Studio News: YLI #100 Silk Thread Collection

Mmmmm….YLI #100 Silk Thread, the finest silk thread on the market. Have you used silk thread in your quilting or fabric art? It’s just incredible stuff, with an unsurpassed sheen all its own. I started using YLI silk thread years ago, at about the same time Diane Gaudynski and YLI teamed up to offer this gorgeous thread in larger put ups for machine quilting. It’s just fabulous for machine quilting since it’s perfect for intricate design motifs as well as tiny stipples or other background designs, adding texture and subtle color without making your quilt look “thready.” Read More

Fun Fabrics for a New Quilt Project

Here’s a bit of the work of the day so far, for a new show quilt to enter into the IQA show this year, codename Accessorize Me!:

fun fabrics

This is going to be a fun quilt! The print fabrics in the middle are (l-r): Michael Miller’s Bubble Blast, Patti Paisley, Peace Flower and Pretty Stripe. Fabrics on the outside from stash. I just ordered more of all of the prints, just in case since these were fat quarters and the shop here is all out. Ordered lots of the paisley print for backing. (I know that my best friend Dawn is reading this and nodding her head, thinking “It’s about time you got started on that quilt!”)

All of these will be combined with a Hoffman Bali Batik in a rich brown for some fun appliqué blocks, and quilted with variegated Rainbows thread. There just may be some silk thread, jumbo ric rac and embellishments added (yeah, that was a teaser). At least, that’s plan A. 😉 I’m off to play some more with the block designs. Stay tuned!

Done frogging, but still thinking

And it’s the thinking part that usually gets me into trouble, you know. Here’s the deal: While I was machine quilting this little wallhanging (it’s “just a get.it.done. item off of the Creativity List:, you remember), I was really enjoying myself. Well, except for those insane arguments with the OCQ and the frogging anyway. But mostly, I was having a ball, and wondering why I felt like this was so different than the norm.

Sounds a bit weird, right? I mean, this quilting thing is supposed to be at least marginally fun all the time, isn’t it? Okay, except for basting, because basting is no fun. But you know what, even as I just typed that out, “basting is no fun,” I realized that even basting this little quilt wasn’t the usual “no fun” process. So what gives?

I’ve had plenty of time in the past few days to think about it, since machine quilting marked patterns is pretty easy and leaves the mind free to wander, and frogging is definitely mind-wandering time. I’ve started wondering if I’ve really been enjoying quilting lately, and I’m starting to think that the answer is “no.” Which is kinda scary.

Stars in my Hand

If I think back to the last time I was truly enthralled with most of a project, my mind comes to rest on Stars in my Hand. That was a great quilt, and I enjoyed making it for the most part. The only thing that wasn’t actually fun was the endless stippling, and part of the reason for the torture was that my hands and arms just can’t take the abuse of tiny stippling anymore, and that quilt really drove the point home.

The quilt I made after that, Grasping Reality, was way outside my box and I know I didn’t enjoy making it as much as many of my other quilts. Stretching boundaries is a good thing, but I think there is such a thing as going too far, and then maybe the potential for true joy in the process is diminished by an inability to rise up and meet your own expectations for success. Read More

Misery Quilt border with background quilting

The power of hasty decisions

Have you ever considered how much power a small, seemingly insignificant decision can have? Even when you’ve thought and planned and imagined what the outcome would be, sometimes the smallest little pebble can make the deepest waves. There are times you can move backward and reassess, and then make changes and move on in a different direction. But sometimes, for either good or ill, you’re stuck with it, as well as all of the other decisions you’re then forced to make because of the first one.

Don’t get me wrong, some small decisions turn out well or even better than planned, and have positive effects on other things, and we call those “good” and perhaps even “serendipitous.” It’s the ones that have, dare I say it, possible negative effects, that I’m concerned with today, and we call those decisions “hasty” or “rash.” Funny ol’ world, isn’t it?

Friday evening I was bound a determined to progress on this quilt, and I was at a point where I didn’t know where to go next. I know how I want to quilt certain part of the quilt, but some parts are still a bit fuzzy, and have to wait until others are quilted to see how it looks. I’d finished the quilting in the medallions, adding a little clamshell edge just around the inside edge of the ovals, which added the perfect finishing detail to the radiating lines. (Okay, so that was a hasty good decision. 🙂 )

Clamshell edging on medallions

I decided to start adding the little tiny pearls quilting at the very edge of the green border, since that was a plan from the beginning. Problem was, I didn’t know exactly what color thread to use. Choosing one and diving in, I quilted about 25 of these little, teensy, tiny circles, and then decided they were the wrong color thread, and had to spend at least an hour taking out microscopic stitches in silk thread. NOT fun. Gee, if I’d tried the circles first on the sample, I’d have known that the color wasn’t right, but did I do that? Nah. A hasty decision with negative results. Read More

Quilting Warm Fuzzy Feelings #5

Mmmm....Quilting!When you have an idea pop into your head, you can try it out immediately, and the result is even better than you’d hoped it would be.

Despite all the misery, this quilt does have it’s enjoyable moments, like this one which is definitely a Quilting WFF. This is what’s supposed to happen when you quilt:

Border medallion quilting

This is one of the machine embroidered medallions in the outside border of The Misery Quilt. I’ve been a bit worried about these medallions since the beginning; the flower is really dense machine embroidery and the medallions are fused to the olive green background fabric and then the edges are sewn with a very small satin stitch in #100 silk thread, and when you put that many variables together, sometimes the finished product isn’t going to lay flat. I’ve been afraid all along that it might end up looking slightly bowl-like and ruffly around the edges in the end.

As an added bonus to the host of unknowns, I really hadn’t figured out how I was going to quilt the gold-ish background fabric behind the flowers either. All I could think of was echo quilting, which is very heavy, close together stitching, and not only might that heighten the chances for a bowl-like, bubbly outcome, echo quiting isn’t my strong point and there are lots of little squidgy points and dips around the edges of the flower, so I wasn’t sure echo quilting in that area was going to go well.

This morning I had an epiphany about the background quilting, and thought that these radial lines might be cool, since the area could probably use some straight quilting lines anyway. I took a wild “hey that looks about right” guess and figured that dividing up the outside edge of the oval into 3/8″ bits would look good, and it divided up evenly, believe it or not. It worked perfectly, from the marking to the last stitch, and it’s perfectly flat without a bubble or ruffle in sight. I couldn’t stop smiling while I was quilting it, because I could just tell it was going to look soooo cool!

*sigh* This is how quilting should be all the time…mmmmmm. Feeds the creative spirit, it does. 🙂

Yes, I really do quilt

Lest you think that it’s all talk and no quilt around here, I took a couple of pics of The Misery Quilt yesterday so you can see the progress. This is part of the center of the Feathered Lone Star, quilted with a Diane-shiko design which I learned from Diane Gaudynski:

Misery Quilt Center

The Diane-shiko design is pretty easy to quilt, but it’s usually done on a square grid instead of this diamond grid, so that made it a bit harder, and being in the center of the quilt didn’t help much either. I was really glad to get that part done!

This picture shows the quilting around one of the birds which are in the setting squares around the center star.

Quilting around hummingbird

The blue marker is still on it unfortunately, but you get the idea! Take a look at these pictures to see the inspiration for the quilting designs. All of the quilting is done in #100 silk thread. I’m almost done with the “design” quilting; there are only three birds left to quilt around, and then I have to do all the background quilting. I’ve almost hit a milestone, but there’s a long way to go yet!