Quilting and Applique

About Me

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Whidbey Island, Pacific Northwest, United States
I learned how to do traditional quilting in 1980. While in the process of learning the art of quilting, I learned that my passion was Applique. I learned all I could from the resources available at the time. Now I am looking forward to the future and what new quilting adventures are out there to be discovered.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The continuing journey of Love Entwined 
1790 Marriage Coverlet 
redesigned by Esther Aliu

This Journey with Love Entwined has been a slow one but steady.  Life put some "detours" in the way with family health needs.  This year I will be working again on Love Entwined.  I was able to get this far with my journey in 2016/17 and have hand sewn the borders on to show The Applique Society members my top so far.  I just love this quilt.  This quilt truly speaks to me as I work on it.  Many others who are also working on this quilt design say the same thing.  It has a life of its own. It is a joy to work on and experience.

I just recently finished this quilt top for The Applique Society (TAS) 20th anniversary "Give away/Membership drive" quilt.  Jeannie Austin and myself co-designed and appliqued the top.  It shows all the cities we have had conferences in and/or meetings. We have members from around the world who have joined TAS.

Another Quilt I finished last year and had been working on is this one.  I started it in 1992 and expanded the amount of fabrics and colors to keep with the same color scheme.  I was learning how to do "scrappy" and it is harder than it looks to make this type of quilt.  I find that doing applique makes me want to match things or keep it balanced in Piecing as I do in Applique.  So, it was a challenge for me but I learned lots of things in the journey of this.  It went to a special place and home and was called "Learning Curve" because there was a lot I learned.

I did try a new binding idea with two different fabrics to give the quilt another dimension and make the edge of the quilt stand out.

So this is to update my blog so far and try to get caught up on my creative adventures. Life can sometimes take you down twists and turns.  It is what you do with those twists and turns that decides if you will rise above the difficulties or be consumed by them.  So that is why I love Eagles... they use the storms to soar and climb above the difficulties.

Crewel Embroidery - 1988

the journey of the "Orphan Twins - 1930's quilt restoration"

The journey of the "Orphan Twins - 1930's quilt restoration" has taken me since August of 2014 until May 2015 to finish.  It has been an interesting journey to say the least. My whole focus and attention has been on these quilts for the last 10 months.  I was given the opportunity to repair and restore these quilts.  Once I got into doing the process of restoration is when I realized the extent of doing this.  It was much more damaged than I first anticipated and some of the fabrics were so thin that fixing it the way I had thought was not going to work.  I had to actually replace fabric and that was a challenge because I had to match the color of white from the original.  I found that in order to do this I had to soak the fabric block I took off in BIZ and then see what the color really was.  It was amazing to see how many variations of white there are in the fabric world.  I finally came on to one that would work even though the weave was a bit heavier than the original but the color match was the goal and it worked with the quilt.  I could not wash the quilt before repairing it because it could do more damage to the fragile quilt.  So the plan was to wash it when I was completely done.  Also during the process of the repair there was a wish to add more inches to the original quilt.  That was a challenge because it had to look like it was not an after thought.  It had to look like it was originally planned.  Lots of thinking and brainstorming how to do this and to plan to have enough 30's reproduction fabric to make this happen too.

After going through all the fabric options I came up with fabric that would work with this quilt.  There was many months of work to make the new fabrics work with the old.  I found that the fabric choices I had were going to fit really well.

Each butterfly was appliqued down and outlined with a blanket stitch and stem stitch for the antenna.

More progress...

Adding the border....

Finished...and repaired... and given a new life... new legacy...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wow, it has been awhile since I posted...

Life got busy last year and so my posts on my blog have been way behind.  I have been working on the historic Captain's quilt and Love Entwined as the two main quilts.  Then I finished a few quilts this past year. So I will share the pictures of the things I have done this past year and write a note near each one to explain it.

Hand Quilting Sampler - "For the Love of the Red White and Blue".  I used different colored quilting thread to accent the simple hearts. I love the rhythm of hand quilting.

This pillow was finished a few years ago but it gives more ideas of the type of quilting I like to do.  I love to use contrasting quilting colors in my work.  It then enhances the quilting more.  

Then I finished an afghan for a special friend.  I had been using up all the left over yarn from various projects into this Popcorn Stitch afghan.  I used a black base and then filled in the colors.  It is a nice warm one too. I was able to use up lots of odds and ends of yarns I had with this one. 

I got a better close up of the hand quilting in my 30 year quilt.  You can read about that quilt farther down in the Blog. This is the close up of the hand quilting.  I liked the quilt design in the plain block and will use that pattern for my next project I have been working on.  you will see that one later in this update.

I also finished the quilting and binding on this quilt.  It is the Floral Four Block that Jeannie Austin Designed.  The top and the applique are all done in felted wool.  The batting is also wool and the backing is cotton flannel.  I wanted something soft on my body if I used it for a coverlet.  I loved working on this one because it was easy and not so detailed as my other quilts can be.  I pulled the flannel backing towards the front to give that the binding edge and trimmed it with the blanket stitch. I used Presencia Perle Cotton in all of it even the quilting part.  It worked really well.

Next is the Heirloom Album ready for borders.  That part will happen more in the fall.  I wanted to show how it looks so far and I got a better picture of it too.  Finding a space to do the photos is always the challenge for larger quilts. The quilting pattern in my 30 year quilt will go in the plain squares in this quilt.  I will be hand quilting this and I will use a colored quilting thread to do this.  I am excited to try that to make it "pop" more.  

I save the historic one for this section because it is ongoing.  I have been really taking my time with this because it is historic and I want to make sure that I get the details correct.  I do lots of research with this one and also since there is no pattern and all the details come from my research with historic photos and my drawings, it is a challenge.  The biggest challenge was to find out how to do the size correctly for the next two ships.  the first two were sailing ships and the next two are totally different ships.  I needed to work on placement and size.  It took me a month of placing and looking and then a photo and looking to get the position I have now. In the midst of all this I was Superintendent at the local fair and so my time just evaporated lately.  Fall is right around the corner and the sunny days in the Northwest will end and hand stitching time will begin again. Yes, it is all hand stitched, no machine work at all in the applique.

So this is the arrangement I have so far with the ships laying out the pieces and taking a photo of them.  I spent lots of time finding the right setting to put all the historic photos on fabric transfers too but that is for another time and that will come later.  So there is a lot of work in this piece. No, I didn't keep track of the time, it is OK because it is not about how long it takes; it is about if I like it or not and if it is finished or not.

I still need to stipple the shading on the lower right ship and the light house.  I want to make sure my hand is steady and I am in a peaceful place to do that.  I can't erase those dots and it is too important to rush that part.  

The other applique piece I have been working on is Love Entwined.  I have stopped working on it to finish the Captain's quilt.  I want to finish the Captain's quilt by the end of the year to be able to start quilting it. So then I will be able to work on the LE again.  It is hard not to work on it because LE is so addictive.  But priorities :-) must prevail :-)

When I look at all the listings of everything I have done so far, I have accomplished a lot.  I am still doing many "work in process" and that is OK too.  Life also happens too and I am not always appliqueing or quilting.  I injured my back the end of October and was in tremendous pain.  I was seeing many doctors and going to many therapeutic appointments most of the winter and spring.  I am finally able to turn over in bed without pain and can do minor garden work and outside things.  But I have a "new normal" that I am working with.  I also got involved with 3 Boards and have been serving on them to help what I can in each of them.  I am also involved in a new Applique Chapter on the island.  It is part of The Applique Society and we are growing.  Many of the members and also members of the local quilt guild won awards at this last Whidbey Island Fair.  It was so much fun to see the people and get to reconnect with many I hadn't seen in a long time.  I guess I know lots of people.  It was fun.  I will put a picture of myself at the fair this year counting ballots for the people's choice award. David Welton took this picture and he was the photography Superintendent.

That is all the updates for right now.  Now I need to catch up on my wild blackberry picking.  They are ready and I need to get them into juice for some blackberry jelly later.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Shading into the sunset :-))

Well, the Tarquina is "shading" into the Sunset... :-)

I have been working on the shading a little at a time. Today I got to a "stopping point" with the shading because I needed to stand back from the ship a bit before I overdo the shading.  I need to wait and see if I need to keep the shading as is or do a bit more.  

Sometimes you get too close to the details of a project and can't see the big picture.  I did the stippling of the shading in a fine dot to keep it soft and not get too heavy.  I found that my hand started to get too heavy when I worked on the stippling too long. I do the stippling in a gentle tapping motion with a Pigma Pen brown 01. Today I was able to get the shading to a stopping point and now I will share the picture.  This has been an amazing journey and I am excited to start the next ship now that I have this part done. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Ship coming to life...The Brig Tarquina sailing out to sea...

A Ship coming to life...The Brig Tarquina sailing out to sea and heading to the West coast in the 1850's.

I am excited to show what I have done so far with this Historical quilt.  I took the design from a photo of a painting of the Brig Tarquina supplied by the family that I am doing this quilt for. This design and first ship was a big challenge for me. I worked on getting the ship the right size for the space I had.  So I  basted an outline of thread where the compass rose will be appliqued onto the background. I constantly had to tell myself to keep it simple, it is a representation of a Brig, it is a representation of the Ship Tarquina and be true to basic colors in the painting and possible colors and designs of the time.  I also had to not get too much detail.  I did have fun with the details I have finished so far and I still have to do the shading with the Pigma Pen in a stipple effect.  I will be using a Brown 01.  I want to practice a bit on a scrap fabric piece before I do the Tarquina.
This is the ship done so far.  It is all hand appliqued and embellished and no fusing has been used in this block.

Tarquina from a family painting

The other block I worked on was the 4th block of the Sue Garman "Ladies of the Sea". It is the Le Coureur 1776. This one was fun to do and the greens do not show up as vibrant as it is in person. I will do more of the "Ladies of the Sea" blocks after I get the Captain's Quilt done and ready for quilting.  Priorities at this point.
Copyrighted 2007 Susan H. Garman Design

Monday, April 15, 2013

Applique - History expressed in Applique - 'windows to the soul' updates...

So much has been going on since I last updated my blog.  I will update you with what is going on in the creative part of my life.  

I am still working on "Ladies of the Sea" blocks and my traditional quilting sampler options.  BUT, I have started a "must do/finish" project for a local family.  The project is an Historic quilt I designed in 2006 but was trying to find a way to put the idea together.  Since working on the "Ladies of the Sea" I realized I did not need a photo of the ships I wanted to put in this quilt and instead decided I had the ability to do the ships with applique.  Now this is a BIG step for me and it is another "beyond my comfort zone" idea.  I have been researching the pictures of the mid 1800's ships - Bark and Brig.  Between internet searches and books loaned to me by students and friends, I have come up with prototypes of the ships.  I have sketched and enlarged the drawings to fit my quilt layout.  The quilt will be about 42 inches square.  I have been collecting sea fabric and have other fabrics in my stash that will be used in the historic project.  

This quilt is called the "Captains Quilt".  Four Sea Captains that settled and lived in our area.  Two of them came around the "horn" of South America and settled on Whidbey Island in the 1850's.  Two others were descendants of the original Captains.  I have been collecting pictures and will be putting them into the quilt with a photo transfer process. I just finished working on the center Compass Rose based on Antique designs and colors.  In the center of this Compass Rose I have put a reproduction of the 1860 Admiralty Lighthouse in Applique and with embellishment.  It is not perfect but what I had to keep telling myself is that it is a "representation" of this lighthouse.  I still have to do some inking for shading but I want to practice some more before I do it on the finished lighthouse.
So here is the picture of the lighthouse and compass so far.

This is the original lighthouse picture I took the design from shown below.  

My next step is to start on the first of the sailing ships.  It is the Brig - Tarquina.  Doing the last "Ladies of the Sea" block - The Elissa - I was able to see that the ship, the Brig, is possible because I understood how Sails and Masts and Rigging were done.  The part that was challenging was in the drawing of the design from my historic resources because I had to decide what was important to put in the Applique and what is OK to be a "representation" of the Brig. 

This week I hope to finish the 4th block of the "Ladies of the Sea" - Le Coureur.  I just have to put the rigging on the block.  This will be the last block I make 2 samples of the same ship.  It was OK to do them 2 times because I worked out all the details to do it better each time I did the applique and embellishments   I am continually learning when I do Applique, so it was no problem to make the duplicate blocks.  

Below is the Elissa.

Copyrighted 2007 Susan H. Garman Design

Well that is all for this update and be looking for more information in the coming weeks.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Finally some new pictures to share and projects to talk about.

I finally was able to take some pictures of my "30 year quilt" and just finished the number 2 block of the "Ladies of the Sea" block of the month.  I also finished a sampler quilt I made as a Christmas gift that will get quilted this year. Yes, I am busy but love the productive creative place I am in right now.

Ladies of the Sea block 2:

Copyrighted 2007 Susan H. Garman Design

Contemporary version of the sampler quilt in more masculine colors.

Below is the first block I fell in love with in 1980, when I learned how to quilt by hand.  I made a "first quilt" but gave it away so I didn't have a quilt for myself.  So I decided to take the "Grandmothers Flower Garden" pattern and use the fabrics and colors that were available in 1982 and make a "quilt as you go" quilt. I didn't have enough of some of the solid colors so I found a "creative" solution to the problem.  I would work on it as I could but most of the time it sat there waiting for me to work on it.  The last few years I picked it up again and it was one of the 80% done projects that only need 20% to finish them.  So December 2012 I finished my quilt.  The quilt is all hand quilted, hand pieced and the hexagon shapes - grandmothers flower garden - are all appliqued down.  The back has the first sheets we got at our wedding 42 years ago and the pattern is the first block I fell in love with and this is the first quilt I made just for me.  The colors are now popular again and may come back in style.  The big thing was that it got done.  Now I can move on and do other things.  It is also good to see where I started from and where I am now 30 plus years later in my quilting adventure.  I finished it!

"30 year quilt"

There is another block I was working on in November/December 2012.  I am going to work on one block of this in between the Ladies of the Sea blocks.  I like variety and it keeps my interest in the blocks I am working on.  This also will be a quilt for me so there is no hurry in this one.  I just LOVE the colors in this block.  It is called Lily Rosenberry by Susan H. Garman.  I picked different colors than what the pattern package showed.  I had this really great fabric for the vase and was not sure if I would have enough because of course I didn't buy enough originally.  I was really careful and cut out all the vases needed and had fabric left over.  I was happy.  I just finished a fabric portfolio to carry my blocks in as I travel and for storage. So it has a nice flat home to stay in while I work on the other blocks for the quilt.

Copyrighted 2007 Susan H. Garman Design

Yes, there are lots of berries in this quilt.  1,004 berries to be exact.  They are easy to make with the special technique I use and you just do one berry at a time and before you know it, it is done!  So as you can see it is a wonderful quilt to work on.  

So now I will be working on block 3 of Ladies of the Sea times 2 and Borders of the Heritage Album and in between that a Lily Rosenberry block.  A person can get a lot done if a goal is set, time is allowed for the process and projects are chosen that stir the creative place in your soul.
Till next time - Set some goals and just watch how much gets done.  I love this saying  -"It is better to aim at something and miss than to aim at nothing and hit it".