Sunday, February 28, 2010

If your backing isn't moving well during quilting

There are a couple of things I repeatedly hear people say about getting your quilt backing to better move across your machine table. Both of these are good ideas:
o Some starch the backing
o Many wax or polish (using old fashioned furniture polish) the machine table top
In addition to that...
o At least one I know of places a small amount of corn starch on acrylic table tops. She says her machine service guy said this is okay...doesn't harm the machine.

I have discovered a couple of additional things about choosing the backing fabric.
o High quality/high thread count batiks tend to move well. They have a feel similar to percale... in other words 'slick.'
o Be cautious about selecting a backing with metallics printed on them....Metallics tend to grab the table.
o Be cautious of less expensive coarse fabrics with a slightly raised pattern printed on them... some tend to grab the table.

Now that I've said all that, what if you have followed all those ideas, have selected a backing fabric that seems like it will move well, and then in the middle of the quilting process, find your backing fabric to be stubborn. Well, I'm not a good one for picking out and starting over, so I do the following. I make extra effort to roll and fold quilts to minimize the amount of the back that is being pushed and pulled directly across the machine table. This may not work as well on a giant quilt but works well on wall sized pieces.

Friday, February 26, 2010

When Background is Unimportant

This young girl was seated in shadow inside a cardboard shipping box. SHE is important, but the shadows inside strictly represent darkness for which no special attention is warranted. All that said, the thread choice for the background is the same value and color as the painted surface. Selecting same value/color permits the thread to nearly disappear into the background. The quilting pattern chosen was a simple micro stipple which also draws no attention... it's just there.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Putting On A Jacket

Well, I must say this is not so exciting... I guess working with gray, and more gray can't be wholely exciting, but it does fit this image. Sometimes neutrals make everything else around them more important/vital.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's Like a Puzzle!

Every quilting project presents a new challenge..... This one has sooooo many overlapping elements that I am quilting areas and thread changes in steps. I am slowly working my way outward from the central face image. When quilting this heavily, one pretty much needs to work from the inside outward in order to avoid surface distortion. So today I got the white T-shirt and part of the yellow and gray jacket done... that part on which hair overlaps. Then finally, the rest of the hair but for that part showing through the open hole in the top of the box. That will have to be done after I get into the box itself. She's looking okay.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Beginning the Girl in Quito's Market

Okay.. here we go. This piece will take some time. I've started with the face of this lovely, somewhat tragic child I photographed in the open market in Quito Ecuador. The first photo shows some skin and hair quilted in.
I removed the thread on the right eye once and requilted. The tension was not quite right first shot. This is too important an area NOT to have things absolutely right.
It occured to me today that while painting with transparent inks is more like watercolors where you save lights/whites, the quilting process for a heavily quilted piece like this is more like oil painting wherein you work first on whats furthest back in the image.. ala the skin before the hair comes over it, etc.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hello to my international quilt friends!

WOW... I just became aware of how many anonymous quilt friends from other countries are logging in. I welcome your questions/feedback. In addition to my anonymous U.S. quilting buddies, how might I help those of you logging in from such places as the UK, Canada, Austria, Poland, the Netherlands, Australia, and Moscow as well. These cities/countries are a sampling of international visitors from amongst the last 100 blog visits. I LOVE IT! Comments are welcome and so are emails via
HAVE A GREAT WEEK! unpack from the weekend!

Can't wait to RETREAT.... again

I'm home maybe 20 minutes... bags out of the car but as yet no interest in unpacking. I spent Friday through mid day today with 7 wonderful friends in horse and wine country of Temecula, California. This picture is the view from the edge of the property...looking out over a valley beyond. These vineyards are lovely. This is also horse country. I were excited to learn competitors for next Summer's Olympics arrived in the valley this weekend to begin training on some of the most exquisite horse ranches ever seen.
I hope to photograph and post some work from this weekend , but for now, here is a beautiful, could be quilt inspiration.... the stained glass in the chapel at Vina De Lestonnac. This chapel is on the grounds of the retreat center of my Painted Quilt Art Retreat May 21st. Check it out via the link on the left.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


It's such a great feeling getting a piece finished. The peace that comes with being finished lasts only minutes for me though as I have many painted tops unquilted. Sometimes being a type A sucks! Oh well.

I faced rather than bound this floral piece, and I like the end result. There is a blog article titled "Let's Face It!" last April/May 2009 so I didn't repeat the photos/steps here. I do a lot of small pieces when I am working out plans for other things. If anyone is ever interested in purchasing something you've seen on this blog.... inquire via I bought many of my early inspiration pieces from well known artists on a time plan. I will certainly do the same for you.

(C)copywrited image
This afternoon, I am packing for a girlfriend retreat to catch up on each others lives and some of our unfinished projects. We're off to Temecula, Ca tomorrow am for Friday through Monday sewing. This getaway is at Vina de Lestonnac... a retreat center extraordinaire... full meals, lodging, big well lit classrooms with private kitchens. Yahoo! This is the same place I am holding my annual Painted Quilt Art Retreat in May. Check it out by clicking on the link titled Patt's Retreats at the upper left of this blog.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Block that flower!!!

Before I finish off the edges of any quilt, I block it by dampening the quilt (even spray bottle misting), and then pinning it flat into place to air dry.
Once it air drys, I will true up the edges if need be and then bind or face as the piece seems to dictate.Click on photo for detail view.

Pic from "I Still Do!" Ceremony

The church photographer from last Sundays "I Still Do" vows renewal ceremony sent this pic to hubby Ray and I this morning. Good grief , I'm lookin old. Oh yes, I AM OLD! Where's my photoshop software? Ray calls me his sugar lady and asks me to 're' marry him 2 or 3 times weekly. I'm keepin' him!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Leafing to the end!

I used a dark green thread to do a continuos line drawing of leaf veins. You will note I left an open channel in which I will later add darker shadows.
I had considered leaving things as shown previous but was drawn to add further richness within the leaves by using a pinkish burgundy red to fill the vein channel.

I like the end result. I hope you do too. Click on photos for detail view.
Next... to get the quilt blocked.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Get to work Patt

Okay, I had a couple days playin with my hubby. We did renew our vows yesterday. It was great fun... No nerves!
I'm on to finishing up my newer version of a magnolia blossom titled "Southern Grace."
With a much more simple outer background finish, it seemed to call for more thread work on the flower petals, so that's just what I'm doing.
The added richness of delicate value quilting seemed worthwhile to me.
I used a light weight (40 wt.) thread to keep the delicate feel to what in real life are velvet-like petals. Click on photo for detail view.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day

'Am spending today at church and with my sweetie. Have a blessedly beautiful day filled with love.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Watch Out ...Cupid is coming!

Well.. let's hope he doesn't show up wearing red long john underwear.... but it IS funny!
Tomorrow Sunday is "V" Day... and my hubby has asked to marry me AGAIN in an "I Still DO!" ceremony at our church. Very sweet and cool. I just got him chocolate! He had bigger plans! I tell him often... "I'm Keepin' You!" :-)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Handwork on the move

Though known as an artsy quilter, I do traditional work and really enjoy handwork to relax. Redwork-like embroidery is one of my favorites. If I don't keep an easy to carry project thats ready to go , I won't get to it... soooo I brought this soft fabric small 7" zipped barrel bag back from Ecuador last year, and use it for this purpose.
Inside goes a small piece of felt with precut thread and a couple extra needles which hold a full thread skein inside a rolled edge.
The felt is then rolled up and placed inside the barrel bag along with the folded up embroidery, and a small pair of scissors. This zips and fits inside my purse. YEAH!

A new Ginko-like background

I needed a new background fill for this quilting experiment. The central floral image shown a couple days back seemed as if it were floating forward... i.e. on the move... so I wanted a somewhat subtle background that had a leafy feel also moving a bit. So I chose a in and out texture fill that resembled the flair present in ginko (?sp) leaves. I needed to figure this fill out on a practice quilt sandwich. Very valuable effort.
Then to the real deal with subtle variegated thread.
I think this looks okay all in all.... BUT I do think I need to do some more work on the floral and leaves.... They are quilted (in the ditch so to speak) with invisible thread, but I think some visible stitching is called for as well. That will happen later. I have some other commitments to get to.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Proud of My Man

This just came in the mail ..Ray doesn't know YET... that I've posted it!

I married an unusual man.... a good one at that!! Ray is 71, retired history and economics teacher, former world class distance runner (still runs 5 miles daily), and is working on his 2nd degree in 5 years (his 3rd in life). He went to college in Arizona on full scholarship many years back, graduated from Cal Poly last year, and began again this year at Chaffey College like a complete college newbie. He's just exercising his brain, he says. I think he's an inspiration to us all. He's on his 3rd Algebra class in 2 semesters, and low and behold, he made the Deans Honor List. I'm proud of you MR. MAN!!!

Play 2 different ways

Yesterday was a '10'... well yesterday afternoon evening was anyway. I spent the a.m. unpacking reorganizing from the weekend retreat. Not great fun but necessary. Anyone that teaches this type of art knows that for every teaching engagement you have 1 to 2 days (or more) of ordering/stocking, preparation and cleanup in addition to travel. BUT IT's SO FUN IN CLASS... that it's all worth it.
Every time I teach, I come home antsy to get to playing at my own thing. I have several painted pieces, some demos... so decided to hop on quilting one of my demos of a magnolia blossom so as to replace one of my samples. It's good to change things around sometimes. Here's one of my previous samples.
In this previous piece, I rather liked the floating inner border/sashing of sorts and was challenging myself to think of a way to keep the same idea going without adding sashing/border fabric. I may have figured it out... here's what I'm doing.... Using a water erasable blue marking pen, I drew a 3/4 inch channel around the floating floral. I then meandered all the way around the quilt within the channel. Then, back to the quarter inch foot, feed dogs back up, reduced the top down pressure foot tension, and used the either edge of the pressure foot to just plain sew a straight line off the sides of the meandering.
I THINK I'm going to like the end result. I'll keep you posted.

The other 'play' of the day was a real one. Date night!!!! Ray and I went to the to see "Fences" by August Miller. This play won both the Tony and Pulitzer prize for drama in 1987. It was SPECTACULAR in my book. If you are a Southern Calif. reader , this production is at the South Coast Rep. theater in Orange County, Ca til the 21st of Feb. If you're on the east coast, I 'hear' Denzel Washington will be later this year performing in a revival on Broadway.It's both humurous and serious. Watch for this play.

Monday, February 8, 2010

This looks pretty cool...

I am the lucky recipient of some interesting PC/MAC compatible quilt software designed to record and track your quilts in small or full sized albums, create greeting cards with your quilts showcased in various formats, business cards, address labels, quilt labels.... all honoring your quilts. Looks pretty cool. I need to get it loaded and checked out in detail.... but you might want to check it out too at

Creativity abounds in Palm Desert

What a great group of ladies!!! Palm Desert and Monica's shop are unique places on the planet. First, Monica's Quilt and Bead shop is spectacular..definitely worth a visit. Monica hosted a Super Bowl Sunday sale including giant hoagie sandwiches sliced up for lunch for all. This is one special shop owner. Now to our class. We were a diverse and interesting group... so many diverse talents beyond and including quilting. We had an exceptional doll maker, award winning quilters, quilt related software developers, and surely things I missed. Students came from as far away as Vancouver B.C., Washington State. Good time of year to be here rather than there.

This was exciting for me...Everyone was painting something different... The first time ever in this type of class: Several Portraits (both human and animal), naturescapes of all kinds. I so enjoyed this group of great ladies. Here are some of the painted results... many with a bit of background work to do... but WOW... MANY of this group had never painted. What spectacular results!

There were beautiful ladies, some dancing, some just plain beautiful.

Adorable young family members:

Some furry friends
Santa's kinda furry....

and some special glimpses of nature
ending with a spectacular sunset...

Lucille Ball spotted in Palm Springs

With time to myself in the evenings of the Painted Quilt Art Retreat at Monica's Quilt and Bead Shop, I was thrilled to find a bronze version of TVs all time funniest Lady. Oh how I love Lucy! She sits confidently outside the "Coffee Bean" coffee shop on Palm Canyon.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Heading To Palm Desert

Well the SUV is packed ( well almost) and I'm about to head to the Palm Springs area to teach a Painted Quilt Art Retreat at Monica's Bead and Quilts in Palm Desert. This should be great fun. I sure hope I haven't forgotten anything.I usually bring stuff I don't even need. Once having a supply sargeant mentality, always. Raising 3 teens does that to you.