Saturday, January 12, 2008


I finally finished the lovely "Garden Path" queen/double quilt top that I have been handquilting for Ruth in South Carolina. Before I sent it off to her yesterday I
took a moment to get a picture of it on my worktable - I usually do my photos outdoors in natural light, but in the winter my options are very limited - lol! Please excuse the poor quality. I show the hand embroidered label I put on this quilt in the other picture.

Now I can get on with Janie's quilt - a flying geese in very traditional solid colours of ochre, red and dark green, that I have posted here in the past. It is inspired by a quilt in a Pennsylvania museum's collection.
So happy to be making some progress!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


SEA CREATURES - size approx 40x60 inches

Suitable for a crib or youth bed quilt, table cloth or wallhanging

Pieced and appliqued

This project will provide you with the skills to piece very accurately, plus the basics of needleturn applique and handquilting. In addition, it will stretch and develop your confidence in making colour choices and design modifications. This tutorial will enable you to put your own identity into your final results. It will be posted in parts (today's is Part 1) on a weekly basis until we finish.
Good luck and feel free to contact me if you have questions or need further assistance.

1) your fabric choices, including batting and backing fabric - try to use good quality 100% cottons and for the batting Quilter's Dream request weight or Heirloom 20/80
2) a quilting ruler of the size of your choice - most versatile is 6x24 Omnigrid, but I got along for a year or so with their 3x18 ruler
3) a thin lead pencil - mechanical works with a very fine line - for light colours
4) chalk pencil and hand sharpener for dark colours
5) template plastic - for cutting accurate geometric shapes nothing beats gridded, but with care clear can be used, and should be used for the applique templates
6) sharp scissors (dressmaker's shears) you use only for fabric - this is important, hide them if you must, but don't let anyone use them for other purposes!
7) utility scissors to cut template plastic
8) sharp, long, thin glassheaded pins - you can use plain pins, too, but these are better
9) betweens needles size 8 or 9
10) piecing thread - 100% cotton - I use Star brand
11) quilting thread - 100% cotton - I use YLI


Background is really your choice with a few suggestions - I used darker mid green and mid blue for the four patch blocks because my client specified those colours - for myself I would today choose either a darker and a mid tone beige neutral print for the four patches, with the setting squares and triangles of a lighter neutral - that is 3 different but related neutral prints. Another choice that strikes me as simplifying the whole arrangement and making the appliques stand out more is to use
a light, neutral and simple tone on tone, marbled or one colour batik such as the Hoffman 1895 range - I love this fabric - it has a hand like silk and very good range of colour choices - super stuff to work with!

If you are going with the four patches, cut 24 sets of four patches - using a 3 inch square template - drawing around the template and leaving room for a quarter inch seam allowance outside your line when you cut them out - in other words - 48 pieces of each of the colours you have chosen.
Then cut out 6 inch blocks being sure to add your seam allowance from the background fabric you choose - you will need 31 of these. You will also need a 9 inch block of the same fabric which will later be cut into the corner pieces.
If you decide to go with a solid piece of background fabric then you need to cut a piece about 25x45 inches.

For the border (instruction for scalloping it later in the series) you will need a batik - again I used Hoffman's 1895 series - but as long as the fabric is suitably sea-like, anything goes! Buy 3 yards - you don't want to be left trying to match this type of fabric. Any left will be a very good addition to your stash - so versatile!

Now, at your leisure, you can look around for the fabrics for the applique - anything goes, except for the seaweed which should be suitably dark and muddy looking because that's what seaweed looks like and also because it provides a nice contrast to the brighter fabrics of the creatures.

The creatures I used are small fish, jellyfish, turtles and a seahorse or two and I used very small bits from my scrapbag - mostly bright calico's, but again it's your choice. Templates and full instructions for the animals later on.

You are now ready to begin sewing the four patches, or just cutting out the single background piece if that's your choice. Perhaps you are not ready to learn to precision piece and perhaps you don't have the time for it just now - that's ok - you can go at your own speed.

And remember - just holler if you need some pointers! See you next Sunday with the next installment - good luck and good quilting!