Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A New Level of Quilting? Got Any Tips or Advice?

Yes, I have done it......bought a long-arm.  These are pictures taken this morning.  My studio is in our unfinished basement but as you can see I have lots of windows and light.  My Tin Lizzie was delivered and setup last Thursday and I have been trying to get in some practice everyday.  I have gotten pretty good at free motion quilting with my Juki QE but this is a whole new ball game.

I had the frame set up at the whole 12 feet since I have the room even though I have never made a quilt bigger than 5 feet wide.  I am hopping to get good at the long-arm and use it for most of my quilting.  Since I mostly do art quilts I also hope to be able to use this for thread painting.  Do any of you fellow long-armers have any tips or advice on how to get up to speed.  Do you have any books, videos, websites or other sources of training you can recommend?  Thanks!.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Little Bit of Catch-up

I know it has been a while since my last post (this is an understatement!) so I thought I'd start where I left off.  Here are my last 3 12x12 challenge quilts created for my art group.

 This first quilt is called 'Inca Man'.  The theme for this challenge was Mexican and I was not inspired by the subject so of course I waited until about 3 day before it was due. I got out my Stewart Gill paints and here is the result.  I did a little hand stitching and added a pile of beads for the eye.

This next piece is called 'Strata' and the challenge was metal.  My idea was to create a quilt that showed the source of gold under the earth.  For this I started with the 'slap and stitch' method.  I put a piece of backing on the table and covered it with batting then started slapping scraps of fabric on top that reminded me of earth.  I then free-motioned them in place.  Then I added gold leaf, melted tyvek and lutradur that I painted. Finally I added some hand stitching and more quilting. 

This last piece. is called 'Regatta' and the challenge was to use one of the elements of water, wind, fire or earth for inspiration. We used to own a cabin on a lake and on Sunday mornings a small sail boat club would meet.  We would sit on the dock and watch them.. I started this by digging in my scrap bin for any fabric that looked like sky and/or water.  I cut them in stripes and pieced about a 14' x 14' block.  Then I cut it in 5 random widths, staggered them and pieced them back together.  I then placed the sailboat reflections, covered them with a little Angelina fiber and a layer of organza.  Next some quilting and then a layer of tulle and more quilting.  I then put the sailboats on  top and stitched them down.  Finally a little yellow glitter paint for the suns reflection and hand stitching in the sky.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

This is the latest 12 x 12 quilt I created for my art group.  The theme was shoes and I was not excited about it.  My first thought was the Ruby slippers from the Wizard of OZ.  I usually don't go with my first though on these things since I think if it's my first thought it must also be someone else s. As you can see, I couldn't get the slippers out of my mind. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What I'm working on

Here is my latest project.  This is for a challenge by the Georgia Quilt Council to create a quilt celebrating GA.  The waterfall is made from leftovers from my Bald River Falls quilt.  Georgia does have many great waterfalls.  I love the sky on the right.  The quilting really added a lot to enhance the fabric.  I think of this as a sunrise since part of GA in on the Atlantic.

Finally I added the Atlanta skyline.  I also love the funky cityscape fabric.  Got this at Red Hen Fabrics here in Marietta and thanks to Maryann who is great at finding just what I need.  I still have some quilting to do and I plan to face the edges.   Finished size will be about 30" x 20" and I need to have it done in the next 3 weeks. This has been a fun little quilt to work on.

Friday, July 13, 2012


I can hardly believe that I have finished this quilt.  It was actually completed about a month ago but I have been so busy that I have not posted this update.   I am so happy to be done with this and I am really pleased with myself for not giving up on this project. At times it really seemed like I would never get done.

Finished size is 78" x 58" and this is my biggest quilt to date.   Total elapsed time has been 7 months.  I have sent off entries to 2 quilt shows so wish me luck.  For now I will be sticking to smaller projects.....

Monday, May 14, 2012

Double Doodle

This is the latest 12" x 12" quilt I created for the art quilt group I am in.  The challenge was to do a 'doodle' quilt.  I put down a backing fabric, then layered batting and a background fabric.  I then randomly cut shapes and arranged  (doodled) them on top.  When I was happy with the design I put a layer of black tulle over everything.  I used free motion quilting to 'doodle' the layers together.  Sorry for the crooked photo.... BYW...Happy Birthday to me  ( :

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I'm Quilting!

I really do think the end is in sight.  I have been quilting for the last week or so.  I have had some sort cold  so I have only been working a couple of hours a day.   The water has been a real  challenge.  The top picture shows water at the bottom of the falls.  This section has 7 layers of fabric.  Starting from the back:  backing fabric, wool batting, base fabric, water fabric, organza and 2 layers of tulle.  You can see the texture created by the quilting. 

The second pic shows the quilted falls.  I took this on an angle so you could see the texture.  These were the toughest sections to do so no I think I am home free.  I hope to have this done by the end of next week so wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Borders! Big step forward.

I have added borders to my quilt! The first picture is the quilt on my design wall which is 4' x 8' and you can see the width of the quilt is too large for my wall. You might also notice that the rocks have more dimension and there are shadows at the waters edge. This was done with fabrics paint. My favorite fabric paint is Stewart Gill which can be found at the larger quilt shows.

The second picture is of the border fabric when I was auditioning it. I love these fabrics. I actually bought these on fabric.com and am really pleased with the quality and price.

I now want to extend the design into the lower borders. The water also needs an overlay of organza and tulle. This is and exciting step since now I see the end in sight. This will be a bear to quilt!

Looks like the final size will be around 60 inches wide by 80 inches tall.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Best Quilting Teacher I have Ever Had!

This week I was lucky enough to take a class from Sharon Schamber . I think I have mentioned before that I belong to a large quilt guild (almost 300 members) which give us the funds to book top notch quilters.

The name of the class was Domestic Feathers Borders, Corners and Blocks. Now I don't do traditional quilts or quilting but this class was full of tips and tricks to improve your free motion quilting. I actually have started a "real" quilt at our house in NC and must say I am having a devil of a time getting blocks to come out all the same. Any tips will be greatly appreciated!

Sharon was an excellent teacher. She explained everything in great detail and made sure everyone understood. One of the most interesting things she does in to dip all of her spools of thread in mineral oil for a few seconds before the first time she uses them. She says that this keep her machine oiled and extends the life of the thread. I was excite to find out that she uses a Juki QE98 for her domestic machine.....this is the same machine that I use so I guess I should have no excuses for my quilting.

If you ever have a chance to take a class from Sharon, don't miss the opportunity. She really was the best quilting teacher I have ever had.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dogwood Days in GA

This is my favorite time of the year in GA. The Dogwood trees are at their peek and these are views from my back deck. Our house backs up to a Civil War national park and I love the sun streaming through the tree in the morning. One of these days I need to make a quilt based on these pictures.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I am in a small art group that meets every other month. Our last challenge was to create a 12' x 12' quilt using strips and pokadots. This is my quilt.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

First Stitch Down Complete!

I have had a big boost in enthusiasm for this project. I gave a short talk and trunk show at the East Cobb Quilt Guild about my work last Friday and was really re-energized by the feedback I received

This is really a major step forward in completing this project. I have spent about 12 hours in the last 4 days stitching down all of the pieces on this quilt. If you are new to my process here is what I do: first I create a base to work on, then I free form cut fabrics to create the design and use a glue stick to hold them in place. Next I stitch down all of the pieces that I have put on the quilt with clear thread.

This quilt measures about 4ft wide by 6ft tall and it must have at least a couple hundred pieces. The water was the hardest part since I used so much angle hair, shredded batting and Angelina, I really didn't think I was going to be able to move the piece from the design wall to the sewing machine. It has 1 to several layers of light pink tulle over it to hold it in place. I am thrilled to be done with this step since I find this part to be my least favorite!

Tomorrow I plan to get out my fabric paints and add more depth to the rocks and shadows on the shoreline and in the water. I am starting to believe I will be able to have this complete in time to enter it into the Houston quilt show in the fall. Stay tuned!