Joint Venture with Karen Miller: Mystery Quilt Along – Part 3


Jan 7: Announcement post
Jan 21:  Planning, basting, batting, etc
Jan 28:  Stabilization quilting or just to catch up
***Feb 4, Feb 11: Inside center panel
Feb 25: Top and Bottom Rectangles
March 4: Top and Bottom Squares
March 11: Left and Right Side panels
Mach 18: Narrow Sashing
March 25: Outside (wider) Border
April 1: Binding & Hanging


Hello Friends, Happy Monday!  I hope your week got off a great start, and that those of you who lived in last week’s extreme cold have thawed out nicely, and are ready to do some quilting on your machine.

Now, some of you might still be gathering your supplies.  That’s okay — jump in when you are able to. Click HERE where Karen keeps a list of shops where you can purchase the supplies.


I have heard positive responses from many regarding my book.  THANK YOU!

You may order my book from:

Connecting Threads

Fox Chapel Publishing


or email me for signed copies!

I will be using Aurifli 50 wt threads from my Subtle Strings collection.  You may read more about the collection here, and here.  You may order your collection here for $99.99 (regularly selling for $140)!  I saw that some of you have bought up the stock available on Pumpkinvine Corner.  But don’t worry, more has been ordered according to the website.

Meanwhile, you may also order the collection HERE and HERE.

My Subtle Strings colors are specially selected to achieve a subtle contrast effect in the quilting.  That is to say, we get to quilt with pretty colors on our quilts, but the colors aren’t really visible from afar and are not competing with the overall look of the quilt, until one looks at the quilting close up.  These colors are also perfect for piecing, machine or hand applique — definitely my go-to!  Why limit yourself to using only beige and light brown, or white?!



BEFORE WE START, here are the Subtle Strings colors I used for the different sections!  It’s a great time to experiment with subtle colors in quilting!  I hope you like subtle contrast quilting as much as I have!  Where the spool is indicates the area quilted with the color.


#1,  If you have a needle down function on your machine, USE IT!  That way, when you have to turn your quilt, your needle won’t lose its spot if you have to turn your quilt.

#2.  It’s also time to shelf the walking foot for a little bit!  For the rest of the quilting, I foresee myself only using my free-motion quilting foot.  The far left foot attachment is the one I use, in fact, the ONLY one.

I like to use the open-toe foot because I can see better, and therefore decide where to go from one spot to the next when I am quilting.

#3.  I started off doing outline stitching and some on the sheep — just to warm-up a little.  Here I am showing you a few options.  References from my book: pages 30, 35, 50.

Outline quilting around the fluff – and continue with the echo inside the sheep.

Outline quilting around the fluff and tuft above the head.

Outline quilting in oval shape around sheep.

Outline quilting with swirls in the body.

Outline quilting, and then echo closely a few times around the body.

Outline quilting, and a few pebbles in the body to give a bit of texture.

And you know how quilting adds personality to one’s quilt, I added a bit of a personality to one of the sheep.  CLEARLY, he forgot what his mother has told him NOT to chew with his mouth open!!!

#4.  I then worked on the sky.  I outline quilted and then echoed around the clouds several times.  

Then, I quilted swirls with long tail (like a bean sprout almost).  This is a variation stemmed from the basic swirl in page 35 in my book.

#5.  Next I divided the grass into sections.

Section 1.  I quilted pebbles (page 50) and sand dunes (page 33) in this section.  I love the sand dunes because it’s like echoing without having to worry about the equal distance between the echoes.  It is much more freeing and forgiving.

Section 2.  More sand dunes in this one, except I added pebbles in between the pebbles.  And that’s another reason I like sand dunes because you can add bits and bobs in between the echoes.

Section 3.  This section is quilted with horizontal and vertical lines (not necessarily straight) that make a wavy cross hatch (page 72).  I then go back and fill in alternate boxes with closely quilted lines to make a basketweave effect.  Spot the pink quilting? You can also see the occasional grass sprouting on a couple of the empty squares.  Feel free to add any accents to your liking!

Section 4.  I have to admit, I couldn’t help myself with the feather quilting!  I quilted the foreground of the panel center with feathers.  Once you are comfortable doodling feathers (pages 54-59), you could mark your feathers on the quilt itself and quilt by following the line…. OR you may mark the spines of the feather plume as a guide on your quilt, and free-hand quilt your feathers (page 79).

I was so proud of my students in my De-mystifying Feather Quilting Class last week at Road to CA, who were able to free-hand quilt their feathers, having NO prior feather quilting experience, and AFTER learning the basics of feather quilting well.

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT, for today’s installment!  You noticed how the colors I used in the quilting don’t jump out at you?  That’s the beauty of subtle contrast in quilting!

It might look like it is a lot to quilt the panel center, but wait, you actually get to quilt the panel center over the next three weeks!  I will still check in the next two Mondays.  The next installment isn’t till Feb 25.

I timed myself.  The panel center took me about 4 1/2″ hours of solid quilting.  But it’s all good fun.

However, if all this is overwhelming to you. Tackle one section at a time.  Even if you have to mark on your quilt before you quilt with a washable fabric marker, it is ALRIGHT!  I use either a Frixion Pen or this blue marker.


Remember, BABY STEPS!

NOW, I wonder what Karen has done …. remember, it’s ALL a mystery between the two of us!!!  I am heading on to her blog to see what she has been up to.  Click HERE to go to Karen’s blog.

See you next week!

4 thoughts on “Joint Venture with Karen Miller: Mystery Quilt Along – Part 3

  1. Even though I am not doing the quilt along right now, I am following the blog posts. I have always felt like I was a slow quilter and everyone else was faster. It is good to hear actual times that it takes for you to quilt this panel. It gives me perspective for my own quilting times. Thank you!❤💛❤💛❤ I love your different choices for the backgrounds.

  2. My panel and book are arriving within a week. I am looking forward to learning more Free-motion quilting. I guess I can practice pepples and swirl doodles until they arrive.

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