Category Archives: free motion quilting

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:


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

Quilting in Progress: Sun Flowers

Finally — a quilting plan is in place for Sun Flowers, the wall hanging I set aside in January:

2014-12, Sun Flowers
You may remember that Sun Flowers is the third of four kaleidoscope quilts I am making that represent the seasons of the year. The first two quilts, representing spring and fall, are Under Paris Skies and Autumn Reflections, each of which measures about 18″ x 55″:

Season to Taste high res pattern cover (2)
The quilting on Sun Flowers is a combination of straight line quilting with a walking foot and free-motion quilting (FMQ) in the eight triangles that form each octagon:

Sun Flowers, one block quilted

The straight lines don’t cross the kaleido blocks as they did in Under Paris Skies. My intent here is to make the lines look as if they are going behind the blocks. The swirly free-motion quilting motif is the same one I used on Autumn Reflections and wrote about here. I used 50-weight Aurifil thread in pale grey so the quilting would add texture but not stand out too much.

I couldn’t resist adding those buttons (not yet sewn on) for the photo. Layering the buttons creates a secondary sunflower, reinforcing the theme of the quilt.

You can see the FMQ design in the kaleido wedges more easily on the pieced back:

Sun Flowers, back of one block quilted-001

It feels good to be this far with the quilting. I have two more blocks to go but seem to have overcome my procrastination, always an issue where FMQ is concerned.

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




Posted in free motion quilting, kaleidoscope quilts, update | 3 Comments

Another February Finish: Olivia Twist

My first (but not my last) bedrunner quilt is back from the longarmer. It’s also bound, labeled, and ready to display. So satisfying to report another February finish! Here it is:

Olivia Twist front (2)

Olivia Twist, so named because of the floral focus fabric (A Garden for Olivia by In the Beginning Fabrics) and the twist block, measures 31″ x 76″ — a good size for the bottom of a double or queen-size bed. The design is adapted from my pattern 4-Patch Wonder with a Twist.

I’m delighted with the free-motion quilting done by Jolene Knight of Good Knight Quilts. I’ll bet you’d like to see some details, wouldn’t you? Happy to oblige.

In the 4-Patch Wonder blocks Jolene quilted a radiating blossom, repeating the same motif in the small black squares between blocks:

Olivia Twist quilting detail front 2
You can also see the whimsical leaf-and-loop motif she quilted in the lattice strips. Here’s another block:

Olivia Twist, quilting detail on front
In the background Jolene quilted a free-form spiral motif with pebbles here and there. Check this out:

Olivia Twist, quilting detail background

(The background fabric looks almost purple in the photo above. In actuality it is a very dark navy and black batik print.)

On the back of the quilt is a full length piece of the focus fabric as well as three leftover 4-Patch Wonder blocks set on point:

Olivia Twist back

In this close-up of the back, you can see more of Jolene’s playful free-motion quilting:

Olivia Twist, quilting detail on back
I’m already thinking about my next bedrunner quilt. My choice of pattern may surprise you. I hope you’ll check back in a few days to see what I have in mind.




Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, bed runners, faux-kaleido quilts, free motion quilting, update | 4 Comments

February Finish

In my last post I mentioned a Work-in-Progress that needed some free-motion quilting (FMQ). Remember this?

2013-10, kaleido table runner 1
18″ x 56″ Before Quilting


Back in October, continuing my love affair with kaleidoscope quilts, I made three large kaleidoscope blocks from a piece of autumn-themed fabric from In the Beginning Fabrics (you can read about it here) and put them together into the table runner/wall hanging you see above. After assembling the quilt sandwich, I did a fair amount of stitching in the ditch and then I put the piece aside. Why? Because FMQ is by far the most challenging aspect of the quilting process for me and it is far too easy for me to procrastinate.

This week I decided I absolutely had to finish it. And I did! I quilted a curvy motif in each triangle of the octagons — that’s 24 total, not counting the ones I made first on my practice quilt sandwich. Here’s a close-up of the quilting on my favorite block:

2014-2 Kaleido Wall Hanging quilting detail
Up Close and Personal


My inspiration for the quilting design came from the book Adaptable Quilting Designs by Sue Patten (American Quilter’s Society, 2010):

2014-2 Kaleido Wall Hanging quilt motif

I modified her design so that it would fit in my 45 degree triangles. The quilting lines are meant to cross each other so it’s a very forgiving design for a novice free-motion quilter like me.

Well, what can I say? My FMQ isn’t going to win any awards but I’m pleased with this effort. And I’m not going to get better unless I do more of it, right?

This post is labeled “February Finish” but in fact my little quilt isn’t done yet. It doesn’t have a label because I haven’t thought of a name. I’m thinking about making a second kaleidoscope runner like this one in spring fabrics, and then I can call them Spring Forward and Fall Back. Just kidding. Hmm. Maybe not!




Posted in free motion quilting, kaleidoscope quilts, update | 7 Comments

First Finish of 2014

“First finish of 2014.” Ah, it feels good to say that. May I present Square Dance:

Square Dance, 55½” x 64½”

Just 18 months from conception to completion. Not bad for me! To read about the inspiration for this quilt and how it evolved, see my first post about it and a follow-up.

Square Dance was quilted by Melissa Hoffman, one of many talented longarm quilters in the Portland metropolitan area. Here are a couple of close-ups:

2014-1 Square Dance quilting detail
Quilting Detail


2014-1 Square Dance quilting detail 1
Feathers and Filigrees

Don’t you love the way quilting adds texture? The filigree motif in the inner black background was free-motion quilted.

The back of the quilt:

Leftover Blocks on the Back


Just for fun, the label is a square in a square:

2014-1 Square Dance label
Final Task: the Label

Square Dance
will hang in the Stitches in Bloom quilt show at the Oregon Garden next week (Jan. 24-26). If you happen to be in the neighborhood of Silverton, Oregon then, I hope you’ll stop by.




Posted in free motion quilting, update | 7 Comments