Tuesday, January 31, 2012


As you can see from the 6" square, this is one very tiny feathered star. Despite the size, she probably kept more of the triangle tips than I would have on a full size star! It's practically unimaginable that such a small unit can be constructed, and have it look so amazing. Just doing the outline/ditch quilting is a challenge because the thickness of the thread can make the triangle look like the tip was pieced off! It keeps me on my toes because I don't want to be the reason it looks anything but perfect.
I am about 9-10 hours into the quilting on this (see last post to get the entire quilt's view). I have done most of the ivory stitching - just the last half of the outer border remains I think. I have some spaces to stitch with another color, and (sigh) some more outline quilting of all the minute, narrow borders. The client has given me the carte blanche to "get carried away" so I will probably add a good bit of detail to the star tomorrow~

I'll leave you with a peek at the quilt, as seen from laying on your back under the frame. Interesting, eh?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Custom Insanity

And I mean that in only the best way. You all know that I adore custom work over a mundane pantograph any day. So I had 2 clients over on Friday to drop off not one, but two of these truly gorgeous quilts. This is the first of them - it is Sue Garman's "Stars for a New Day" pattern. I love custom work. I REALLY love it when the piecing is so completely and absolutely perfectly done. You have to hunt really hard to find a tipped triangle or anything out of square. I saw the back of the quilt as she was removing it from the hanger, noticing how perfect it was pressed. I just knew the front would be eye-popping. And wait just a moment, if you really want to drop your jaw, listen to this. The regular design for this quilt is for an 85" square quilt. This one is done in miniature - it's only 44" square!
Yea, I know...Holy Tasmanian devil, can she piece, or what?! I love this row of stars on point. They are only about 2-1/2" square, and she called them her "3-hour stars", since each took 3 hours to make. This was a project she and her friend (you'll see that quilt next week probably) stitched over the last year. They drove from New Hampshire so I could get to quilt them.

I started the quilt yesterday. Things on tiny scale make challenges for the quilting - like where do I put that "bang"? I have a couple places in mind for some feathering and curved cross-hatching, but the quilt will be a LOT of SID and micro quilting to make elements pop. The first thing I unfortunately encountered as I had it all loaded, and had the top border mostly quilted, was that the first long side of the outer border was reversed. UGH! It would have made the quilting in the 4 corners not symmetrical. Since it was an outer border, and since I had not stitched any on it yet, I offered to fix it (not at my cost mind you), and she agreed. Two hours later I was back loading it and quilting. This row of stars is a little odd to design for since they are offset every other star, but this is what I came up with. It was not my plan to SID all 76 of these stars, but I think this will look best in the end.

And if you don't really have a good grip as to the size of these pieces, look at this...The stars barely measure 2". I initially thought I might be able to feather the white around the geese, but after seeing this first hand, I realized immediately that was nuts.

This is my week's project. It is fun and doable. I'd be dying from the ruler work if it were any larger!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


It is Spring Cleaning time... I will accept Paypal. Shipping TBD. Email with questions or post comment , but be sure you are not blogger non-reply msolomo1@maine.rr.com

1. 90"x100" Vintage sheet, high thread count $10
2. African print, Shamash & Sons Patt#5013M, 3 yds $15 SOLD

3. Monet Countryside #8669 by Fabri-Quilt, 2-1/3 yd $12

4. Sole by Valori Wells, 4-3/4 yds. $26

5. 6 yellow FQ, $4

6. 7 lt blue-cream striped FQ, $4.50

7. Through the Seasons w/ Eleanor Burns for Benartex, peach, two 1-yd cuts, together $8

8. RJR Little Pretties, two pieces, 28" and 56", together $9

9. Through the Seasons w/ Eleanor Burns for Benartex, cream, 1yd $4

10. Hawaiian floral, 62" $8

11. RJR vintage trellis, two pieces: 42", 20", together $7

12. Michael Miller Whimsy Large, two 1/2yd pieces - they are different prints $4.50 each

13. Free Spirit Annabella - left - green/red, 60", $9; right - green swirls, 2 pieces 70" and 75", each $10

14. Free Spirit yellow/red Patt#CX3323, 58", $8

15. Joel Dewberry Chestnuts, 2 colorways: (a) brown with aqua nuts 2-1/2yds $14, (b) aqua with white nuts 3 yds $17

16. Brown/green fabric assortment, 4 yards total, 5 pieces $16

17. Heather Bailey stripe 29", $4

18. Carla Miller Rowan Rose Stencil, 2 colorways: (a) green/purple 54" $7.50, (b) pink/green 78" $11

19. Winsome by Nancy Halvorsen, teal-white check, 7-7/8 yd $35, wonderful backing!

20. SSI blue stripe 52", $7

21. Kaffe Fassett Blue Spot, 57" $9

22. Yellow SSI beach umbrellas, 40" $5

23. Henry Glass #7095 Aqua leaves/swirls, 128", $20 (Matches the quilt top I am listing too).

24. Westminster CANVAS, 1/2yd cuts, each $5, great for bags.

25. blue-black searsucker check (for garments) 200", $20, great for girl's dresses.

26. Wonderfil unopened 50 wt, 3000m, cotton thread, retails $24, asking $16 per cone. colors: khaki, loden, tan, aqua, plum. SOLD 27. YLI cotton threads, open but not used. Left to right: (a) Soft Tough gray tex18, 6000yd $10, (b) Fusions tex60, 1500yd "Morning Glory" variagated, $12, (c) Machine Quilting Thread tex40, 3000yd "Sunny Provence" variagated $12, (d) Machine Quilting Thread tex40, 3000yd "Danube Blues" variagated $12, (e) Machine Quilting Thread tex40, 3000yd "California Poppy" variagated $12 first one and last 3 are SOLD
28. 62" x62" quilt top. Piecing is accurate and neat. Ivory is a Kona. This matches listing #23 for a backing. Very sweet for a little girl. $45

29. Made from 10" pieces of Phillip Jacobs florals (is approx 40"square) $5 Cut up or use as is.

30. Twin bed flimsy from Free Spirit fabrics. Approx 63"x84" $45


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Neutral Fusion awaits binding

Reminder: I live in Maine. It is winter. And it is January. The thermometer guy from 6 days ago should be a reminder of how bone-chilling winter here is, usually. Then it was mearly 40F below freezing. Today it is more than 20F above freezing. Mother Nature is on a serious dose of something. It is projected to be in the 30s the rest of the week, which sounds warm for January. I took advantage of the nice day. Most of the snow was melted off the sidewalks. With the kids due home in an hour, I went out for a nice walk. Sounds like spring fever, but until the custom work I am getting Friday is here, I have little to do except hand-stitching, and I am getting sick of that!
I took this small quilt off the blocking boards today. It is part of MQX's Neutral Fusion exhibit. It's not judged or anything, and is not specifically secret, so I suspect there's no harm in showing these. The quilt is only 30"x36". They sent the people participating 8 fat quarters of all neutral fabrics (AKA "uglies"!). I added a few more of my own. They range from a white-ish batik to heavily painted beiges to tan modern prints. As I said, Uglies. Then, they were (the center of all quilts will be pieced the same) cut into pieces to make 6 9-patch blocks and 6 snowball blocks, to form the center of the quilt. We were allowed to do whatever for the 1" inner border. Pieced or not, colorful or not. Our choice. The 5-1/2" outer border piecing was our choice too, but it had to be from the neutrals. I do not know why I did what I did for either border. I'm not thrilled with my choices.

Then, we are instructed to quilt it however we want. All neutral fabrics must be quilted with coordinating thread though. Drat! Do you know how hard the painted fabrics are to see anything on?? Really hard. Blindingly hard.

Once again, I have questioned my logic for the quilting in the corners. Don't really know what I was thinking there. The thought of the pumpkin seeds on the diagonals sounded better before I densely quilted around them, turning them into obnoctious "x"s. Oh well. It's a learning experience every day. All of my quilting is obviously freehanded. No computers to smartly quilt even and symmetrically for me. I love the feathers and the rays - they are very much my style.

I had a little fiasco with the narrow pink inner border. In spritzing the blue marker out, I discovered that one of the darker pink fabrics ran. This quilt is so small that I did not plan to wash and block it. It would have been just fine for an exhibit. But runny pink on white looked rotten, so it went through the washer 2x with color catchers. I have learned in this project that I like Superior's Lava thread. I received a sample cone of a variagated rose. I had no idea how many yards were on it so I never used it on any quilt. I assumed that this border was small enough that I stood little chance of running out, and gave it a go. Lava is 30wt polyester. It will go on my must get list when I go to MQX. Another pretty obvious learning that I found the hard way: Feathering that 1" border was too much work!

The back is interesting. The rose bobbin shows, but the rest of the bobbin was cream. This is a busy (and kinda ugly) sage print. From a few feet away, it blends to a neutral. Hey, it's the back!

So I have no idea how many mini quilts will be a part of the Neutral Fusion exhibit. Hopefully many. Go to MQX to see.

Tune in later this week to hear about my Tales of Quilting with my DSM...another chapter in my "What not to do" book.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Little of This, Little of That

Back to work and school as usual, although it is a relatively short week. The boys have a half day on Thursday and no school Friday. What happened to going to school 5 days a week?? This past weekend had little quilting. That seems to be the trend lately. My husband took the little princess to a ski hill for the first time. The boys wanted to go badly, but she was only going up and down the magic carpet. I don't think my husband ever put on his ski boots. If you are under age 6, this part of the mountain is free, so this winter is the time for her to learn. He seems to think I will accompany the kids soon (he'll take her, and I get the boys). I'm not sure I've had enough to drink to agree to this. Mind you, I do/did ski, but have not been on a mountain since my oldest was born/conceived. My ski pants were outgrown 2 kids ago.
While Miss S went skiing, I had to have a diversion for the boys. Staying home would only prove to drive us all crazy. I took them to the movie "We Bought a Zoo", which they actually liked. I did too, but am a little bummed that there is a scene in it that all but gives away the Easter Bunny. Mothers of young kids beware! They then got to go sledding/snowboarding at a local hill that they've been begging to go to since we got snow.

Standing around with cold feet on a steep hill isn't exactly fun, but capturing this awesome faceplant on film was worth it. Yea, my son can snowboard (snicker...). They had fun none the less, and I survived.

Mr. Picasso is growing. We've had him almost a month and he's so much bigger. Such a completely sweet kitten (he's snoozing on my lap as I type).

I finished a couple baby quilts for a new client. She's a self-proclaimed self-taught quilter, with a somewhat avant-gard style. Whatever. Her tastes are simple and easy to please. She loves the swirls, and asked for them twice.

Nothing too complicated or time-consuming here. Just happy babies.

I got the news today that this quilt has been juried into the AQS Lancaster show in March. I don't know how it will do, but getting in is a good first step. There are 200 quilts in the show, and if I remember, quite a lot of categories. Now I am busy trying to move up an appt to have 4 quilts appraised. I stitched a hole in the end of a finger last week with all the hand work (2 bindings and 2 sleeves) I had to do for the 2 quilts going to MQX. They are getting appraised as well. Here's a little avant-gard show of my own...just to keep you guessing :-)

Time for me to go get to work. I'll post pictures of something later this week. Happy sewing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hanging on By a Thread Translates to a SALE

Note...I am having a SALE...read on for more details.

Many people suffer with seasonal depression. Short and cold days, less exercise, less money after the holidays, etc. Yes, yes and yes. I'm not saying I am depressed, but understimulated and overfrustrated for sure. And if this thermometer does not say freakin cold, what does (hint: the bottom right number is the outside temperature last weekend). We had a snow day last Thursday, then this bitter cold for 2 days. Translation: kids in the house TOO much of the time. Some days I wonder what was so darn alluring about having a baby, that I needed to do it 3 times. Seriously, they all turn into toddlers, which seem challenging at the time. Then they become these sassy, mouthy creatures with attitude that suck up money like water into a dry towel, leaving their parents sprawled in chairs each evening wondering "What have we gotten ourselves into?". And yet the little old ladies everywhere always tell you "Enjoy it, it will be gone so fast". Really?
This quilt was delivered last week to a local client. She made it from her father-in-law's shirts, for the widowed mother-in-law. It actually quilted up very nicely. The man had nice taste - his shirts were not thin whatsoever, and many had a pretty sheen to them.

This is "Groundcover" panto. I have only used it a time or 2 previously, but she requested leaves for the pattern.

I stitched it with a charcoal Glide thread, which also has a lovely sheen. I think she was pleased with the quilt.

Now that I forced you to read through my ramblings, I will mention a sale that I am having until Feb 5. All edge-to-edge (panto and freehand, and stippling) patterns are 20% off. Must mention this discount when you dropoff or mail your quilts. Discount will be taken from my regularly low prices that are given here www.MainelyQuiltsofLove.com. If interested, drop me an email msolomo1@maine.rr.com.

Happy Humpday~