Friday, October 22, 2010

Feathered Fibers blog

Here is a blog worth watching: Feathered Fibers.  She is a talented quilter in many ways:  she quilts, draws, makes jewelry, very creative.  I love reading her cartoons.  They are very quilt appropriate.  She has great tutorials and creative exercises.  I want to grow up to be like her!  (Seems like I've said that before about another site.  Oh well, at least I always want to keep growing. LOL)

Happy Day to all.  I am off quilting a quilt of my own, not someone else's.  I am going to practice some new motifs I am going to put on a customer quilt.

P.S.  I am going to Seattle to pick up my quilting machine this weekend.  It will be set up around the 1st of November.  I can't wait to have full-time access to my machine again.  Watch for photos as I move into the realm of machine quilting once again.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday's Solace
The wind whirls
The leaves dance
A silent ballet
Quiets the heart.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quilt Whimsy is now established. . .

Notice the heading change.  My company name has changed and my logo has been created. What do you think?  Keep watch as I get back to writing and share all the bumps and joys of starting my business.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Quilting IS an evolution!

It's 4 a.m. and I just completed quilting this wonderful Christmas quilt whose pattern "Crazy Nine Patch Lattice Quilt" I got from Oh, Fransson!.  
It is a free downloadable pattern from this talented designer that I am teaching this month as a class that needs to be photographed this morning (I generally accomplish much under deadlines).  I am especially enjoying what I did for the backside.

  Although I have been a longarm quilter for several years now, I am new to meandering on my home machine.  Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! meanders a vast majority of her quilts.  They look so good that I thought I would try it and I love it!  As I was quilting in my zone during the middle of the night my thoughts drifted.  I began to become aware of the rhythm of the machine, the motion of the fabric.  I realized that as my meandering is becoming practiced, my quilting is evolving into something I feel good about; good not only because I can actually do it, but it looks good too.  My thoughts then began to drift to thinking about how through my quilting I myself have evolved.  Quilting has taught me to relax, to be patient, to let the flow goes where it wants to, not where I want it to and to be okay, if not overjoyed, with the results.  Through my quilting I have experienced many life lessons, met many generous and open-hearted people, and evolved to the person I am today.  It's exciting to realize that quilting is an evolution and that as my quilting continues to evolve, I, as a person, will also continue on the path of personal evolution.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another Machine Quilting Tip . . .

Well, here is "Wild Girl," another lovely new design by Toni Whitney for Bigfork Bay Cotton Company.  I just completed quilting two of these designs for trunk shows.

One of the supplies I use when machine quilting are a pair of garden gloves, the ones with rubber nubs on them.  The gloves allow me to keep a grip on the fabric while pushing it under the needle.  While I used to wear both, I found that I needed to use my bare hands to perform some tasks and would have to take my gloves off.  My solution to the issue of having to stop and take the gloves on and off is to keep my left glove off (I am left-handed) and keep the right glove on.  Having one glove on provides just enough grip for quilting.  Having one glove off allows me to have the freedom of having my bare fingers available for tasks needed, i.e., threading the needle, cutting thread, etc.  There are various types of gloves out there for the quilting industry.  I have used a few.  I enjoy the garden gloves because they are just loose enough to keep my hand from sweating.  Machine quilting takes practice but can be quite enjoyable.  Be open to trying different techniques and supplies while you are coming up with your style of quilting.  Some things will work and some won't but eventually you'll find your own way.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Smooth as Silk. . .

Have you ever quilted on silk?  I have quilted on painted silk a few times now.  Here is the latest project I quilted for the Bigfork Museum of Art and History's raffle quilt in their celebration of Glacier National Park's 100th Anniversary.
The tricky thing about quilting on silk is that once a hole is made it is difficult, if not impossible, to get rid of.  So boo-boos are a no-no.  I quilted this on my Janome 6500 which has a 9-inch throat.  It is the largest quilt I have done on this machine.  The needle size used was a 75/11 quilting needle and, for the most part, 40 wt. Aurifil thread.

I find that the most difficult part of quilting larger quilts is dealing with the weight of the quilt, keeping it moving under the needle without getting any drag.  One of the ways I deal with the drag issue is to use a product known as "Grip-n-Press" available through Bigfork Bay Cotton Company and other retailers.  This product's non-stick surface allows the quilted item to slide easily on the sewing machine surface while its tacky back keeps the product in its place.  This product can also be used for pressing with fusible web to keep the web off of your ironing board.  Here is its set-up on my machine.
When purchased, drop your feed dogs, place the product on your machine bed where it will be positioned, and drop your needle to put a hole in it.  Remove it from the bed and use a small hole punch to make the hole larger.
With my "Grip-n-Press," I made the hole large enough to use with my feed dogs up as shown here.  I use this product when I am machine appliqueing as I am able to keep my stitching smoother because the fabric moves freely as I stitch circles and curves.  Using my "Grip-n-Press" assists me in keeping my free-motion quilting stitches even.

I cannot stress enough the importance of this product for making my quilting experience enjoyable.  Fighting with the quilt's drag gets tiring and frustrating, especially once you get your stitching rhythm going.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Are you seeing Spots?

I recently completed quilting Toni Whitney's Zirafah for Bigfork Bay Cotton Company.  This is a beautifully designed quilt and the 4th one I have quilted.

All of the quilts from Bigfork Bay Cotton Company's pattern company are quilted using free-motion quilting and matching the thread color to the fabric.  When I began this type of quilting, I was hesitant and unpracticed.  I had often used my open-toe foot with the feed dogs up using decorative stitches to quilt.  This technique worked well and looked good but was not the accepted technique for Bigfork Bay Cotton Company.  I took the challenge and began quilting with my free-motion foot and the feed dogs down and a new love bloomed.  My quilting has greatly improved with practice and I enjoy the rhythm I fall into when quilting.

When teaching students how to machine quilt, I begin by helping them to understand the importance of rhythm.  We all have a rhythm whether it be fast, slow, or in-between.  Finding your rhythm is the key.  Listen to the sound of your sewing machine. Don't let the sound scare you into quilting with it.  Instead, listen for the sound that occurs when your hands and the needle move together comfortably to produce a stitch length you like.  That sound can then lull you into the rhythm that's appropriate for you.  Be mindful that you will generally have more success quilting faster than you think you can handle.  If your quilting is too slow, the jerkiness of stop and go will not let you create a rhythm to find.  Give it a try. What's your rhythm?

If you are new to learning to free motion quilt, I strongly recommend that you practice making your stitches on the small side.  Once your small stitch length becomes consistent, it is easier to drop the stitches even smaller as was necessary for Zirafah's spots and still have them look good.  It is always easier to increase your stitch length rather than decrease your stitch length once you become comfortable with large stitches. Consistent stitch length is the important result necessary for successful quilting.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Meadow Breeze is moving along!

Here is an update of my Pat Sloan Meadow Breeze mystery quilt.  I have now completed Parts 1 and 2 with Part 3 well on its way.  Wow!  I am actually staying caught up.  Pat just posted Part 4  I love the way it looks and can't wait to get started on it.
Part 1

Part 1 Close Up

Part 2

Part 3
Still needs to be stitched.
Be sure to visit Pat's flickr site at to view other versions of this fun mystery.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Black, white and COLORFUL!

Started another project, this colorful Dresden Plate hand project pattern "Flea Market" by Irene Berry from June/July 2010 Quilters Newsletter.  I am enjoying it so much I am having a hard time putting it down.  I am putting out a challenge.  Who would like to join me?  I thought I would demonstrate the steps I use to inspire.

I begin with applique stabilizer by Sharon Schamber.  This fibrous stabilizer acts as trapunto after washed.  Begin by directly tracing the pattern onto the stabilizer.

As I needed 108 of these, I traced several to use as templates, stacked 5-6 blank stabilizer squares under each template and cut the shape out directly on the drawn line until I had the number required.

Glue the stabilizer template to a fabric scrap.  Then cut fabric around template leaving approximately 1/4" seam allowance.

Place glue on seam allowance and turn under with finger or cuticle stick as I use.

Once turned under, join applique shapes together by hand with a whip stitch as shown.  I used black thread to match my background.

12 applique shapes joined together create one plate.  The plate is centered on the background and tacked with glue.  I then place pins at the tips of the shapes to prevent shifting while sewing.
The outer plate edge is sewn to the background using the applique stitch, again with black thread.  Once sewn to the background, the inner plate is then basted to the background.

Have fun if you decide to go for it.  I have 2 of the 9 blocks needed complete.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Go fish. . .

The fourth Wednesday of every month I hold an art workshop at Bigfork Bay Cotton Company.  Here is my rendition of this month's workshop based on Susan Carlson's technique as featured in the most recent issue of Quilting Arts magazine.

We had a full house and everyone had a great time

. . . and the ideas were endless.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Something new. . .

Simply Patches Tablerunner
16" x 39" 
This is Simply Patches, a new tablerunner I developed for my beginning quilting class.  I have to give credit for my inspiration to two sources: 1) the wonderfully talented graphic designer that works for Bigfork Bay Cotton Company who is going to take my beginning quilting class but who doesn't want to make a full quilt; and, 2) Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! for her wonderfully graphic quilt settings. The tablerunner was quick and ever so easy to make. I feel comfortable that teaching the piecing and quilting of this is possible in two sessions.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fabrics selected. Now what?

Well, here are my excitingly bright fabric selections for this bold floral panel.  I am still formulating a design plan but feeling pretty excited about the possibilities.  I could hardly sleep last night, and when I did I was dreaming about these possibilities.  I am anxious to get started but need to do some real work quilting for $$$.  I will keep you up-to-date on the project's status.

A bit of a break from the quilting world in sharing this small wonder I found this morning while hiking.  It was hiding behind a downed tree in a dark wooded area, only standing about 4" tall.  Often to appreciate nature's miracles, we need to keep our eyes open to the small things of this world.  May your day be filled with small blessings.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Beautiful site to see!

I just found this awesome quilt site by Elisabeth Hartman.  What a beautiful site full of color, color, color.  Her patterns are simply beautiful.  I want to be her and design and see color like she does.  I will be studying this site often and sharing her patterns with others.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What to do with. . .

I am in love with this new floral we received at the shop.  But what to do with it?
 I feel inspired to create a new quilt pattern.  Maybe some flying geese creating a rick-a-rack border at the top and bottom.  Of course, I will use lots of bold, bright colors.  Any ideas?  I will ruminate on it for a while.  Who knows what will come to me.  Keep checking back to see what springs forth.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Plumeria blooming. . .

Here is the latest quilting of Plumeria by Brenda Yirsa that I have done for Bigfork Bay Cotton Company.  This is a lovely pattern with an artist's flair to it.

I really do enjoy machine quilting and especially like lines in my quilting.  Notice how I echoed the leaf lines in the border.  I find that machine quilting takes a rhythm that each individual has to find for themselves.  On that note it is interesting how our quilting can change from day to day depending on how our rhythm changes (or we just can't find it).  Quilting does offer a continuing challenge.  At least I never have the opportunity to become bored.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Yesterday was Applique Club at the shop.  We are doing a block of the month with the "Hop To It!" quilt by Edyta Sitar and are on month 5.  Shown is my completed month 1's block, as far as I have gotten.  Really behind, huh?  I am machine appliquing these 
blocks with invisible thread.  The applique is turned under not raw edge. 

At the club, I introduced Pat Sloan's Meadow Breeze mystery quilt  I am so excited about this quilt that I skipped working on "Hop To It!" and began this project.  Months 1 and 2 have been cut out.  I skipped to month 2 to begin stitching.  I decided to hand stitch rather than machine stitch this quilt.  Notice that I am adding bead embellishment.  It really sparks it up!

I love having a woman's prerogative of changing my mind.  I make great use of it on a daily basis.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I am beginning a new project, a mystery by Pat Sloan as found on Aurifil's blog, or Pat Sloan's blog  This is the first month of 9.

Here are my fabrics.  I am going to machine piece with cotton and machine applique with wool and wool felt using Aurifil wool thread.  Keep checking and see if I am able to keep up.