Category Archives: free motion quilting

Label Me Surprised

A quilt I made over 10 years ago has an updated label, thanks to a mistake I made the other day creating a computer-generated label for my latest quilt, Uptown Funk. The label pictured above is the fourth one I’ve made using my computer and inkjet printer — and I may never go back to printing them by hand. (The smaller label on the left is the one I removed from the quilt so I could sew the new one on.)

For the first computer-generated label I made, created last fall for Give me the Simple Life, I followed a tutorial that called for label fabric to be fused to a layer of freezer paper and run through the printer. I had to use two layers of freezer paper before I was successful. Even then, the freezer paper rippled a little bit so it took a couple of tries (i.e. the printer jammed and I had to start over) before I got a label I could use.

On my second label, made for All You Need Is Love, I wanted an extra layer under the label so the print on the backing fabric wouldn’t show through. As an experiment I fused interfacing to the back of my label fabric before pressing it to one layer of freezer paper. There was very little rippling of the freezer paper. It went through the printer easily and I got a useable label on the first try. That in itself was serendipitous. Little did I know there was more serendipity to come!

To make label #3 for Uptown Funk, I decided to follow the second method. Three layers: label fabric, fusible interfacing, freezer paper. I made my preparations and trooped from my sewing room on the second story of our house down to the basement where the computer and printer are. Once there I realized I had only two of my three layers. I had fused the interfacing to the label fabric and trimmed it to size but had forgotten all about the freezer paper.

Arghh!! Did I really want to climb two flights of stairs to my sewing room to complete the freezer paper step? Or should I take a chance and run the fabric through the printer without the freezer paper? The worst that could happen is the printer would jam, right? So I tried it with just the two layers . . . and it worked — beautifully!

Was it just a fluke? Or have I stumbled onto an important discovery?

I decided to test my inadvertent discovery today by making a new label for a quilt I’d made in 2009. Back then my standard label information consisted of the name I had given the quilt, my name, and the year completed. At the time I didn’t appreciate the importance of providing additional information, such as the the designer of the quilt (if it wasn’t me) or the name of the person who quilted it for me. Nowadays I make it a point to include all that information on my labels.

Fiesta was quilted for me by the late great Lee Fowler, and I have been wanting to update the label information to acknowledge that for a very long time. I’ve actually been meaning to go back and remake several of my older labels but have always found an excuse to put it off. Creating labels by hand can be onerous and time-consuming, even when the results are pleasing. But now, thanks to the ease and speed of making a computer-generated label, my procrastination may be a thing of the past.

Here, very briefly, are the steps I took to make this label:

First, featherweight interfacing is fused to the label fabric. (I used Pellon 911FF.) Both pieces are cut slightly larger than a standard sheet of paper, 8½” x 11″:


Second, the fused fabrics are trimmed to 8½” x 11″ exactly:


Third, the two layers are fed into the inkjet printer and the label is printed from a file created on the computer. I tried two different sizes of type since I had room on the page for two labels:


Going with the smaller type, I decided I wanted a round label 4″ in diameter. (Labels can be any shape but I like the look of a round label.) My standard pattern is a compact disc measuring 4⅝” in diameter but it seemed a bit large so I made a trip to the kitchen to find just the right size to trace around. This small blue bowl is exactly 4″ across:

The larger circle drawn around the label was made with a compact disc, the smaller with the blue bowl.

I traced around the blue bowl on the wrong side of my label backing fabric so that when I held both layers up to the light I could position the top layer properly:

I don’t have a light table so the window had to do.

After being stitched and turned inside out, my label was ready to sew into place:

I chose to appliqué mine by hand but on another quilt it might be machine appliquéd if the stitching lines wouldn’t be distracting on the right side of the quilt.

My labels were printed on an HP OfficeJet Pro 8620. I know that all inkjet printers are not created equally. There must be wide variations between brands and models. I can’t help but wonder: with two successful labels behind me made with the new combo of label fabric + fusible interfacing + fabric for the back of the label, how transferable is this method of printing computer-generated labels?

Ah, that’s where you come in. If you are the least bit intrigued with my accidental discovery, would you be willing to make a test label? If this method works with different brands of printers — and different brands of fusible interfacing — I would be willing to create a  tutorial for my website with detailed instructions and a lot of photos. I thank in advance any quilter who decides to go for this.

Before I sign off, here’s a look at Fiesta, the first in my series of kaleidoscope quilts, front and back:

Fiesta, 54″ square (2009)
Back of Fiesta (2009)

Yes, I need to get a new photo of the back with the updated label!

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, free motion quilting, kaleidoscope quilts, quilt labels, tutorial, update | 12 Comments

A Walk in the Neighborhood

It’s a bit of a stretch. The reference is to the walking foot on my Janome sewing machine, used to quilt Uptown Funk, my version of the Dresden Neighborhood quilt.


I seriously considered doing some free motion quilting in the background. Little spirals would have looked good or perhaps some pebbling. Alas, free motion quilting is not my strong suit. After considerable waffling I opted to keep it simple and go for straight lines. The doors on my wonky Dresden houses appear to radiate from the center circle so I extended the concept with my quilting lines radiating to the outer edges of the quilt.

Here’s a peek at the backing fabric:

The fabric, an older print from Timeless Treasures, features another kind of uptown neighborhood: Central Park in New York City. I’ve used this fun retro print in other projects and am happy to report I have plenty left. (There’s a funny story about this fabric you can read about here.)

My wonky Dresden neighborhood quilt measures 24″ x 26″ after trimming. Now I’m trying to decide what fabric to use for binding. Solid black seems too severe. Solid green? No, that would be too much green. I’m leaning toward using one of the black prints from the quilt and maybe inserting a very thin green flange.

Do you approve?

 

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, Janome 9450QCP, update, wall hanging, wonky Dresden neighborhood | 7 Comments

Throwback Thursday: Give Me the Simple Life (2019)

It’s time for the tenth and final installment in my Throwback Thursday series looking at quilts made in the last decade. Coming up with my choice for 2019 was easy: it was the only quilt I completed last year! Here is Give Me the Simple Life:

Give Me the Simple Life, 95″ square (2019)

The pattern is Hazel’s Diary Quilt by Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts. Regular readers followed the making of this quilt from my very first block (and post) in January 2018 till its completion in September 2019.

I’m very proud of this accomplishment, as I made it my goal to become proficient in needleturn appliqué during the making of the quilt. It certainly provided ample opportunities for practice! Longarm quilter Kazumi Peterson did the amazing quilting.

Approved by Coco the Cat Inspector

Give Me the Simple Life will be on display later this month at Northwest Quilters’ 46th annual show, “A Festival of Quilts,” in its new venue, Camp Withycombe, in Clackamas, Oregon. Dates are Friday and Saturday, March 20 and 21. If you are in the neighborhood, please stop by. There’ll be over 300 quilts on display and lots of vendors selling wonderful things (like fabric).

Thank you so much for joining me in this 10-week lookback at some of my favorite quilts!

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, cats, free motion quilting, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, Throwback Thursday, update | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday: Catch a Falling Star (2015)

Today marks Week Six of Throwback Thursday. Each week since the beginning of the year I’ve highlighted one quilt made in successive years beginning in 2010. This week we’re up to a quilt made in 2015.

Choosing my quilt for 2015 was easy. It had to be Catch a Falling Star, my version of Terri Krysan’s Reach for the Stars:

Catch a Falling Star, 84″ x 105″ (2015)

Often when I finish a quilt, there are one or two things I would have done differently. Not with this one. I love every block, I’m happy with every modification I made to Terri’s original design, and I’m thrilled to pieces with the combination of computerized and free-motion quilting done by Loretta Orsborn.

Instructions for Reach for the Stars appeared in seven consecutive issues of Quilters Newsletter Magazine, beginning with the Oct./Nov. 2013 issue and ending with the Oct./Nov. 2014 issue. Sadly, QNM is no longer in publication.

Almost every month I receive a request from a quilter wanting to know how to get directions for Reach for the Stars. A few years ago I could point to eBay or Etsy for the needed issues but copies are getting harder to find. My advice nowadays is to check with a local quilt guild to see if any member has these seven issues and would be willing to lend or sell them to the person wanting to make the quilt.

Catch a Falling Star was my first ever sampler quilt. I wasn’t sure I would ever make another one. But I did. You’ll see that one when I reach Week 10 of Throwback Thursday.

Thanks for joining me on my weekly trip down Memory Lane!

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, faux-kaleido quilts, free motion quilting, mitered corners, Reach for the Stars sampler quilt, Sew-Along, Throwback Thursday, update | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday: Square Dance (2014)

Throwback Thursday already?? It seems impossible but we are in the final week of January, Week 5 (and Year 5) of my 10-year-lookback at quilts. I started with 2010 at the beginning of the month and now I’m up to 2014.

In Square Dance you see my interpretation of the classic Twist block. Every Twist quilt I’ve ever seen features a solid fabric in the center of each block and two fabrics for the lattice. My version incorporates a lovely folk art floral in the center of each block and 12 fabrics in the lattice — four each of rose, green, and purple:

Square Dance, 55½” x 64½” (2014)

It was quite a challenge getting the balance of fabrics just right but I was very pleased with the outcome.

The beautiful quilting by Melissa Hoffman of Fiddlestitches is hard to see so here’s a close-up:

I remember Melissa telling me she had to wear a headlamp to stitch the free-motion filigree design in the interior of the quilt. Black thread on solid black fabric: what a challenge that must have been!

Square Dance is one of my quilts in rotation on the back of the couch in our living room. In fact, it’s there right now, and I managed to get a shot just now while the sun was briefly shining:

 

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, home dec, snowball blocks, Throwback Thursday, update | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday: Dianthus (2010)

First things first:  Happy New Year!! Can you believe it’s 2020?

I’m taking a look back at some of the quilts I’ve made over the last 10 years, starting in 2010. (I got the idea from Thelma at Cupcakes’n’Daisies who posted on Instagram yesterday with photos of 10 gorgeous quilts she made between 2010 and 2019. Check out her beauties at instagram.com/thelmacupcake.

For 2010 I chose this quilt, Dianthus:

Dianthus, 57″ x 67″ (2010)

The pattern is 4-Patch Stacked Posies by HD Designs. I had recently discovered the four-patch kaleidoscope block and was having great fun investigating the possibilities with other fabrics and other settings. Here you see a large strip of the focus fabric as well as the blocks that didn’t make the cut for the front of the quilt:

I quilted this one myself and I don’t mind telling you I was a bundle of nerves during the process. Here are a couple of close-ups:

I used a variegated thread of green and lavender. The color variation is very subtle, which is just what I wanted.

Why the name Dianthus? The fabric is a gorgeous melange of blossoms including tulips, hydrangeas, and carnations. Dianthus is the Latin word for carnation. The quilt wound up at the home of my twin sister, Diane. ‘Nuff said.

When Diane’s grandson Edward was a baby, the quilt was used in his bedroom at her home:


Edward is now 10 years old. (How did that happen?) He’s still a frequent overnight visitor but as you might imagine his room looks very different today. The crib has been replaced with a trundle bed, for one thing.

And the quilt? Nowadays it’s folded at the bottom of the bed in the first floor guest room and is often pulled into service for a lap quilt while watching TV. The 57″ x 67″ size makes it a good candidate for that.

Thanks for stopping by on this second day of the New Year. Do come back for next week’s Throwback Thursday to see a quilt I made in 2011.

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, baby quilt, family, faux-kaleido quilts, free motion quilting, home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, Throwback Thursday, update | 4 Comments

JBB 3-D

A rather cryptic title for a blog post, I know, but regular readers know what it means. My latest Junior Billie Bag in-the-making has gone three-dimensional:

As I’ve mentioned before, this is my favorite part of the process, when a series of flat panels like this . . .

. . . and this . . .

. . . and this . . .

. . . are transformed into the quintessential quilter’s tote known as the Junior Billie Bag.

Junior Billie Bags (JBBs for short) have been a frequent topic on my blog since I started teaching Billie Mahorney’s design three years ago. I have been asked many times about a pattern for this tote but Billie, who owns the copyright on the design, never wanted to create a pattern.

Teaching her design in a hands-on class is by far the best way to go because I can share tips and techniques that have come to me through experience and also troubleshoot problems my students may encounter, just as Billie did when she was teaching. I’m so sorry that quilters across the country and beyond who have seen pictures of various JBBs on my blog don’t have the opportunity to create one of their own.

As I was snapping photos for this post, a little white paw made its way into the frame:


Uh-oh. It can only be Coco the Photobomb!

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, cats, Churning Stars quilt block, free motion quilting, Junior Billie Bag, tote bags, update | 5 Comments

The Judges’ Comments

Give Me the Simple Life (95″ square), made by Dawn White, quilted by Kazumi Peterson, 2019. Design: Hazel’s Diary Quilt by Shelly Pagliai.

Give Me the Simple Life, my version of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, is home again after hanging for three days at last week’s Northwest Quilting Expo. I entered my quilt for judging in the traditional category and received the judges’ comments when I picked my quilt up this morning.

Here’s what the judges said:

“A very compelling combination of a primary color palette. Presentation inside scalloped sashings is so appealing and beautifully executed.” Credit is due Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts, who designed Hazel’s Diary Quilt and cheered me on every step of the way as I posted my progress on Instagram and on this blog.

“Hand appliqué stitch is very well done.” This comment means a lot to me because I took on the challenge of making this quilt to become proficient at needleturn appliqué.

“Machine piecing is precisely done.” Thank you, judges.

“Quilting motifs are well chosen to fill the spaces.” Kudos to Kazumi Peterson, whose free motion quilting skills and precise ruler work greatly enhanced the finished product.

“Outside edge of quilt should be straight and corners square.” This comment caught me by surprise. Were the corners really not square? I used a square ruler to trim my quilt before attaching the binding.  Of course I got out that ruler and checked the corners. The first three were perfectly square. But guess what? The fourth corner was an eighth of an inch off!

I know there are many other imperfections in this quilt but all in all, I am very happy with how it turned out. Most of all, I am glad that it’s done!!

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, free motion quilting, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, Northwest Quilting Expo, update | 7 Comments

NW Quilting Expo 2019

Yesterday found me happily wandering around NW Quilting Expo, now in its 19th year, out at Delta Park in Portland. Hundreds of quilts were on display, including mine and several made by friends, fellow quilt guild members, and students.

Given my recent experience with needleturn appliqué, I found myself looking more closely at quilts featuring appliqué. There were some stunners, that’s for sure! Let’s look at a few of them:

Hosanna, made and quilted by Audra Rasnake of Meadowview VA

Detail of Audra Rasnake’s Hosanna:

 

Spring Explosion, made and quilted by Sharon Engel of Greeley CO

Detail of Sharon Engel’s Spring Explosion:

 

Baltimore Wreaths & Roses, made by Kathie Kerler of Portland OR, quilted by Cory Allender

 

Here’s a fun one made by Judy Liebo, one of the featured quilters:

Disney, Eat Your Heart Out, made and quilted by Judy Liebo

Judy reproduced Disney princesses (with permission), replacing the faces with photos of her granddaughters. Check out Tinkerbelle — that’s Judy’s face — in the upper right corner:

 

Here’s my quilt:

Give Me the Simple Life, made by Dawn White of Portland OR, quilted by Kazumi Peterson

 

Among the other quilts that caught my eye:

Cake Plate, made and quilted by Salena Korpi Beckwith of Columbia Falls MT

 

Zinnia, made and quilted by Heidi Thaut of Bend OR

 

Dancing Diadems, made and quilted by Emily Blackmer of Tacoma WA

 

Happy Chance, made by Dianne Denhem of Oregon City OR, quilted by Kazumi Peterson

 

Polar Vortex, made and quilted by Jean Ludeman of Welches OR

 

My Little Amsterdam, made by Sandy Arbuthnot of Lake Oswego OR, quilted by Nancy Stovall

 

Zebra Portrait, made by Jill Huntington of Portland OR, quilted by Nancy Stovall

 

Little Pieces of My Heart, made and quilted by Gail Weiss of Portland OR

 

La Fin du Monde, made and quilted by Cheryl Farris of Portland OR

 

Here’s another of featured quilter Judy Liebo’s whimsical challenge quilts . . .

Mr Piano Man Sings the Blues, made and quilted by Judy Liebo

. . . and here’s Judy herself with another one:

Sometimes It Is a Zebra, made in a small group project with three others and quilted by Judy Liebo

 

Linda Reinert, a fellow teacher at Montavilla Sewing Center in Lake Oswego, was another featured quilter. Here’s Linda with her husband’s favorite quilt:

Platform 9¾, made and quilted by Linda Reinert of Vancouver WA

This one was also made by Linda as part of a group challenge on the theme of architecture:

Made in Portland, made and quilted by Linda Reinert of Vancouver WA

 

Look at the beautiful embroidery in this detail of Marcia Sanderman’s award-winning quilt:

Here’s a look at the entire quilt:

Flowerville, made by Marcia Sanderman of Beaverton OR, quilted by Teresa Koster

 

I hope you enjoyed seeing a few of the quilts that caught my fancy at the show. If you are anywhere in the vicinity, I highly recommend that you visit NW Quilting Expo today or tomorrow. If that’s not in the cards, you can see videos and photos on NWQE’s Instagram page.  Sometime soon photos of all the winning quilts will be pictured on NWQE’s website.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, free motion quilting, Northwest Quilting Expo, update | 7 Comments

Looking Back on 2018

Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a Best of 2018 Linky Party, inviting bloggers to highlight their top five posts of last year. It’s a fun way to look back over the past 12 months and identify some of the high points.

Finished projects are always high points for me so that’s where I’m taking you now, showing you five projects in random order. Clicking on the links below will take you to the original posts where you can read more about the finishes and see more photos.

Number 1. Quilt Finish: Checkerboard Curves

This 44″ square quilt was made from the pattern Dancing Churndash by Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson of sewkindofwonderful.com. I’ve made several quilts using their Quick Curve Ruler; this is one of my favorites.

Number 2. Quilt Finish: Hip Hop

A lively print featuring kangaroos was the inspiration for this wall hanging made using my pattern Full Moon Rising. Finished size: 16″ x 59″.

Number 3. Quilt Finish: Bluebirds for Bethany

Scraps from another quilt went into this lap quilt for granddaughter Bethany featuring Karin Hellaby’s method of making pineapple blocks. The quilt measures 57″ x 58″.

Number 4. Project Finish: Junior Billie Bag #8

The essential quilter’s tote, designed by Billie Mahorney. It’s 14″ wide, 17″ tall, and 7½” deep. I’ve been teaching Billie’s design for three years now and make a bag every time I teach a class. This one is a gift for a dear friend.

Number 5. Quilt Finish: Spokesong

I became quite enamored with Corey Yoder’s pattern Idyllic and taught it at a quilt retreat last year. This quilt was my class sample. It’s a lively design so I simplified three blocks to give the eye a place to rest. The quilt measures 53½” x 67″.

Joining the Best of 2018 Linky Party has been a useful exercise in reviewing my quilting accomplishments over the last year. I’m also inspired by looking at the work of other  quilters who blog. Take a few minutes right now and join the party! Clicking on the link will transport you right there.

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, free motion quilting, home dec, Idyllic, pineapple quilt block, Quick Curve Ruler, quilt retreat, update, wall hanging | 2 Comments