Thursday, February 14, 2019

Catching Up

Somehow, I neglected to share this absolutely gorgeous Sue Garman design that was made by a client of mine. It is all turned-edge applique, and exceptionally well done. There is a good amount of background space just screaming for some very traditional quilting. My client also sent me a good photo of Sue's quilt, and asked me to replicate some of her ideas on this quilt.

Here it is, as I start the "stand and stare" routine. I didn't wonder what to do for very long though.
I quilted this with a single wool batting, and a couple of threads. Because most of the quilt is white, I began with an ecru 40wt thread. The backgrounds and borders were quilted from the top to the bottom. Sue's quilt had the feathered sashings, which I liked, so I used them here. They give the quilt nice movement.
The backgrounds of Sue's reference quilt had a crosshatch, but that was ditched immediately. It would have required marking to get good alignment. I will never mark a red and white quilt without knowing how many times the red fabric was washed/soaked. I refuse to have a disaster on my watch (or at my hands!). I think my backfill, though less traditional, is plenty functional and faster to quilt. 

Because I did not crosshatch the blocks, I put this pattern on the border. It was a bit of hind-sight that I should have spaced the lines all the way from the corner, but hopefully what I did works ok. 
I used this neat gadget called a Simflex to quickly space the crosshatchings evenly between the applique circles. Stretch and mark!
 When all of the white background was quilted, then I ditch stitched around the applique, and quilted on the applique swags. The swags (quilted in soft sage thread) have some echo quilting and a simple feather.

 The quilt's backing is also beige, making the quilting show marvelously!

In a few days I will be loading another traditional beauty. I just hope it turns out as lovely!

Happy February-

Friday, February 08, 2019

Templates (and books) at AQS Daytona

Greetings all...

I am teaching at the AQS Daytona show in a few weeks. I have received questions about whether I will have templates to sell there. Here's the best answer I have.

I have preshipped books and class supplies already. It is not possible to ship a box of templates at this point. Furthermore, they are rather pricy to mail and any not sold have to be return shipped at the close of the show.  I do plan to pack at most 10 sets in a checked suitcase. I will not have individual ones because it becomes too time consuming in the classroom.

If you are in one of my classes and know now that you want a set, let me know and I will be sure to have it all labeled for you. If you want to drop by my class for a purchase, please note that I will sell between 4-5pm or before 8:30am only. I'd also appreciate you dropping me an email to let me know that you are coming to pick up.

Hope this works for everyone.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

My New Template Line

A week ago I launched a new business very own templates. Three years ago, I actually designed one of these and had it made to use in two of my classes. I created the arabesque ornament shape that same year to use on a class sample, always thinking I'd get around to creating a real acrylic template as opposed to the cardstock one I used. This past fall, I sat down and decided it was time to make this for real. I added three templates to these first two ideas, and brought the designs to Barn Catz Studio to manufacture.
 It is difficult from the template to see what shape they create, so let me describe that. These templates all create shapes that you would see in Arabesque architecture or Moroccan designs. There are 2 templates specifically for borders or frames, and 3 others that are shapes. They too though can be used to create frames. The shapes and frames of all templates are slightly different in both shape and size. The one thing I really love about the three shape templates is that they create gorgeous tessellating backgrounds.

Working with a manufacturer that laser etches/cuts acrylic has its advantages over just going to a shop and purchasing a quilting template in that you can select the exact acrylic that your templates will be made from. I had several options, but I chose this slightly tinted aqua. It is essentially clear unless you look at it from an angle, then the edges have a pale aqua glow. See below...mine on the left, and your typical templates on the right. These templates are visible on almost every color quilt.
 Want to have a look?..
This is the Arabesque Arch. It can be used for making frames, unique mandalas as well as background designs.
 Here's the template as it was used in my Creative Templates 2 class.
This template allows quilters to create 2 different curving shapes  with a single template. Though you can technically do this with a circle template, it is really hard to do it without the inflection point being obvious. Viola! inflection point here, just a pretty shape. These next two designs were created with the Arches template.

The second frame template is the Arabesque Quatrefoil. This particular shape exists in many forms in Arabesque designs, but in simple terms it is when a square has rounded lobes on its sides. I have softened the curves. The template also has 2 different edges so these frames can be made for a wider variety of block sizes.

This was stitched using the Quatrefoil and the Ogee 4x4 (to be discussed soon).
 When the frame is rotated it has a slightly different appearance.

 I have 2 template sets that quilt ogees - one that measures 4" x 4" and one that measures 6" x 4". They are each 2-template sets because one template quilts the base shape and the other quilts the 1/4" echo within the base shape. each of these templates is uniquely shaped and has curves that quilt the same line whether the convex edge or the concave edge of the template is used.This allows right and left handed quilters to have the same comforts. It also allows quilters to always be able to use the template edge that is most stable for the direction that they are quilting.

Just look at some of the frames, backfills and designs you can quilt?!
Here are the 4x4 Ogees without the echo. The insides are filled with feathers and curved lines.
This shows the 4x4 Ogees with the echo and a pebble filler.
 Here's the 6x4 Ogees with a smorgasbord of fills like you might find in my Dense & Dainty book.

The Arabesque Ornament is the last template, yet it was one of the original ideas that spawned this collection. It is used to create this unique tessellating background, as well as a multitude of other frames and designs. 

 If you are interested in purchasing the templates, they may be bought individually or as a part of sets. They are only available on my website  The website has undergone considerable remodeling in the last month. Just click on "store" and you should be able to find them!

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Lucy Boston

Here is my latest custom quilt to be finished for a client in NY. This is all English Paper Pieced. I have only quilted two other of this type of quilt, and one was my own ( You can look in my Design Inspirations book to see how my construction differs from the EPP method. I hand piece so that seams are not all wide open. It allows for any ditch stitching to be done if desired.
 The backside of this quilt was definitely well done, even if every seam lays open.
 Look how many stitches she has on each 1" section! There is actually a little raised ridge created with the stitches. I may have been able to do a little SID, but I didnt want to risk having it not work out well.
 The other issue I had with this quilt is that fabrics were not prewashed so marking of blocks with anything buy chalk would not happen. I went to work upon loading the quilt using my Cintique pen tablet and Photoshop designing a block design that could be quilted by using point to point quilting. This just means that I use the block construction rather than any marked lines or points.
Though this behemoth will become a bed quilt, the owner is also showing it this spring. We decided to double batt the quilt with 80/20 and wool to help show the quilting on all of the prints.

The hardest decision was determining what to use for thread. The feathers in the ivory background are a subtle taupe YLI Polished Poly thread. It's not quite ivory, but not tan either. The thread is called Mountain Trout, to be exact. It has just enough color to slightly show. The blocks, though, are all colors, and some of them have an odd construction where many patches of the background fabric were used so that the block looks like an "X". I knew a colored thread would show on these.

I could have gone with 10 different colors, but because I knew I was choosing just one quilting design for all 56 blocks, it made sense to pick only one color thread too. Both of these things help to create unity and calmness.

I chose this medium blue glide thread because all of the sashing squares were in the same color. I could have rationalized a taupe or a purple or a green too, but this seemed to make the most sense.

My biggest concern was how the darker color would appear on the lightest blocks. It was kind of interesting to see how the exact same quilting design looked completely different on differently constructed blocks! Using the blue meant I had to be very neat, as bobbles and wobbles would show.

The texture of a largely geometric design is pretty. Simple crosshatch conveys through the print in a way that feathers could not.

The quilt is huge, and fully justifies its 750000 stitches. Yup, three quarters of a million. I have definitely used more on a single quilt, but that is a lot! 
  This quilt can be seen in April at MQX East.
 Simple geometric elements like the diamonds and circles pop through the mass of busy print.
 I don't know what I would have done if the backing had been a beige solid (probably puke!). That is so much harder to be clean when it all shows. This backing is very busy and it will force those judges to look hard for any issues!
 I hope Marcia loves this and has fun with nearly 400" of binding! Can't wait to see it hanging in a few months!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Book Sale

Over on my business Facebook page, I am running a holiday book sale. This is not something I do often. My books are chocked full of great information. On top of having more pages and designs than most, they are priced on average about $5 less than other quilter's books too! Never the less, I am running a holiday sale through midnight Monday. The dollars saved depends on the number of books ordered. US orders only.

Buy any two , save $3. Buy any 3, save $5, Buy any 4, save $6. Buy all 5, save $7. The sale ends in 5 days so I can get them priority shipped to everybody (in the US) by the 24th.

Treat yourself (you know you want to...!) or get a great gift for the quilter in your life.

All books are at or just click the links on the right side of this blog.

Come back next week when I will give the details about a stash-busting giveaway! Somebody's studio is overflowing, if you catch my drift.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Still Dreaming

I haven't hardly sat still all fall. I haven't written a blog post in over a month either...My bad. It is certainly not because of not quilting. I have spent considerable time getting a couple of new classes -- their content, hand outs and custom fabrics prepared. Nothing is truly quick.

In the last 2 weeks, I have quilted two more of these beautiful Dream Big panels. This blue/purple colorway is stunning. It is hands down the hardest one I have done in terms of marking though. Neither the blue or purple pens show very well, and the fabric has enough texturizing in its coloring that using chalk is even pretty hard to see. There are a few grid-based designs, but not as many as I might have done had marking been simpler.
Like all of the Dream Big panels I have done, both of these quilts have wool and blend battings. The combo gives so much more to the texture of the fill designs. 
 The threads are all variations of 40wt thread - some Superior Magnifico, some YLI Polished Poly and some Glide. Which one I pick depends on the color needed.
I try to vary which fills I place beside one another so that linear designs go beside more flowy patterns, and vise versa. It helps all patterns to show up that much more. 
Both of these quilts had solid fabric backings. This is a pale lavender that did not photograph well.
It sure shows the patterns though!

The second quilt is the pink variation. I did one of these for myself to use teaching.
This panel has many of the same fills as the purple one, but several are different too. It is a liberating process of quilting these!
This variation has mostly backfills, but I always throw in 4-6 petals of feathers too. About 6 of the fills also use the marked grid. It makes for a lovely mix of textures.
 Some fills are very traditional, while others are edgier and more modern.

If you have one of these panels and might like it quilted, give me a shout ( Likewise, steps for how you can quilt these patterns and feathers are included in my books (the green books are the fills, and Fearless Feathers) - just click on the icons on the right sidebar. 

I'm about to load a lovely wool applique quilt next :-)
Quilt on!