Wild Quilting Stitching Videos

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I stitched this green sampler in parts so I could make videos showing my process along the way, so if you’re interested in watching the action, I’ve posted the links to each step in order below.

After doing a few in a row like this, I’m pretty sick of hearing the music that once sounded cool to me, so I think I have to get a new background tune for the next video!

Remember, if you are viewing this post in an email message, you need to tap on the pictures to get to the videos 🙂

Compositional Quilting

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Don’t ask me to define it; it’s a term used by someone else whose quilting I’ve admired for a long time now and I finally set out to grab a marking pen (gasp!) draw some lines and go for it!  I think of it as a kind of wild quilting with constraints but you can think of it any way you like 🙂  I used this process on the light blue side of the quilt and as I wanted to leave the narrow strips on the right side un-quilted, the resulting rows were obviously calling for various border designs.

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Some people mark the whole quilt top at once and draw in every detail they want to stitch before they start.

But we all know that’s not me.  Let’s face it: that seems like it would take far too long and limit my spontaneous and organic quilting process (read as “making design decisions on the fly”…)

For this first one, I decided to start with marking off just a section or two, fill them in, and then choose what and where to mark next, just using lines to define areas, knowing that I might or might not respect them, and then worked from one section to the other incorporating the free motion stitching patterns I wanted to use.  Those adaptations are evident where you see swirls crossing lines that were drawn, which is exactly what I intended to do, but the lines had to be there first so I could know how I wanted to break through them to create the illusions, depth, and flow in the design. I didn’t mark in any of the fine details – just the straight lines bordering the larger sections, the diagonal lines to section off the diamonds, some of the radiating lines in a square or two to make sure they stayed even, and the partial circle outlines – and found that it really wasn’t necessary to worry about details anyway, because as long as specific lines were in place, the rest was just like wild quilting 🙂

I was nervous to draw lines on my quilt top because even though the pen promised to disappear with water, I was worried that perhaps MY pen would not (black cloud syndrome…)  I had seen it demonstrated online, live, and the water spray really did remove the marks, but I still did a test piece first to make sure.  When everything was finished, and I had sprayed the whole quilt top, I let it air dry before putting it through the washer and dryer.  Even then I was nervous to take it out and see if something had randomly re-appeared with the combination of detergent and heat.  But it came out just fine 🙂 Yay!

I’m so happy with the visual effect achieved through this compositional quilting process, and now I’m very excited to do more of these!  I absolutely love how that swirl chain winds up and around from bottom to top (you must know by now that I find it most difficult to complete an intricate quilt WITHOUT swirls!!!)

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(This quilt top is my own design and I wasn’t even sure I liked it until it was quilted!)

Hello Sunshine!

imgp2035I just finished this bright and cheerful quilt made with lovely batiks and offering a nice break from the blah of winter 🙂

I got the idea from a quilt that Kimberley Einmo was doing in an online class so I adapted it to my own preferences (i.e. a lot less piecing, different quilting style and I added appliquéd words to mine!).

I don’t normally go for batiks for a few reasons: they tend to feel stiffer than regular quilting cottons, the prints aren’t usually my style, and they have more of a “polished” feel, especially when I’m quilting them. I loved the aqua batik background of the original idea quilt though and when I got lucky and found a very similar fabric on sale I grabbed it.  I definitely wanted the yellow and while I wasn’t completely sold on the orange I agreed it was needed to compliment the other two and create more interest so I conceded and threw it in.  Looking at it now I know it would have fallen flat with just yellow 🙂

Kimberley’s had a small partial sunshine in every 9 inch block and I wanted more wide open space and a lot fewer pieced blocks so the colors would be more like accents on the blue rather than the main repeating focus.

Once I figured out where I wanted my sunshine sections, I knew it needed words, because words on a quilt just change everything for the better!

People experienced with using the Dresden plate piecing design will undoubtedly wonder why I have partial rays of sunshine along the edges rather than the full ones that would typically result from using either one quarter or one half of the dresden plate.  I could just let you imagine that I was taking creative license here and doing my own thing because that’s more interesting than explaining that I was adapting a ruler to suit my desired shape and had to fudge a bit on the spacing to get it just right!  That takes creativity, people (and a few other words that I might have uttered during the process but won’t share here …)

In addition, I noticed in a previous post a few days back that I mentioned sharing pictures of a couple of baby quilts I had done with star patterns in them and I never did post them, so I’m adding them here just in case anyone has been waiting for them …

I might do stars again, you never know 🙂

Swirling Leaves

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I couldn’t wait until tomorrow to post this one!  It just came out of the dryer all soft and cuddly and I still have enough daylight to get pictures so I just had to share 🙂  I have to admit that I was a little concerned about stiffness with all these appliqués but it came out just fine and I am totally loving the look and overall effect of the raw edges with the intricate quilting.

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This is absolutely one of my very favourites thus far.  I’ve never even been a fan of yellow tones but this soft color (Fig Tree Cream from Moda) is just so inviting.

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(Yup, I do see that little thread that needs to be trimmed)

I’m having trouble listing this one – you’ve heard that before – because it is tugging really hard at my heartstrings, but (gulp) it is currently for sale in my Etsy Shop.

I am DEFINITELY going to do more of this!

That’s it from me for today 🙂  Have a great weekend everyone!

Thread Art

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The custom quilting projects I worked on last weekend have been picked up, so I can now share some pictures with you.  This sunflower wall hanging gave me the opportunity to do a bit of thread painting for detail and some artistic variations in the stitching patterns to compliment the overall design.  I love the versatility of leaves and I enjoyed stitching them in various ways around the background of this scene.

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The Canada themed quilt below has a simple edge to edge loop stitching pattern so the fabric gets to do all the fancy work here!  Both were pieced by Shelley Knott of Mayerthorpe, AB.  Isn’t that map in the centre cool?  I know from experience how much fun (cough) it is to deal with pre-printed panels that aren’t straight on grain so I’m sure getting all those provincial pieces to fall in line was a challenge fit for – as my readers can attest to – someone other than myself! Haha

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I’m just finishing the binding on the appliquéd leaf quilt I posted the sneak peek of earlier this week, so I’ll be back tomorrow with pictures of the end result 🙂

 

Applique Sneak Peek

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Since I’ve been doing a couple of custom quilting projects this past week and I can’t post those until the owner gets to see them first,  I thought I’d give you a sneak peek of one of the appliqué quilts I’m working on now.

There are a lot of leaves on this quilt top – most of which you can’t see in the picture – and I am having a blast quilting them and the surrounding areas.  I’m using a bubblegum coloured thread for this part, even though it shows up clearly on the cream fabric so don’t zoom in too closely or you will catch me fudging!  I will go back in later with the light yellow thread for the rest of the background quilting.

These leaves were made from charm squares and I added the fusible web to the back of each square before I cut out the shapes I wanted (the idea came from an Angela Walters video).  That was the easy part.  Then I had to decide how to arrange them and I went for a kind of spray that starts near the bottom in the area you can see and swirls up and around to the top of the quilt  before turning back down just a little.

I expect this one to be finished later this week and then I will get down to business on my sunshine quilt.  Those appliqués are all done – there are even words on it! – but no pictures for you today – I’ll keep you guessing on that one!

 

Moonlit Waterfall Quilt

I’ve had a busy week piecing together a few baby quilts – yes, you read that correctly, I have indeed been spending a lot of time piecing and there are even some stars!  I got a new steam iron recently and must confess that, for some reason, I’m just loving the process of pressing.  Go figure!

I’ll have some new quilts to post next week but, in the meantime, I wanted to share this recently finished custom quilting project.  It’s a large wall hanging – pieced by a lady in Dawson Creek, BC – with a lovely moon and flowing waterfall that I had a lot of fun quilting.

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I really enjoyed working with the motion created by the water and the draping vines, and I wanted to keep even the borders showing movement (now that I look at it, I think if you use your imagination those spiral fan shapes could even pass for little water pools leading out to the ripples along the edges!)

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I’ve also finished my photo display/design wall.  It used to be a red wall and is now – thanks to the wonder of wallpaper – a distressed wood looking wall in my daughter’s old bedroom.  I can now get full sized photos of my finished quilts without having to suspend myself from the ceiling while the quilt lies flat on the floor …

Don’t picture that, I’m kidding.

Before and during:

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After:

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Butterfly Applique Baby Quilt

 

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I just finished this bright and fun baby quilt with cool butterfly and flower appliques, so I wanted to share some pictures with you, as well as a new video showing parts of my process in getting this one made.

I’m not including all the steps for applying the fusible web, cutting out the shapes, and ironing them to the quilt top because I think there are lots of places where you can find that information 🙂

This is what it looked like after I fused the appliques onto the quilt top (kinda boring and flat for now):

 

And here is the finished quilt, all washed, dried, crinkly soft and ready to go, with the scrappy applique edges starting to show:

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I have to make special mention of the binding because it’s become my new favorite thing:

I saw a picture some time ago of a bright colored quilt that was bound in a black and white striped fabric – even though there was no black in the quilt – and I loved it!  I thought it really made the quilt and gave it a modern funky look that set it apart from the ones with typical bindings that coordinate with the quilt tops.

I started searching for my own black and white striped fabric to have on hand for my next bright quilt and I tell you, it wasn’t easy to find.  There are loads of black and white striped fabrics out there, with stripes in all different widths, some running with the length of the grain and some running across it, and finding one that had small enough spacing, running in the necessary direction was a challenge.  Perhaps if I’d been able over time to visit several stores in person I might have stumbled onto some, but when I get an idea I generally want it ASAP and even online I had trouble finding just the right one to suit me.  I had to import it from the U.S., decided to get enough for at least six quilts in case I couldn’t find it again, and the company only shipped UPS so I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what that little adventure amounted to in Canadian dollars!

However, it was worth it, and it’s even cuter in person 🙂

Check out the video below for more on how I worked through this quilt.  Now I’m off to get started on a custom quilting job I just received in the mail!

 

Prewashing Fabrics: worth the effort

I’m putting a lot on the table here because, for the sake of keeping my process as time efficient as possible, I’ve been following the pack of quilters who never pre-wash their fabric, and not taking the pre-washers too seriously.  But I’ve changed my mind and have no problem admitting it!

**This information applies to quilts that will be loved and laundered regularly, rather than art quilts that will hang on walls and never be laundered 🙂

I liked the idea of not pre-washing, drying, and pressing all my fabrics before I even got to that time-consuming-not-so-favorite piecing process and was happy to learn that there are MANY experienced quilters who don’t pre-wash.  After over one hundred completed quilts I’ve not had a problem with a quilt coming out of the wash ruined by bleeding colors, but I believe that means I’ve been lucky rather than “right” in my decision to dive right in and cut as soon as I get home from the store.  Just because something hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it will never happen!

I recently purchased a selection of solids for a quilt I want to make for my home, and for some reason, as I looked at the array of colors from very light stone to vibrant boysenberry, I started calling to mind the voices I’ve heard recently (outside my head, just to be clear!) explaining again the good reasons for pre-washing.

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I decided that for my own reference, I would pre-wash on all the pieces and see what happened.  I really didn’t expect anything unusual but I separated them into two groups I thought were sensible and threw a Shout color catcher in with each load, thinking I would be able to put this matter to rest, at least for myself.

I’m here to say that I’m now a believer!

Not only did the color catcher in the purple/fuschia/orange load come out pink, but there were dark blotches on the lightest orange piece.  Don’t cry for me, Argentina, (sorry, couldn’t resist) because the pattern I’m using has very flexible block designs and I’ll still get what I need from that piece.  I consider this a cheap lesson because I plan to quilt the heck out of this thing, meaning hours of work at my quilting machine alone, and had I not pre-washed the fabrics, I can imagine that the dark spots would have bled into several places and ruined my finished quilt.  Especially since that gorgeous boysenberry is also the binding.

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As well, I noticed in my pre-washed fabric the exaggeration of something I’ve always known to be true – fabric off the bolt is often not straight on the grain even if it looks straight based on the almost permanent crease put into it opposite an often well lined up selvage edge. I really notice it on pre-printed panels and generally use a stretching technique to get those straight, although I prefer to avoid using them whenever possible.  When you lay out other new fabrics to start cutting, this off grain thing isn’t always noticeable.  But when you wash it and that factory crease is gone, allowing the fabric to move into a natural position, you can really see how much it needs to be adjusted!

I’ve also known that fabric shrinks differently along the straight grain than it does along the cross grain, so when we’re cutting blocks and placing them in various configurations around the quilt top, they aren’t all going in the same direction and therefore have the potential to shrink in different ways causing possible issues.  Since the variations can be minimal, I didn’t worry too much about it, but I’m now wondering if an imperfection I noticed along an edge of one of my baby quilts and a block distortion in another one might have been due to this and I’m thinking the end results could have been different had I been working with pre-washed fabrics.

Thankfully I am not a big fabric stasher because yesterday I started washing, drying, and neatly folding the fabrics I do have on hand and will finish this up today so that all my pieces are ready to go.  I can still look forward to the desired crinkly look of a freshly washed quilt because my batting will have its own shrinkage 🙂  After thinking it was so much more work to pre-wash, I’ve discovered that I really don’t mind. I’m even enjoying the pressing and it gives me a chance to really look over the fabric for any flaws or imperfections.

This has now inspired me to do a scrap purge so that I’m only keeping what I really want and making sure what’s left is all washed up – when I go in I go ALL IN! I’m not a big scrap saver, as you know, but I do hang onto certain things until I have enough for a crazy strip baby quilt – they’re very popular in my Etsy shop! – and sometimes I have bigger leftovers than I expected. I will pass on all of the smaller pieces and pre-wash those larger ones.

Here is picture proof.  Yes, this is my actual scrap inventory and nothing has been edited out.  I have nothing to hide here, people …

For your viewing pleasure, I even arranged the smaller scraps into something of a block with a black centre and a nice black border for effect.  You’re welcome.

If you want to see some live results please click or tap on the video below where you’ll not only get to see the fabrics for my upcoming quilt, but I’ll also show you how to easily fix that annoying off grain issue!