Stay Tuned!

kal 2 use this one

Now that Quilt Market is over I can come back to the Quilted Block of the month. Our last block is this amazing kaleidoscope block, which I finished a while ago.

The next part of this block will be drawing it on a solid piece of fabric, then adding quilting. I’ll be talking about batting, thread choices, and motifs. The kaleidoscope is a favorite block as it creates a lot of visual movement with straight line piecing.

The lines in the whole cloth will do the same thing. I have some ideas for quilting that are starting to bubble up to the surface that will give this some dimension and a bit of fun. Oh and another thought…oooh stay tuned!

Enjoy your stitching!



photo courtesy C&T Publishing

I’ve just really started reading The Little Spark 30 Ways to Ignite You’re Creativity by Carrie Bloomston published by C&T. I wrote a review on the Generation Q website that you can read here. Reading to write a review and reading to absorb are different. Reading to write a review is rushed and hurried. Reading to absorb is quite different, it’s slower. I can stop and enjoy, think about what’s being read. I can stop to spend some time doodling, think about my quilt space and upcoming projects or doodle for a bit.

There is something about the sense of encouragement that really resonates with me. As I read I keep thinking, “This!” and “This!”  There are a couple of other books lately that I’ve had that same connection with. I’m liking that connection.

Carrie begins talking about space and how it’s set up, claiming some space as your own and keeping things in there related to your creativity. Keeping things out of there that belong in some other space in the house. Our space as quilters is important. This is the space where we make quilts. Where the work of our hands becomes a gift of our heart that will be shared.

I’m thinking about other quilt spaces I’ve been in, friends spaces that are all tidy and organized. Then think of mine with some sense ill ease. The thing is when I get there, despite the creative clutter I can do good work. This is where things get complicated; I like the idea of a clean tidy space where I can get my hands on everything however my creative brain doesn’t quite work that way. I like seeing my stuff. I like seeing quilts in progress and all the bits that go with them. What I’m not quite fond of is not being able to find a few things…and I can work on resolving that.
There are things in the space that can and will shortly move to other spaces. Over the next few days I’m going to make a plan and figure out how to make better use of my space and honor the fact that I like a bit of clutter. What I’m realizing I don’t like is mess and that’s where I am at the moment. I will have a free day and a plan soon. I’m looking forward to it. I think this will help me sort out stuff for the book as well.

CAM02012One of the things I’ve found very helpful for writing blogs and writing words for the book is changing my physical space. I’ve moved from the living room to the dining room table. Somehow it feels more conducive to getting the words on to the pages. Clearing some space in my brain. I feel more productive. Which in this regard is a great thing. That will help as I move forward with meeting goals and hitting due dates well.

And I’m making some scheduling changes at work that will help with this as well. As of the first of the year I am no longer working on Fridays. Part of this has to do with writing the book, part of this is to give me more space to teach at the store. Look for more quilting related classes to be added over the next few months. I can tell you there will be a paper piecing class (the project is sweet and has options), a quilting lab where you can come in and quilt for the day with suggestions from me and the other students, and I’m adding a whole cloth class. I haven’t schedule in dates yet but will post as soon as they’re on.

Happy Quilting!


Whole Cloth Wrap Up

It was with great pleasure that I delivered Moon Set to it’s new home.Moon Set Relived describes well the big chunk of emotion experienced. I made my intended delivery date and completed one major task before moving on to a new one.
Using a great variety of thread just makes me happy. I don’t always know how the end project will look and I kind of like that surprise.

Lisa Calle whole cloth challenge quiltLisa is still working on her quilt. I’m looking forward to seeing how she finishes this. She has a great start. Learning how to quilt on a domestic sewing machine isn’t easy after you’ve been a long arm quilter for a long time. Learning how to long arm isn’t easy after you’ve been a domestic machine quilter for a long period of time. Hey wait! What? I hope I wrote that correctly. Either way you go it’s all about practice, practice, practice. When Lisa finishes her quilt I’ll do something of a splash and give her a gift.

I’ve enjoyed every single quilt that has come in to Lisa’s site. The link takes you to all of the quilts. Lisa and I spoke to each other on the phone the other day hit the random number generator and let that select a whole cloth quilt to win. Lisa and I are both very happy that we didn’t have to choose this on our own.
The random number generator selected 32 and here it is:
TatyanaDuffie whole cloth challengeCongratulations Tatyana Duffie!
Tatyana receives a 2 1/2 yd cut of Radiance (compliments of Teri Lucas), a twin size batting (thank you to Olde City Quilts) and two rulers, the Quilter’s Groove™ ProMax™ and the Pro™  compliments of Lisa Calle.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this project. We’ve loved every single moment of it.

Happy Quilting!


Swoon and Whole Cloth Challenge Update

Maria O City Quilter ClassJust 11 days ago I taught Let Your Foot Loose, be Fancy & Free at the City Quilter. It was a good day. The bonus was having Maria O. as a student. Maria is a fab quilter and teacher in her own right (she teaches at the City Quilter).  Maria posted this photo on fb of her finished, binding and all, sample from class. Oh my goodness!!!!  Swoon!
Maria certainly let her foot loose, changing thread weight and color on a whim! Letting the thread do the work for her to create an interesting piece. At the beginning of class she showed a quilt (she was delivering to someone) – the quilting is outstanding, tone on tone blending into the background.
This piece of hers oh yes, makes this teacher all kinds of giddy!

variegated silk so pretty

Susan asked, “Did you over stitch or did you add a line to make it look like the fabric turns?”

Great question Susan!

To answer completely I’ll show a photo of the whole piece first.

Well the answer is actually both. The first part of the answer is in how I drew the original lines of the whole cloth. I took the lid from my button tin and drew the original circle then added swooping lines  under it to create a “mountain” with the moon hanging low. I then drew in the lines for the star points, making them intentionally wonky. Why you might ask? Because every star has her own shape. CAM01738 (2)
Part of the visual has to do with the high contrast of the color: a bright cream to orange variegated 50 weight (Tiara Silk) silk thread next to a solid deep purple. By following the line of the original swoop and stitching densely that helps.
Since I outline stitched the area with the lighter thread and very close to the darker thread it looks like I stitched over in that area.

One thing you can see here that won’t be visible once the quilt is finished is the drawn line and how I almost got there. I was done stitching with that thread and wanted to move on somewhere else. Drawn lines are guidelines, not rules.


And a Whole Cloth Challenge Update. Lisa Calle and I had a bit of a chat the other day and I’d hoped to draft a quickie post over the weekend. We’re extending the challenge to the first week in December. We both have had a few things in our lives that have prevented us from having the time to finish our quilts. If you’ve finished your quilt both of us would love to post photos on our blogs so please send us photos. (note Lisa posted photos on this blog post.) If you’ve been thinking you’d like to make a whole cloth quilt there’s time!
it’s fat quarter size
design is your choice
fabric and thread and batting are your choice

Lisa and I are using Robert Kaufman Radiance.

Happy Quilting!


Chocolate Swirl

Chocolate Swirl end of day 1Sunday was a fruitful day indeed.
Let’s go back to Saturday, okay let’s go back a bit further.

After making @play I knew I wanted to make another quilt loosely based on that design.  It’s been on the inspiration wall for quite a while and this chocolate-brown Radiance in my fabric stash about that long. Saturday afternoon I made it into the studio taped two sheets of paper together to create about the size quilt I’m going for and started to draw/think.Chocolate Swirl part 1
A couple of different facebook friends asked what do I mark with and why. When I do mark a quilt top I tend to prefer Generals Chalk Pencils or Pounce if I’m using templates. I like that the markings will either come off as I’m stitching or with a damp cloth later on.
After about 30 minutes I moved over to the fabric drew the bones and stopped to make some further decisions: batting, how many layers of batting, backing, thread.
I opened the cabinet with the batting to see what I have that is kind of flat. Bamboo, perfect. Opened it up to let it relax over night. I decided to use 2 layers as I like the look and feel.
Stonehenge by Northcott is the back, I’ll show that another time. While I was spray basting the first time the adhesive was gathering like snot and sneezed on the Radiance. That one was removed and set aside. I can’t bear to toss it…yet. Back to the drawing on the Radiance resulting in the photo on the right.
When I marked the bones of @play I placed the Radiance over the drawing I’d made, for this I chose a spot to be the visual center, placed a dot there and drew in the spirals freehand. Once I knew where the spirals were I chose the ones that would have flying geese and drew in the lines – again freehand. I have practiced drawing straight lines enough that I’m comfortable drawing them in without a ruler. Well, at least within the short distance of the spirals. When I got to the grid (seen in the first picture) I marked that with my omni-grid ruler.
Someone else asked if I stitch around the perimeter of the quilt before starting the quilting. No I don’t. Particularly on a whole cloth, I’m concerned that the quilt will grow and there’s nowhere to go with the fabric.
Do I plan motifs before I quilt? As a general rule, no, I don’t. I didn’t even plan that two sets of geese would be flying in the same direction the first from the lower right to the upper left; the second from the upper left to the upper right. I’m noticing this as I type. I have no idea what will come next.

Happy Quilting!

A Quilterly Thought

a reminder of my dmil
quilting brings great joy

or two. It’s not easy having a quilterly mind.
I see quilts, quilting motifs everywhere! Oh my goodness!
I see how to fill blank spaces in with feathers, swirls, mazes, greek keys, straight lines, curved lines.
And in my teacherly mind I can often see how to share it with my students.
Bridges, facades, old sewing machine cabinets, the texture and designs on fabric will set my mind whirring at 500 stitches per second.

inspired by sparkling wine

I was once inspired by the bubbles in a champagne flute. See what happens? I stitch out tiny bubble after tiny bubble. All across a quilt. I’m so inspired by these bubbles I’m still stitching tiny bubbles on another quilt. Sometimes I think I’ve lost my mind.  In all reality I think I’ve found it.Marbled Fabric When I picked up this beautifully marbled fabric last week I had no clue as to what I would make. Since I do a lot of whole cloth work, whole cloth it is, but what? This morning I’m sitting by this fabric, looking at it and thinking, thinking!
And, in my minds eye I see my word of the year with the tree and now I know this quilt will have a late autumn tree stitched out across the surface with the wind whipping through to create some movement. Quilterly inspiration indeed. It’ll be a little while before I get to it, but get to it I will.  And then there is that baby blue Radiance.

Happy Quilting!


How I choose quilting motifs part 1

Twilight in the Bronx fullAs I mentioned the other day I’m going to share how I come up with the quilting motifs for a quilt. I’m going to start with Twilight in the Bronx which is entirely my own, move on to Tilde, Feather Zone and @play.  Each of these quilt are very different and each has its own story. And Twilight certainly has a story or 5 to tell.

Twilight is my first intentional whole cloth quilt. 1 1/4 yards of solid Kona cotton, a chalk pencil, ruler, batting, thread and an idea.
Briefly the idea: to stitch out an 8 pointed star (lone star) using a variety of thread to create the body of the design. Inspiration: the batik that had the center motif and the “suns” around.

Part 1: Mark the quilt top using the ruler and chalk pencil. I marked the center of the cloth with my iron by folding it in half selvage to selvage and pressing then refolding using that center line and the ends and pressing, being careful not to press out the first pressed crease.
Using my 6 x 24 Omnigrid plastic ruler I started drawing the star points. A quick glance shows you this is a 9-patch drawn on a 45 degree angle. Each point is one half inch off the center lines. The diamonds are 1/4 inch away from each other. This was to accommodate the center motif being fused down to the  cloth.

Part 2: I decided that I wanted the star to be raised so that meant trapunto. I layered a piece of Quilters Dream 100% cotton Request loft batting on the back. I didn’t do anything to hold it in place as I wanted to be able to cut a lot of it away when I was done stitching and 100% cotton batting tends to stick well to 100% cotton fabric. (When I teach quilting and we’re using fat quarters I generally don’t baste with pins or spray as the cotton sticks to cotton with out shifting)

Part 3: I liked the movement of color seen on other pieced lone stars so tried for that kind of look using the 3 colors I had: yellow, red and purple. I did this on the fly and made some decisions as I went along. Note: if I were doing this quilt now I’d be using a lot more colors of thread and perhaps splitting the diamonds in half from point to point the long way. For more movement not because I don’t like what’s going on here.

Part 4: Choosing the actual stitching motifs. I decided each color would be a different motif. If this were piece the fabric may or may not be from the same fabric line and therefore would have a different look. Each motif is something I wanted to practice and get better at stitching. Once these and the black lines defining the center spokes were all stitched in and I’d stitched around each one of the circles all extra batting was cut away, another layer of batting and the backing were layered and basted and the intense quilting began.

twilight finished 1Part 5: I won’t go into a lot of detail here because I did in previous posts – Twilight in the Bronx was quilted twice. The black area on the lower right is evidence of the first time it was quilted. The rest of the quilting was done after I’d picked most of it out. I left some as a personal reminder and because I liked it. I sat down to stitch not quite knowing what I’d be doing motif-wise. I had no active plan for this quilt and I’ll tell you quite honestly I don’t for most quilts.  When I had stitched the motif enough I moved onto another motif and/or another color.
I tried out motif after motif just because it was something I wanted to stitch and I liked it.

This quilt was completed within a year of my 40th birthday and is a personal “defining” quilting moment as “my style” is starting to emerge here. I’m still not sure what one would call that style however that’s not as important as the fact that I’m quilting and trying motifs and thread weights/colors and seeing how they play.

Looking at dates (ever thankful for my blog) I attended the Ricky Tims Quilt Seminar in May 2008 and started this quilt in early 2009. Ricky reminded us frequently over the two days that we are “smart and intelligent and you can do this!” Is there anything more important than that? Well, uh, uhm, No. There’s not.
We are smart
We are intelligent
We can do this

We can stop worrying about what others will think of our quilts and quilting. While I am well aware of the quilt police and their role in our quilting society, most of us do not encounter them on a daily basis. Oh we do hear their “voices” whispering in our ear that “this isn’t good enough” or “this doesn’t like right’ or “are you sure this motif needs to go here?!” or “this really sucks and you need to take out the seam ripper” or “this is awful and you should just toss it aside like an old rag”.
I’ve heard those voices I started telling them to go to H3LL! I started listening for my own voice and those around me who were encouraging me.
When I teach and students start showing me their flaws I quiet that voice down and show them what’s working and why so they have something beautiful to hold onto as they move on to the next quilt.
For most of our quilts “good enough” is good. And it’s enough.
Truthfully the only time that “good enough” needs to meet the seam ripper is when we’re competing because that’s different. And that needs to be thought through differently. And we’ll get there in these blog posts.

Happy Quilting!