Patsy Thompson’s Two New Books on Quilting

Patsy Thompson is a wonderful quilter and although she uses a domestic sewing machine, and I am a longarm quilter, I love her work. She does absolutely stunning quilting and uses innovative techniques for quilting and applique. I am so intrigued by her hyperquilting designs and have actually used the technique on a quilt. I’d love to try it again and think I must have both of her new books.

The first book is a primer on feathers and the second is a book on hyperquilting. She has videos on her website:  Patsy Thompson Designs:. that allow you to see the details inside her books. These videos are enough to make you sure you want to purchase them if you are a quilter. I have no affiliation and don’t know Patsy, but I have followed her website and blog for many years.

Patsy also has some wonderful instructional videos on youtube as well as free downloads of quilting designs on her website.

Friendship Star Baby Quilt

Since I’m not quilting this week, I thought I’d take a look back at some of the things I’ve done. This friendship star baby quilt, pieced and quilted in 2007, is one of my favorites. While the fabrics are not traditional baby colors because I used a novelty print with brightly colored dolphins and then added purple and orange Moda prints, it is a fun quilt for a child. In order to use up all the fabrics, the back has some piecing also.

The quilting design is one of my favorites and is a combination of two different types of swirls that I often do free-style. I have a digital quilting design at called Lollipops that is the pattern for this quilting design.

I designed the quilt in Electric Quilt 6 software and you can download it here.

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Variation added to Layered Pinwheel Block Instructions

I added a variation to the Layered Pinwheel Block instructions. The link is below – hope you enjoy!

Layered Pinwheel Block rev 04-27-2010

I’m visiting my twin grandsons and having a grand time. They’re such a delight as are my daughter and son-in-law! Now we’re off to the park!

Finished t-shirt quilt for alumni group

What a busy week this has been–so busy I didn’t get to the gym on Wed or Fri. But I did finish the t-shirt commemorative quilt for the alumni association group at UNC. I thoroughly enjoyed working on this one. First of all, I love Carolina blue; and second, this quilt is a commemoration of a very special faculty member. Here are some photos.

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Layered Scrappy Pinwheel Quilt Block – using Accuquilt GO

Here’s a fun block I made using Accuquilt GO dies: 2 1/2 inch strip die and the 4 1/2 inch square from the Value Die.  The inspiration is from Bonnie Hunter’s “Strip Twist” on Rather than four strips, I just used two. It looks great set in a quilt and is a quick and easy block to make. I made a 5 minute video showing how I put this together. I also made up an instruction sheet that you can download.  Please let me know if you have any questions about this one.

Here are some photos:

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Here’s the instruction sheet:

Layered Pinwheel Block rev 04-27-2010

And here’s the video:

French Braid for Norma

For the last week I have worked on a French Braid quilt that Norma pieced. It looks great, but I learn lessons on every quilt–or reinforce lessons I should have learned in the past. On this one I wish I had done more stabilization and maybe even some basting before I started any of the quilting. That helps keep vertical strip quilts square, and especially the French braids because all the piecing is on point. It is amazing though, how it all comes out right in the end when quilting with a longarm.

Here are some photos:

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Happy to have little visitors

I don’t usually post personal pictures – but I had a couple of visitors yesterday that made me so happy. Ezri continues to improve and make great strides since her surgery last fall. Her hair has grown back all over and her scars rarely show except just in front of her ears. Kes is just a bundle of fun and love and mischief. They’ve planted a vegetable garden in our backyard and that means they come over more often–which I love.

In the meantime, I spent yesterday working on Norma’s French Braid and stitching the binding on Mother’s Rail Fence on Point. I quilted both of them with the Tilt-a-Whirl design. I still have lots of frogging to do on the Rail Fence before it’s ready to ship. The French braid is on the last row and then there are borders to do.

Timing, Tension, and Thread Issues

I have had timing and tension problems ever since I got the new open toe hopping foot. This hopping foot gives me so much more visualization of my quilting that I will not give it up. The answer has to be to adjust something on my machine. There is a good 1/8 inch difference in length between my old hopping foot and the new one. I think that the difference in height of the hopping foot, although I did lower the shorter one to be the same as the old one, has affected both timing and tension.

I have retimed the machine over and over. It seems all right for awhile and then I start getting skipped stitches. My last re-timing was Monday, and all seems better now than ever. I do believe that having perfect timing also makes for good tension.

The other difference that I have noted is the way the thread comes off the cone. I have always used Aurifil thread almost exclusively. When the thread begins to get low on the spool, both at the bottom of the spool and when there isn’t much thread left on the spool, it seems to stick at times–almost as if the thread was starched when it was wound. I used to always soak the cones of thread with silicone, and I never had tension problems. There was a discussion on MQR yesterday about soaking thread in oil or silicone, so I decided to try the silicone soak again. It completely solved my tension problem.

The discussion on MQR was that Sharon Schamber recommends soaking thread in a light oil. Those who have tried it, really like the solution. It has to be a clear and very light oil, such as the oil used for oiling  your longarm machine.

Bottom line (no pun intended), there is a real issue with the thread coming off the cone. When I use Glide thread (a slick, shiny poly), I occasionally get loopies on the back. I can see it happen at the needle as the thread will spring out to the side between the last two thread loops on it’s way to the needle for just a couple of stitches. I dumped a whole cone of Glide into the trash can because I was so frustrated with the loopies (was that wise?). When I use a thread net, it holds the thread too tightly, no matter how much I loosen the tension. And I have the issue of the thread sticking on the Aurifil. I’ve tried everything, but the silicone soak seems to be the best solution for now. Maybe I should try silicone on the Glide. If it is static that is affecting the poly, then silicone should do the trick.

Rail Fence Set on Point

This is a quilt that I just finished. Mother pieced it and I quilted it. When I started, I wanted to do something different in the dark blue and the light areas of the quilt. I tried doing a continuous curve (cc) design on the dark blue, but doing it with templates was taking forever; and I was not pleased with my freehand stitching. In the end, after sewing all the rows, I decided to unstitch all of the cc and start over with an edge to edge design. What I decided to do was the freehand version of one of my intelligent quilting digital designs, Tilt-a-Whirl which is swirls topped with feathers. It’s one of my favorites and one that I love to stitch.

Mother’s birthday and a special gift

Got back late yesterday from visiting my Mother and celebrating her 84th birthday. Enjoyed some wonderful Cleveland County BBQ at Red Bridges BBQ restaurant on NC Highway 74 – BBQ, hushpuppies, and red slaw – there’s nothing better. I gave my Mother an Accuquilt GO! cutter so she can cut her own quilts. Actually, since her stroke she doesn’t have the strength to cut, but this will allow her to direct her caregivers to do the cutting for her. She will be able to place the fabric on the die and tell them how and what she wants cut. She is still sewing quilt pieces together quite well, so I’m excited that this will give her more creative freedom than having someone 200 miles away cutting pieces for her. It will also allow her to use her fabric stash (and not mine) for her quilts – LOL!

A real bonus of this is that one of Mother’s caregivers is an accomplished seamstress, but has never made quilts. It was very apparent that she was excited about learning to quilt.

A special treat was waiting when I got home. there was a package with two beautiful dresses for Ezri and Kes from my brother Al and his wife, Sandy.

Dresses from Al and Sandy