Friday, July 31, 2020

Misty Mountain Morning

Carving out a little studio time during 7 weeks of yard work (resulting in 32 big cans of yard waste and 5 lbs. lost, yay!), I was inspired by this tree fabric to begin a new landscape quilt...and to quilt that particular piece with a decorative machine-stitch, using the dual-feed foot. The stitch reminded me of snowflakes.

From there, compatible fabrics were pulled from the fat-quarter stash and quilted onto the batting and backing, one piece at a time. This is the first time I've pieced and quilted simultaneously. Saves a lot of strain on the body! [Most of the pieces were first auditioned together on the design wall.]

Anyway, next I quilted the piece for the water, using free-motion stitching with a holographic thread for sparkle.

Following that, a rock/water fabric and a tall-grass fabric were added and quilted in free motion...

(photo taken during audition, before quilting)

...and then, some boulders and falling water (cut from a panel), to add depth to the scene.

An elk was cut from another panel and added...

(also taken during audition) well as an eagle---both outlined in clear mono-poly thread.

There was a problem, though...

See the vertical wrinkles? Believe it or not, I didn't notice them until it was too late---and there was no way to remove them. That should have been done earlier, with the 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water that I keep in a spray bottle, and then pressed with a hot iron (works every time). This would melt the holographic thread if I did it at this stage.

So, what to do? Cover those wrinkles! Two small evergreen trees (one by itself just looked weird) were cut from a wildlife panel fabric and "planted" close together in the tall grass (foreground). Landscape quilting is forgiving; there is almost always a fix.

Two little evergreens were also added across the river, for balance (see below). And here's the finished quilt, titled Misty Mountain Morning.

The elk looks a bit worried, doesn't he? I don't think the eagle is a threat. Maybe the elk is just saying hello to the eagle.

A sleeve and label will be added after some procrastination, now that the fun parts are done.

Everyone have a great weekend, be well, and stay safe!


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Quilting Fronts

Since most of my time lately has been devoted to gardening, there isn't a whole lot to show on the quilting front.

There is one more Mini-Scape...

I threw everything but the kitchen sink into this one.

...and one little piece I call a cameo/medallion-style mini-quilt...

I grew up and live in the home of the Kentucky Derby, and this little scene really spoke to my heart. You can tell it was made without any computer programming or die cutting...just free-motion stitching on my sewing machine. Obviously I need more practice at satin-stitching an exact shape. I generally don't have to be concerned with that kind of precision in my landscapes. Oh, and one more thing...

Do you recognize the background?? Those are my little turtles from Catch a Wave! (Click on that title to see more about the quilt.) I'm so excited and grateful to have this quilt included in the Summer 2020 issue, and absolutely over-the-moon thrilled that it made the cover. Here's the full quilt...

What makes it even more thrilling for me is that Art Quilting Studio (Stampington Publications) is and always has been my favorite quilting magazine. Everything about it screams "quality." And the staff there is just wonderful to work with. Check out their submission guidelines here.

That's it until next time. Have a wonderful summer--or winter, as the case may be where you're located!


Friday, May 15, 2020

Making a MIni-Scape

Four more mini-scapes have materialized since my last post. (Speaking of material, did anyone besides me grow up calling fabric "material"? Just curious.)

Here's the only mini-scape I remembered to photograph in progress. As you can see, these are just little scraps arranged and glued on a small rectangle of batting (roughly 9" x 12" before trimming).

Click on any photo to zoom.

Here are the other 3 mini-scapes, finished.

(This one is sold.)

I'm getting the itch to try something new. Over the years, I've collected ideas in a notebook. So we'll see. Summer always brings a different energy into the process, too.

Also, next time there'll be some news regarding a previously featured landscape quilt. (Hint: I will be sooooo excited and grateful to see my little turtle hatchlings on a magazine cover!)

Have a good weekend and stay (or get) well.


Saturday, April 25, 2020

More Mini-Scapes (& Messes)

It only took a week or so of utter mess in the studio to produce 4 more mini-scapes (miniature landscape quilts), which again were loads of fun and a great distraction from the news. More about the mess in a minute, but here are the quilts.

The scraps I'd been using were fewer and smaller, so I did pull quite a few fat quarters off the shelf...

...which gave me some new palettes to work with.

Still have a lot of those eagles left. I never get tired of using them.

That last one is a little different, due to the fantasy-like horse print from Timeless Treasures. I once did a much larger winter scene with some horses and the moon from that same fabric. Remember this one?

Nordic Night (click photo to zoom)
Anyway, blocking the mini-scapes is a breeze. I line them up (before binding) on the ironing board and hit them with loads of steam (hovering only). The next day I square and trim them.

The bindings on these mini-scapes (unlike those on my larger quilts) are completely machine sewn---first the raw edges to the front, then the folded edge turned to the back and stitched again from the front, this time using SID (stitch in the ditch). The SID simultaneously attaches the little triangle pockets on the back, which are for hanging (dowel rod tucked in the pockets). My preference, as seen above, is to perch them on an easel (with a piece of cardboard behind them for support).

On these little quilts, unlike the big ones, I backstitch and lockstitch---no knots to bury. Nor do I trim the little threads the machine leaves with the automatic thread cutter. However I do put a drop or two of Fray Check on each knot and at the ends of any satin stitching.

Anyway, back to the mess. When it gets to the point there's no room to cut or press anything, or find tools or even fabrics, since they're all in a pile, it's obviously time to clean up. BUT---I've learned that during the design/piecing process, it's important NOT to stop and throw trimmings in the trash can or re-fold the fat quarter I've just cut my applique from. Instead, the remnant goes flying into a pile on the chair to be dealt with later, and the trimmings get swiped off the table right on to the floor. Why? 

Because stopping to take care of the trimmings and remnants after every cut totally interferes with the design/inspiration flow. It might not seem like it would, but try tossing it all aside and you might notice a big difference in how well you work. There's a reason Eleanor Burns throws her scraps over her shoulder!

Everyone have a wonderful weekend, or as wonderful as can be during these trying times. Chin up, it won't last forever. Stay well (or get well fast) and be safe.