About Me

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Great Falls, Montana, United States
I love creating art. I love the Creator! And through that love, I find a little slice of heaven on earth and I give Him all the glory! It's a great adventure and I'm excited to see what's around the bend! Come join me, won't you?
Showing posts with label free motion couching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label free motion couching. Show all posts

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"NPIP" New Projects In Progress!

Honestly, this is the best title I could come up with... don't hold it against me!  But here are pictures of things I've been playing with lately. Of course, it includes free motion couching. 
 If you haven't headed over to the BLOG at Three Creative Studios, I hope you will! Please check out my guest post if you have a minute or so!  It's such a wonderful site in itself, even if you aren't interested in free motion anything!  Great inspiration in every click of the mouse!!! Oh yeah, FYI, there will be three prizes; one is pictured below.
On a rabbit trail in my studio to 'find things' - this little table topper appeared.  Nice surprise, eh?   I had pieced it a year ago, and the center print just didn't inspire to be quilted, so with my newly found fascination with sheer organza, I'm ready to 'goforit' now I think... I like it so far. We shall see.

And a beautiful fabric I found in a shop while we were on our 'girls weekend' last weekend.  (don't remember the name of it, but if you ask me, I'll go look it up; I still have more of it with the maker on it.)  And I had the perfect color of batik pink that I am very happy with.  LOVE the writing on this piece.  And after an hour or more of playing with these feathers and their placement, I finally found what appeals, and so it's onward and upward, as they are fused on now,  permanently. Where it goes from here... not sure yet.  But I am thinking trapunto, and bobbin play.

I hope you'll come back.  I'll be posting some tips about sewing and playing with organza.  And before I forget, here is a detail of one of the three prizes offered at Three Creative Studios.  Bobbin play embellished, free motioned couched on washed lime green silk.  A table topper, and two mini table/accent pieces. 

Friday, February 4, 2011


A FIESTA... no Siesta going on here... but if y'all have a more creative title for this piece, I'd LOVE to hear it!

I do really love bold colors, and the lovely rayon ric rac yarn featured here has been a favorite for many projects.  And this is the last of the silk fabric scraps I found stashed away!  I'm pretty happy about all the little samples I've made with it.

I love using my zig zag in free motion, and this was also another opportunity for me to use my favorite silver metallic thread GLITTER from Superior Thread Co.   In this piece, you can see, hopefully - my "zig zag jewels" and a then I did some straight stitching in between the yarn rows... but not everywhere!  That would have been predictable, and... not to mention... very boring. At least it would have been for me!

And... this is where knowing your machine can really pay off... in Bernina Land, it's referred to as 'temporary altered stitch memory' and you can learn lots more about a free motion zig zag in a post here

Yessss...! The free motion couching foot #43 really wins the supporting role on this project;  the gorgeous yarn gets the 'best actress' award!
In case you missed that blog on the #43 foot, you can find it here.

Yup... Phil's fabric for the binding - again.  (Phillip Jacobs, fabric designer, not my personal friend or anything like that!)  I just like that fabric so much I've started calling it that!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bernina Foot #43 Free Motion Couching

So... we visited yesterday with a quilt using more "traditional" type of couching, with the blog the day before on the #39 foot.  Tomorrow I will be posting a small project showing this technique, and I hope you will check back then!
And TODAY... more couching!  How I love a free motion foot of any kind... but this #43 free motion foot from Bernina is particularly FUN and one of my most favorites to use.  The foot comes with three pieces; the foot itself, a thread guide (that you load onto your Bernina thread cutters), and a small wire that is a threader that helps you insert cords/yarns through the holes of the foot. Ask your Bernina dealer to demonstrate it for you!  I will be demonstrating this at the placemat class at "The Quilt A Way" on February 15th 5:30 - 8pm.  Class fee: only $10 - come join us!
You can see the stitches 'pulled' a bit... so lower the tension!
  • Lower your top tension at least 1-2 levels
  • Lower your feed dogs
  • Use a 90/14 microtex  needle
  • with foot #43 from Bernina, the needle stitches through the center of the cord, so it's important to get it stitched down, but keep the foot moving evenly over the fabric.
  • just like any other foot, you can make circles, stitch over previous lines, and etc.
  • keep an even speed; not too fast, not too slow
  • tie off like you normally would 
  • cording or yarn you choose for this particular foot is approximately 2mm in width, or roundness.  Too big, a cord won't fit properly and will plug the holes in the foot.  Too loose, and it won't stitch down at all.  So find something that 'fills the hole' but feeds smoothly & evenly through the hole.
I am showing some basic placemats above, previously cut with free hand curves, and then those curved pieces have been edge-stitched down, and are now ready for stitching, couching and decorative stitch accents.  Here's the link to a previous blog that featured Christmas themed placemats. Hint:  Look at your needle as you gauge placement... it's in the center of the foot, so placing your foot, and watching the needle will take some practice, in order to get exact placement.

Remember, this is free motion, so feed dogs are down.  Lower your tension as needed, and match your top thread color to the cord.  I like 50 weight Masterpiece cotton from Superior threads in my top and the same in my bottom thread, but a polyester is good too, and I make my decisions based upon how much I'm going to couch, and the type of cord/yarn I am couching.  Polyester tends to be stronger, and for that reason alone, it can be a better choice especially if you are using 'tougher' cords/yarns with nylon or alot of density to them.

Threading the foot:  Begin with the side-entry, feeding your cord/yarn through the side, and then down through the top center hole.  Keep the excess cord/yarn to the left, ensuring it is tangle free and can feed easily as you are sewing/quilting.
Thread yarn through the side-entry hole first

The #43 Free Motion Couching Foot by Bernina is just a "must have" foot if you want to look like a STAR!  I teach and demonstrate this to most of my classes!  It's just too good not to share!  Note:  This foot has a shank that fits only the newer Bernina machines (10 years or more new), and it is not produced for the older models.  

Yarn completely threaded (left to right, through the center hole)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

FLOWERS from Mac

Ah... the sweet memories of summer in the middle of January!!!  Awesome! God is good... really GOOD!
It really doesn't get any better than this when it comes to spending a little vacation time on a hot summer day with the girls by the lake... sitting... chatting... fusing and cutting!  A darling boy "Mac" helped me cut these flowers out... and so the title of this quilt 
I don't "do perfect" --- and some of the couching with the yarn wasn't right on the edge of the flowers... but that is why it is so important to keep at it... practice... invest in something you like to do... DO WHAT YOU LOVE.... and Love What... You... DO... and you will get better... and pretty soon... it LOOKS EXCELLENT... and you have a finished project that represents a tangible result of your learning... and loving the process!

Bright and Charming... just like our favorite young nephew "Mac" ....

I used some of favorite fresh fabrics... pretty flower pattern...... glorious ribbons, and metallic threads!  See my blogs on bobbin play... bobbin quilting... threads and needles!  Oh Ah... don't forget the pretty yarn...
 LOVE to learn.... learning to LOVE...
 Practice... practice... PRACTICE!  How FUN it is!

and soon... your garden looks like this: 
"The Sweet 16" 
charming and very 
colorful little darlings...
Pattern was adapted from "Classic Runners #142" here from the Little Quilt Company

Saturday, January 15, 2011

West to Glacier

I'm still re-visiting summer days in the dead of winter; we have wind chill advisories in many areas.  Here is a photo I took late last summer... one of personal favorites. I was on my way home from teaching in Big Fork, MT, hoping to get across the mountains before dark to avoid as many deer as possible.  Oh my, the weather had been so incredibly... spectacular all weekend long!  I had such a fun road trip, stopping to take pictures the whole way over.  It's usually  four hours just to drive straight through, and I took almost 10 hours to get there, it was so beautiful!  I have some wonderful shots from all over, along the Swan River, Flathead Lake ... but this one... the last one I took that day.  It's special to me because it reminds me of my childhood, as a horse-crazy girl who wanted to be a race-horse jockey.  I nagged my parents until they finally caved in and got me a horse.  She was a PINTO too, and had one glass eye (a blue-clear eye), and her name was "Spook."  We had such great rides, and made my childhood a sweet one in many ways. I've had a deep fondness for pinto ponies everywhere, ever since... Funny how this guy, met on the windy prairie, was a moment in time I won't soon forget.  HE too, had a glass eye! I call him "Buddy" - as I stroked his nose, and he then followed me around as I snapped pictures!  I really wanted to get some close-ups of him, but he wouldn't give me enough space! 
An unexpected friendship with a Painted Pony on the Prairie  --- Rocky Mountain Front
 And here is the landscape quilt I had made prior to this weekend, as a sample for the classes I was teaching that very same weekend.  It is called "West to Glacier." 

Commercial batik; all one piece in light yellow, green, and purpley-blue.  A bit of a "western" flair with a yarn that looks just like a rope or lasso.  I wanted to demonstrate to my students that a few very basic  drawn shapes... circles, curvy lines, straight lines, and basic straight stitching... all free motion, and 'free drawing' style, can result in a fun project that is abstract but also impressionistic, very personal, and creative!  I loved  creating this piece, as I remembered what it feels like to me when I see the prairie and those incredible Rocky Mountains ... meet... collide... blend...and are completely... spectacular!

Bobbin Play, Paintstiks, threads and cords... To me,  "Purple Mountain's Majesty" is in my backyard, Glacier Park ...our Montana Treasure...  Green-blue for those incredibly clear and COLD mountain rivers...  light green for the green grasses, or newly planted spring wheat out on the windy prairie, and for the forest, and all the beauty surrounding us, everywhere...

 Simple details..... smooth, repetitive lines, meandering, reflecting the soft, gently sloping fields of wheat, summer fallow ground, and flat of the prairie in rich browns, and greens.

Yellow Gold for the ripening wheat... the grass turning in late fall... and a softly curved binding... not 'square' seemed be the perfect fitting touch...  EnJOY and may God Bless you as you... "plow" - and survive! through your winter.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands
~ Psalm 19:1

Monday, January 10, 2011


Good morning!  It's cold out there... we have 3 above with a wind...brrrrr! Here is a project that I hope... will  warm your heart! "Bird in the Velvet" --- Pattern and inspiration courtesy of Sue Spargo, a designer whose specializes in folk art and wool, and more... I just love her design play, colors and textures; they just completely pull me in!  Check out her website (link above). This was a free pattern she did for a magazine article... but it was for a pillow, which was quite charming... but me n pillows just don't hit it off right now.  (If you're interested in the pattern, just leave me a comment, and I'll go and look it up - I mean dig for it, in my studio!)  This piece is for SALE at GALLERY 16.
I'm always loving pillows, but decided instead a wall hanging suited some of the creative touches I wished to add....like...
  • a little folded edge just for dimension, and because I have a thing for polka dots!
  • Ahhh... Kaffe Fasset fabric!  "It's in there!"  Binding, and it ties in with the velvet birdie (detail pic below), and with the leaves
  • adding a hand-dyed orange colored yarn in the border for that "framed" look
  • it makes me happy! 
Just look at the possibilities you can do, to add your own personality to a published pattern...
  • what about that triple straight stitch that is almost always underused on most machines?!  I love how it looks on the petals....but only on the solid ones!  And ... those solid petals are of flannel!  Another texture... I dig that!
  • velvet... yes, a bit high-maintenance.. but oh so worth it!  I love it!  Fuse them.. ever so gently!  Each one is free motioned with a stitch on the outside edge of the circle. 
  • notice the petals are couched with a variegated hand-dyed yarn... and again, couching on the inside yellow oval also, and I let my couching bunch up just a tad... so it created a deliberately wavy line that I really dig!
  • Velvet... my love!  Love the brown cotton velvet in the pod on the flower... edged with a dark brown yarn too.  Green cotton velvet in the stem... again surrounded by a light turquoise chenille... and my free motion applique in sweet little swirls... (I teach this in my Beyond Free Motion Class!)
and more!  Ohhhhh I love chenille... especially when it's so purty!!  Kaffe Fasset again... pulling together a bit of a theme in pattern... notice the quilting background is subtle... in a pastel thread that compliments the leaves, but doesn't overwhelm them... and so they stand out! I have to say that the little circles I quilted on the petals were fun to do... but don't overdo it.. they just don't really show up on such a busy fabric, and I knew that, but wanted to add a little 'somethin - somethin'!

And... I'm probably sounding like a broken record... but I fell in love with this velvet rick rack, available at The Quilt Away quilt shop!  Lovely colors... and this brown was just the ticket to give a little visual interest and another piece of texture on the bottom of the quilt... overlaid with a bit chenille of course!

Chenille, velvet, rick rack, flannel, rayon yarns... silver metallic threads, tril-lobal polyesters.... "these are a few of my favorite things!"  I like that song!
As you know by now, my adoration of velvet never goes away... and this luscious silk rayon velvet, hand-dyed is no exception.  I had so much fun playing with Kaffe Fasset  fabric for the wings, auditioning until I got just what I wanted for whimsy and pattern, and that "stand out and take a look" quality  that attracts me.

It also made for a creative eye on him, too.  Sweet!

The top white portion of the quilt is done in silver metallic by Yenmet brand thread, in a diagonal pattern.  I really like the movement of the quilting... and I had no hesitation to add the red thread, (crossing all those lines!) in a beautiful  variegated polyester tri-lobal from Superior Threads "Rainbows."  Here's the quick recap:
  • I chose three different background fabrics, but neutrals.. all play well together, but the white adds that "crisp" factor, while the beiges help the other components of this little quilt stand out.
  • Three different quilting motifs... done in three different threads, but all accent each other without overwhelming
  • color.... texture... and unexpected touches of free motion couching on the outside binding and around the flower petals
  • USE that triple straight stitch... WOW those petals look magnificent in that yellow/orange/coral variegated polyester tri-lobal thread!  
HAVE FUN!  Explore!  Mix it up a little.  And whatever... you....do.... do it with all your might!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

"JOY" Art Quilt

During the Christmas season we celebrate the grand night God came down to earth as baby. And perhaps to the rest of the universe the event looked merely like an astounding humiliation...

God, the Creator of all, became man, taking the form of a human body; a somewhat ordinary and perhaps unimpressive thing to some of us. He endured life as we do; he knows our sorrows, our temptations, how broken we really are... He came to us both as God and as a man.. enduring a confining life, and more importantly, as the ultimate sacrifice for us, dying a grisly death on the Cross.  The Apostle Paul points to this death to show that God can take even the darkest moment in history and turn it into JOY.The cross, and Jesus' triumph over death, prove that nothing is powerful enough to stamp out a reason for joy. "JOY in the LORD" as Paul says. 
And so, "Joy Comes in the Morning" is the inspiration of this  art quilt. 
Razzle Dazzle in gold, on top of the painted and stamped tissue paper surface
Heavy bobbin play really lends itself to this detail of "pebble stitching" giving it much presence and... impact!

 Psalm 30:5 "... weeping may endure for a night, but Joy Comes in The Morning."

SAVE... and savor the flavor of those beautifully tinny foils leftover from candies... they are part of the fun and joy of this little art quilt, and notice them peeking out from under the fabric paper?!  I LOVE it!

My husband really thought I had lost all my marbles when I scolded him (well not really) when he wadded up the foil wrappers from the chocolate candies as he ate them... I saw all these tiny balls of foil rolling around on the coffee table, and brought them to his attention, saying: "No, No! My love, you MUST flatten them!"  Now I have to just find a place to STORE them!!!
Little Quilt... BIG joy!
This technique is part of a book "Mixed Media Explorations" from Beryl Taylor, also available from Quilting Arts.... and yes, I have found joy also in making "Fabric Paper Quilts." Can't wait to make more!  Save those gum wrappers, letters, tissue papers...what a great jumping off point in this new year for more embellishment fun and joy...
May your faith increase as you look to a new year...  knowing your JOY will come in the morning! 
Happy New Year!
May you know and live in all of God's blessings today, tomorrow and forever.


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