Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Just in time for summer: garden fresh stencils and vegetables!

Summery stencils :

Apple Orchard, 9" and 11" blocks
 Daffodil, 6" and 7" blocks
 Hawaiian Holiday, 7" block
 Hawaiian Holiday 3" border/sashing
 Jasmine 4", 5"  and 7" blocks
 Jasmine, 1" and 3" border/sashing
 And for the vegetable gardeners: 
a delicious new panto Vegetable Meander (14")!
Side note!
My 108" and 120" wideback 
is still being offered 
until the end of June, the last of my Quarterly Specials.  

For details please click on my Quarterly Specials tab.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Quilting in Miniature with Humunguous Results

Though not really small enough to be classified as a miniature at 52"x42", this quilt pleases big time.  

You have to appreciate the intricate piecing in all twelve of the quilts' 6" blocks.

A neutral thread was chosen, and fern wreaths were quilted in each block, triangle and half-triangle.  My customer didn't want florals, and really, the quilt didn't beg for them, either.

There were two skinny borders attached to the quilt center, one requiring some small-scale piecing of triangles and squares.  Both of these borders were quilted by SID (stitching-in-the-ditch), with the strip-pieced border being embellished with the same curls found in the fern wreath pattern.

The outside border fabric contained a very busy paisley pattern.  When considering what to quilt in these types of areas, I never choose a busy quilting design because the effort just gets lost visually.  So, a larger rendition of the fern theme was quilted along a curve, seen better in photos of the backing, below.

The shots directly above and below were also taken outside while I was patiently waiting for clouds to reappear after taking the full backing shot (above).   But, a watched pot never boils, so I took these pictures that show the shadows of a nearby ponderosa pine tree.  Kind of a cool effect!

Even though summer is in the wings and the garden or children/grandchildren beckon your attention and time, if you have a miniature project that could conceivably be finished by autumn, go for it!  The rewards will be ... well ... humunguous!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Go Be Dazzled II

Some of you may remember my post from a few weeks ago about a quilt top brought into my studio pieced with the pattern Go Be Dazzled.  Today's post features its miniature.  Of course, this little gem begged a custom treatment since there was so much blank canvas around each appliqué grouping...

...and that is exactly what it received!  A double curve was quilted in the four corners, feathering on the outside of each curve.  The background of the inside of the curves was filled with 'pebbles', duplicating the pebble-like quality found within each appliqué.

Without changing the 'ice blue' thread color used in the center of the quilt, the border was quilted in feathers to 'balance' the feathering quilted in the center.  Just enough to show off without being too vain!

Here's a close-up of the appliqué and quilting in the center.  The hearts seem to  kiss :-).

Here are a couple close-ups of the backing.  Sometimes quilts have been bound with the intent of using them as reversible quilts.  This one could certainly be used that way.

It's a fun challenge to be able to 'doodle' in the open space of a quilt such as this, however I don't believe in overwhelming any quilt with elaborate stitching. My rule is just enough to 'dazzle'!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Perfect Wedding Quilt:

Queen and Her Court 

Well, it was perfect for our daughter and son-in-law!  A couple of years ago, Heather spent days combing through dozens of quilting magazines to select a pattern for me to make her and her betrothed the perfect wedding quilt.  
There wasn't an abundance of time given, but really, is there ever for a wedding quilt?! To choose the right pattern and fabric takes an incredible amount of time and effort, not to mention piecing, appliquéing and quilting. 

We only had 12 weeks to get this quilt completed in time for the open house.

Queen and Her Court boasts 12 different blocks which seem to weave themselves via appliquéd  flowers and vines around a large, central block known as the 'court'.  Impeccably, Heather chose fabrics that worked well together; toiles, dusty reds, paisleys and fabric with writing - colors that blended together to spell romance.  We agreed ahead of time that I would be the one to arrange those fabrics from her palette for the blocks and appliqué.  I wanted the finished quilt to 'present itself' to the queen, as it were, without her anticipating the result.

The blocks featured here are some of my favorites.  The ones immediately above and below show a fussy-cut vignette of red toile in the center.

It needs to be said that the designs used in the blocks and center of this quilt were taken from Karen McTavish's Custom Curves, found on Karen's website at designerquilts.com/products.html, from her publisher at onwordboundbooks.com/books.html or amazon.com.  Heather and Conor's quilt seemed, to me, to exude a Celtic feel, and Karen's designs in this book were a perfect match.

I adapted Karen's designs for my blocks by enlarging them with my computer scanner, and quilted them by using my laser light at the front of the machine directly onto each block without marking.

Below is a shot of the backing which shows the quilting details of one of the blocks:

Some of the blocks served as 'building blocks'  for the twelve pieced blocks, such as this one, at left.  I quilted each of these identically for balance as well as beauty with my laser light, improvising by echoing and stippling  to fill in a similar design.

Here's a couple close-ups of  flowers appliquéd over a building block which shows the stippling I designed to match Karen McTavish's block designs.

Those of you familiar with Queen and Her Court will notice the center of the quilt has been reengineered (below)!  This is Conor's specific section of the quilt.  He wanted a fleur de lis in the center instead of the large, pieced block that was originally part of this pattern.  I found a great design, improvising it further by appliquéing a double-ring around the bouquet instead of a single one, making it a true wedding quilt!

I meandered relatively tight to 'pop' the corner designs around the fleur de lis:

This photo of the backing (kind of) shows the quilting of the fleur de lis block:

The borders were all hand traced with chalk atop a light box, an exhausting task but well worth the effort when completed.  To date, Karen McTavish hasn't made stencils of her designs found in Custom Curves.  For this project, I surely wish she had!  
In the following shots you can see the details of the border quilting as seen from the back:

Heather and Conor's quilt is definitely one of a kind...just the way we want all of our quilts!