Saturday, May 25, 2013

Final photo, what's next?

 Before I've finished with one project, I like to be contemplating my next.  Maybe I will do a few sketches and pin them to my design wall where I can see them every time I pass.  Or sometimes I pull a few interesting fabrics from my stash and leave them out and ponder the color and pattern combinations.

Recently I picked up a beautiful art magazine to look through, one of those with lots of great eye candy.  There were so many great images I decided to tear out the ones that I liked as looking at beautiful art is very inspirational for me.

Some of the images attracted me because of unusual or interesting compositions while others spoke to me because of a shape or color combination.  As I assembled all of them and pinned each to my design wall I began to see a cohesive theme:  color!  And lots of it!  So maybe the next project should have some eye-catching color to it.  Either that or I have a bad case of spring fever after a long, colorless winter.

And, before I move on from the last project, here is a photo of the finished piece.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Teaching and Traveling

As I go through my studio doing a little spring cleaning and organizing of my calendar, I realize that I have a lot of exciting teaching and lecture opportunities to look forward to!  Some are favorite places I am anticipating returning to, one is a place that I have always dreamed of seeing.  The engagements that stand out are:

This August I will be both teaching and lecturing at The Festival of Quilts , Birmingham, UK.  As a teenager I lived in England for several years and I am really excited about returning after more years than I care to mention (I'd rather no one did the math!). 

In April, 2014 I will be teaching at Art Quilt Santa Fe in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico which is one of my all time favorite destinations.  With all of the art, the architecture and the food you can't help but enjoy time spent in Santa Fe.

And in January, 2015 I will be at the Quilt Symposium Manawatu in New Zealand, details of which should be forthcoming soon.  Traveling to New Zealand has always been a dream of mine so this is a trip I am definitely looking forward to!

More information on my classes and lectures can be found on the links to each event if you think you'll be in the neighborhood.  Or you can always email me if you have any questions.  Now, back to that spring cleaning.......

Saturday, May 11, 2013


I have to confess here and now that I do not enjoy the quilting phase of any project.  I know that there are some out there to whom this is an integral part of their piece and spend time on dense, intricate quilting but I am not one of them.

Maybe it is because of the highly printed fabrics that I generally use - they don't really lend themselves to showing off intricate quilting.  And I have to say that I am much more interested in the fabric combinations of my work rather than the quilted stitch.

I use a 40 wt. thread when quilting, a polyester with a bit of a sheen to it.  Usually I will do specific quilted shapes for different areas, changing colors frequently.  Seldom do I quilt an overall pattern across the entire piece.

I also do not mark my quilts, preferring to randomly "draw" as I go.  Even when doing a line or grid pattern, I usually follow the edge of my embroidery foot when doing free-motion quilting or the edge of a seam and then build upon those lines.

As you can see by these photos of the back of my quilt, I also don't worry about having my bobbin thread match the backing fabric.  I much prefer to have my bobbin thread match the color of the thread that I'm using on the quilt top so that I don't have a contrasting color come up from the bottom if the tension of my free-motion quilting isn't perfect.  I find that, no matter how hard I may try, there is always that bit of tension on a sharp turn or change of direction that will bring the bottom thread up slightly.  Or maybe that is just indicative of my quilting skills!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Final fabric selections

The day that I finish selecting all the fabrics on a project is always a great day as I love seeing the whole image put together.  Yes, it is a little messy with all the overlapping pieces pinned to my design wall, but it is always exciting to see it all come together.  I did my usual ritual of sitting and staring, pondering and just generally looking for anything that did not seem right and then, when I was satisfied, got to work on the sewing.

This second photo shows my design wall as I am sewing the "top" of the quilt together.  I take each section down separately, lay it out in place on my work table next to my sewing machine (see below), and start sewing.  It takes several rounds of sewing, then pressing what I've just sewn, then sewing additional pieces together and pressing again.  All the while I can look over to my design wall from my seat at my sewing machine and see by my pattern the order I need to sew my pieces in.  I complete sewing each section together before I combine all of the sections into one quilt top.  In the photo on the left you can see where I have completed the sewing on the bottom section, am working on the section above that and then will work my way up to the top of the piece.