Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Time to Finish a PHD (Project Half Done)

Early last year I posted pictures of quilts I was working on for two young friends of mine, Samantha, who is now 10 years old, and her sister Lauren who is 18 months younger. Predictably, there's a lot of pink and they definitely reflect the different personalities of the girls.

I had intended to give the quilts as holiday gifts in 2012 and finished Samantha's quilt a year and a half ago, but got bogged down on Lauren's. When you have sisters who live in the same household, you either have to have two quilts or zero quilts! So I've been carrying around Samantha's quilt as part of my trunk show for quite a while.

This obviously has to change -- I need to give the girls their quilts before they become teenagers and start loving purple and black instead of pink!

The center of Lauren's quilt -- Using variegated rayon thread, I stitched freehand flowers randomly all over the pieced area of the quilt. Lauren professes not to like math, but says she finds it "interesting", so I gave her some things to contemplate when she looks at her quilt. Some of the flowers have four petals, some five, six or seven. Each petal may have two to six layers depending on the size space I wanted to fill.

These math exercises should be at least as effective as counting sheep before sleep overtakes her, right?

Closeup of the flowers...

Small tendrils fill the spaces between the flowers and keep the quilting density even.

I used two different variegated pink rayons from Sulky to stitch all the flowers.

Now for the borders -- for the two inner borders I used HW146 from the Stencil Company (

Mirror imaged the hearts, using the lighter of the two rayon threads in the top of the machine and Mettler Silk Finish (100% cotton) in color #805, a medium value corally-pink.

For the outer border, I'm trying to choose between two designs. Lauren loves flowers and butterflies and this stencil fills the space well.

I like this one better, but it doesn't fill the space, which means that I would either have to cut the border smaller after I stitch it or figure out how to make it wider. This quilt is already smaller than her sister's, so cutting down the border doesn't seem like a good idea to me. I decided to use this design and then echo the scallops until the space is filled, maybe twice at roughly a 5/8" interval? Although, if the echos are 1/2" or less, I could use the echo free motion foot and not have to mark it. Tempting....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Palmdale CA

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

It's in the Capable Hands of FedEx

The last thing I had to stitch was the straight lines in metallic threads in the star. I used the yellow Mettler Silk Finish (100% cotton) #922 in the bobbin and two different top threads.

For the 90 and 45 degree lines, I used Mettler Metallic in Silver #0511; for the shorter lines, Sulky Sliver Metallic in #8020, a variegated stream lame (it's flat and looks like Christmas tree tinsel) in red, blue, gold & silver. Added a nice touch of color to the star and it will look even cooler when Josephine gets out her Easy Glitzer and puts some Swarovski crystals on there!

I couldn't really get great pictures of the final, but here's what I have:

Taken upside down, of course! Haven't yet figured out how to move things around in BlogPress.

So I took the quilt to FedEx yesterday afternoon and shipped it to Josephine at Asilomar where she is taking a class. She can then bind it and add those crystals.

And I have one project down this year -- hooray!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Palmdale CA

Monday, April 28, 2014

Yesterday Was Feathers Day

Yesterday I did all of the freehand feathers in the white areas of the quilt; freehand meaning I didn't mark them with a stencil first.

I usually draw, with air soluble pen, an approximation of where I want the spine to go, although you can see I don't always follow it once I start the stitching! I stitched it bottom to top and then again top to bottom so that the spine is doubled.

Then I start stitching in the feathers, building them from the bottom one side at a time. I usually do the right side first because I think it is the hardest -- a little more difficult to see around the foot.

I stitched all the feathers on the right side, then stitched all the way down the stem again so that I can start the left side. This also gives the stem a really nice definition when I'm done.

This what it looked like when I finished the first few.

And this is how I filled those white spaces on either side of the stars.

As a whole I really like the way this is turning out -- too bad I don't get to keep it! I need to do something like this to add to my trunk show. Guess I'll just stick it on my list for this summer's sewing!

Another shot of how it looks now that both sides of the stars are filled in. I still have a little cleanup to do and then I'll finish up the big blue star.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Palmdale CA

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Finished All the Borders, Now for the Freehand Feathers

Started marking the stencil for the final border. Again, since Josephine isn't washing the quilt, I had to be a little more creative with the marking.

I like the Quilt Pounce marking pad from Hancy Mfg. I use the white powder that irons off, not the wash out one. The powder that irons off seems to last a lot longer while quilting instead of rubbing off on my clothes.

The design quilted up really nicely and fits the border perfectly. Now on to the two 2" wide red strips at the top and bottom of the quilt.

These two red borders are only on the top and bottom of the quilt and don't go all the way around. I chose to treat them as one 4" wide unit rather than as two separate strips. This stencil is from The Stencil Company ( and is HOL-486-03.

I like the geometry of the squares because everything else on the quilt is curvy. Going for balance here.....used the same red Mettler threads as in the straight stitching in the red stripes.

Love the way this looks. You can see the chalk marks on the fabric where I used the Pounce Pad, but I found that it rubs off pretty easily with the side of a Batt Scooter, so I keep an extra in my work room.

Today I'm going to stitch freehand feathers in all of the remaining white areas. I'll use Mettler 50 wt. Silk Finish (100% cotton) thread in the top of the machine and the pale yellow thread in the bobbin that I used when I stitched the cables you can see at the top of the photo. I like color #887, which is a soft white rather than a brighter white. I never use what I call "white white" because I love the look of #887 so much.

I'm stitching the feathers freehand rather than using a stencil because the spacing of the stitching areas vary from stripe to stripe. It would be really difficult to find a stencil to fit, so I'm just going for it!

Hopefully I can get all these feathers done today, finish up the blue star tomorrow and get it FedEx'd out to Josephine sometime tomorrow afternoon.

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Palmdale CA

Friday, April 25, 2014

Wow! Cut That Really Close!!

Finished the cabling in the row of pieced stars and I really like the way it turned out....

The next area where the yellow/gold variegated thread is to be used is in the 2" wide inner border. This is the stencil I've chosen; the stencil # is MO30 and it's available from the Stencil Company ( It's a 1-1/2" width stencil and I use it a lot for narrow borders and sashings.

Looks awesome stitched up....

And another view...

I was stitching that inner border when I noticed that there was very little thread on the spool of cotton that I was using in the top of the machine. I was starting to panic a little as it was the only spool I had and I thought I had a whole 'nother side to stitch! Checked, saw that I was on the last side and crossed my fingers that the thread would last long enough to complete those last feathers. Well, luck was with me this morning -- I finished with 7 inches to spare! Whew! That's cutting it way too close for my nerves to handle!

Next I'm going to stitch the outer border -- this stencil is 4" wide and is #348; not sure of the manufacturer, although I know I have seen something similar on The Stencil Company's website.

I'll be using Mettler Silk Finish 50 wt. (100% cotton) color #790 in the bobbin and Mettler Poly Sheen (100% polyester) color #3600 in the top of the machine. Poly Sheen is a 40 weight thread with a beautiful sheen to it that will look pretty in this border.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Palmdale CA

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Finished All the Straight Stitching

Finished all the ditch stitching yesterday and then did straight stitching in the red stripes. Thread in the bobbin was Mettler Silk Finish (100% cotton), color 770; in the top of the machine was Mettler Poly Sheen (100% polyester), color 1911. I've been staying with the Mettler silk finish in the bobbin, but have been changing my bobbin thread color to harmonize with the top threads.

A couple of excellent suggestions from readers of my last blog post -- a variegated yellow/gold for the top thread for the free motion work in the stars.

So I dug through my Mettler box and found exactly what I needed.

This is the stencil I chose to stitch over the center of those pieced stars. It is #270 from JD Stencils. I often see them at the major quilt shows and always have to take a good look through the booth to see what's new to add to my collection. I buy the majority of my stencils from The Stencil Company; they have an easy to use search engine online ( so that I can easily see what's available in the size I need.

The design fits perfectly! So I'll get that marked this morning and stitched. From what I'm hearing, the quilt won't be washed between the time I complete it and it is displayed at the show, so I'm using the purple air soluble markers. They fade pretty quickly, so once I get the design marked, it's a race to see if I can finish the quilting before the lines go away!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Palmdale CA

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Patriotic Quilt for HMQS

This week I've been working on this red white and blue quilt that will be used as a fundraiser at the Home Machine Quilting Show in Salt Lake City early next month. My deadline was originally Saturday night, but now may be changed to Friday -- yikes! Not ready!

It was pieced -- quite nicely, I might add -- by my friend Josephine Keasler who will be passing through Palmdale sometime this weekend on her way to Asilomar to take another quilt she needs to get any better.....just sayin'....

I have all the ditch stitching done and now am going to start straight stitching some lines in those stripes. I plan to do freehand feathers in the white areas and a cable that just fits perfectly through the center of the row of stars. Maybe some metallic lines in the big blue star in sparkly threads to look like fireworks.

So, some input here, please? What color thread for the stars? Do I match the soft white or go to a pale gold or? What do you think?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Palmdale CA

Monday, April 21, 2014

Have to Show Off Lynda Schuler's Work!

I know I haven't blogged in a hundred years, but I just had to show you these!

I was teaching my Beyond the Basics workshop at Mulqueen Sewing Center in Mesa AZ late last month and Lynda brought in a finished piece that we had talked about last fall when she took my Feather Frenzy class. She had brought this piece of fabric and we talked about ways to quilt it using her new feather skills.

Here's a closeup of the center; I love how Lynda changed thread colors as she worked through the tie dye pattern.

Love, love, love -- and just had to share!

So I'm home for a couple of weeks now until I leave May 7 for the Home Machine Quilting Show in Salt Lake City. From there it's on to Pittsburgh for Spring Market; if you're coming to Market, I'll be in the Mettler Threads booth and would love to see you!

Projects for the next couple of weeks:
1) Clean off work tables so I can actually work there?
2) Pin baste and quilt patriotic quilt that will be used as a fundraiser at HMQS -- I should be able to finish with seconds to spare!
3) Finish Lauren's quilt (she's 9 and I have had her 10-year-old sister's quilt done for a couple of years and have been carrying it around and displaying it. Those of you who have seen me in that time -- do you remember the pretty pink, green & white twin size quilt that everybody asks me the pattern name
for and I can never remember?) I'll post pics of both the girls' quilts when I'm done.

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Palmdale,United States

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