Category Archives: free motion quilting

Pine Needle Retreat 2017: Group Two

Aren’t these lovely? They are the first group of Mini Mod Tile blocks coming from the second group of quilters attending the Pine Needle Quilt Shop’s retreat in western Washington last month. (You can read all about the first group’s output in my preceding post.) The blocks you see above were made by Sandra and Dena (top row) and Linda and Barbara B. (second row).

Here are the second group of blocks:

These were made by Lorri and Barbara S. (first row) and Liz and Roxanne (second row).

The venue for the retreat was St Andrews House on Hood Canal near Union, Washington. In my previous post I showed you the view of the Olympic Mountains from the long porch at St Andrews House. Here are some photos of the house itself starting with the porch, which runs along the back of the house:


The view from the parking lot:


The herb garden:


A pleasant shaded seating area:


Such a lovely retreat and conference center!

Now for more blocks. These blue and white blocks were made by Joyce . . .

. . . and these were made by Sue and Lisa:


So far all the blocks you’ve seen measure 11″ unfinished and were made with the QCR Mini, the small version of the original Quick Curve Ruler by Sew Kind of Wonderful.  Kay was one of those making my “supersized” version of Mini Mod Tiles in which the blocks measure 18″ unfinished:

What about those three blocks on top? Kay was also working on a second project, making Ribbon Star blocks from the Missouri Star Quilt C0. It’s pretty clear Kay likes color!

Another quilter making colorful supersized blocks was Kristine:

Missy was making the mini version using a palette quite similar to Kristine’s:

Three of my students were using the original Quick Curve Ruler to make different designs by Sew Kind of Wonderful. Janna started with the free pattern Spring Fling from SKW but departed from the design to do her own thing. Here’s her first block:


Katie fell in love with the pattern Dancing Churndash designed by SKW for Cut Loose Press. Here are her first two blocks:

Delia chose SKW’s Chic Diamonds design:

With the second group of students I was much better at getting pictures of them with their projects toward the end of our time together. Here is Rosalie with her five beautiful blocks:

Barbara B. completed a runner . . .


. . . and had enough fabric left to make a mini Fun Poinsettia block:


Here’s Missy with her four blocks sewn together:

Do you see how there’s a fifth block in the center that is made up of partial blocks from the four? This is an example of a secondary block design being the same as the primary.

In addition to their blocks (shown behind them), Dena and Kristine made self-binding baby blankets in soft flannels:


Dena showed several quilters how she mitered the corners on her baby quilt. Joyce practiced the technique, making a square with mitered corners in addition to her lovely runner:

Another vision in blue and white is Roxanne’s quilt top:

Linda decided to change the 3 x 3 setting to 4 x 5 to make a bigger quilt. Here is half of her Mini Mod Tiles quilt sewn together:


Mini Mod Tiles looks wonderful in both traditional and modern fabrics. Here is Sandra with her four-block runner in soothing muted colors. . .

. . . and Lorri with her five-block runner using bright Tula Pink prints:

Lisa’s runner makes me think of pink lemonade:

Or maybe raspberry sorbet?

Liz completed her purple pansy runner and made a second one with a charming pinecone print:

Sue departed from the original design by incorporating sashing strips inside some of her blocks:

Remember Janna’s bright batik block? Here is her quilt top complete with narrow and wide borders:

Here is Katie with her four Dancing Churndash blocks:

Can you believe Katie is working on her very first quilt? Amazing! She has a bright future as a quiltmaker.

Katie’s sister Barbara S. was originally planning to make a runner but she liked her blocks so well she kept making them and wound up with a quilt top!

In this photo Kay has laid out her supersized blocks and is auditioning the scrappy connector strips between blocks:

Kay also made a few more fabulous Ribbon Star blocks:

During her time at the retreat Delia finished quilting a quilt begun in an improv class with Jean Wells:

The back is as interesting as the front:

It was all quilted on Delia’s domestic machine. She was on deadline: her quilt needed to be in the mail the following week to Sisters, Oregon where it will hang in the world’s largest outdoor quilt show on Saturday, July 7.

That’s the perfect segue to let you know I am in Sisters right now with my quilt group, the Quisters. We’ve taken classes this week put on by A Quilter’s Affair and we will all be at the quilt show tomorrow where a record 1,497 quilts will be hung for one day. Of course I will be keeping an eye out for Delia’s quilt.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the beautiful blocks, runners, quilt tops, and other projects created by my students at the two Pine Needle retreats!

 

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, free motion quilting, mitered corners, QCR Mini, Quick Curve Ruler, Quilter's Affair, Quisters (Quilt Sisters), Sisters OR Outdoor Quilt Show, table runner, update, wall hanging | 3 Comments

Another Finish: Another Junior Billie Bag

Ladies and gents, I have another finish to report: Here is my latest version of the quintessential quilter’s tote known as the Junior Billie Bag:


I just finished teaching a class at the Pine Needle on making a JBB. I started the class (and this bag) in January; you can read about my fabric choices here.

In the photo above, you see the longer of two sets of handles; these are worn over the shoulder. In the photo below you see the shorter set of handles, allowing the bag to be carried like a satchel:


Notice the custom outside pockets in both photos.

Now look inside the Junior Billie Bag, where you’ll find many more pockets, all sized with specific items in mind:


After those pockets are filled, there’s still room to tuck in bundles of fabric or batting — or even a sack lunch. Now you know why I call the Junior Billie Bag “the quintessential quilter’s tote.”

The original Billie Bag was designed by Billie Mahorney and measured 21″ x 21″ x 7½”. This version is smaller, measuring 14″ x 17″ x 7½”. Billie never wanted to write a pattern, preferring to teach her design in a classroom setting. Now that she has retired from teaching, I have the pleasure of teaching the class. How glad I am! It’s been so much fun sharing her design with other quilters, and in the process I have made myself a JBB or two and given others as gifts.

When Coco saw me taking photos of the JBB this morning, she trotted right over to investigate. Before I knew it, she had crawled inside and made herself very much at home:

It seems the Junior Billie Bag is perfectly sized for a cat. Who knew?!

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, free motion quilting, Junior Billie Bag, tote bags, update, windmill block | 9 Comments

Stella by Starlight . . .

. . . is back from being custom quilted, and she is sparkling:

stella-1
I wanted this one to be quilted entirely with free motion quilting. Karlee Sandell of sewinspired2day was up to the challenge, and I am so delighted with the result.

Karlee quilted free-form feathers in the bright yellow center hexagons and in the triangles that spin around the yellow centers:

stella-2

Contrasting with the loops and curves in the feathers are the angled lines in the white trapezoids. And if you look very carefully, you can make out the swirls and pebbles that Karlee quilted in the background. Here’s a better look at those designs:

stella-5

I love how the random swirls and pebbles play against the random white dots sprinkled on the black background.

Did you happen to notice the four small kaleidoscope blocks in Rows 2 and 4? Each one is quilted with a different design, a Karlee touch that pleased me immensely:

stella-hexie-4

stella-hexie-1stella-hexie-3stella-hexie-2
The fabric in the kaleido blocks is pretty busy so the quilting is easier to see from the back. Here’s the first block in Row 4 as seen from the back:

stella-hexie-back
Yes, I used a starry fabric on the back of the quilt, too. A couple of them, in fact. Stars play such an important role in this quilt that I actually toyed with the idea of naming it Star Crazy.

Go back to the first photo for a moment. Focus on the middle block (Row 3). See how the white trapezoids form a hexagon and the black triangles around the hexagon form a six-pointed star? Stars everywhere you look!

Measuring 53½” x 73½” before quilting, Stella by Starlight now measures 52″ x 72″. I’m going to bind it in the same fabric used in the background so that all of the blocks continue to float in the night sky. I’ll post more photos when the quilt is bound and labeled. I have something fun planned for the label so I hope you will come back soon to check it out.

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, hexagons, kaleido-spinner, kaleidoscope quilts, update | 4 Comments

WanderLust, at Home in Oregon

My “kaleido-spinner” runner, based on Heather Peterson’s Spinners block, is back from longarm quilter Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted LLC. Once again I marvel at how much depth quilting adds to a pieced top:

WanderLust 3-bl

Debbie used a combination of computerized quilting (center hexagons and triangles), ruler work (white strips), and free motion quilting (dark blue background) on my quilt. Look how cleverly the quilting in one corner of each triangle echoes the floral quilting motif in the center hexagon:

WanderLust 3-bl quilting detail

You really have to look for that little blossom. I appreciate the way the quilting adds texture and interest to the quilt without overwhelming it.

Debbie quilted spirals, one of my favorite motifs, in the dark blue background. I added some fill light to this photo to give you a better look:

WanderLust 3-bl spirals

I call this quilt a “kaleido-spinner” because of the effect created by using repeats of the floral fabric in the triangles that spin around the center hexagons.

In my last post, I showed you the five-block bed runner I made using the same block design and the same floral fabric. This is a different shot of the runner:

WanderLust back and front

I named the quilt WanderLust as a nod to the floral fabric, from the Free Spirit line “Wander” by Joel Dewberry. The runner was given to my sister in Idaho, which is why my previous post is titled “WanderLust, at Home in Idaho.”

I like the name so much I’m going to call this runner WanderLust, too. It’s staying here in Oregon. Coco has already staked a claim on it:

WanderLust 3-bl Coco

 

 

 

Posted in bed runners, cats, free motion quilting, home dec, update | 9 Comments

WanderLust, at Home in Idaho

Remember WanderLust, the king-size bed runner I finished last month? It was based on Heather Mulder Peterson’s Spinners block, from her book On the Run Again.  I finally got the bed runner in the mail to my sister Reigh in Idaho, and she has just sent me photos of it in her bedroom.

It looks terrific, don’t you think?

WanderLust 1 of 3
Here’s another view, with the diffused light from the shuttered windows setting in relief the beautiful free motion quilting of Coleen Barnhardt:

WanderLust 2 of 3

When I initially thought about giving the bed runner to Reigh, I was remembering a slate blue comforter she had from Pottery Barn. I’m guessing the spread pictured here is a new one, selected to match the gold fabrics in the runner.

WanderLust 3 of 3-002

A folded quilt looks nice at the end of a bed but I must say I really like the look of a bed runner. Don’t you?

 

 

 

Posted in bed runners, free motion quilting, home dec, update | 9 Comments

Friday Finish: WanderLust

Well, that was fast.

Just yesterday I showed you pictures of WanderLust, the king-size bed runner I picked up on Wednesday from longarm quilter Coleen Barnhardt of the Quilted Thistle. The bed runner needed to be bound and labeled — and that’s been done.

As good as my quilt looked after Coleen worked her free motion quilting magic on it, it looks even better now that it’s bound:

WanderLust complete

WanderLust back and front

Are you surprised I got it bound so quickly? It would have taken me hours to stitch down the binding by hand. Confession: I took the easy way out and fused the binding in place in a matter of minutes with Steam-a-Seam-2, a double-stick fusible web.

I use Steam-a-Seam-2 occasionally on wall hangings and other small pieces that won’t get washed. It should be just fine for this bed runner that will be laundered but not as often as, say, a baby quilt. (Actually, a fusible web should never wash out or come undone if applied properly. I used it on this quilt because I was in a hurry to get it done; my preference is for a binding stitched down by hand.)

The label is a bit unconventional. In fact, it’s not a label at all. I mentioned yesterday that this quilt is reversible so I didn’t want to attach a label as I normally do. Here’s what I did instead:

label

Can you see where I wrote “WANDERLUST, DAWN WHITE, 2016 PORTLAND OR” in permanent ink? It’s hard to see (my plan) but it’s there. I like to include information on my labels about the patterns and designers but I skipped it in this case. Let this post be a permanent record that WanderLust was based on the pattern Spinners by Heather Mulder Peterson. Spinners is one of several delightful designs in her book On the Run Again (Anka’s Treasures, 2014).

My new cat Coco must really like this quilt. She photobombed it:

Coco photobomb

 

 

 

 

Posted in bed runners, cats, free motion quilting, quilt labels, update | 6 Comments

A New Day, A New Year

The first day of 2016 is here! It’s a time for looking ahead but also a time for looking back. Specifically, looking back at what I accomplished in my sewing room in 2015. I never accomplish as much as I think I will, especially when it comes to finished quilts, but I have to remember that I made a variety of small pieces and craft items last year in addition to quilts. It will be fun to revisit them as well.

First up, the quilts.

My first finish of 2015 was Catch a Falling Star, based on Terri Krysan’s star sampler, Reach for the Stars:

Catch a Falling Star (2015)

Catch a Falling Star (84″ x 105″) was quilted by Loretta Orsborn of Orsborn Specialty Quilting.

Then came Toile Story (73″ x 89″), started in 2009 but not finished till 2015. Designed by Alex Anderson and featuring fabrics she designed as well, Toile Story was quilted by Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted LLC:

Toile Story bv photo 800
Next: Olivia Twist, a 31″ x 76″ bed runner made using my own 4-Patch Wonder with a Twist pattern. It was quilted by Jolene Knight of Good Knight Quilts:

Olivia Twist bv 2

Using leftover fabric from Olivia Twist, I made Billie’s Star (56″ x 55″), an original design inspired by my favorite quilt teacher Billie Mahorney, who taught me a lot about drafting and sewing star blocks:

2015-4, Billie's Star, 55x54 (2)
Billie’s Star was quilted by Nancy Stovall of Just Quilting.

Next came Simply Dashing (58″ x 74″), a simple design that combines 4-Patch Wonder blocks (my name for four-patch kaleidoscope blocks) and Churn Dash blocks set on point. Simply Dashing was featured on the cover of the Pine Needle Quilt Shop’s fall 2015 catalog. Quilted by Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted LLC.

Simply Dashing 58 x 74
Pieced in 2014, I finished Sun Flowers, a wall hanging based on my Season to Taste pattern. It’s #9 in my series of kaleidoscope quilts and the third of four quilts I’m making to reflect the seasons of the year. It measures 18½” x 55½”:

Sun Flowers (2)


My final quilt finish of 2015 was Loose Leaf, begun in a workshop with fiber artist Pat Pauly. Made from her New Big Leaf design, it finishes at 24½” square:

big leaf, nov 2015
I quilted the last two pieces myself but was happy to have the larger quilts go out to some extremely talented longarm quilters.

In my next post I’ll show you the array of Pretty Little Things I made in 2015.

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, bed runners, faux-kaleido quilts, free motion quilting, kaleidoscope quilts, New Big Leaf, Reach for the Stars sampler quilt, update | 3 Comments

A Fast Finish

big leaf, nov 2015
Dawn’s New Big Leaf, 24½” Square (2015)

Under two weeks, from start to finish. That must be a record for me, as I am more like the hare than the rabbit. Granted, my New Big Leaf is a small project — but hey, every finish counts, right?

I started this on Oct. 28 in a workshop with Pat Pauly, a renowned fiber artist from New York who came to Portland to teach her “New Big Leaf” design using freezer paper templates. A week later my top was pieced. Now on to the quilting.

This is the point at which my projects usually get tucked away. Like so many other quiltmakers, the actual quilting is my least favorite part. It is oh so easy to procrastinate. This time I vowed not to do that. I geared up to tackle not only this new project but also the table runner of my own design that I had put aside eight months ago. (I quilted that one first and wrote about it in my last post.)

After pin pasting my New Big Leaf, I stitched in all the ditches. That enabled me to remove the safety pins for the rest of the quilting: free motion quilting in the blue parts of the leaf and gentle curves around the leaf using my walking foot. A few close-ups:

big leaf, quilting detail 1

big leaf, quilting detail 3 
big leaf, quilting detail 2
I used variegated threads that blend with the background, the goal being to add texture without adding color.

When it came to the binding, I didn’t want it to provide a frame around the leaf. I wanted the greens and purples to flow right into the binding. The solution: two fabrics in the binding. Here you can see where the green binding changes to purple on both sides of the upper left corner:

big leaf upper left corner

The back of the quilt is one piece of fabric (a departure for me). Although I used four different threads on the front of the quilt, I used the same purply-blue variegated thread in the bobbin so there’s just one thread on the back. The plan was for the thread to blend in completely on the backing fabric. That it did, but it also provided an outline of the leaf that both surprised and pleased me:

back of new big leaf
I finished hand stitching the binding Tuesday morning, 13 days from the day of Pat Pauly’s workshop. What a triumph!

Oops, not so fast. Now comes the confession: my project is not truly finished. Did you notice? No label on the back yet. And no name, for that matter. I was so eager to show it to you that I fudged a bit on my pronouncement that it was done.

I am still musing on a name. As for the label, I’m thinking about making one in the shape of a leaf, using the freezer paper technique I learned from Pat. Wouldn’t that be a fun touch?

Linking up with Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation on NTT (Needle and Thread Thursday).

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, New Big Leaf, update | 6 Comments

A Spot of Sunshine

2014-12, Sun FlowersIt hardly seems possible but eight months have passed since I last worked on Sun Flowers, pictured above. It’s the third of four kaleidoscope wall hangings I’m making of my Season to Taste pattern — one version for each season of the year. This is the summer version, made from a lively floral print from Camelot Cottons.

I had quilted straight lines in the grey background and free-motion quilted a swirly design in one of the kaleidoscope blocks. That was as far as I got back in March. I quilted the last two blocks on Friday and finished binding the piece today. Here it is quilted, bound — and buttoned:

Sun Flowers (2)Yes, buttoned. In the center of each block are two layered buttons, adding a bit of whimsy:

Sun Flower, buttons

The back is pieced of leftovers and includes a sizeable piece of the original focus fabric:

Sun Flowers (back)I love to feature the focus fabric on the backs of my quilts, especially when I’ve used it to make kaleidoscope blocks.

Sun Flowers (18″ x 55″) is now hanging in the master bath:

Sun Flowers in situ

It’s a cheerful and colorful addition to the Portland White House. On the greyest of days in Portland — and we have many of those in fall and winter — it will be a spot of sunshine.

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, kaleidoscope quilts, New Big Leaf, update | 8 Comments

What the Judges Said

Catch a Falling Star (2015)
Catch a Falling Star, 86″ x 105″ (2015)

Catch a Falling Star, my quilt pictured above, hung in the Northwest Quilting Expo show in Portland last week (Sept. 24-26). It was a terrific show, with over 650 quilts on display. A friend and I spent the entire day there, walking slowly up and down every aisle, admiring the quilts and enjoying the vendor mall. Really enjoying the vendor mall, if you know what I mean. Someone did not come home empty-handed.

Northwest Quilting Expo is a juried show, and entrants could opt to have their quilts judged, with written comments delivered when the quilts were returned after the show. I decided to do that. These are the comments from the three judges:

“Lovely color palette. Sampler blocks are very well balanced.”

“Exceptional border treatment and frames central panel well.”

“Wonderful selection of quilting motifs.”

Those are very nice comments. I’m not sure what I was expecting — perhaps something about what I could have done better?

I was very pleased to see that last comment because Loretta Orsborn, the longarm quilter who quilted Catch a Falling Star, did such an outstanding job. On the day I took my quilt to her studio, we spent three hours looking at designs and choosing motifs. She expertly combined digitized and free motion quilting. If you’d like to see some close-ups of her work on my quilt, you can check out this earlier post.

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, Reach for the Stars sampler quilt, update | 7 Comments