bernina, learning, quilt desgin, quilting, Superior Threads

The Quilt Speaks

I’ve been working on Serendipity As Well for a few weeks.  What started out as an experiment learning, playing & practicing with Superior’s silk has become a series with two (nearly) complete pieces.  I have 3 pieces of silk left that will become part of the series.  One is a cream & light brown plaid is on the back of Serendipity as well and takes the color & texture of the silk very well.

When I started playing with the silk my original intention was to make a little art piece for Pokey Bolton’s new office.  After I started this piece I needed to put it on hold whilst I finished getting ready to submit for Mary Kerr’s book and preparation for the classes I’m teaching in Knoxville.  While I still have packing etc to do before I go I had a bit of time to quilt today (Wednesday).  Oh, did I quilt.


I needed to flatten out some of the areas because of the silk batting however adding color wasn’t what I wanted to do so tone on tone stitching became necessary.  Because of the space available I chose some micro stippling and other small stitching motifs.  The whole quilt is small stitching motifs in part ’cause I like to see how small I can stitch a motif and mostly because  the Kimono Silk is very, very fine taking up much less space than say – King Tut which is significantly thicker.

I’ve taken pictures of this (like the one above) quilt with the curves running horizontally across the surface of the quilt with careful intention.  Like “Twilight in the Bronx” & “Moon Over Manhattan” the quilt speaks sometimes in unexpected ways. . . yep, once I got finished quilting and looked at the quilt a little later the curves now run vertically.  There is just something in this direction that makes more sense to me as the quilter.  I think perhaps it’s the yellow stars that just anchor the quilt in a way that I wouldn’t have known until the quilt was finished.

I think too this is a response to Jane Davila‘s talk in May with the Pelham Quilters.  Jane’s talk presents the basic principles of design in Art.  Then Esterita Austin’s lecture Classic Rock and workshop “Creating the Illusion of Depth”.  As Jane talked I took notes in a dark room that now live in my sketchbook that have become part of my talk Quilting is a Beautiful & Complicated Art.  As Esterita worked with her students on workshop day I commented, somewhat naively, that she gave them permission to use all of the crayons in the box, however I see now that what both Jane & Esterita are working towards accomplishing is something more than the crayons analogy.  We’re working towards more of an understanding of the whole picture of quilting using color, shape, line, size, texture, direction, value. Whether we are “Art”, “Modern”, “Traditional” or “Contemporary” quilters these same principles of art apply to the quilt making process.  While we as quilters often apply the principles we aren’t familiar with the principles and how to use them effectively so we get stuck trying to figure out what comes next.

For a beginning to understand the principles and how to use them effectively check out Jane & Elin’s Art Quilt Workbook.  Take one of Esterita’s workshops (she loves teaching the portraiture workshop).  Whether or not the area of  “Art” quilting is where you want to go as a quilter both of these will be incredibly helpful in understanding the process of quilt making in a way that make the process easier.  As we understand more of what we’re doing the easier the process of quilt making becomes.


Yesterday as I made the copies for my upcoming classes my kitty Barnum decided that he needed to be right in the middle of things.  He’s sitting on the first set of copies and is taking notes on what works and doesn’t.

Happy Quilting!


11 thoughts on “The Quilt Speaks”

  1. This is not a piece that is to be looked at quickly. To do that is to totally dismiss it! The more I look at it and see the details of stitches and colours, the more I am drawn in. Great piece!

    1. Thank you Mandy! If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

  2. beautiful quilting!!! maybe I’ll catch up with you in Knoxville? =-)
    must put that Kimono Silk on my shopping list, too!

    1. I would love to see you in Knoxville! When are you going to be there?

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