Sunday, October 27, 2013

360 Shamrocks


Yup, I quilted 360 little shamrocks on this, the happiest quilt I've seen in a long time. First of all, I love French Braid quilts, especially the ones with the black strip to make it look like stained glass.

Then, there is the happy rainbow and shamrock print that my customer chose for the focus fabric.

I think she picked her colors for the rainbow bands very well, don't you?

I suggested doing a little leaf motif through the bands, and she asked “can you make them little shamrocks?” Oh, yeah. I'll figure out how to do that, I thought cautiously....

We were both very happy with the results.

You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and its depth.”
                                                                         Evan Esar

Friday, October 25, 2013

How do You choose Thread Color?


Choosing the right color of quilting thread can be especially hard when the quilt fabrics have strong contrast, like this blue and yellow Log Cabin (one of my favorite color combinations; blue and yellow. The other is pink and green). What will look good on the blue may quite possibly look awful on the yellow.

After I decide what the quilting plan will be for a quilt, I next dig into the thread drawers. Having the quilting plan determined first is very important, because what thread might work for an overall edge-to-edge design may not work for custom designs. And, of course, with custom quilting, you may want to change thread colors as you go.

In this case, the yellow path was to have an unstructured feather and the blue path a wandering vine. And, the big blue border to have a delightful combination of both.

So, taking out all the colors that might work, I throw hanks of thread onto the quilt surface. I always try to throw out something that, at first thought, I am sure will not work, because once the thread is on the quilt surface, sometimes magic happens. On this quilt I chose a medium gray, a dark golden yellow and a lovely reddish brown. I didn't think I wanted any blue, as it would have to be a pretty dark blue and I subscribe to the idea that a light thread looks much better on dark fabrics than a dark thread looks on light fabrics. (Although I'm not that crazy about how this thread looks on the pale, pale backing. Oh, well.)

The yellow was tossed out first, and the gray was a serious consideration. But the reddish brown was just perfect, especially given the dark red accents in this quilt. I knew the thread wouldn't show on the red inner border, but that's alright. When the thread is going to get lost anyway, it's a perfect time to try out a new, maybe more difficult design. In this case, I tried a Swirl Ribbon Candy design I saw on Kim Stotsenberg's blog.

The following is a step-by-step showing how I tamed that wavy lower border.


After a little steam and basting.

Then, the vine goes down.

Then the design is finished. It worked!

Live by what you believe so fully

that your life blossoms.”


Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Little Seasonal Fun

In the spirit of the season, here's a little Halloween fun. This little quilt (well, there are actually two, brought to me by a couple of friends who worked on them together. Relatively beginner quilters, although you can't tell from these cuties) will get many embellishments when they are returned to the makers. Tiny black buttons for mummy eyes, little bat buttons in the sky and orange yoyos turned into tiny pumpkins.

That thin black line next to the 9-patch in the upper left will get lots of ripped fabric to turn it into the perfect witch's broom.

Don't you just love that wonky zigzag border? I saw that on a site that was using this pattern as a Block of the Week. Wish I could credit the quilter, but it was not noted.

Raw edge, torn muslin strips make up the mummy face. Just a white oval until the eyes are added.

Yeah, the black blobs will get button eyes, too and a yoyo flower will grace the hat. Don't you just love embellishments?

The pattern in the blue diamond shapes is an official Zentangle pattern, named Paradox. Have you discovered Zentangle yet? Crazy great way to doodle beautiful patterns. Go to to find out more. It's my Go-To way to relax.


"Life is a banquet, and some poor suckers are starving."
                                                                              Auntie Mame