Painted Fibers, AP # 86


I have truly been blessed to attend numerous classes at the Woodland Ridge Retreat. If it were not for the continued employment of my husband the opportunities would never have occurred. Today’s story is about another one of my excursions.

Last summer I participated in the Judy Coates Perez, Paint and Print Palooza. I had a wonderful time learning how to dye, print and silk screen fabric.

I Had A Handful

Watching the applications go from start to finish was entertaining.

Folded Fabric Waiting to Dry
All Dried and Opened Up

I even designed and cut out my own foam stamp.

My Own Foam Stamp
The First Print Using My Foam Stamp

I created a minimum of 12 new blocks of fabric. These are two of my favorites.

Rather than point out all of the quilt’s wonderful features I’m going to share them with you through photos. Enjoy!

My First Block Arrangement

Eight of my favorite blocks. Click on any photo to watch a slide show of the gallery.

Last but not least, here is the finished art quilt.

Art Piece # 86: Painted Fibers

I am so pleased with the final version of my art piece. My finished art quilt measures 64 x 47”. Hidden inside this family of blocks are oodles of special features. Click on the photo to enlarge it and see the many details.

Thank You for stopping by!

A Customer Quilt


Ms. G., my longest running customer, was at it again! Just when I think she is finished making quilts for her family and friends she creates yet another one. Her quilts are always so imaginative, so creative.

The specimen she presented recently was made for a young man with many interests. As you will see from the photos he enjoys zombies, Minecraft, the Greenbay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, among other things. She even added a tie and a hand-made block created by the young man.

Ms. G and I put a lot of thought into the thread colors and stitch patterns. Our plan was to choose colors that would blend well with the fabrics and stitch patterns that would accentuate her artistic design. I think we met both of our goals. The quilt measures 72″x 57″. Take a look.

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Ms. G’s Quilt for Mr. B.

Grams-Brennan-Back
Ms. G’s Quilt for Mr. B. (Back)

Well, what do you think?

I’m very happy that you were able to stop by to see Ms. G’s latest masterpiece. Thank you Ms. G. for allowing me to work with another one of your projects.

Talk with you soon!

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Mom’s Stars and Stripes Table Quilt


The Stars and Stripes Table Quilt was assembled from 25 blocks, nine of which are stars. Surrounding the outer perimeter is a narrow red border. Protecting the back is a scrappy, pieced backing created from leftover fabrics. This smashing little specimen is the fifth of five quilts I received from my Mom. The first was Pam’s Nine Patch, the second one was the American Flag Picnic Throw, the third was the Harvest Melody Quilt and the fourth was the French Cottage Garden Quilt.

This was one of the easiest quilts to assemble. My Mom had most of the segments already stitched. My main job was to piece the blocks together to form the quilt top. Having so little to do made this one a breeze to work with. To jazz up the quilt I used leftover fabrics to piece together a scrappy quilt back.

To finish it off I quilted this project using a variety of stitch patterns. In the outside border I stitched a continuous, single row of swirls reaching all the way around the entire perimeter

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Stars and Stripes Border Quilting

Within the body of the quilt is a roaming series of geometric shapes.

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Stars and Stripes Table Quilt Quilting

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Stars and Stripes Table Quilt Quilting

These shapes help to accentuate and unify the quilt’s design.

Stars-and-Stripes-Table-Quilt
Stars and Stripes Table Quilt

I just love the overall appearance and outcome of this table quilt. From the energetic visual impact of the quilt itself to the uniquely created scrappy backing

Stars-and-Stripes-Table-Quilt-Backing
Stars and Stripes Table Quilt Backing

this quilt shines with interest. As you can tell I just love this quilt.

Well, that’s the last of my Mom’s quilts. I’ve taken the time to show her each one of them. Her reaction was, not surprisingly, one of joy. Unfortunately she doesn’t remember starting all of them but that’s the way it goes. I only hope that I can be as alert and active as she is if I reach that age.

Here’s a collage of all five quilts.

Thank you for sharing your time with me! I always look forward to our visits.

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Mom’s French Cottage Garden


French Cottage Garden Pattern
French Cottage Garden Pattern

My Mom has been purging items from her home for a while now. Among those items were five unfinished Quilts. This quilt was one of the five. To get started with the project I familiarized myself with the pattern’s design, and instructions then worked to get my bearings on which steps were left to complete. From there it was just a matter of time before the bag of parts were assembled into a quilt top.

The quilt, as designed by the author, was supposed to have two borders. I made the decision to only use one. I quilted the body of the French Cottage Garden by echoing around the half-square triangles.

French-Cottage-Garden-Quilt-Top
French Cottage Garden Quilt Top

In the border I stitched a continuous line of improv triangles to carry through the quilt’s theme.

French-Cottage-Garden-Closeup
French Cottage Garden Closeup

The backing of the quilt is a soft green fabric with a floral design.

French-Cottage-Garden-Back-of-Quilt
French Cottage Garden Back of Quilt

This last photo makes it easier to identify my stitch patterns. With this quilt finished I have only one more to reveal. That quilt shall have it’s day very soon.

Thank you so much for sharing your time. I look forward to our next visit!

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Mom’s Harvest Melody Quilt


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Harvest Melody is another one of the unfinished quilts I inherited from my Mom. When I received the quilt the majority of the pattern pieces had already been cut out and some of the components had been stitched together.

Harvest Melody Quilt Pattern Pieces
Harvest Melody Quilt Pattern Pieces

Picking-up where my Mom had left off I finished assembling the remaining pieces to create the quilt top. The pattern was designed to include more than one border. Rather than attaching all of them I decided to only add one. I used left over fabrics to piece it together.

To quilt Harvest Melody I echoed around the leaves. A pattern of continuous square swirls was stitched in the border. For a binding I used a purple fabric. On the back is a fabric with multiple colored squares. Lucky for me I had this fabric in my stash which is always a bonus. Take a look!

Harvest-Melody-Quilt-Top
Harvest Melody Quilt Top

Harvest-Melody-Quilt-Top-Closeup
Harvest Melody Quilt Top Closeup

 

Harvest-Melody-Quilt-Backing
Harvest Melody Quilt Backing

Before starting the process of completing this quilt I wasn’t particularly fond of it. The colors in the quilt as well as the pattern are not something I would be drawn to. I am, after all, an improv quilter at heart. However, I must say that my opinion of the quilt morphed dramatically after it was quilted. The designs created by the stitching added a layer of drama that greatly enhanced the quilt’s design. While still not one of my favorites, I am happy with it’s outcome and am honored to have it for my own.

Thank you for visiting today! Talk with you soon!

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Pam’s Nine Patch Garden


Pam’s Nine Patch Garden is one of the quilts I inherited from my Mom. I first introduced my readers to this quilt eons ago. Way back in March of 2017 I had the pleasure of spending a number of days at the Woodland Ridge Retreat Center in Menomonie, Wisconsin. While there, aside from many excursions, my attention was focused on five quilts passed on to me by my Mom. All of them were in various stages of completion. If you would like to read about my adventures at the Center you will find them here. My original story about this quilt can be found here.

This quilt is extra special to me for two reasons. First, my Mom is a big fan of flowers. My Mom is well-known for turning the majority of her lawn into garden space. Those gardens were always overflowing with flowers. Her love for gardening and for flowers was passed on to me.

The second reason is because my Mother is also an avid cross-stitcher as well as a seasoned embroiderer. This quilt has twelve blocks that have been hand embroidered by my Mom. All of them are of various flowers, many of which she has grown in her own gardens. Her love for flowers along with her talent for stitchery are why this quilt is dear to my heart.

When I received the quilt, in it’s plastic package, the twelve embroidered blocks were all that were finished. Not yet assembled were the twelve nine-patch blocks. Included with these items were several lengths of multiple fabrics. Whether or not they were meant to be used for the 12 remaining blocks was unclear. My Mom’s recollections on the status of her quilts is sketchy.

Since I wasn’t really fond of the enclosed fabrics I decided to go out on my own to select options I felt seemed more appropriate. I pulled specimen after specimen from my fabric stash to audition as candidates. By the time I had finished I had accumulated enough fabric to complete all twelve blocks with fabric to spare.

I chose a variety of fabrics from the green, yellow, orange, white and blue families. The fabrics were adorned with flowers, birds as well as catchy phrases that seemed to match well with the quilt’s theme. Among the phrases or words of encouragement were:

  • find true love
  • have more fun
  • love
  • make a quilt for my children
  • peace
  • smile more

One even has a mini bucket list printed on it.

With my fabric choices conquered it was time to create the nine-patch blocks. Typically I would assemble strip sets to create them. In this case I wanted to be more strategic in the arrangement of these fabrics. I wanted to make certain I had a well-rounded distribution of color as well as printed phrases. To facilitate this outcome I individually cut squares and hand placed them in groupings of nine. Once I was satisfied I stitched them together.

The embroidered blocks and the nine-patch blocks were then laid out on a table and juggled around until I was satisfied with the appearance. They too were then stitched together into rows and finally into one piece.

To the 24 blocks I added first a small border of hand-dyed orange fabric. Next I added an over-dyed border of blue. With the last border in place it was time to load the quilt onto my longarm machine for quilting.

Since it is obviously impossible to pack up and take my machine along on trips, I think my husband would shoot me if I asked him to do that, the quilting had to wait until a later date.

Fast-forward to December of 2017. This was the first opportunity I had to even contemplate accomplishing this task. I chose a pretty floral batik from my inventory to serve as the quilt’s backing. After loading my carefully pressed top, batting and the batik on my machine I set to work adding a variety of stitches.

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Pam’s Nine Patch Garden Quilt

In the outermost border I stitched a swirly pattern using a color coordinated thread. The bright orange border was treated with a soft flowing line of cream colored stitches. In the nine-patch blocks I stitched a meander of angular lines. To polish off the remaining blocks I first added a row of stitching around the outer border. Next I echoed around each of the flowers giving them a dimensional appearance with the same cream colored thread.

Curious what the stitching looks like from the back?

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Back of Pam’s Nine Patch Garden Quilt

This last photo was included for three reasons:

  1. I wanted to give you a closeup of a flower block so that you could see both the embroidery as well as the longarm quilting
  2. I thought you might like to see one of the nine-patch squares with the phrase, “make a quilt for each of my children” and most of all because
  3. The sunflower is my all-time favorite flower. I was tickled pink to see that an embroidered sunflower was incorporated into the pattern.

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Combined together I believe all of my added touches created a magnificent quilt; one with which my Mom would be well pleased. I did have the chance to show it to her early in December of 2017. She was overjoyed to see the quilt and extremely thrilled with its outcome. I asked if she remembered doing the embroidery and she did.

I set myself a goal to finish all five of my Mom’s quilts before she is no longer with us. She’s getting on in years so I know the timeframe I have to work with is limited. Finishing this one meant I was one step closer to reaching my goal.

I am very happy to say that the other four, one of which was The American Flag Picnic Throw, have been completed as well. I will share their stories in the coming weeks.

American Flag Picnic Blanket (Quilting)
American Flag Picnic Throw Closeup

This wraps up the story of my Mom’s Nine-Patch quilt. I hope that you have enjoyed reading about its history as much as I have enjoyed sharing it. They say that behind every quilt is a story. This quilt is certainly no exception.

Thank you for spending time with me as I revealed this story. I’m so glad we had the opportunity! Be watching for the quilt number three of five.

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Karen’s Brown Bear Quilt


Last time I shared one of Karen’s quilts I hinted that there was a second one. Today’s focus is on that quilt. The theme for Karen’s third quilt is animals; the kind you would find in the book called Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

I just love this quilt with its bright and cheery colors. Karen really showed her talent when she put this one together. This quilt, with it’s exploding color scheme was screaming for attention. We let our imaginations roll full steam ahead while choosing our stitch plan. The bold colors in her fabrics demanded stitches that added motion and pizazz so we filled every inch with flowing lines that keep your eyes a traveling from one block to another. To compliment her choice of colors we decided to use a matching variegated thread.

Have I peeked your curiosity? Let’s see how Karen’s quilt turned out.

Karen M Brown Bear Quilt.jpg

If you look closely you will notice the mazes quilted in continuous lines across the outer-most border. The same motif was repeated in each of the other two borders. In the colored frame surrounding the animal squares a flowing curvy line wraps around all four edges. Within the animal squares I stitched a single row of straight-line stitching just inside the perimeter. Another row of stitching was added just above the lettering. To finish off the blocks I encircled each animal with a row of stitches, giving them a dimensional appearance. The rainbow colored strips of fabric were treated with angular lines.

Below you will see a photo of the quilt from the back. I think it is neat how much more clearly you can see the stitch patterns. In spite of the colorful animals you can get a feel for the impact the quilting made without the distraction of the individual quilt blocks.

Karen M Brown Bear Quilt Back.jpg

Now that we have finished the guided tour can you see why I liked it so much? Would you have noticed all the details if I hadn’t pointed them out? I’m so glad we had the opportunity to look closely at Karen’s quilt together.

Thank you for visiting! See you soon!

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Karen’s Puppy Quilt


I am so excited to share today’s quilt. It was made by Karen M. You may remember her? She is the lady that made the beautiful, surprise quilt for her granddaughter.

Karen M-Bow Quilt

Not long after taking her quilt home Karen surprised me with an email. In her note she asked if I had time before Christmas to work with two more quilts. Now, mind you, this was right before the start of December. I was blown away by her request. She already had a binding to add to the surprise quilt so how could she possibly have time to make two more.

I thought about her inquiry for a while. My schedule was already crammed full of commitments yet it is really hard for me to turn someone down. How could I possibly say anything but YES! Besides Karen was such a nice lady and so easy to work with. Without much hesitation I fired back my response. Of course I would love to work on two more quilts!

The first quilt was an adorable Puppy Quilt lovingly made for one of her grandsons. As is always the case, I sit down with my customers to discuss their expectations and to brainstorm about the possibilities. Together we make decisions on how to proceed.

Karen really likes to have input in how her projects will be quilted. She carefully and thoughtfully considers all of my suggestions. After drawing numerous examples of possible directions to approach this project we finally settled on this design.

Karen M Puppy Quilt Front.jpg

In the outer green border I stitched a single row of connecting circles. We chose circles to breakup the prevalent linear appearance.

Karen M Puppy Block.jpg

Inside the large white squares I first outlined it with a single row of stitching then echoed around the puppies to make them pop.

Karen M Paw Print.jpg

To continue the quilt’s puppy theme I stitched paw prints in a variety of sizes and shapes in the green and gold blocks. The bottom right corner of the quilt was saved for adding the little boy’s name and a small paw print.

All of the stitching was done using two different thread colors. Using more than one color as well as not connecting the blocks together with continuous stitching meant the quilting took longer than normal to complete. All of these features combine together to make what I feel is an adorable quilt.

Now that I have shared the details of this project isn’t it just the cutest thing! I bet this little boy was absolutely thrilled to receive his brand new blanket made by his Grandma. I can just see him snuggling underneath all warm and cozy grinning from ear to ear.

Well, that’s the story behind Karen’s second quilt. We have one more to go so stay tuned!

Thank you for sharing your time with me today! I look forward to our next visit!

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Karen M’s Bow Quilt


A while ago I had the pleasure of quilting Elisabeth B’s beautiful Christmas quilt. The quilt, with its unusual design, was a joy to work on. I had a blast creating an explosion of surprises from top to bottom and side to side.

Now fast-forward to November 2017 when I received a surprise email from Elizabeth’s Mom. I’m always thrilled when my customers share my information with friends. This gesture is the nicest compliment I could ever receive.

Karen had made a quilt top for her granddaughter. Her initial plan was to do the quilting on her own. She had even decided on and purchased the thread for stitching but then Karen had a change of heart and decided to entrust the quilting to me.

Karen and I spent a great deal of time exploring her project discussing the possible stitch designs as well as colors of thread. By the time Karen left we had created a carefully orchestrated, detailed outline. The number of stitch patterns as well as the volume of thread colors meant the quilting process would be slow. From start to finish I invested 28 hours in Karen’s project.

It wasn’t until the final stitch was applied and I was able to remove the quilt from my machine that I could finally absorb the quilt’s gorgeous appearance. Karen’s quilt top would have been magnificent even without my stitching but the plan we mapped out together complimented her project in a way that I never could have imagined. I was so in awe!

I’ve been patiently waiting to reveal Karen’s beautiful quilt until after Christmas since the quilt was meant to be a surprise. Now that the coast is clear I am so excited to share my photo’s.

Please enjoy!

Karen M-Bow Quilt.jpg

Karen M-Back of Bow Quilt.jpg

I can’t wait to hear how Karen’s granddaughter reacted!

Thank you so much for stopping by today! I hope you enjoyed seeing Karen’s quilt. Let’s do this again real soon!

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