Saturday, July 30, 2011

A little "stunt sewing"

What is stunt sewing you ask? Well, it where one steps in and sews for someone who can't! In this case, I am sewing some store samples for a friend who is opening a new quilt shop! I know, you are wondering how I can make such a sacrifice? Well, I get to sew with new, beautiful fabrics. FOR FREE! Oh, yeah, I have to give them to her, but I still get to play with them! 

I am also developing the pattern for each sample I make. None of these patterns are re-inventions of the wheel, but they are my method of constructing a classic quilting design. 

The first up, I call "Simple Stunning Star". It measures 42" square and this sample is done in Christmas fabrics. 

This pattern could also be used for a baby quilt, or you could put 4 together for a bed sized quilt. I will post the pattern here, once it has been proofed. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

scrappin' in the studio

After the intensity of my last 2 quilts, I have needed some mindless sewing to regroup. And to use up some of the ever-growing scrap bin! I can not bear to throw away any "reasonably" sized scraps. It just seems counter to the gentle art of quilting, IMHO. But, if I leave them alone for any length of time, they seem to expand! 

I also like to challenge myself to use "only" scraps and to create something pretty, not just sew the scraps together without a plan. While it might work for some, with my varied scrap pile it would look messy.

So here is a sneak preview of the rather large (80" square) scrap top I have just completed. I used only scraps. And boy, have I made a dent in the scrap pile!

This top goes on the finished stack, all by itself while I do some sewing for a friend. Then I will come back to layer and quilt it. Have a good Thursday!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dog and Cat quilt - recap

Here is a look back at the development of my Dog and Cat Quilt.

I started with my design: a large central rectangle with the silhouettes of a dog and cat; keeping the quilt more modern with large blocks on the sides and a long border top and bottom. I could have put blocks all the way around to make the design more traditional. Not a right or wrong way, just different!
Kelly Wood ©2011

I wanted the fabrics to be distinctive, clearly dogs and cats. I also wanted large areas in which to free-motion quilt, but using fabrics that were busy so my quilting did not need to be very dense.

The large blocks could have been areas of dense stitches, and that would have been my choice if I had used quieter prints, or solids. In that case, I would have also used a thread in a contrasting color to use the stitches as a distinctive  design element.

This same layout could go in very diverse directions depending on fabric choices. The center could be a panel print with the side blocks and top & bottom in coordinates. The sashing could be a mottled batik or solid in a color that highlights all the prints. Or the center could be a large scale abstract print with the sashing all in white (or black), and the blocks in Kona solids. A block layout like is very adaptable to your fabric choices.

I am very happy with my thread choices (variegated beige by King Tut in all background areas on the front, black YLI quilting cotton on the dog and cat figures on the front, and ecru YLI quilting cotton in my bobbin). I am also happy with my applique method of using the quilt basting spray instead of a fusible.

I hope this peak into my thought process/decisions has been interesting. Feel free to comment or ask questions!

Next up for me, I am doing some "stunt sewing"! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dog and Cat quilt-COMPLETED

Finished size 58" by 58"

This quilt came out exactly like I imagined it.

The final quilting was on the dog and cat silhouettes. I stitched the dog in long, back-and-forth straight lines to suggest the straight hair.

To suggest softness on the cat, I did an overall loop.

Once washed and dried, the texture is amazing.

And this quilt is a 2-for-1, I used all my scraps to create a simple checker board on the back!
Now, I need to deliver it to my friends at the SCHS, and start selling raffle tickets. And I am giving this quilt to them so ALL proceeds go to them.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Excitement amid all this heat!

No more FMQ to show, yet. But I learned something exciting tonight. My dear home LQS, Sewingly Yours will be the host of the newly minted Triad Modern Quilt Guild!!!

As of today, looks like we will meet the second Tuesday of each month, beginning in September. Ohhhhh so excited! Thank you ANGIE, for getting this going!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A break in the action

Okay, I have had to do some un-quilting on the dog and cat. (My hubby says that is counter-productive, I say it is quality control!)
So, I share this link instead. Enjoy! (it is quilting related!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dog and Cat FMQ continued again

Well, I completed the sides of this quilt and started on the top and bottom sashing and borders. For the sashing, I went with a shell-wave in a line, and rotated it to fill the space. I like how this turned out!

For the top and bottom border, I needed to fill this wide area with something fairly dense to fill the space and to balance the quilting. I was inspired by the batik fabric to stitch something flowing and organic.

So I did a stitch that looks like long grasses waving in the wind. Or wood grain. Or seaweed. I like it as well.

Next up, I need to fill the dog and cat silhouettes!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dog and Cat FMQ continued

I have started FMQing the sides of this quilt. I want the stitching to recede and for the fabric to take the starring role. I am using a curving-wave-type stitch.

A variation is going into the sashing. I LOVE this King Tut thread!

A close-up. Aren't those kitties sweet?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quilting on dog and cat

I have layered and basted the dog and cat quilt for the Stokes County Humane Society. I spray basted this one, which is a new thing for me. I had tried spray basting in the past, but evidently had used too much spray! I am trying again, using just a spritz, and I have to say, it was much easier and much less messy. I loaded the machine with a new needle and decided to quilt this one with some King Tut cotton thread I have on hand. 

I am using the variegated beige on top and the solid Ecru YLI thread in my bobbin. I am such a rebel! I rarely use the same thread in top and bobbin anymore. And guess what, I doubt the "quilt police" will show up and issue me a citation for doing it this way!

Since the center is appliqued, I did an echo stitch around the dog and cat. Then, since this quilt was designed to be focusing on the fabric and the applique, and I want the stitching to recede, I am doing a meandering stitch in the ground. 

Aren't the dogs in the background cute? Next up, what stitch design to use in the side panels.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Free Motion Stitch Theory

Sounds ominous and frightening! Like Molecular Gastronomy or Organic Chemistry! This post stems from a question I have been asked many times: how do you know what to quilt where?

Hope this will spawn discussion, but here's the truth: it is entirely up to you!
I don't make it easy do I?

So, I am going to give you my thought process or FMQ Theory.

I first consider the fabrics used, the design of the quilt, the end use and the overall quilt style. If the fabrics are to be the star, I want my stitches to recede into the quilt, offering a subtle texture to enhance the quilt. If the fabrics are muted and the quilt design is very graphic, I want the stitches the show off, so I will use a contrasting thread, and dense decorative stitches.

(you can click on each picture to see more detail)

On a quilt like this:

I see it as about the dynamic between the quilt design (pinwheels) and the vibrant patterns. This is a baby quilt and I made it to be useful. So this is quilted in an all over design in a polyester thread that recedes yet holds through use and laundering.

For this one:
was created to be a wall quilt, and about the texture. So I did a dense ground of swirling leaf-type stitches.

  I wanted to impart the feeling of a forest full of thick vegetation. The threads are shades of green and brown.

Now in a more "formal" design, with applique:
 I outlined/stitched-in-ditch around the dog, cat, heart and stars. Then I did a stipple in the background with crosshatched lines in the border.

This quilt is more "graphic" so in the white areas, I used a dense mussel shell pattern.

The quilt below had a lot of white, so I used the free-motion stitching as an important design element to add to the overall design of the quilt.

This is over-all quilted (in cotton) for and old-fashioned look to complement the vintage feel of the quilt.

 I hope this offers an insight to my thought process. Remember to leave a question in the comments (or a comment!) or email any questions!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dog and Cat-fabric choices

Since this quilt is for the Stokes County Humane Society, fabric featuring dogs and cats seems quite appropriate! I have purchased cute fabrics through the year, so when I started this quilt I pulled all my pet stash together.

This dog fabric was first. Who can resist those soulful eyes?

Then I found the cat print at Mary Jo's. Love the detail!

The background of the center is a fun and funky dog print I bought at a quilt show.

The applique is a black batik. I machine stitched the edge with black cotton thread to blend in.

My sashing is a cut paw prints fabric I have had for a while, and I used this brown-multicolor batik for the top and bottom border. I like the formality it gives the quilt. It came together very quickly. Next up, basting and quilting!

Friday, July 15, 2011


This baby is done, and she rocks! I present "SummerWind":

The center star and the multicolored border feature my hand-dyed fabrics along with a few batiks. 

The star was created using a pattern I found in Simply Charming Collection by Moose on the Porch Quilts.
I  designed the border and highlighted it with a running feather-loop in both the multicolored border and the black outer border.

I knew I wanted really heavy FMQ (Free Motion Quilting) in the white (negative) spaces. But to balance the quilt, I needed to stitch the center with a close, but not too dense stitch. So I did these curves with in each square.

Each white triangle has a feather surrounded by filler stitches. I am trying to define my style, so instead of doing a more traditional feather stitch, I tried to go more realistic. And I like it! 

Each white corner contains filler stitches: spirals, pebbles, loops. Just full of shapes I enjoy stitching.

The name comes from my favorite Frank Sinatra song: "Summer Wind".
The summer wind came blowin' in
From across the sea
It lingered there to touch your hair
And walk with me

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Moving along

Once I figured my dimensions, I cut my fabrics and assembled. All that remains is to sew the top and bottom borders, layer and quilt!

Here my argument for maintaining a stash! I was able to make this using fabrics in my stash. I am even piecing the back from the remainders from these fabrics. I will post again once it is quilted.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Layout for new Dog and Cat quilt

I developed the center of this quilt about a month ago. I sketched it out using Photoshop Elements, and using a projector, enlarged it to fill a space on freezer paper. I really just "eyeballed" it, knowing it would be a center medallion. I ironed the freezer paper to my fabric, cut the shapes out and attached them to my background fabric. I did not use fusable web/Steam a Seam since this makes it stiff and hard to quilt through. Instead, I temporarily attached with quilt bastiing spray and used a blanket stitch around the edges. I like how this has turned out!

I toyed around with how I might fill in the rest of the space, as I want the final quilt to be a generous lap size.

Once again, I go to Photoshop Elements and here is my resulting layout:

Kelly Wood ©2011

I am going to use collected fabrics for the solids you see. I will also use this sketch to figure my sizes before cutting and sewing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New project

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. It doesn't mean I have been idle! On the contrary, I have been enmeshed in a major FMQ work. I haven't got pix yet, but will post it soon!

I am already working on a new quilt. This one is for the Stokes County Humane Society. I made this one last year for them to raffle, and hope to raise even more money this year with this new quilt. Here is the beginning:

I will be posting my designing process as I create this quilt.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day, and credit where credit is due

I hope all of you are having a wonderful Monday, July 4. We are celebrating Independence Day in the traditional way: with Hot Dogs at Mom and Dad's.  The hubs and I went and bought my favorite fruit this morning, BLACKBERRIES and I have made a blackberry cobbler for desert. We also went Blueberry picking so I put blueberries in the cobbler as well. Can't wait to dig into that.

Bold Glory made in 2009 donated to Quilts of Valor 
©Kelly Wood 2009

I have also remembered the way we celebrated Independence Day in 1993. We were in Gold Hill, CO, visiting my brother who lived in Boulder at the time. We drove up to Gold Hill, which has a quaint, unpaved Main Street. We were delighted to enjoy their 4th of July parade, TWICE! The parade went down main street, then all the spectators ran between the buildings to watch the parade go up the back street! We all had flags and it was an awesome experience. 

I also want to credit the phenomenal quilter who made this beauty. Her name is Marianne and she blogs here. I found the photo on Pinterest, but did not chase down the link. Fortunately, Marianne found me! She does such wonderful work! Please visit her blog and feast on her quilts. Thanks Marianne! I really LOVE  your work!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

A very special day

50 years ago today, these lovely people 

 got hitched!