Posts Tagged ‘machine quilting’

Line and Repetition

May 25, 2016

This week I started the to-be-quilted stack. I had no design plans, which means the quilts had to tell me what they wanted. The bad news is the tops refused to talk to me. The good news is my art quilt group is exploring design elements now. I decided to use line and repetition.

Echoing the edges

Echoing the edges

This quilt was easy to start, because the collage style practically screams for repetition. I did one line of beading, then a line of hand quilting. I’ll continue the process until A) I get bored out of my skull, or B) the top is too heavy to lift any more.

One fabric to hold many threads and beads

One fabric to hold many threads and beads

This quilt suggested I start with machine quilting, which is fine, but the center section didn’t want to cooperate. Luckily, I was reminded that one can combine machine- and hand-quilting. So I did. I’ll also add beads (like you thought I wouldn’t).

I recalled having layered more quilts than I actually did. I don’t enjoy layering quilts. That may explain why these tops have remained unquilted for so long. If I’m very clever, I will schedule a time to put tops together with batting and backing. Once it’s on the calendar, I’ll have a harder time ignoring the task.

Luck and wisdom!

Starting the Year with Determination

January 6, 2016

Long ago I gave up New Year Resolutions for New Year Projects. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t, but there’s a lot more to be learned from having a project go wrong than from having one’s resolve disappear like the Christmas fudge. This year started with my determination to work on projects even if I don’t have a clear plan.

Basted and ready

Basted and ready

These small pieces have been waiting to be quilted for weeks. That in itself isn’t the problem. I’ve got tops that have been waiting for years to be quilted. The problem is I want to quilt these so I can bead them and use the collection for a quilt show (no, I don’t have a show scheduled, but I have to have a body of work before I can approach anyone to arrange something, yes?). January arrived, as I knew it must, and I decided to let the quilts suggest designs.

When all else fails, follow the lines

When all else fails, follow the lines

The first quilt on the stack had a section that needed a quilting design to keep the fusible applique in place. I followed the lines of the roses. The empty white space seemed to say it wouldn’t object to continuing the rose motif. I liked the result.

Letting my fingers do the work

Letting my fingers do the work

The next section seemed a good candidate for roses, too. I did the work right then, while my fingers still remembered how to flow from petal to leaf. The rest of the quilt went silent at that point. No matter. Tomorrow I’ll start again, determined to listen to the piece. Eventually, it will talk to me.

Luck and wisdom!

Finished with fish

May 31, 2012

I only accomplished one thing in the sewing room this week, but that’s enough. Here is my Progressive fish quilt:


I might call this Fish ‘N Cat

The binding was chosen from fabric I could reach, but I think it works well.

I haven’t found my notes on the quilt yet, but it is possible that the top was started twenty years ago. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I was waiting for the perfect quilting pattern to come along. In the last two decades I’ve finally learned that perfect doesn’t exist. I’ve also learned enough about machine quilting that I’m pleased with the outcome.

Here is a detail:

I still have the label and sleeve to make, but since I’ve got to show it at Challenge next week, I know the quilt won’t be waiting another twenty years to be called done. Time now for my happy dance.

The Miracle of Boxes

March 21, 2012

I believe in many things which aren’t true. For example, I cling to the five-second rule, particularly if what I’ve dropped is something I really want to eat. Since I also use my belief in the creed “Your immune system – use it or lose it” to justify not washing the floor, I know I’m playing Russian roulette with my digestive track. Nevertheless, if that last bit of brownie slips betwixt plate and lip I will pick it up and pop it in my mouth. That I haven’t spent a good part of my life battling food poisoning bolsters my belief in the five-second rule, and also in miracles.

This week my belief in miracles was enhanced with boxes. I can’t say I’ve always loved boxes, but certainly have since I became a quilter. There are almost as many patterns for boxes as there are for tote bags, so it was a natural progression for me: using boxes to collecting boxes to making boxes to hoarding boxes.

My latest organization scheme has been to use plastic boxes to store the fabric for my prison class. I can see that I will make progress – eventually. First, though, I have to make time to put the fabric in the boxes:

Collecting boxes, like collecting fabric, is a tight-rope walk between the good fairy of organization and the bad pixie of “ooh, shiny, I like it.”

As you can see, I’ve started sorting my embellishments in the plastic boxes. They are sturdy and stackable, and I can see what’s in them. The leather box with the silver trim is another matter. I told myself when I bought it that I would put Celtic-themed buttons in it, but the truth is the box is little and cute and I like it.

I also collect boxes to give as gifts, when I can bear to part with them:

This box actually will be sent off since I bought another one for me.

Some of the boxes I’ve made have been from fabric, some not. Here is a box I made from a Christmas card, which I used as a St. Patrick’s Day decoration this year:

The miracle of the week came when I was battling my monster of the week – clutter in the sewing room. I wanted to start machine-quilting two batik wall-hangings, but first I had to clear off my work space. I learned the hard way that pushing scraps out of the way isn’t enough when I inadvertently created back art while machine quilting. A couple of green scraps that in no way went with the gold backing got sucked in with the backdraft. By the time I discovered what I’d done my only choice was to pick out all the stitching and start again or trim around the green scraps as best I could and use the quilt as an object lesson. I chose the object lesson, and it served its purpose – I always clear off the space before quilting. Sadly, that often means I sweep everything to the floor. I didn’t want to do that this time, but I also didn’t have the energy to both declutter and quilt.

Then I looked around, and found a plain packing box. I had emptied it, but not put in back where it belonged. Yes! Hoarding to the rescue!

Of course, the real lesson to be learned here is that emptying boxes is good, and I will. Soon. I promise.