Friday, March 10, 2017

Kiara and the Turtes

Hi fellow quilt lovers, now that I have finished that king-sized Christmas quilt all sorts of projects are getting done.  They were all waiting in the wings.

I will be teaching two portrait classes at the Golden Triangle Quilt Guild in Beaumont next week.  The first class will be people portraits, and the students have given me their pictures to be prepared for the class.  The second day will be pet portraits; and we have the usual puppies, kitties, but there is a bird, a pig, and a hedgehog for a little excitement.

I made up a new portrait quilt, one I have been dying to make for a couple of years since I took this photo Christmas Eve 2014:

This is my granddaughter, Kiara, who is one of the triplets.  We were at the petting zoo at the Phoenix Wildlife park when that male turtle climbed on the female and started grunting loudly- they were doing it!  The kids were all very curious and we had to hold them back; even if it was a petting zoo, there are times when you should leave the animals alone...

This quilt is titled "Gigi, What Are They Doing?"  Since that is the question I heard several times.... and yes, I'm Gigi.  

These collage quilts are so fun to make.   After working for months on getting perfect piecing and intricate quilting, it is so fun to cut and fuse fun little shapes and watch them turn into pictures.  

I didn't know what to do with that background.  In the picture it was just dirt or sand.  So I was inspired by some aboriginal art with turtles and kangaroos with these big circles within circles.  I wanted to keep it subtle and in the background, but after all that work, I still wanted the quilting to show some.  So I used light colors of Glide thread and two circle templates, Jamie Wallen's 2 inch template and DeLoa Jones 1 3/4 inch circles.  

I did quilted this whole thing on my Innova, which is a big deal for me.  I usually quilt them on my sitdown machine as I have way more control.  

One of my Innova friends was talking to me the other day and mentioned how she is someday going to get brave enough to turn off the stitch regulator, and bam, lightining bolt.  That's how I got control!  I used the regulator to make the circles, but when echoing around the circles freehand, I had to turn off the regulator to gain control and not get jerked around (literally).  

The longarm performed beautifully on those fused pieces where I quilted texture on the turtles, etc...  

I got so good without the regulator that I put my next cameo piece on the longarm.  Maybe I will be posting a finished cameo soon.  Here's what I have so far...

Be back soon, Karen

"Creativity is intelligence having fun."

Albert Einstein

Monday, March 6, 2017

Christmas Treasures Finished!

I finally finished this one (king-sized), it is quilted very heavily and all on my sitdown pfaff powerquilter.   My shoulders are still achy.

It was a top made by a friend and she has been meaning to get it quilted for 20 years!  I am honored that she chose me to quilt it for her.  It is her original design and she is thinking about making it a pattern.  Her applique' is exquisite, and she left lots of space for me to quilt intricate designs.  so here it is, all finished except the binding:

The blocks all have radiating lines and curlicues:

I am very proud of my border design, I pulled those radiating lines and the curly shapes into a border design all my own, with a few feathers...

oh and isn't that candy cane striped border fun?  The braid design is a stencil.  

Here are the ribbon corners too.  

I used all Glide threads on this quilt (love Glide).  It is Sea Foam green, a very light shade and a little pink on the candy cane stripe.  

There are two layers of batting, tuscany wool on top and Mountain Mist Cream Rose cotton under the wool.  

Now I have time to finish up some other projects, and I am taking them to the longarm since my shoulders are tired.  I hope you enjoyed seeing this quilt.  Karen

Sunday, February 26, 2017

quilting around a raised applique

I have been working on this quilt for months.  I am stitching it on my Pfaff Powerquilter which is a sitdown machine similar to the Sweet 16.

There are these holly berries on the quilt that are fabric covered googly eyes.  they make the greatest 3D berries on this quilt.
But stitching around them was rather difficult.  I quilted as close as I could with my foot on, so about 1/4 inch away.  But that left big lumps in the quilt, unacceptable.  

So I thought and thought, and what I came up with actually worked!  I brought the quilt to my Bernina 153 (20 yr old domestic) and took off the presser foot, Yikes!  

I carefully stitched around the googly eyes, watch  here: 

It looks kinda floopy, the fabric bouncing around because there is no presser foot to hold it down.  But when I looked on the back it looked great.  

So I just had to share my technique and film it for posterity.  If you try this, be very careful.  I broke a needle when it hit the googly eye on my first try.  Scary...  But I was extra cautious after that.  

Got 'em all done now and I will be sharing pics of this quilt in a couple of days.  It will be so nice to move on to another project. 

I painted a little on my cameo and it really made it pop.  I used a pink neocolor II crayon to make the background color.  I plan to make a larger cameo next.  So fun!
I'll be back, I promise, Karen

"I always believed that if you set out to be successful, then you already are." Katherine Dunham

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Cameo quilting

Hi, I know it's been a long time.  I am eager to share a new project that I made last weekend.   I will share how I made it so you too can make a cameo quilt.

I took a photo of the cameo and changed it to black and white in Photoshop.  Then I printed it out onto 4 sheets of paper using Posterazor App.  Taped the papers together to make a large pic.

 Now I used tracing paper to outline the lines that I wanted to quilt on.

 Here is the tracing paper without the picture behind it.  I see I missed a little bit of her head scarf - no biggie, I filled it in.

 Now I have a piece of creamy radiance fabric on top of the tracing paper which is on my lightbox.  I then lightly traced the lines onto the radiance with a pink prismacolor pencil.

I backed the fabric with two layers of wool batting and a piece of purple silk for the backing.  I then quilted all the lines with a pink Glide thread.  

I enhanced some of the creases with cherry pink tsukineko ink and a fantastik applicator

 She's about 15 inches tall and 10 inches wide.

 Here's the back with the purple silk and no paint.

This was a fun project and was just a test sample for a larger piece that I hope to share soon.  Thanks for dropping by, Karen

Friday, January 6, 2017

2016 charity quilt

Here is the quilt that my bee made for charity - we will be donating it to the New Braunfels Habitat for Humanity.  It was made with a design by Missouri Star Quilt company, the Disappearing Nine-Patch.  Cyndie quilted it on her longarm and Nancy put on the binding.  It was very simple for a group to make.  We just needed a batik and a white, 51/2 inch blocks.

This wonderful group of ladies call themselves the Wannabees.  We will be making another quilt for charity at our retreat in a few weeks.  

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” 

Have a wonderful day quilting, the weather here is conducive to sitting in my warm studio with a cuppa and a sewing machine.  I hope you can too!   Karen 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas Wish List Items for Your New Year's FMQ Resolution

So you plan to do more free motion quilting in 2017?  Here are some items that make it much easier, just in time for that last minute shopping list.

1.  Gidget table

Yes an inset table for your machine is a must if you are serious about fmq.  You can go out and buy a big fancy setup.  But this little table is sturdy and easy to move around.  I find myself rearranging my sewing room quite often.  This little table can fit in small alcoves, in front of the window, and even be toted to your next retreat.  I love this table.  I bought my first one fifteen years ago.  I bought another recently with wheels which brought up the cost a little.  And frankly, the wheels aren't that convenient. So if price is an issue, forget the wheels.  The Gidget table can be found here with free shipping.  Just a note, the price does not include the insert which has to be custom made for each machine.
   I only got proficient with fmq after I got an inset table.  I had one of those acrylic extension tables, but the drag of a medium to large quilt quickly got tiring. Then I made excuses not to quilt.  With the ease of quilting on an inset machine, it was fun and I practiced more.  Get one, you'll see.
     I also have a SewEZ table for retreats and workshops.    I keep my SewEZ table in the trunk of my car.  It is very nice, but I personally wouldn't use it as my every day table.  The Gidget is just a little sturdier for the sewing room.

2.   Magna-Glide pre-wound bobbins!  These are so easy and foolproof.  I never have tension problems with these little gems.  I buy them from Bobbin Central. The thread is 60 wt. and leaves very little lint and rarely breaks.  I love it so much I bought many colors.  I even bought the little ones for my Bernina. They are a little full for my Bernina bobbin case, so I just unwind it a little so it fits.  A little waste, but hell, I'm the type of person who buys pre-wound bobbins, so you can tell I'm not that frugal.

I bought them in white, ecru, black, cloud blue, light green, light purple and gold.  This covers most of my colors I use to quilt with.  

3.  Saddle stool - ooh a great find.  I saw Andrea Brokenshire quilting at a show on a sitdown machine with her saddle stool.  She recommended using one so I bought one and love it.  Believe it or not, I can sew for hours without pain on this chair!!  I was using an office chair with pillows and back supports for achy back.  Now, I sit upright with the saddle stool.  It makes me keep my posture, but not in a bad way.  I feel badass sitting astride my saddle, yeehaw.  

 I bought it for my longarm (it goes up and down), but I love using it for both sitdown and longarm quilting.  Just a warning, my shorter friends are not liking it for the longarm, since they can't reach the floor when it is up high.  

4.  silicone mat for the machine - like Supreme Slider or Sew Slip.  It makes it so easy to slide your quilt around the bed making little pebbles, grids, and feathers...  I have one of each of these.  And yes, one of the first generation sliders didn't stick as well as the newer ones and I ended up sewing through it several times.  I gave up on them for a while because of that, but tried them again a few years ago and can't fmq without one now.  

And now for stocking stuffers

Thread snips - you gotta have these, they make it so easy to snip those threads right down to the fabric without cutting the fabric.  These curvy snips are the ones I'm talking about.  I have a pair for every machine. 

Blue Line Eraser - especially this tool.  

It's small and can erase small portions of erasable blue marking pens without saturating the whole quilt (and possibly causing bleeding).  Caution, the cap screws on the wrong way (so weird).  Instead of righty tighty, it's righty loosy...  I buy the big bottle and fill this little pen up with that.  

Superior Titanium top stitch needles - read about them here.  They really are excellent long-lasting needles.  I love them and bet if Santa puts them in your stocking, you will too.  

I hope Santa is good to you and when January rolls around, you will be ready to fmq with your handy dandy new tools.  Karen

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Thanksgiving quilt painted

My friend has a Gammill Statler longarm and she used this computerized design to make this top.  She asked me for help painting the leaves and pumpkins and we had so much fun painting this together.   Our skills are novice at best, but I think it came out pretty.

We used Inktense pencils and Linda Poole's textile medium to keep the paint from bleeding all over the quilt.  We used up all of Linda Poole's textile medium and went to her website to get some more, but couldn't find it anywhere.  I got it from a class with her last Spring.  So if anyone knows where to get more, please let me know.  

I went almost all summer without making a portrait quilt, just too many other projects to do.  I have been wanting to make a quilt with this photo of my granddaughter Kiara for two years.

This was taken at the Phoenix Wildlife park on Christmas Eve 2 yrs ago.  We were in the petting zoo when this male turtle started loudly humping this female.  I want to call this quilt, "Gigi, What Are They Doing?"

Here are the fused pieces where I am trying out backgrounds.  I went for a different bkgd, I will share it soon.  Her hair is from two pieces of wood fabric that I had in my stash.   

I was amazed at how joyous I was to get back into portrait quilting.  I was excited for days to see the outcome.  If you haven't tried this, you'll be amazed at how fun and fulfilling it is. 

The pieces are lifesized, approximately anyway.  And they will come to life a lot more when I thread sketch and quilt them.  I can't wait to get to the stitching.  I think I'll add some grass and boulders first (oh yes and shadows), even though there weren't any in the original photo.  

I think I need to keep doing these projects on the side of my free motion quilting projects all the time.  I have several other photos that I want to create pictorial quilts out of.

My new Innova is awaiting the Lightning stitch upgrade that I bought in Houston last week.  I am eagerly awaiting that plus the new hook and training session  that I will take while there.  Have a great day, Karen

"I always believed no matter where you are, as long as you're doing what you love doing, you're going to be happy. "Roberto Alomar
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