Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Clamshells Quilt

This totally great new Neimeyer quilt is by CI Jackie Kunkel.  I thought I was going to have to wait to show it for another week or so until its unveiling at spring market, but when she posted a photo today, I knew it was safe to show.  I quilted it for her in December, and it is probably my favorite of all quilts I have quilted for her.
The colors are just yummy.  But then you already know I love lime green and orange!  It has a wool batting and is quilted largely with a peach YLI polished poly thread.  Pure white areas have white thread, but in person it has a pretty colored thread that shows, ever so faintly.
 Sorry, this is sideways, but I'm not patient enough to try to turn it.  I custom designed a feathery motif for the area beneath the clamshells.  This saved me from actually ditching all of those spikes.  I think it gives the quilt a pretty and unexpected flow.

Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of ditching done around all the arcs and triangles.  Otherwise they wouldnt have been so crisp.
 I love designs like this because though there is a lot of stop and start, it does fill pretty quickly.
 The white border has a pattern I also designed and happen to really like.  It is first quilted with the clamshell/semicircles, then the echo, and then the feathers last.  Gotta take advantage of even the smallest real estate...this was a 2 or 3" border.
Of course the back (why did Island Batik send Jackie aqua???!) shows a little of the quilting.  Or a lot!...
 And it seems that this just is not my day because this one is upside down too! Go figure.
Time to go putter on my own quilt, which is going at the pace of a dead snail.  Nice to know few things change!

Saturday, May 06, 2017


Time does fly.  My kids will be out of school in 6 weeks and the crunch is here.  As much as it feels like I work, there is always more. Should have been born male so when 5pm comes, I can just do nothing.

The biggest news is from a quilt show in Utah.  The show that used to be called HMQS (its now UQSM) is right now. I have 2 quilts there, and they have outdone themselves.  These are my newest finishes from late last fall and this spring).  One took 1st place in its category, and The Twisted Sister has earned her second Best of Show!  I was so excited to hear that this quilt did so very well. These are someone else's photos borrowed from FB because I am not there.

 Back in cold, wet Maine...I spent a week puttering.  That's code for "little of this, little of that, lotta nuthin".  I have a book in the works that may or may not be done later this summer. At some point I must switch gears and start prepping to teach in July and September. It still feels like there is a lot of content I need to tweak and prep.  Here's a sneak peek at one of a couple new class samples I have done on border quilting. I need a drone/clone that can just do all the things I think I need doing while I go take a nap.  I have a couple dozen borders still to draw.  Go, clone..
The extra body in my house is going back to work Monday. It will be SO nice to have my work space to myself again.  I spent time yesterday starting to quilt this quilt... It is my next quilt, but don't get any ideas you will see it finished before next April. This is the usual time I start quilting for an April finish, sigh... I have just reached the 1/2 way point with the ditching.
 I'm going to say this here, again.  I am sharing photos of this process so my readers can see them.  This is NOT something I particularly want you all to just copy and plaster on your facebook or pinterest.  Please don't. This is my personal intellectual property.  It's my design, and I'd like it not taken or copied before I finish. Thanks.
The backing is just amazing flower fabric.  No boring solid backing this time (even if it does show off the quilting better!).

After ribboning last week in Paducah, I realized I really needed to get a smaller quilt in the works. Somehow, all my quilts have gotten big - like 70" and larger.  I have always had a second entry that can go in the small quilt category until now.  I have a small hand-piecing project started. I might show progress in a couple weeks.  The theory is I may be able to have it finished by December.  I know, I hear the laughing in the background too...! LOL

Friday, April 28, 2017

Client Quilts

The last couple weeks have been rather unproductive for me, but I have been trying to get some client obligations out of the way.  My other half has been home for the first 2 weeks of (good God) what I think is a 4 week medical leave.  He makes being a work-at-home business owner a very difficult task.  The concept of "make yourself scarce" between 8am and 3pm AND be quiet does not make sense. Consequently, I have cried a lot, and gone for drives so that I can scream and yell in silence.

Never the less, I have tried to work through a few client obligations so I can get closer to loading one of my own quilts.  I am still a few days off because I forgot I needed to order batting (and likely silk thread too).

Here's a Neimeyer star quilt I did a couple weeks ago.  It's not the first of these I have done, but I have to say I'd be a happy quilter if all batik client quilts could go this easily.  Usually this tighter woven fabric causes all sorts of unpredictable issues.  Not this time.

 I used several threads, but dangit if I can remember what they were!...Probably Glide and Polished Poly if I had to guess.
 All features are SID with monofilament, then the detail work was added.
 Here's a quickie and cutie baby quilt my California client Jan sent me. I have done a dozen or more baby quilts for her.  It couldn't be simpler, but she lets me play.
I varied up the fills and then stuck in a couple of little birds, just for fun.

 I forgot to mention we got a new kitten.  She is 6 months old and arrived to us last weekend.  Miss Luna (named by my daughter Sophie) is a total sweetie.   She's oddly fascinated with the computer screen.  My husband noted that his screen said "...ssssssssssssdddddddddddddddddddd" and he didn;t know why.  Tee he,. silly man.

 One last client quilt just finished yesterday... She sent me a photo of this done by someone else, and I varied a few things. It is quilted to be cute yet expeditious and budget conscious.  I think I captured the quilt's features.

'For those of you fortunate enough to be in Paducah...know that I am realy envious.  I just hate that I am not there this year...with my book release and my quilts there.  One of them has a 1st place.  The other just cannot ribbon.  Don't know why!?!  Oh well, life goes on.

And remember, if you are interested in checking out my books, they are always available on my website

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My AQS book is now available!

Join me in a happy dance!!! I couldn't be more delighted to make this announcement today.

I am tickled to finally be able to show this and know that the books are really in existence!  Yes, printed with real ink.  Somebody asked me that last week at MQX, and I found it particularly amusing (though it feels like it was partially printed with my blood, sweat and tears).  

I spoke with my editor at AQS yesterday, and my book officially arrived to the Paducah, KY AQS warehouse yesterday from the printer.  It was news to me that AQS does not actually print anything. They are editors, not printers so I am told.  Either way, the book is here!!
The actual book cover is slightly different from the image shown above that I was sent many moons ago.   I really like the teal better than the navy blue anyways, as it pulls nicely from the color in the quilts.
Here's one of the pallets in the warehouse...that is all books.  I suspect that there are many more pallets too.
 And the truck that delivered them.   I know, this is a boring photo, unless you are my very excited editor.  The books will officially be at Paducah.  It kills me that this is the one year that going to Paducah just cannot be swung.  Even if I could somehow disappear for 2-3 days, I's probably never find a hotel anyways.  So...if you are going to Paducah and see my books in the AQS shop, please send me a picture.
With the Paducah show next week, and all of AQS busy with that production, I knew ordering books would be on hold until after the show.  So....I placed an order yesterday which will be arriving to me this Friday!  Yes, as in 2 days from now.  I have started preselling this book on my website today.  If sales continue, I may have to place another order before the end of Friday.

For the curious, this book was envisioned to be different, conceived before the end of AQS publishing. In all honesty, I think they were planning to print other quilters' stories in books similar to this one, but as it turned out, I am the only one.  It has more information about me, the quilter, how I got where I am, and insight into my journey.  I discuss the design process for each of the well known show quilts that are on the cover too.  Each of these quilts are completely patterned within the 160 page book.  There are also details on key quilting motifs and techniques.  At the very last minute, and after a bit of a grumpy standoff by me, they also added a dozen pages of closeup photography showing the quilting details.  This was truly of immense importance to me, and made me very pleased when it happened.

If you'd like to get one of the first of these books, visit my website
You may purchase from AQS, and the book will be at some other distributors and select book stores too.  Remember, purchasing direct from the author profits the author the most.  Either way, I thank you for your interest and purchase.  They will only be autographed though if they come from me :-)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Back to the Grind

I am back from MQX, and have been quickly thrust back into the real-life of a mom and wife.  No rest for the weary I say.  For those of you that went to the show or are on facebook, you already know that my quilt "Taking the Unmapped Road" shown 2 posts ago actually brought home two immensely amazing and BIG awards.  It won the best longarm quilting as well as Best of Show.  I was more than blown away - so surprised on many levels.  The quilting world continues to surprise me at every turn. Quilts that I swear are say better don't do quite as well as I think they will.  As for this quilt, I really did not see these huge awards coming.  Happy?...absolutely.  Surprised - that too!

It was great to talk with Linda McCuean at the awards.  She was one of the 3 judges this yr.  She is the one I consulted many years ago when I decided I wanted to put a scalloped binding on Big Bertha.  Big Bertha was my other quilt to win BOS at MQX.  Linda is a phenomenal quilter; so inspirational to see her and thank her for what she has meant to me. With that zebra shirt, we should have met when The Twisted Sister unveiled!

I came home and dove head first into the backlog of client quilts I have.  This is an adorable "redwork" Halloween quilt.  The Halloween theme is subtle.
I quilted a crosshatch across the embroideries using a monolon nylon thread.  This is just perfect because it looks just like a white thread, but shoes nothing on the embroidery. 

 The quilting is light so as to keep the quilt still soft and snuggly.
 Sashings are quilted with a red Omni thread that matched the red of the embroidery.  The quilting on the black border was in a bolder green that pulled from the outer plaid.  Like I said, the Halloween theme is subtle.
On the last day of MQX, I did a fun talk about getting kids into quilting.  It was late on the last day, so the crowd was small, but they were dedicated listeners.  My mom and daughter were there too.  I spoke to quilters about each of the 4 quilts I have done with my daughter, 3 of which have now won 1st place here (much to my surprise, she won 1st again this yr!).  I showed all of her quilts and gave my take on how I have inspired her at each age to learn how to sew and to quilt.
She was more than a willing ham towards the end of the talk, but  her eagerness was endearing to others seeking tips on inspiring their kids or grandkids. Here she is atop the pile of quilts she has made! (color coordinated no less)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mariner's Compass Quilts - Is there really an original one out there?

I've had discussions with several of my quilting buddies about exactly how original a quilt based on a well known and traditional pattern can be.  One person is hell bent on accusing me of stealing her pattern.  I still denounce these claims.  My quilt is my own personal creation.  I'm not getting into name giving here, and have no intention of making my blog anything but a dignified place of education.  

While my quilt reflects my sense of design and color, you can see how very many interpretations have been made by scrolling through some photos.  This is a mere small sampling of thousands of photos available too.  My apologies to the makers for not placing any credits.  I found these on pinterest for the simple task of showing that a mariner's compass quilt can be executed in many ways.  

Like most of my quilts, the mariner's compass is often seen in a medallion setting, with a series of spiked corners and borders.  The center star may have many spikes, or it may be of a simpler compass design.  Placement of the New York Beauty blocks around the border is well, not immensely uncommon.

I never found a quilt with my particular center star because this was my design.  The colors of my quilt were of my unique choosing too.  If it appeared to have been stolen, well, the judges that saw it last week would certainly have been the ones to have called it out.  They would have known.

So really, when working with traditional patterns that have been made for over a hundred years by quilters around the globe, there really is no purely original quilt.  They are all adaptations, with small details that make them unique to the maker.  

made 2010