 2014
March 2, 2014
Getting started is quite simple. Pull the bobbin thread up and hold on while you get started stitching. I started stitching the feather base a crook or candy can shape.
As I was stitching the curve out the needle was knocking – meaning that the tip is bent – and I had to change as soon as I finished the base.
A bent tip will compromise the cloth so it had to go. Bad needle, bad needle! More to the point bad quilter for continuing to quilt with the needle in there. I kept thinking it’s only a few more stitches. Well it was only a few more stitches but I could have caused myself some serious damage to the quilt.
So here I am getting started once again. I’m using my favorite Batt Scooters.
The first step from here is to make the base loop. I stitch that base loop based on 1) the available space and 2) what I see coming up next. There’s another part of the center feather reaching over so I don’t want to extend too far.
Next I start stitching just above and on a slight angle up over the loop. Because I’m stitching fairly narrow (Victorian style) feathers I don’t want to go too big or too far away from the first loop.
When I get near the top of the previous feather I’ll curve in, touch the previous feather, stitch one or two along before retracing the top of the curve and starting the next feather.
At this point I have to say just keep going and trust that this is all going to work out. I promise it will.
Make those practice pieces and play. Remember you have a seam ripper if you really don’t like it. In a day or two I’ll post the practice on paper session I did.
February 28, 2014
Each blog I write gets posted on facebook through Networked blogs allowing the simplicity of posting. Sometimes quilters post comments here on the blog and sometimes on facebook. Every once in a while a quilter will comment and I know a wider response is needed and this is one of those days.
SI: I so appreciate your encouragement in regards to fmq. I too enjoy this process greatly but I struggle with what to do with the practice pieces. The utilitarian side of me wonders how to make this useful. What do you do? How do you reconcile using fabric and batting for practice? I too have a STRONG desire to create…going to follow your lead and just do it, and leave the result/purpose to the Lord. Thanks for the idea..what do you do with your pieces?
NOTE: I will be doing a blog post on how to end free motion stitching soon. I just need about 30 to 40 minutes with aef so I can take pictures of the process.
These are great questions and deserving of some good answers. When I first started machine quilting I made totes of varying sizes. Wanting designs of my own I used the various rulers to cut the shapes of the pieces and when I make totes now I follow the same process. I still have one that gets shows in class as an example of how awful I was when I started learning how to machine quilt. I was awful, awful.
Did I mention it was awful?
Practice pieces have multiple purposes.
Practice pieces are usually fat quarter size with pieced batting and the good thread. These often start life as a way to see how thread, fabric, and batting will work together. And truthfully as a practice piece sometimes the quilting is just not all that good. I’m okay with that as I’m trying to figure out what will work and what won’t or how to stitch out a new motif.
As I got more and more comfortable with machine quilting and really started developing an understanding of how to change tension, pair needles and thread the practice pieces became class samples. I have a few of these. I realized two weeks ago that I lost somewhere along the way. Gina Perkes demonstrated this curve technique on The Quilt show and I had fun showing my guild members how to do this and a few variations on that theme. I’ll tell you what – I see a huge difference in my quilting from then (2010) til now.
Sometimes the practice pieces just sit in my sewing room with no purpose or intention other than being a practice piece. And please, please do not freak out. Sometimes they go bye-bye. I only have so much space in my quilt room and go they must. I recently added binding to one piece because it was quite large, and as soon as I see Victoria Findlay Wolfe it will be given to a charity she supports in a neighborhood in the Bronx where I worked for nearly 15 years.
I can see the possibility of making quilt as you go quilts. Goodness knows I have enough bias binding. But there is no will. I had thought of making a book with samples showing thread weight/brand/type, needles used, tension setting, if there was a particular fabric line and I may still do that. Maybe. We’ll just have to see.
The practice piece at the top will eventually wend it’s way to Aurifil when I get it bound as a Thank You to Alex Veronelli for sending me the Lino (linen) thread to test.
February 27, 2014
When I originally made this quilt it was as a class sample.
The shop owner asked me to keep it simple. You’re probably not going to be surprised to learn that this is simple quilting. The thing is, by breaking it down into the basic parts, it is simple. One stitch at a time. This quilt has lots of blank space so coming up with a variety of motifs
As with most quilts I worked on each block individually, letting me focus in on the features of that block. I used the fabric to give me clues as to what to stitch. I was still fairly new at feathers so any opportunity to stitch them made my day. I stitched in designs that I Know newish quilters can do with a deep breath, control of the machine and a bit of patience. A glass of wine helps too. I’d recently watched Gina Perkes on The Quilt Show demonstrating how she stitches out orange peel – curved arcs along a straight edges/lines. The lines are the only thing I marked on this quilt and those marks are still there, left on purpose by a teacher who wants her students to know that they can do this too.
I explored a lot on this quilt.
The motifs were chosen because they are motifs that at the time I wanted to and needed to Practice.
Let me repeat that.
I wanted and needed to practice.
Whether I’m working on a quilt that has a purpose that is public or private it is an opportunity to spend time at the sewing machine getting to know more and more what I can do with it. I learned to hear the machine, when to oil it, change the needle and when I was speeding. (Psssst this is why I issue “speeding violations” in class).
I love to quilt.
I know that’s a statement of the obvious.
I love to explore
I love to work through something that’s challenging so i can share it with another quilter.
Coming up tomorrow: How I stitched out the feathers on the left.
Black Dupioni Silk with Superior Twist.
February 26, 2014
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I saw this blog Owen’s Olivia: Your Sewing Thread Under a Microscope reposted by Generation Q Magazine this morning and thought you’d enjoy it. Seeing your thread under a microscope (photos taken by her husband) is pretty cool. Head on over and check it out. PS – she has no idea I’m doing this.
And now back to our regularly scheduled program:
When I look at Moon Over Manhattan from the back I am in awe of the quilt itself and of how differently quilts can look from the front to the back. Yes, yes, I know this is my own quilt and humility should rule. Bah!
As I look at Moon from the back I think I should remake this quilt. There is something about the subtlety of the star color that makes this quilters heart sing. The color of the thread really does change the overall appearance of the solid lime green. As I’m thinking about the thread, the visual impact and the moon I’m thinking that the inside part of the circle would be gray and the star would have more color to it. This would allow me to quilt right to the edge of the star allowing the moon and the star to be the individual components. I’m also thinking that I’d complete the star shape – thinking but not 100% sure. Or move it down and to the right a bit. Thread-wise I’d want to have the same type of visual subtlety that I have going on here. I can see the silk thread adding up now! Yes I’d use silk, it’s really fine and would allow me to do that crazy micro stitching that I do.
I would not trapunto the comet. That extra layer of batting is not doing anything for it. I’d like to see how the metallic of the comet looks on the lime. I’m thinking I’d stitch the comet differently giving it a bit of a different feel, more visual movement, drawing the eye away from the larger circle, I’d probably use red metallic in it as well.
On the peacock-blue the silver metallic is quite striking. On the lime green I’d bet it would be a lot more subtle and I’m thinking I’d stitch that right around the edge of the star or around the circular edge of the moon. Oh my mind is really going now.
Ahem, there are rules! Rules! And I should follow them.
Today’s earworm Harry Chapin’s Flowers are Red.
You see, dear quilter, there are principles and there are rules. Rules are things you have to follow. Like the speed limit. In spite of the fact that our vehicles can go 100+ mph we really should follow the rules of the speed limit for the safety of those around us. We do need to keep quilting peeps and if we’re in the hospital we can not quilt. Principles are basic tenets that give you the freedom to explore and do. In quilt making choose to follow principles and break whatever rules I can along the way. Despite popular opinion there are no quilt police. And no, quilt judges are not members of the quilt police, they are following principles and rules set forth by the quilt shows.
Rules have their place and I appreciate them. It’s kind of like the quilting on “It’s Bigger Than I Thought” – the general rule would be: “the quilt is really busy keep the quilting simple”. Apparently I’m not a rule follower.
I’m the quilter who went to one
yes you read that correctly
machine quilting class and has proceeded to do whatever I’ve wanted ever since.
I learned the principles in that class: it’s okay to change the tension on your machine, practice, there’s more than one way to quilt, using the right needle makes a difference – there are different opinions about needles, don’t show other people your “flaws”, be careful with marking implements, help other quilters it reinforces what you’ve learned
I do have a few rules
Don’t stitch body parts – this is an excellent rule and yes, I have broken it
though we do know that blood comes out with our own spit – something about the enzymes
Don’t use brown and black in the same quilt?
why not? Mother Nature does and who am I to argue with her?
Always use cotton batting and cotton thread.
yeah, uhm no. Just no.
Always use a motif that complements the quilt top.
Here’s my rule: a quilt is a canvas to play, explore and have FUN!
I’m sure there are more rules but I’ve forgotten them it’s been so long since I’ve tried to follow them.
February 25, 2014
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Moon Over Manhattan
This quilt has an alternate title “Little Miss Sassy Pants” for she was sassy (sass-eh) indeed!
The original color of “Moon” was
drum roll please
This still makes me giggle.
What makes me giggle a wee bit louder: I submitted this to Quilt National. I know that my very dear quilting friends are polite and will giggle with me.
Because I was submitting this to an “art” show and “Little Miss Sassy Pants” was very vocal. Very.Vocal. Oh let me back up for a second. Lime is a great color, bright and vibrant. This peacock-blue Radiance has a bit of a shimmer and is much calmer and much more reminiscent of an evening sky. As I quilt I do tension checks: stop, look at the back checking for troubles then go back to quilting. This peacock Radiance started telling me very quickly that this was going to be the top not the lime green. I’m saying, no! Nope! Not happening.
Next color: check, that “voice” is becoming much clearer. And I’m still saying, no! No! Nope! I can’t hear you (fingers in ears singing lalalalalalalala)
By the 3rd color I gave in. Dammit.
The quilt was right. Bleep! I had to keep working from the lime green side on the star because I’d marked that side. No problem. Along the way because of the impending due date I made some design decisions: The silver metallic and the blue star points were intended to be individual diamonds like the others. And I’d intended on filling all of the diamonds. Time constraints necessitated some changes and who am I to argue with a quilt? I’d only lose anyway.
The only plan I had was that lone star and to keep the color of the moon subtle and allow the star to stand out. As I changed thread color I chose the motif. And once again there was no specific plan other than knowing that each color needed to be able to stand alone, to feel as though it was a different piece of fabric that’s been pieced to the next piece.
Once the star was done it was play time. And play I did changing thread color and motif a little bit more intentionally wanting less color at the top and more color at the bottom. The bottom section is my favorite part of the quilt. I like all of the different motifs, the color changes and the use of metallic to create the comet. I like that the colors are getting much warmer along the bottom.
Because Moon Over Manhattan was intended as an art piece it once had a false back on it. At MQX in Portland I has some down time and took it off. The photo is here immediately after I’d finished taking it off. I can not tell you how freeing it was to do this. You can still see some of the remnants here. I covered it up not because I was embarrassed but because there as a little bit of puckering. I took it off because I no longer cared. I like this quilt. Right now Moon is on an extended visit to The Village Fabric Shoppe in Red Hook, NY.
One of the reasons the quilt was speaking so loudly to me is that the color and motifs are so much more striking on the Radiance. It was a good decision all the way around. I do like the look of the stitching.
As I’ve mention ad nauseam I don’t do a lot of planning in advance. It’s How I work as a quilter.
I choose motifs based on what I like, how I think it will look and more than likely what I’ve been playing with in one of my sketchbooks. I doodle quilting motifs any time I can. It’s fun and I can get through the fear of what-if-I-mess-this-up without much thought. It’s also less likely that I’ll have to dig out my handy-dandy seam ripper later on. As we all know a seam ripper is a quilters best friend! Bang!Head!Here!