EDGE-TO-EDGE OR CUSTOM Posted on 8 Sep 02:00 , 0 comments

0908: at night ... nothing better than snuggles with puppies and quilts

The top is pieced and now it's time for making decisions as to how to quilt this project. Many longarm quilters will have several questions that might help in the decision-making process but, bottom line ... everything can be boiled down to two basic questions:

  • who is the quilt for
  • how will it be used

When thinking about who will be using the quilt personal taste and design style general influence pattern choice, but the biggest contributing factor in choosing a quilting pattern is the second ... how will it be used.

You can see how I've used quilts in one of my guest rooms which is decrated around a forest theme. I have quilts on the bed, on the walls and hanging on the quilt ladder. I also have a quilt hanging over the back of the futon that is exposed to light from the window. This poses another risk to shortening the expected life of a quilt and so I'm careful to keep the blinds closed on that particular window limiting potential light damage to my Diamonds on the Double quilt.

If we take time to look at ourselves honestly in the mirror (or at the quilt projects we've finished) we are

  1. very proud of our work
  2. recognize finishing usually took quite a long time
  3. aware of (but usually keeping the final figure quiet LOL) how much money has gone into the quilt to date

... but let's face it ... the cold honest hard truth is that most of us will probably only finish less than five heirloom quality quilts in our lifetime. We make quilts that are to be used, loved, washed several times in the washer, drug around behind toddlers and puppies, used to make the roof/walls of a fort, snuggled under during movie night with buttery popcorn or for picnics in the park on a sunny summer afternoon. Probably about the only stipulation or requirement we may have when giving a quilt to someone is that we don't want to see it later on the garage floor serving as padding for the "guy of the house" while he's changing the oil in his rig! :)

Quilts that take the kind of wear and tear I've listed above need to be filled with sturdy stitching that is continuous across the quilt top. Frequent stops and starts or thread knots are more likely to work themselves loose over time and become a potential weak spot in the overall quilting design. And that is why you will find most of us steering your decision-making process in the direction of choosing an overall or edge-to-edge design. These are the designs that provide more wear-ability to a quilt and thus allowing for a more extended or longer expected lifetime of the quilt.

These are three favorite edge-to-edge designs that provide texture avoiding the distraction of a repeating motif that can compete with the patchwork design and each design provides a nice alternative from the old tired much used "just stipple it" while keeping a traditional feel as the eye travels over the quilt.

The first picture on the left: 1283 CHERRIOS E2E: provide a more open quilt design which works well as you can see when used with a flannel quilt.

The second picture in the center: 1312 BAPTIST FAN E2E: this pattern gives the feel of baptist fan quilting without all the hours and hours of ruler work and time-consuming setup ... an affordable traditional fan look.

The third pattern on the right: 1557 BASKETWEAVE E2E: a brand new pattern following the lines of the traditionally hand-quilted design. You'll want to think it through as you set up after each roll keeping the stitching lines lined up but you'll find the end result is well worth the little bit of extra time.

Check through your pattern library. You'll not want to miss out adding these fresh alternatives for textural edge-to-edge quilting to you design library.

OFF THE MACHINE: A GUY QUILT Posted on 15 Aug 02:00 , 0 comments

Barbara made this fun quick and easy strip quilt for her son. I love the modern color scheme and great non-gender prints.
It was a no-brainer when it came to making a decision regarding the quilting pattern. The inspiration came from the "rippley" wavey print fabric.
1102 RIPPLES is a favorite among many customers when looking for a simple modern edge to edge design. Keeping the spacing a little more loose fit with the size of the pieced strips helping everything to stay more balanced in design.
I used the 80/20 batting from the Warm Company which will give a wonderful soft scrunchy-puckery look to the quilt after it is washed.
Thread choice: King Tut 978, a variegated black and white for the top with bottom line black in the bobbin.
... and now for a closer look at that quilt top ...


... thanks for stopping by ...



CUTE LITTLE MAT Posted on 23 Mar 17:10 , 0 comments

I'm always looking for ...
  • a quick hostess gift
  • a quick gift for the guest room
  • an easy sew project for beginning sewers
  • fun quick and easy gifts for a holiday basket
  • new ways to add seasonal decor items to make my home more cozy
  • a project the recycles or re-purposes found items around the house
  • a project that works as a stash buster
So you can imagine my delight when I found this tutorial for a kitchen dish-mat. I did make some changes in size to fit my towel remnant and added some stitch-in-the-ditch lines along the stripe seams.
You can see how I used one of my tired dish towels as a backing for this cute little mat. Before I sewed the cotton striped front to the towel I trimmed all of the hemmed edges from the towel. This removed extra bulk and released the edges of the towel a little so it would lay more flat for me while I was sewing the two pieces together. And, of course, I squared both pieces before pinning them together for the sewing step. I like how my cute little mat looks on my kitchen counter by the sink or hanging on the oven door handle.
  • I can see these cute little mats rolled into an Easter basket full of goodies for mom.
  • I can see these cute little mats done up in bright summery prints and becoming a regular staple in our Tanglewood picnic supper basket.
  • I can see these cute little mats done up to match the colors and themes of my guests rooms to use as a catch all on the dresser or in the guest bathroom for people who come to visit us during the holidays and summer and leaf season.
Wouldn't the cute little mats be a fun addition to a sewing basket when we have "lunch at our machines" during class break?  These cute little mats would make festive holiday cloths to be used with babies and seniors for a quick clean-up.
  • I will definitely have several of these cute little mats done up in fabrics to match my kitchen
  • I will be sorting and gathering through my holiday fabric stash to put together these cute little mats hostess gifts and holiday drop-in gifts to have on hand.
Need a gift for a secret pal? Looking for something for the quilt guild gift exchange? Start now stitching up these cute little mats so you're all ready when holiday times roll around.                                                                                                                                                                                            However, in all my planning, I do have ONE PROBLEM. I did not move all my old tired worn out towels with us from Oregon to Massachusetts last year. sigh ... but ... I do have LOTS OF BATTING SCRAPS. Yeah! this will be a perfect project to use up those long skinny pieces of batting left along the sides of quilts after we trim away. I will add a cotton backing (more stash busting) rather than the terrycloth and I'm off and running with stitching up my cute little mats once more.
Send in your photos of cute little mats to share with all of us, too. Would love to what you're doing. Just drop me an email with your photo and I'll make up a gallery for our postings.


... be brave ... be bold ...

... make and share the music of your soul ...

PATCHWORK: MQS 131E TEA ROSES Posted on 5 Oct 12:38 , 0 comments

Isn't this just the most yummy collection of fabric from Northcott. The press release reads:                                                                                                                              Wellesley by Ro Gregg  Designed by Ro Gregg for Northcott. A romantic cottage feel that fits perfectly in a shabby chic decor.  The natural colorway features creamy tans, milk chocolate browns and soft pinks.  Perfect for quilts, duvet covers, shams, pillows and curtains.  Florals in a variety of sizes, a paisley, a floral stripe, small tonal stripes, and a geometric print make this collection very versatile.

Just wait until you see what I've come up with to show the collection off a
t its best! Go HERE for more on TEA ROSES ... a patchwork pattern and featured quilting suggestions.                                                                                                                                                                                          Cut a strip here, sew a seam there, arrange a set of blocks into a row, apply a few borders and ... VOILA! And such was the tale with the yummy fabric bundle from Northcott. The collection is called Wellesley and includes a beautiful border stripe fabric.                                                                                                                                                                    I use two historic traditional block designs for this pattern:                                                                                                                                                                                                                            


Coxey's Camp and Arkansas Snowflake. You will find I frequently surround the body of my quilts with a float border of the background fabric. This helps to highlight the blocks within their setting separate from the border. Using small repeating borders creates a dimensional frame for the quilt body and doesn't that gorgeous floral border stripe look like the most elegant ornate gold leaf frame you've ever seen.

This quilt would fit very nicely in a tea room or sun room done in the shabby chic style. I'll be using my quilt in my guest room done around a garden theme.

The pattern MQS 131E TEA ROSES comes with 3 different quilt sizes (throw, full, and queen) and features fully illustrated step-by-step instructions with alternate suggestions for border designs.

131_quilting_mock_up_2I also included a custom alternating block quilting design mock-up suggestion using 1372 Journey Block and 1279 Feather Block.                                                                                                                 Happy Accident:I love the way the tear drop design fits into the triangle of the Arkansas Snowflake block and the way motion is created with the spikey points of the quilting design in contrast with the smooth flow of the feather block.                                                                                                       Border suggestion: think about using 1273 P2P FEATHER BORDER in the outer floral border and using a 1/4" echoing line of stitching to highlight the framing inner borders.

And, finally, don't you just love it when you can explore your options with my favorite design software Electric Quilt to see how a pattern might look using different fabrics ...




STITCH THEN PAINT Posted on 28 Sep 17:22 , 0 comments

This last July at our retreat in Sisters Ruth Bass was our fearless leader as we played with some of her artbox supplies. The concept: Stitch It Then Paint it. If you've been following along for any length of time you will have read several different posts and had some journal peeks as I explore this process.

Some conclusions ...

Fabrics: PFD (prepare for dye) or batiks works best. It's the high thread count that helps achieve most consistent results as well as having a luminous quality creating a reflective property to your art piece. Up until this time I've been playing and exploring techniques trying to "develop my hand" with muslin as a foundation. Looking back, I say, "Jump in and go for it!" The quality of your supplies really makes a difference in the final outcome. Perceptions can be skewed with a less than quality foundation material and supplies, and in the end you'll probably spend less if you start right off with good paints, fabrics, and other color mediums.

Paints: I love the Stewart Gill paints  which are available from Artist Cellar. My favorites are Colourise: fully saturated color ... and ...  METAMICA: yummy metalics ... and what a very soft hand when the project is all finished.

... our inspiration and eye candy while Ruth explained her project process from beginning to end ...
... Ruth's artbox ... our hands itching to dig in and experiment, explore and play ...
... Ruth does a demo on the dye process while explaining the different products available for this process ...

... our play table ...

As you can see we played with other coloring agents ... fabric ink markers, colored pencils, Shiva oil paint sticks, and a couple of different options for simple fabric dye techniques.

The bottom line: the best part about our mini-workshop was the sharing amongst all the members of our group as we set aside time and gave ourselves permission to play. It was so easy to paint our already-stitched-out designs I might yet have a Baltimore Album quilt ... just paint it rather than doing all the applique ??? Hmmmm ... I know - not sure there would be much of a time-savings but it's fun to think about it the possibilities.

SURFACE DESIGN EXPERIMENTING Posted on 1 Apr 17:43 , 0 comments

... and speaking of books, how about this funny video about the "new technology" of the Middle Ages - the invention of the book and the need for a little on-site tech help.


This week I've been experimenting and testing my options for surface design with my art quilt called Ostinato. I tried:

  • inks by themselves (pretty hard to get the color saturationin combination with the effects I want)
  • various metallic markers (sure wish they came with a fine tip - I like to use this medium right along the stitching line as a highlight)
  • Paint Stik GOLD (I like the way I could follow the stitching line and feather the pigment out with my fingers. Also like the way I can start light and add more if I want)
  • copper/gold glitter pens (I like the way the light catches on the glitter particles for shimmering and highlights. DO NOT like the copper/orange by itself. NOTE TO SELF: use this as a last step adding color/highlights over color that is already in place.)

The effect I liked the best was done in this order:

  1. Lay down gold Paint Stik first, following the stitching line and pulling the color down across the quilted clam shape with my fingers. (still a child-like finger painter at heart)
  2. With the Tsuniko Inks ... use the fine-tip sponge brush and #73 to add color highlights along the stitching line. May play with dry brush to add hints of color in the quilted clam shape.
  3. Use the glitter pens with a LIGHT hand to add aditional highlighting.

Keep color mainly along the stitching line so it gets lighter an even to nothing as I come further out in the quilted clam shape.

OSTINATO STITCH-OUT Posted on 31 Mar 17:39 , 0 comments


l am playing withe the shell design and a small wall-hanging. This is the stitch-out inspired by Symphony Hall in Boston. 

And look at these fun buttons I found to use as embellishment. At first I was thinking to use a variety of interesting metal buttons, and then I discovered theFACE buttons. How fun is that ... but I need more. I absolutely lovethe little wooden FACE button girl with the wild hair. Anyone have any recommendations as to where I might go on this search for more FACE buttons? I need some guy FACE buttons, too


My other dilemma is the square ... I'm thinking I might use a photo transfer capturing an image of my son with his trombone. I'm not quite sure as to what might be the best way to accomplish this yet. More research!

Any and all imput/suggestions on this project are welcome.

Related Posts:

THE COLOR OF SUNSHINE Posted on 2 Feb 10:14 , 0 comments

Have you ever notice the difference in the color of Spring Sunshine vs. Winter or Autumn Sunshine? I'm sure there is a scientific explanation as to what causes these differences ... something do with the angle of the rays of light from the sun and the tilt of the earth ... but I'm not sure I want to explore that avenue. It would destroy the magic of recognizing January Sunshine, June Sunshine and how different they are from August Sunshine.

Enjoy this picture of January Sunshine about 4:00 in the afternoon as it casts it's rays across the trees. Honest, no trick photography here, just a study in texture and natural color

ART QUILT IDEA Posted on 18 Jan 23:19 , 0 comments

Don't throw away those tattered and torn denims just yet. Here's a great idea for creating a frame for a favorite photo. Print the photo on your favorite photo transfer product. I like to use Printed Treasures. Gather up your embellishments and plan your stitching. I like the idea of burning the journaling into a leather patch but using a regular fabric lable on the back works well, too.

Have fun with the project and send me some pictures of your finished