Thursday, May 17, 2018


This started as a week of edge-to-edge quilts, but on Tuesday I was stymied when I discovered a client sent two large ones with insufficient backings. I quickly regrouped, and dug into the next quilt on the list - this light custom.

The fabrics are reproduction prints and have a ton of texture. That outer border is Di Ford. Anybody who can make quilting show on these fabrics deserves my paycheck and admiration!
 I first looked at my stash of mustard colored threads to see what might work on the outer border, and perhaps the entire quilt. Here are the options...(L-R) Omni, SoFine, YLI Polished poly and Superior's newest 100wt thread MicroQuilter.
I had yet to use the Micro Quilter, but did not want to quilt feathers on all those prints in a heavy thread. Micro Q won out! This post is partly to show what I did, but I think we as quilters can learn as much from the errors of others as we can the successes. This post is a little of both of those.

Now this client is a nice lady, and she sends me lots of wonderfully pieced tops. I don't fault her for the suggestion. I bemoaned to her that I didn't know what I was going to do on the outer border - it is relatively wide. Apparently this quilt is quilted somewhere with feathers up the outer border through the columns, and a line pattern on either side, so she suggested this. Students that have had me in class have heard this before, so I don;t know why it didn't scream through my subconscious. I have this thing about putting showy motifs in places where they don't stand a snowball's chance of actually showing. But...yes, I went ahead and feathered on that crazy column fabric anyways.

The choice of feathering there coupled with the lovely ultra-fine thread I chose was a double whammy of stupidity -- a mistake I won't likely make again soon. Now, don;t get me wrong, this looks fine, what you can see of it. It was like quilting with a blond hair with your eyes though. On the bright side, backtrack errors are more forgivable with super fine thread...which is good because I had no clue where I was backtracking!
I didn't make that same mistake twice, and feather that inner reddish border though!...Learned my lesson the first time. This inner border got 1/2" lines. Use geometric textures in places with dense print.

The center medallion is simple. It has a mottled dot print that would probably not show an interesting filler any better than it shows the stipple. I opted for the easier one! Gold star for me.
Here's the outer border. The feathers and lines don't look bad, but they are definitely non-descript feathers, just a happy little bit of movement there.
 The back is that column fabric in a different colorway. In the right lighting, the quilting is pretty.
Jean has more quilts in the mail heading my way...Cannot wait to see what fun she's sending this time!

Tomorrow I return to a huge applique quilt that took a short side-trip back to California for some border repairs. It will likely be on the frame close to a week. No rest for the weary!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

My Hammy Helper

I have been lax the past several weeks about posting anything from MQX. The show was great this year. My classes were full and good -- always a rewarding experience. The competition and exhibit quilts did not fail to impress. Somehow though I just didn't get off my kiester and post anything. I've been in a funk -- too many things pulling at my prodictivity. As soon as I got home, it was my kid's vacation week, then my oldest kiddo and myself both got the crud and life came to a screeching halt for 5 days. Then school started again, and I found myself 2 weeks behind. You know the story...

Sophie is becoming quite the quilting rock star at age 11. This is her quilt from the show. It won 1st place for the 4th consecutive year. It's a good fun little size to play with easier custom stitches. They always treat her with a custom lanyard, so it is fun to be there.
I made a quickie trip back to Maine during the week to pick her up. She spent 2 days with me at the show, now being old enough to be trusted alone in the hotel for periods of time. She'd been home sick a couple of days, and mostly lounged between my longarm class and the room Friday afternoon. I don't think I'd want her there the entire time, but she managed to come and go without disturbance. She went with me to the banquet Friday night (which was the primary reason I wanted to get her Thursday). The speaker, Jean Wright, was a seamstress on the Shuttle program. She stitched all kinds of insulating blankets. It was the merging of my former (thermal engineer) and current careers, so it was massively interesting to hear her speak. I never teach Saturday, so Sophie and I can see the show.

Anyhow, twenty of my quilts were part of the exhibits at the show. I have done in quilting in the last 8-1/2 years to be proud of. In the beginning I never imagined doing more than just quilting for clients. I managed to stumble into showing quilts only to discover I really love how that brings out the more creative and technical sides of me. To think then that I'd be making and showing competitively never really crossed my mind. I never imagined I'd write books, or that I'd teach at the very venues that I sought to take classes. Getting a solo exhibit is like the pinnacle of this business to me. Knowing that somebody appreciates my quilts enough to ask me to show them is HUGE. Truthfully, it just does not really get any bigger. I am humbled.
Some of these most of you have probably never seen (and for good reason because they are really quite ugly!). The one on the right is one of the oldest ones I have made that lives with my mother. What was I thinking with that green log?
 Yes, there is a hammy model around every turn.
 It's obvious I have a thing for symmetrical, medallion style quilts.
 Hung high? Naw...short photographer.
 The silk was just beginning to make its way into my quilts when this was made...finished 2014.
Here is the first time the "sister quilts" have been hung side by side. I think I want to do another Lucy Boston style of quilt sometime soon.

 There's Hammy again.
This actually had good lighting where it was hung, but the color in the photo is off. It is purple, not mauve.
 And the other whole cloth...I need to design another one of these soon.

2011 and 2012 finishes.
The only non-medallion quilt... There actually is one more, but Sea Glass did not go to the exhibit.
 And the bed-quilt of my daughter. This was the first official quilt to go to any show. It's hand quilted.
Somebody was nice enough to get a good picture of us in front of Big Bertha, which now resides on my bed.
We stayed until the show closed and helped with the quilt take-down. It seemed like a better way to kill the 2 hours between when the show closes and when I can reclaim all my quilts. All that walking around and eating vendor treats is exhausting though!

Sunday, May 06, 2018


I am grateful for the many comments and questions. Many of you know that I happily share information when asked.  I am still, however, getting comments from people that do not have a contact email properly set within blogger. What this means is that it appears that I just don't reply to your question.

Please, please...fix this issue with your blogger account OR leave a contact email with your comment.