Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Finished the quilting

I finally finished the quilting on my blue practice quilt.

It ended up about 36" x 48". which is the size of the competition quilt I will be working on. I wanted to get used to working with something that bulky, and see if I could end up with a back that looks neat.

It worked. Although I have quilted my bargellos that size and larger, the quilting on them was much simpler - just curved lines that followed the curve of the bargello design.

But this is quilted on every inch. I enjoyed it, and learned the importance of being patient and steady. It is far from perfect, but the practice on something "real" was necessary.

When I went to see Juanita Yeager's quilts last week, she talked about her quilting process, and it was interesting for me to hear a great quilt artist like Juanita talk about the role of quilting on her prize-winning pieces, and also how judging quilting has changed aver the years.

Now I just have to put facing on it, and decide if I want to hang it somewhere in my house.

Now that I am back at the Museum volunteering, I can take hand work with me, and if things get slow, I can do a little sewing. It helps the time pass between jobs. Can't do that on a "real" job

My next two projects are to finish my second silk heron, and work on another little clothesline miniature.

One technical question to anyone out there:
I bought some double-eyed needles to use in thread-painting, and wonder if there are any techniques that I need to know. I haven't been able to find much on line about their use.

Saturday, April 23, 2011



I went to a wonderful program today at the CARNEGIE CENTER in New Albany Indiana. It was a presentation by the outstanding quilt artist, Penny Sisto. Her narrative about her life was very moving, and she illustrated how her work is influenced by her life, by beginning to create a portrait quilt as we watched.

She is preparing for a show there which will begin in July. It is amazing how she creates a complete show on the average of one per year.

Although she didn't finish the quilt, she did add enough features on the woman's face, that the personality began to emerge.

The lesson that I took away from her talk was "Don't overthink your work" Just let the fabric guide you, and relalx about the details.

It was very inspiring. Mark your calendars for her show this July...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Phase two of free-motion practice

After having moderate success in free-motion quilting my 3' x 3' silk quilt, and experimenting with various quilting patterns, I am now working on more practice with a quilt of cotton strips, and the size of this quilt is 3' x 4'.

The next special quilt I will be working on is also 3' x 4', and I wanted some practice in handling a quilt that size and with that bulk, on my little home sewing machine.

This time, I decided to stick with one pattern, based on a Japanese motif that I really like. You can see it in the picture. It is completely freehand, and of course there are variations.

However, I am learning some techniques in handling the bulk, and in moving the quilt smoothly and consistently.

It is also interesting how a nice quilting pattern can elevate a very ordinary quilt. It is simply 2" strips of many of my favorite blue fabrics, with a few greens here and there.

In the last photo, you can see the backing fabric at the left. It is probably a bit heavier than a regular quilting cotton, but so far, my quilting looks pretty good on the back as well as the front.

I am not a patient person, and I am certainly not a perfectionist. There are areas on this that many people would have ripped out and redone. But this is strictly for practice. There are a few areas that I did have to rip out and redo. I can see how much concentration is required. It is when my mind wanders that I make mistakes and my hands and my brain are not working together.

But so far, so good, and I am over half finished. I want to thank my friend Anita (a professional long arm quilter) for her encouragement and her advice. I really want to move to the next level, and I appreciate her help, as well as the encouragement of other quilting friends.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Finished the Silk Nine-Patch

I finished the edges of this; I made a facing in silk, rather than do a binding.
I am going to hang it on the living room wall for a while.

I love the way the clamshell design looks. I have another pieced top, just strips, and I am going to use it for practice, and probably do all the strips in the clamshell design.

It is in blue cottons, and I made it several years ago, and then it got stuck in a stack of unfinished things. I find spring and summer a good time to try to finish those "UFOs"

Photos soon!

Monday, April 4, 2011


I am making progress on quilting my silk nine-patch.

After my last post, I started having problems moving the fabric, when trying to free-motion quilt. I checked the usual suspects -- feed dogs, dust in the bobbin area, tension, etc.

Finally figured out that a piece broke off my darning foot, and the foot wasn't lifting when the needle went up.

So the next morning, I went to buy a new foot. While I was making the trip, I decided to take my machine for a tune-up.

So now I have the new foot, a smooth running machine, and no excuses!

I love the little tulip design I did on the green strip.

I am just trying various designs at random. My main goal is to get enough practice so my stitches and lines are smooth.

The silk is lovely to work with...

( I know the photos are not good, but I just wanted to post something, as proof that I am doing something!)

I recently had the opportunity to see a quilt show featuring the work of Valerie Goodwin and Yvonne Wells. I have been a fan of Valerie Goodwin's work for several years, and really enjoyed seeing her work in person for the second time. I also enjoyed the style of the work of Yvonne Wells - in some ways, reminiscent of the Gee's Bend style, although her quilts are pictorial.