Saturday, April 21, 2018

Embroidery with Metallic Threads

When the folks at Superior Threads sent us a rainbow of metallic and asked if we'd like to collaborate on an educational article about it, we said, "YES!" faster than an embroidery machine can lay 1,000 down stitches. <3

Recently, we have been invited to give demonstrations at a couple of local quilt guilds. When Q&A time comes, the inevitable problem of stitching with metallics ALWAYS comes up.

We've often heard:
"My machine just doesn't like it!"

This spring, bling is making a comeback, 
and who doesn't want to throw in a little gold every now and then. Read the article here, then try, try again!: 
Read the Article: Embroidering with Metallic Thread Here

To help you along, we've posted a free spring basket to stitch... 
we used ALL metallics, but you can try just adding a little golden basket to the design.

(you will be taken to our website-- 
just click on the Flower Basket photo to download)

 Superior Threads makes the titanium Topstitch #90/14 needles you need (we also use them for regular embroidery and they last for a very long time!)... plus, you can choose from a rainbow of metallic colors that will make your designs glisten! Embroidering with metallics is so easy to do, and it's so fun to look for ways to use them. We swapped out the polyester blue below for the metallic blue in our blue jay, and his feathers really shine!

Happy Spring!


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

AQS Lancaster Part 2

Here's another round of semi-finalists pictures at Lancaster-- I am celebrating the ones the didn't ribbon, because you may not get to see the pictures of them on line. And as trite as it sounds, they all deserve a ribbon! If you make it to the end, I'm also revealing my own personal favorite, "BEST IN SHOW," just because we are all entitled to our own opinion.

Don't ever come with me to a quilt show-- I tend to wander from place to place as I see things across the room that interest me. It's an approach that lends itself to getting lost and separated from friends. So here they are in no particular order! 

"Toyamo Bay"
Masako Sakagami

Beautiful 3-D flowers, and I always love when the artist disrespects the "frame" of a piece and branches out, pardon the pun.

"Prismatic II"
Toby Lischko

I'm usually not a fussy cutting fan, just because it sounds so "fussy,"but this was just so precisely and beautifully made-- worth all the fuss.

"Agua Clara (Clear Water)
Lucia Souza

A jewel like quilt-- these could be waterlilies, but I viewed them as micro-organisms in fresh, healthy water!

"De Colores"
Dolores Fegan

Love this rainbow still life-- 
and she didn't forget the white, black, and brown.

"Centered Love"
Jo Garvin
Red Rose Quilter's Guild

A beautiful, graphic image-- appealing to my graphic design training. The Red Rose Quilter's Guild, I believe, was the local guild and they did A LOT of volunteering at this show. Helped me find my way back to my friends and the parking garage numerous times! xox

"Graffiti Doodle Diamonds"
Teresa Pino and Pat Lang

I'm not a huge modern fan, which I recognize as a problem with me and not with the movement. LOVE the quilting in this one-- it's so rococo it strikes me as a bit of a paradox-- and who doesn't love ambiguity?

Carmen Maria Cambronero

A Spanish hexagon beauty-- I believe they are 1", and absolutely PERFECTLY made. If you haven't already figured it out, the field of entries is totally international.

"Enchanted Daisies"
Kristi LeDuc

This was a special exhibit--I always fall for flowers. Just look at that vase! 

"Passion In Paradise"
Kristi LeDuc

While I was just posting this, I realized this is the same person as the one above-- I think I have found a soul mate!

"Wild Goose Chase in Paris"
Charlene Hearst

This was from the "New Quilts from an Old Favorite" challenge and the block this time was Flying Geese. A photo does not do this justice, but the background fabric was a map of the streets of Paris. The quilting really captured the spirit of that fabric! A really wonderful, lighthearted theme. I do love a laugh.

And now my own personal "Best in Show..." 

If you are competitive and would enjoy a challenge with a completely hopeless chance of winning, enter the Cherrywood Challenge! I have seen this exhibit in one place or another for the past few years, and it is hundreds of similarly colored and sized pieces, crammed next to each other. OK, maybe it's a focus problem on my part, but to enjoy each individual piece is impossible. How do they pick a winner???

This year's them was Van Gogh, and I found this beauty...

 This is"Montage de van Gogh"by Shelli Ricci
and it is truly a gem. First, look how she combined more than one painting into the image... sunflower, chairs, starry night...

and that lady!

I was crushing on her for a long time-- her hair was a mix of fibers that were so gorgeously blended into tiny curls and a bun. just look at the perfect placement of her barrette...

The quilting, so free and imaginative.
And so I will definitely be googling this person to see what other eye-candy she has stitched up!

So that's about it for my quilt pictures... I honestly wish I could show them all, but as I said before, to really appreciate them, you need to see them in person. Later in the week, I will show you my vendor "loot" and tell you about a couple of classes I took. And I better keep my promise, because next week, I'll have another show to visit...

MQX East!


Thursday, March 29, 2018

AQS Lancaster Part 1

Without too much comment, here are some promised pictures of the finalists at AQS Lancaster.
The first day of the show it snowed, attendance was down, and I had NO PROBLEM photographing anything and everything without people in front of it. Pictures never do these things justice-- you do need to visit these shows in person. I have mostly avoided showing the winners, with a couple of exceptions, in favor of ones you won't see online. My favorites. xox

Tere D'Amato

Yes, this happens to be my friend, and it is with some pride that I will tell you that she worked on it at MY HOUSE, and while we were being silly, I named it! XOX Heading off to Spring Paducah so don't miss it! That corner applique is to die for.

"Belle Ventesimo"
Christy Stephenson/ Jo Kuchera

I believe this is Judy Neimeyer's Wedding Star pattern... I made that one, and I really appreciate how this person also made it her own with this golden palette. A 50th anniversary?

"Limeberry Tart"
Lyn Crump

Hexi fans... this beauty came all the way from Australia. A lot of overseas quilts!

"Double Wedding Ring 2017"
Susan Haslett-Scholfield

Never get tired of this pattern. 

"Interwoven Puzzle 3.0"
Judy Mercer Tesher

Modern and exquisite. 

"Simple But Beautiful"
Jungsun Lee

Love the broken look of this!

"La Fleur de Glace"
Colette Dumont

So happy to finally see this in person. You need to visit these shows! Yes, it has quite a few awards, but just for the machine embroidery work, I'm showing it!

(details below)

 These beaded snowflakes are mounted in cutouts!

The color palette on this quilt is just stunning.

"Modern Movement"
Rachelle Denneny

Love the quilting pattern. Simple and sensational.

"Art of the Ancient World"
Robin Gausebeck

This had also ribboned-- not this time, but gets an A+ for originality.

"Pear Drops"
Cheryl Kerestes

Yes, this did also get a ribbon, but super original, love the color palette, and the quilting is also fresh and new. You gotta love when quilting totally disregards piecing!

"A Visit to Nana's Attic"
Pat Delaney

Hung next to my New England Album and such an honor. Pat Delaney is comfortable in any style-- this one had beautiful little embroidered flowers in each basket. Also from Massachusetts!
"Sammy's Delight"
Anne Marcelis

I usually get tired of color wheels-- in this case, I make an exception because it is just so much fun!

Well-- there are a lot more photos, and I will try to post more over the next couple of days. I hadn't been to an AQS show in four years, and I was just astonished at the quality of work- it just gets better and better. I have to wonder where this is all going to end up!


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Time flies...

If you ever think that time flies, just start a blog! You decide to post once a week,  and WHOOPS... over a month goes by!

So where have I been? Mostly, in my sewing room, trying to finish the coffee art quilting in between power outs. It got so bad in New England here, that I had to ask for an extension. I absolutely hate being a problem person, but it's a role I seem to increasingly find myself in. I finally finished the quilting, with only blocking and binding to go. I know I said no more sneak peeks, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time the Vetruvian Man has ever been quilted... at least with a cup of coffee on his head. 

Then I promised to show you the state of my Bouquet quilt... and since I said that a month ago, it hasn't changed at all! 

I got a lot done in January... I didn't follow my own instructions on the first two blocks and had some pleats on the back of the crocuses and daffodils, so those had to be done over. Then I finished the border pieces... except... the one in the corner. As I was just congratulating myself for completing all of those pieces, I realized the white on white words on that one were upside down. You can't see it here, but I can't live with it. So as soon as the coffee ships to MQX, I'm rolling back in to this. I have seen some gorgeous finished customer quilts on our Facebook page-- it seems like mine should be done, too!

Then, I had to get the Cloud Club done-- to thank you for visiting my blog today, here's a peek:
I love drawing and digitizing these, but they take a lot of testing. The robin will be for sale Monday morning. 

And... I had scheduled a trip to AQS Lancaster last fall. It was on my bucket list, and I hadn't been to one of their shows in four years. As luck would have it, the snow followed us down but we made it!

The drive was really stressful at the end, slippin' and slidin' over the rivers and hills of beautiful Pennsylvania Dutch country. But I assure you that I was calm and rested by the time we got to the show, and and the look on my face in this photo is strictly because of bad lighting. :-)

No ribbon this time... I have to say, after my good luck at Fall Paducah, I'm over it. It is some one else's turn. I finally got to see Kathy McNeill's beautiful horses, and no ribbon there either. So the best reason to enter these shows remains the fact that once entered, you must go visit them at the show!

I came back with tons of photos and it's fun to post some of the ones that you don't see often on line... I will do that before another month passes, I promise!
This is "Papaver and Asplenium" by Karen Hull Sienk... stunning, and very much deserving of a ribbon. 


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dot Almighty

I've been meaning to post some progress shots of the first two quilts on my bucket list for 2018 since the end of January-- but instead of blogging about them, I've actually been working on them which is a good thing! So today I'm sneak peeking "Dot Almighty," and later this week I will show you my flower basket piece.

I spend a lot of my sewing time deciding on names for my quilts, and when you see where they take you, the name can frequently change! So "Dot Zero" has been rechristened "Dot Almighty" when I realized what a coffee worship piece this was turning into.

"Dot Almighty" is going to be shown at MQX East--along with "A New England Album," so don't miss the show! I have been putting an hour or two in at night to get Dot Almighty quilted, but I better step up the effort-- time is getting short.

The first thing I did was add just the batting, and I stitched in the ditch around all of my snowballs. There is that funny saying we have that mistakes will "quilt out," but I was so proud of my piecing in the dots that I definitely wanted to "quilt them in." I have not been an avid stitch-in-the-ditcher, but now that I see how it preserved my piecing, I'm hooked. When you consider this piece is going to be hooped and then heavily embroidered, the piecing really needs the extra help. At the same time, I don't want the ditching on the back so I added the backing after that was done.

The first hooping was the coffee cup shadow-- this started as a mug rug and I thought the shadow very cleverly showed the side view of the mug. It hooped and stitched beautifully, and the shadow met the side of the cup perfectly. Forgive me a moment of pride, but you won't see any more perfect 1/8" matchstick quilting than machine embroidery! The mug rug was 1/16."

I made a decision early on that the quilting would be the kookiest, craziest that I have ever done. So it wouldn't be distracting on the front, I used light thread colors... so most of these photos are on the back. I think it's cool that from across the room it will look to be one thing, but the closer you get, you can find more and more. So if I see a bunch of noses pinned up against it at the show, I will consider it a success!

First, I started with the coffee plants, and then showed them releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. You go up to the clouds, and, of course, the sun is rising above them...

With every sunrise, it's time for coffee and for roosters to crow... and if you have a rooster, of course, there is a farm, and then a quilt hanging on a line. 

In the sky, there a various polka dot shape objects (they are perfectly centered on the polka dots on the front) a balloon, baseball, bee-- alliteration not intended.

With a rooster, there are feathers, and this one also makes the steam rising above the coffee. That was planned, but there have been a few happy accidents along the way-- it does look like the oxygen bubbles are spilling out of the shadow!

I discovered a new quilting pattern along the way... I'm calling it "Bacon." Because everything is better with bacon, isn't that right!

If you are interested in the process, I actually put the quilt on a copier, print out a portion of it, and then sketch the illustrations. Then, the drawing is scanned and digitized in my embroidery software, hooped, stitched, finished, and then scanned for the next section. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. RepeatAnd repeat.

So that is my stream of consciousness approach for this quilt. I'm about 2/3rds of the way around, and am moving next from the sun into the moon and stars, satellites, and there is going to be an alien spaceship-- they come not to conquer us, but just to stopover for a cuppa joe. Welcome to my world!

I realized when I got the MQX letter in, I better step-up the hour at night schedule, and start putting in whole days. So if anyone out there thinks that machine embroidery is easy, just pushing a button, I wish they could see me dealing with massive threads to be hidden, hooping a large, unwilling object, difficult alignments, etc. etc. My moment of pride is long gone, and now, I just feel like I want to take a match to this thing!!

I'm sure all creative types can relate.

So that's "Dot Almighty." I realize it's not the convention to detail your show quilt before the show, but why be conventional? I seriously doubt anyone will copy my approach heehee... Nonetheless-- that's the last peek-- next you have to come to MQX East! Touching is not allowed, but I haven't heard anything against pinning your nose up to it... enjoy!