Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine #50

thread-talk1I want to tell you I do so love my eagle-eyed friends that come to my blog — whether in spotting my featured projects in magazines before I do, or noticing details in the pictures I share on this blog.

Dear Joyce made this comment about the following picture shown in this post… “I just looked a bit more carefully, I like the way that you added pebbles to fill up a space not taken up by the feather. Very clever and it really adds to the overall look of the quilting.”


Unbeknownst to Joyce, I have been planning a Thread Talk post dealing with the background quilting on the negative space in feather quilting to make the feathers POP even more besides using the appropriate type of batting (click here and here to read past Thread Talk posts)!  Note the scale of the background quilting…


The scale of background quilting compared to the feathers is… tiny!  In order to make the feathers stand out, the scale of background quilting has to be times tinier than the feathers.  To pop my feathers, I normally try to quilt the negative spaces (if I decide to… sometimes I don’t) with a scale as small as I can manage.  Don’t panic though, I find it is easier to quilt small and tiny in many cases.

Many of you might have not seen my Harrison Urn quilt block (based on Susan McCord’s quilt) I quilted way back when.  Feel free to click here to view more pictures of the block.

Meanwhile, Happy Quilting!  Remember to quilt them small when it comes to background quilting!

p.s.  Can you believe we have reached our 50th Thread Talk installment?!  Thanks so much for your encouragement on my past Thread Talk posts.  Your encouragement has kept me going… Stay tuned for a giveaway!


In the Meadow in THE QUILTER (April/May 2013)


Happy Monday, Dear Friends!  I hope you had a good weekend, and do wish you a lovely week ahead of you.  I am happy to share with you today another of my recently featured magazine quilt:  In the Meadow in The Quilter‘s April/May 2013 issue.

TQ_Sweet Home_High Res

In the following, the quilt is shown with the books on my current reading list.  I promise you quilting is not all I do, ha!


The fabrics are from RJR’s Thimbleberries Sweet Home collection.


I was reminded of the Jewels game that I used to play on the computer eons ago, so I sought to design the quilt with the feel of “jewels”.  It turned out to be a neat way to highlight the different fabrics in the collection.

jewels game

You can see the blocks close up in the following:



This design turned out to have quite a bit of negative space — perfect for any kind of background quilting.  I chose free-handed feathers – surprise!


Quilting was done tone-on-tone using Aurifil Mako 50 Cotton threads over Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting.




It was hard sometimes during the quilting process to perfectly fit a rounded feather lobe right into the geometry of a square or triangular quilting area.  So I quilted little what-nots at the end of the feather lobe to fill in the gap.  I wrote more about the what-nots here.


I hope you enjoyed visiting me today.  As always, I am tickled you choose to drop by.  Have a blessed day.

p.s.  If you have written personal emails to me in the last three weeks and hadn’t heard from me — don’t worry, your emails did reach me more than likely.  Time has evaded me the last couple of weeks.  I really felt like I was a hamster on a wheel.  You WILL hear from me when I can carve out some time to get caught up with my emails!  Meanwhile, keep those emails coming.



My 2013 lineup thus far besides “In the Meadow” – click on links for more information:

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Spring 2013): Baubles, Baubles

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2013): Curious Cats, to be posted

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Summer 2013): Fabrique Foursome, to be posted

The Quilter (December 2012/January 2013): Not Too Square

Quilt Trends (Winter 2013, Cover Quilt): Tango

Quilter’s World (February 2013): New Life

Quilter’s World (April 2013): Monkey Around

Quilter’s World QUICK & EASY QUILTS (Spring 2013): In & Out

Quilter’s World QUICK & EASY QUILTS (Spring 2013): Garden Maze

Annie’s Love Those Precuts Book (January 2013):  Apple of My Eye

Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting (March/April 2013):  Now I know my ABC’s

Machine Quilting Unlimited (March/April 2013): Quilting Curvy Feathers

Quilts and More (Spring 2013):  2 Wishes, to be posted

Quilts and More (Spring 2013):  Watercolor Sketches, to be posted

Quilting Treasures Free Pattern (January 2013): Mediterranean Dream

Quilting Treasures Free Pattern (February 2013): Butterfly Kisses

Benartex Free Pattern (March 2013): Pumpkin Patch/Autumn Fauna

“Quilting Curvy Feathers” in MACHINE QUILTING UNLIMITED (March/April 2013)

MQU March 2013 cover

Hello Friends!  Before I even saw my copy, some of you had written to me with kind words about my “Quilting Curvy Feathers” article in the latest March/April 2013 issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited!  I really appreciate the positive feedback on the article.


This is my first time ever being published in Machine Quilting Unlimited.  If you are unfamiliar with that magazine, it is an amazing publication that features works of HUGE HUGE names in machine quilting.  [I am a HUGE fan of Sandra Leichner!] Click here to subscribe.


As I often share with you, I am just a wee fish in the vast ocean of quilting, and oftentimes swimming upstream. I am learning and experimenting like everyone else, with LOTS more to learn and experiment.  To have something featured in Machine Quilting Unlimited seems unreal to me, even after seeing the article in print.


I say all that to encourage you to take the plunge to machine quilt — you might really enjoy yourself along the way and end up one of the HUGE HUGE names I talked about!  I also want to take the opportunity to thank you all for being my friends, sharing with me my machine quilting journey – albeit a rather wee journey!  Quilt on, my quilting friends — and hugs to you all, even if you don’t quilt.


My 2013 lineup thus far besides “Quilting Curvy Feathers” – click on links for more information:

Fons and Porter Easy Quilts (Spring 2013): Baubles, Baubles

The Quilter (December 2012/January 2013): Not Too Square

Quilt Trends (Winter 2013, Cover Quilt): Tango

Quilter’s World (February 2013): New Life

Quilter’s World (April 2013): Monkey Around

Quilter’s World QUICK & EASY QUILTS (Spring 2013): In & Out

Quilter’s World QUICK & EASY QUILTS (Spring 2013): Garden Maze

Annie’s Love Those Precuts Book (January 2013):  Apple of My Eye

Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting (March/April 2013):  Now I know my ABC’s

Quilts and More (Spring 2013):  2 Wishes, to be posted

Quilts and More (Spring 2013):  Watercolor Sketches, to be posted

The Quilter (April/May 2013):  In the Meadow, to be posted

Quilting Treasures Free Pattern (January 2013): Mediterranean Dream

Quilting Treasures Free Pattern (February 2013): Butterfly Kisses

Benartex Free Pattern (March 2013): Pumpkin Patch/Autumn Fauna

Starry Host: Final Sneak Peeks

Hello Friends, I showed you previews of the fabrics and some of the blocks:



Here is a final peek before it is officially featured:


Here are a couple of highly close-up shots of the feathers… I am baring it all for you to pick out all the blemishes.  I can spot a few already by just looking at the close-ups for a few seconds.



Can you tell I am the happiest when I quilt feathers?  With that, I bid you all a very HAPPY Monday, and a Happy Week!

Not Too Square in THE QUILTER (December 2012/January 2013)


Good day, my Friends!  I hope you are doing well.  I thought I would share with you my “Not Too Square” quilt that is featured in The Quilter‘s December 2012/January 2013 issue.


[Image Source:  The Quilter Magazine]

Quilt blocks are oftentimes thought of being square when considered. I decided to put a bit of a spin to that conventional thought and made my blocks rectangular.  Thus the name “Not Too Square”.  What a fun name for the quilt, eh?  I had the grandest time making this quilt, and felt a little sad when the project was completed.

Design 2c

I am really pleased by how good the blue, green, yellow, and, ORANGE fabrics from Riley Blake’s Avignon collection look together in the quilt!  Since the principles pertaining to the color wheel are all greek to me, my approach to pulling colors together in a quilt is more “potluck-ish” in nature. :)  So you can imagine my delight when I saw how the slightly strange color scheme unfolded before me in a very pleasing manner.


Here you see “Not Too Square” in different poses.



Quilting was done with Aurifil Mako 50 cotton threads over Hobbs Tuscany Silk Batt.



Here are a few technical tidbits for the quilting junkies… :)  I had a few thoughts prior to quilting, but the frames presented by the white fabric just screamed FEATHER WREATH to me!  So that’s what I quilted.  The quilted down white frames highlighted the print patches very well.  The un-quilted print patches look raised nestled amongst the quilted down white areas.  Click here for my Thread Talk post on feather wreath.  Click here for my Thread Talk post on the options I considered when quilting this quilt.



Following are images of my feather-quilted sashing:



This is how the back looks:


Are you kind of liking “Not Too Square” yet?  Well, the pattern instructions are offered free on The Quilter’s website.  Isn’t that great?  Click here to download the pdf file.

I hope you have enjoyed “Not Too Square”.  I know this is not a Christmas quilt, but I thought of “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” while resizing the photos.  The first stanza is my favorite, reflecting how I felt when I saw the bright colors in “Not Too Square” on a chilly wintry day:


“Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.”

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a blessed day.

Silver Maple in Fons and Porter’s EASY QUILTS (Winter 2012)


Hello Friends, my Silver Maple quilt is featured in the latest Fons and Porter‘s Easy Quilts Winter 2012 issue! YAY!

[image source: Fons and Porter]

This small-sized wall hanging can easily fit a narrow display area.  The color has a wintery sort of feel to it!  Don’t you think?

[image source: Fons and Porter]

The fabrics used are from Thimbleberries’ Pressed Flowers collection, released by RJR Fabrics.  This is my second featured Pressed Flowers quilt.  You can view my first one here.

This is a foundation-pieced pattern.  If you have never tried foundation-piecing, this might be a fun one to try.  One great thing about foundation-piecing is that the points in your blocks will look REALLY impressive!!

Here are a couple more shots of the quilt:

The most fun part in making this quilt for me is the QUILTING!  Quilting is allover free-handed feathers done with Aurifil Mako 50 Cotton over Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting.

This is how the back looks

So, do tell me, what do you like or dislike about Silver Maple?  You can be totally honest…

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope my post finds you well today.  The weather has certainly be chilly at my end, and wet and rainy too a couple of days this week.   The cold weather makes running errands around town with a young child an even bigger drama – hats, coats, boots etc!  I am sure some of you go, “Uh-huh, been there, and done that!”  :)  You will not likely to hear from me until next Monday as it’s crunch time again over here… have a great weekend!



Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine #43

Hello Friends, I hope you are doing well.  I am sharing with you a quilting trick I fortuitously discovered when I was quilting my Home Sweet Home quilt.  [I love that word “fortuitous” — it was a word taught to me by a dear Chemical Engineering professor in college when I would go see him in his office.  More often than not, he would give me the “word of the day” after he was done teaching me engineering stuff.]

If you look at the image below, you will see that I added little “what-nots” at the tip of some feathers to fill in the geometry of either square or triangle patches.

The reason I did that is because I was trying to fit rounded feather lobes into the geometry of a square or a triangle, and sometimes it’s just impossible to quilt a feather large or narrow enough to fit the quilting area and have the feathers still look decent.  So I came up with the “what-not-companion” approach.  See the below images to see what I mean…

You can see in the following the aforementioned “what-nots” in action.  You will need to study the images a bit to find the “what-nots” since the quilting was done tone-on-tone.

I hope the “what-nots” trick would come in handy for you when you are quilting feathers to fit quilting area of fixed geometry.  Notice this post does not deal with how to quilt feathers — that topic is already covered here.

Thanks for stopping by!  A huge quilty hug to all my friends!

Modern Country in SIMPLY SOLIDS by Annie’s

Hello Friends, I hope you are doing well!  My Modern Country was returned to me amidst of all the chatter from you about feather quilting in my Learn to Machine Quilt online class giveaway post!  Perfect timing, eh?  Modern Country appears in Simply Solids, a newly released book by Annie’s.

[image source: Simply Solids, page 23]

Modern Country is inspired by primitive quilts that are so dearly loved by many quilters, and adapted with a modern flair in that the colors are brighter than the traditional primitive palette.  I used all solids from RJR’s Cotton Supreme Solids collection.  Click here to see the full range of fabrics.

Quilting was done with Aurifil Mako 50 Cotton threads (different colors) over Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting.  Some of you have asked about my thought process in deciding how/what to quilt.  I will take the opportunity here to share a little how I decided to quilt this banner.

So, here goes… looking at a quilt top that is made of entirely solids — my first thought is dense quilting that adds interesting texture to the quilt.  Deciding what dense quilting motif to quilt is strictly a matter of personal preference.  I happen to love feather quilting, like really really really love!  So, it’s feathers for me!

Next comes the question of whether to quilt marked or unmarked feathers.  Oftentimes in my case, I go with free-form and unmarked feathers because of my time constraint.  I often do not have more than 6-8 hours to quilt a quilt.  So, I almost always go for unmarked feathers. I decided to unevenly distribute the feather so that the eye is drawn to look at the various parts of the banner.  I also quilted straight lines in the mid sections of the side borders to break up the feathers a little, again, for visual effect.  And so, you have the completed banner in the following image.

[image source: Simply Solids, page 21]

Here are a few close-up shots of the quilting:

And here, you see close-ups of the birds with their respective sprig of berries.

I also took this super close-up shot of my quilting to show you why I like to quilt with Aurifil’s Mako 50 Cotton thread — I get virtually no thread building up despite stitching over some of the areas multiple times.  Click here to read more about my thoughts on threads.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you enjoyed looking at my Modern Country!  I am going back to work — on quilting feathers actually.  Talk about coincidence, eh? :)

Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine #42

Dear Friends,  I hope you are doing well.  Life has been sort of a blur for me in the last few days as I worked to meet a few non-negotiable deadlines!  I had heard from some of you that you were not able to leave comments on my Cottage Chic Christmas quilt.  I am sorry about that.  I am not quite what was wrong.  I am guessing whatever it was, it was temporary on WordPress’ end.

Here is a snapshot of one of the three quilts I had shipped out in the last week or so.  You can see that it is quilted feather wreath, but with a lighthearted informal feel.  My feather lobes don’t all look the same in size or style.  They almost look like they are up to mischief or something – which is not totally outrageous in light them being quilt on my Monkey Business II quilt there! :)

You will see what I mean by comparing the previous photo with  this next one.  Since all the feathers are the same size, the feel is more uniform and more formal.

Moral of the story:  Experiment with the sizes and styles of your feather lobes to achieve different looks.

Thanks for stopping by!  I will see you again tomorrow, hopefully.

Mosaic Stars in QUILTER’S WORLD (October 2012)

Happy Friday, Friends!  I know I say this all the time, but I really can’t believe it’s Friday!  We are looking forward to an Artisan Fair that is happening in our area.   To me, visiting the outdoor fair booths this time of year is the perfect way to usher in the autumn season!  I want to share with you today my Mosaic Stars quilt that is featured in Quilter’s World‘s October 2012 issue.

[Image source: Quilter’s World]

Mosaic Stars is a two-block quilt with an appliqued swag border.

The palette of this quilt mixes blue with the usual autumn colors to give an updated look.  The rather unexpected use of blue also makes this quilt useable throughout the fall and winter season.  In fact, I will be working on a fall dress for Miss Baby that is blue and brown – that way I get more mileage out of the dress.  I don’t want her looking like a weirdo wearing an orange dress to church, say, in January.  But a blue and brown dress would still work well for a middle of winter dress.  Back to the quilt, the fabrics used for this quilt are from Quilting Treasures’ Autumn Bouquet collection.

Quilting was done using Aurifil‘s Mako 50 Cotton thread over Hobbs‘ Tuscany Silk Batting.  If you haven’t read my articles on threads and silk batting – click here and here. I set out to quilt something that would look totally different on the back compared to what’s on the front.  If you look carefully at the following picture, you can see glimpses of the quilting scheme starting from the center of the quilt.

And here, you see it more clearly how the quilting scheme actually played out on the quilt back.  Except for those arches that were marked for me to know where the boundary was, everything else (feathering) was free-handed.  Now, you can’t quite tell from the quilting scheme how the front looks, eh?  Isn’t quilting fun — oh, how the possibilities make me swoon!

Here are a few close-ups of the front:

And here are a few close-ups of the back:

I shall stop annoying you with yet another photo showing yet more feathers.  Believe me, I took a lot more pictures of just the feathers on the back.  I hope you have enjoyed my Mosaic Stars, and I want to wish you a lovely weekend.  Till next Monday!

Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine #40

Happy Friday, Friends!  I hope you have had a good week.  I want to thank you all for chiming in on quilting ideas for this image I had shown you earlier this week.   I enjoyed reading creative quilting ideas.

A quick recap on the quilting area:  it is rectangular, measuring 4.5″ (width) and 5.5″ (length) with a 1.5″ square in the middle.  So, while 4.5″ x 5.5″ sounds rather large, the “white” area is really not that large after it’s being “intruded” by that square in the center.

[Before I begin showing you the options I considered — please please note that I am learning with everyone else.  I have expressed to many of your privately, and I will do so publicly… I do NOT (ever!) consider myself some kind of expert or diva.   The quilting options I consider are always restricted by the fact that most of the time I only have about 5-6 hours to quilt a quilt due to magazine deadlines.  So, what I end up quilting and what I would love to quilt on a quilt are often different!  For that reason, I often feel like a “dollar store” free-motion quilter.]

With that in mind, here is option 1 – classic geometric with fillers giving the area the illusion of a separate pinwheel block in the background.

Option 2 – a fun free-motion echoing around the square with straight lines and circles.

Option 3 – dishes were used to mark the arcs for a floral motif, highlighted by McTavishing.  [Hey!  I have to somehow justify all those dishes I have are “essential” to quilting besides their intended purposes!]

Option 4 – geometrical lines are used to give the illusion of a paper-pieced block.

Option 5 – A free-handed floral motif radiating from the center of the square.

Now I will share with you how my little brain synapses processed those options.

#1: Quite a bit of marking, and the pebbles will take a bit of time to quilt

#2: No marking required (yay!), but since it is rectangular, it will be hard to make sure the echoes around the square to evenly fill the rectangular quilting area.  The schematic showed that toward the top, there is a gap.  Would be perfect for a square quilting area, but not rectangular.

#3.  Love this, but the marking will require some time.

#4.  Love, love, love this – how I wish I had six months to quilt this quilt, and not just 6 hours!

#5.  Definitely a viable candidate as there is no marking involved, and the symmetry issue isn’t too much of a concern. But might not go with the general feel of the quilt.  Unfortunately, I can’t show you the entire quilt for now.  I will though, soon enough!

The suspense is over — this is what I ended up doing… a spineless feather wreath to fit the rectangular area. My first attempt at quilting rectangular feather wreaths turned out to be more than satisfactory in the visual effect department.   [You can click here to read about how I free-hand my feather wreaths.]  Quilting went really quick, and with minimal marking.  I used a wine glass to draw a symmetrical boundary around the square so that I know where to start and end my feathers.  That was the only marking I had to do.  The feathers were all free-handed.

I hope this post gives you a glimpse of what goes on behind-the-scenes where Ivory Spring quilts are concerned!  So much of what I do at this point in my life is directly related to time management… and I do sometimes look forward to the day I can finally spend 6 months quilting a quilt!  But until then, my world is constantly whirling at top speed.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have a lovely weekend ahead of you.  I will see you again on Monday.

p.s.  Can you believe we are at #40 for my Thread Talk posts?!  WOW!!  How time flies…

Sweet Meadow in THE QUILTER (August/September 2012)

Happy Monday, Friends!  Now that I am back in town, I can share with you that I was actually gone most of last week for some quilting-related work out-of-state.   It was exhausting, but very rewarding.  And yet it is also good to be back home.  I am excited to share with you my Sweet Meadow bedrunner that is featured in The Quilter‘s August/September 2012 issue!

This is the schematic showing the starting point of the project.  I eventually adapted the concept with fabrics, and came up with the bedrunner.

Here are a few shots of the actual bedrunner in real life, accompanied by a few “breakable” trappings of life.  My white matelasse bedspread that I originally wanted to use was at the cleaner’s.  Thus the beige/tan one, but I think it actually worked out better as it highlighted the white on the bedrunner really well.

The bluebirds of happiness were intentional.  There really wasn’t another option after I saw how the blue just popped among the pinks and greens.

I didn’t want to use the usual green for leaves, so I used pink and a stripe print in the collection.  You know, stripes are really very versatile in their usage.  I have another project in my future to-do that uses stripes in the actual blocks!  The applique is fused machine applique using Warm Company‘s Steam A Seam2 fusible web.

The fabrics are from In the Meadow collection by Quilting Treasures.

The pieced center of the bed runner is quilted with swirls.

Of course, the wide white inner border is just BEGGING to be filled in with quilting, right?   I am taking you for an “around the inner border” tour as the quilting was unmarked and unplanned, so the quilting is not uniform throughout the border.

As almost always, quilting was done with Aurifil Mako 50 cotton over Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting.

This is how the back looks:

I hope you have enjoyed my Sweet Meadow bedrunner.  Now, I am curious to know…

#1.  … are bedrunners part of your bedding ensemble?

#2.  … if you are a quilter, are you more apt to make tablerunners or bedrunners?