Wednesday, February 24, 2016

This Piece is Over-Quilted!

But, that's alright because the piece is mine, and after all, I planned it that way. But, seriously, on this piece there are so many different motifs and styles of quilting designs:

Straight line quilting, stitch-in-the-ditch, curved crosshatching, feathers, ferns, stars, free-motion Baptist Fans, ribbon candy, outline quilting, echo quilting, long loops, and even a Zentangle© design called Rick's Paradox. Frankly, it took longer to find the designs, and figure out where to put them than it did to actually quilt them.

Stitch in the Ditch finished

I usually hold myself back to three motifs (with slight variations to fit into the spaces) on any one piece. Continuity is key here to keeping down the chaos.

Background motifs in

But, on this I wanted to go all the way. Kind of like the pieces I see shared in other blogs and in the big quilt shows. Over the top, quilted to death pieces...I am sure you've seen them.

Put a fork in it - it's done!

But, is this even a good idea? To go all the way, quilt to the “endth” degree, get as complex as you possibly can? Just to show you can? Certainly, that is what quilt show judges are looking for...Just how talented are you? How much time do you have to devote to the quilting of a piece?

Of course, when you are quilting for customers, their vision for their piece and your vision can be wildly different. And, their budget will certainly come into play. Karen McTavish once told a class I was attending: “You will never make a living quilting whole cloth quilts for customers because no one will ever pay you what that level of work is worth.” Same holds true for the 'quilted to death' project.

My quilt “Tangled Up in Blue” was in the American Quilters Society show in Phoenix this month. My category was won by a quilt with 27,000 Swarovsky crystals on it. First of all, that's a LOT of money in crystals. But, I wonder...was it really necessary?

Even cool on the back. Two layers of wool batt...has a mind of it's own before blocking!

Yes, I make pieces for competition in quilt shows. And, yes, I have had customers tell me they want a blue ribbon in the next show, so “do what you need to do to make that happen.” But, how much farther will quilting have to go to win in the next big shows? What's the future hold?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Stuffing Appliques

I'd like to show you how to give a little dimension to appliques using cutouts of wool batting. The first picture shows the paper patterns that I traced from the quilt top. I pinned them to two layers of wool batt and cut them out.

I use quilt basting spray to lightly spray the bears. Reaching just under the quilt top, I pat them in place between the top and the regular batting layer. Then smooth the top back in place.

The next picture shows that I have outlined the Momma Bear, and not yet the Baby Bear.

And, now with the background filled in with a loose meander, the bears have a nice puff. Papa Bear resides at the bottom edge of the quilt.

I used this same technique to stuff birds, fish and flowers. Best to do this with simple shapes without a lot of detail. Cute, huh?

Made in America

I've been away from this blog for waaaaay tooooo long! But, let's see what I've been up to.

This is a Made in America embroidery designed by Claudia Dinnell. My customer spent a whole lot of time creating it. I think she used the term “nightmare.”

I've never been handed a piece like this and I was lost at how to start. It's all embroidery. So, after searching around, I found a couple of pictures of other copies of this design that gave me an idea of how to quilt it. It started with stitching on top of the major design lines with invisible thread. Here's a picture of Lady Liberty, before and after outlining.

Oh, and I have wanted to try quilting with two layers of batting and thought this piece would really benefit because of the open areas that would not get quilted. This is two layers of wool batt.

After the outlining, I switched to a matching color thread and worked on the border and then the background fill. I designed the border to match her fused stars and swirled a little wind around them. The fill is a free motion Baptist Fan. I switched thread color again to work in the sashing with a curl/echo/echo/curl design. Hope she likes it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Strolling through the garden

This wonderful applique piece did not get finished before the maker died unexpectedly. So a couple of her friends finished it and asked me to quilt it for the family. I was honored to do so.

First of all, a big shout out to longarm quilter, Susan Lawson, whose idea I borrowed. I have collected a few photos of applique quilts that do not have sashing, as I find it difficult to plan quilting for this situation. Creating diamonds in the intersections of the blocks and adding feather borders was a perfect solution. Thanks, fellow longarmer!

Then I filled in the blanks with various background designs and densities.

I discovered as I started this piece, that she lightly stuffed each applique piece. This gives them great dimension. Her color and fabric choices are just lovely. Sit back and stroll along her garden.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Paradise in Blooms

I'm glad someone is willing to take on one of these fantastic Judy Niemeyer patterns. I'm sure that I could never piece one of these. I find it hard enough just to quilt them! I found several on google, although not too many pics that show the quilting. So, here are mine.

I may have gotten carried away with this one. I used eight different threads, including Aurifil invisible.

Texture! That's what you get on this one. Wool batting helps that a lot. You can leave triangle shapes open so that they fluff up wonderfully. Thanks also to dense fills.

Fun photo of the back shows the various thread colors. I did not want any thread to scream too loud on the front, so I chose to match thread colors as much as possible.

Whew! She's done and ready to go back to her owner.