I’ve been busy during my “break” from teaching! I needed to finish two new class samples as well as complete a Modern-ish quilting sample that should have done before I taught in Houston last October. It was nice to be able to catch up with my To-Do List.
I noticed that class sample photos that were posted on shop and show sites were not very clear. They were beautiful samples that were usually done on a light pastel cotton sateen with various threads. The problem was that the color washed out in on-line postings.
I decided I needed to do black and white samples so that the samples would present better on-line. But oh dear, black thread on white fabric shows every single bobble. It is an unforgiving situation. Kinda like trying on a bathing suit under department store lighting; or your face in HD on a 60″ screen, or life without Spanx! You get the idea.
This is a good illustration of how much difference your thread choice can make. You want to stack the deck in your favor. If you are new to fmq, puleeese, be kind to yourself and use a low contrast thread on your projects! Practice with high value contrast, but do projects with low contrast.
It’s hard to photograph black. Maybe I’ll learn how to do that someday. I do love this Superior Kimono light gray silk on that black sateen though. I am such a silk thread fan that I usually use it in the bobbin-it’s my go-to bobbin thread.
I kind of like how this new beginning sampler turned out-it just seems like a happy piece.
Way back in August, 2014, I decided I needed a more Modern quilt as a sampler for my Houston Modern Fills class. This has only a few of the class’ motifs on it, but I wanted to illustrate how you can make motifs gracefully flow from one to another. Unfortunately I forgot which motifs I was going to use in the white side and I am not happy with the flow. But I’m not ripping all of that out!
I was super busy at the time and did not have the mental space to design and construct a new quilt. So I asked my friend Helen Hardwick to design and construct this for me. Helen is a talented designer and exquisite piecer. Helen can design wonderfully complex quilts too, but I really like this edited design. And she set those circles in-no applique for her! Of course it is perfectly pieced.
I almost always like my backs as much as the fronts. There is just so much glorious texture there!
All those negative-space circles were fun!
You can see Helen’s perfectly set-in circles.
Love those daisies too! There’s a tutorial for them here.
Now, here’s where I cringe. This is not my best work-lots and lots of bobbles there. I’m unabashedly including this as a cautionary tale. If you’re going to do something this challenging and this bold, consider your thread choices very carefully as well as your method of quilting.
Here I used a high value contrast thread. Not a smart idea. The very hardest thing for us domestic machine quilters to do is to fmq a straight line. The eye perceives the teeniest wobble. Not good. I should have used a matching thread or taken more care.
Or I could have used assistance to get straight lines. I could have either used my walking foot or a ruler. I do NOT like either choice.
If I walked it, it would have been excruciating to turn the quilt at the end of every line. Twice. Ick.
There is a big trend currently to use rulers with our domestic machines. Of course long armers have been doing this for centuries-well, maybe not quite. I have tried several and if I’m going to use them I am definitely using Angela Huffman Quilter Joy Rulers.
I am not convinced that this is really a doable thing for most dsm (domestic sewing machine) quilters. Some machine manufacturers have even come out with ruler feet that make this easier. Bernina is not one of those companies, unfortunately.
I see this trend of dsm’s trying to do work that looks like long armed work. Personally, I’m not a fan. You may be-there’s room in this quilting world for all kinds of styles.
There is work that long armers do that is glorious. And there is work that dsm’s do that is glorious. We each use our machines differently. I want to do glorious work that looks like a dsm quilted it. I want to honor my skills with the work that fits my machine. I’ll write more on this subject later, but if you’re opinionated, I’d like to hear your thoughts.
This year is starting out very differently than last year. Last year was really tough and wonderful and busy. In an attempt to organize and track all of the various commitments I had, I purchased this low-tech “card stadium”. It’s a useful tool for me. Each index card tracks an activity or commitment or dream. This visual system works well for me.
But this year, three Big Cards are not in the mix: SAQA co-rep, the year-long Elizabeth Barton class and some major commitments to my local guild’s show. Wow, that’s huge. But then again this year I have 10 guild gigs, Houston and two new shops to teach at, so I may not have any more time at all. But it’s all good. I love what I do and I am thankful every day to be able to teach and make art. What a life!
I’ll be linking up with Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.