Thread Talk from My Sewing Machine #61


Hello Friends, it’s so good to have you back.  I am passionate about wholecloth quilting when it comes to machine quilting.

However, I am keenly aware not all quilters want to do that kind of quilting — which is PERFECTLY okay!!  I am not in any way getting on to you for not doing wholecloth quilting that oftentimes requires very dense background quilting.  The background quilting you see in the following quilt images is quilted less than 1/8″ apart!

Plus to be honest, that kind of dense background quilting probably is not conducive to be quilted on quilt tops made with printed fabrics.  So, for a while now, I have been thinking about the matter of background fillers to go with feather quilting on “printed” quilt tops that are practical. One of these fillers is my Sand Dunes filler!


1.  So, first, we have a feather plume “quilted” here.  Click here to read about how I quilt my feathers.


2.  After the feather is quilted, I picked a spot on the feather to just quilt something curvy, but somewhat graceful looking toward the outer edge of the quilt top.

So you will notice I quilted my first Sand Dune pass (#1) beyond the edge of the quilt top INTO to the batting and quilt backing portion — assuming you baste your quilt sandwich with excess batting and quilt fabric around the quilt top, like I do.


3.  That’s because… it saved me having to cut my thread and restart on the pass back to the feather plume.  Notice my pass back to the feather plume is only somewhat echoing the first pass. My Sand Dunes are meant to be “liberated” echoes in the sense that they are not exactly echoed.  Another thing is that the Sand Dune passes are quilted far apart, unlike the 1/8″ or less distance in between echoes in my wholecloth quilting.


Once the back pass (#2) touches the feather plume, I would then follow the quilt feather plume outline for just a little bit, and then, I would quilt toward the outer edge of the quilt top with another Sand Dune pass (#3) and so forth to complete the background quilting around the feather plume(s) on my quilt.


This quilt back picture might show you exactly I meant.

I like the Sand Dunes for a printed quilted tops because this filler looks open and doesn’t have a suffocating feel on the printed quilt tops.  It is not demanding because it doesn’t require me to echo exactly, and veering off a bit on subsequent echoes actually adds to the overall textured look.


I would love for you to try out Sand Dunes with your feathers — and let me know what you think.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t checked out my other posts on machine quilting, feel free to do so by clicking here.

I will be sharing with you some exciting machine quilting news in a couple of months – can’t wait!!! But for now, if you haven’t checked out my online Learn to Machine Quilt class (that covers practical motifs for beginning machine quilting) here, I hope you will do so as well.  The class is also available on DVD here.

learn to machine quilt

Thank you for stopping by, Dear Friends!  Blessings to you all!

Giveaway: Learn to Machine Quilt

A couple of days ago, I received a sweet, sweet comment.  Thank you, Ann-Marie, for making my day.

blog comment

I am happy to announce another giveaway today — a free copy of my online Learn to Machine Quilt class, produced by Annie’s.

Learn to Machine Quilt

Click here to read more about the class.  Shown in the following are the topics covered in the class.  This class is designed to help beginning machine quilters to get used to moving their quilt sandwiches.  It remains my firm belief that being able to maneuver one’s quilt sandwich is the key to enjoyable quilting on a domestic machine.

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Here are a few images of the class sample.

Learn to Quilt 2

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Lean to Machine Quilt4

And here you see pictures of the class samples made by quilters who took the class.  Here is one by Joyce:


And here is one by Jean:



To be entered in the giveaway, please leave a comment below between now and August 6th, 2014 – and tell me one challenge you face when quilting your own quilts on your domestic machine.  Winner will be announced in August 7th, 2014.  Good luck! :)


Thanks for stopping by.  I am still working on Iron Man II (or Insanity, as Mary calls it).  But I am almost done piecing the top, woo hoo!


Behind the scenes… & Giveaway!

Dear Friends, I hope you have had a great start to your week!  First of all, I want to thank you all for your encouraging words on my Annie’s Learn to Machine Quilt class.  Click on the Annie’s Online Classes on my blog sidebar to access the webpage of my Learn to Machine Quilt class.

The class has generated a bit of talk within my inner circle after they viewed some of the clips.  The comments I have gotten are something like the following:

  • You look chic and metropolitan!
  • What?  You had a manicure, pink at that!

You see, on a decent day, I look like this – in my plain Jane self who’d rather do anything else than think about how best to apply blusher on my cheeks!  I normally leave that sort of thing to my beloved sister.  That’s why it’s a little shocking for my close friends and family to see me all decked out for the video clips, I supposed. :)

For the video shoot, Amy the professional stylist extraordinaire wielded her make-up brushes and transformed my look into totally chic!  How amazing is that?  I was tempted to pack Amy in my suitcase to bring her home with me after the shoot was over.  Back to the hair, it took me 3 washes to wash out the hairspray – you could probably guess-timate the amount of hairspray sprayed on my crown!  I thought to myself at one point a basketball would have no problem or whatsoever bouncing off my hair!

The video shoot took about 16 hours – two full grueling days of work for everyone involved.  Now I have no problem speaking in public, but having to speak into a camera with a teleprompter outside of a classroom setting with no real audience, that took some getting use to.  For a short while after I returned home, my mind would automatically switch to the “teleprompter” mode whenever I saw a string of words.

I did work with some really nice people though, and we settled into a nice working rhythm that almost always went like this:  “Wendy, give a big smile”, “I need you to do that with a smile”, “Could you do that again and smile?”, “Tug on your blouse, Wendy”, and “Smile!” etc.

After we were done, the very capable staff at Annie’s then threw the footage from the near 16 hour shoot into a blender, and hit the crush button, and out came this nice presentation on Learning to Machine Quilt.  How cool is that…


Lightheartedness aside, I would like to share with you a story.

Quite a few years ago, there was a girl who didn’t dare to order something over the phone off of a catalog because she got nervous speaking English to a stranger, fearing that she wouldn’t be understood.  It’s not that she didn’t know the language.  She did, but just wasn’t comfortable speaking to strangers.  So, her husband would always have to order.

In time, she learned to be a bit bolder, and somehow stumbled herself into studying Chemical Engineering in Graduate School where she had the sole responsibility of calling about technical support on complicated equipment systems.  She was also responsible in conducting various experiments that at times totally overwhelmed her.  It was a time of personal growth where the girl learned to trust in God, and gain confidence in what she did.

That girl is me.  From one who didn’t dare to speak with strangers over the phone to one who felt extremely honored to be asked to do the class for Annie’s.  This online class has definitely been a time of personal growth spurt for me, not to mention it being another Philippians 4:13 experience as well. I am thankful to God for the opportunities to grow in various stages of my life.  And I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your ever encouraging support.



Now for the surprise I mentioned in last Friday’s post, you will be entered into a giveaway for a free “Learn to Machine Quilt” class between now and next Monday (11/12/2012) if you leave a comment about what other online quilting classes you would personally like to see – I would love to see specifics.  You can still leave comments about anything related to the post content (PLEASE DO!), but just won’t be entered into the giveaway if no suggestion about quilting classes is mentioned.

Thanks for stopping by!  Come back tomorrow if you want to catch a glimpse of a sewing machine used to make (some of) Queen Elizabeth’s outfits!

GIVEAWAY!!! Flower Duet in AMERICAN PATCHWORK & QUILTING (June 2012, Issue 116)

Happy Monday, Friends!  I hope you are doing well.  We had a rather wet and cold weekend, and it doesn’t look like the rain is going to let up.  Miss Baby kept telling me on the way to church yesterday, “It sure is raining!”.  And of course, for a little girl, the highlight of raining is to be able to use an umbrella while walking in the rain, and keep bumping into fellow church goers at the church parking lot.  Enough of that… I am SUPER excited about my Flower Duet quilt being featured in the latest June 2012 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.

The only thing is that you won’t see it in the magazine itself because the quilt is featured in the magazine’s supplementary booklet section (I am not sure if that’s what it’s called) in the newsstand issues (you know, the ones that are bagged)!

The 8-page long booklet contains the pattern for Flower Duet, and my tips on quilting and fusible machine applique!  The cover says, “10 Top Tips – Make Applique Easier!  You Can Do It!”.  I say “Indeed and of course you can!”  If you have been hesitant to try out fusible machine applique, this pattern is great for you to get your feet wet (sewing machine feet that is, haha – lame joke)!

This pattern is a mix of pieced and applique “floral” blocks, made from Benartex‘s Perennials II fabrics by Eleanor Burns.

The appliqued setting triangles in Flower Duet give the quilt a bit of “something different”.  I had used Steam-A-Seam2 by Warm Company for the fusible web.  Do you like the checker plaid green leaves?

I think the borders in this quilt are my favorites!

Oh, did I have fun quilting this baby!!!  It was quilted with Aurifil‘s Mako 50 Cotton over Hobbs‘ Tuscany Silk Batt.  The quilt drapes really nicely with the silk batt!

I am not sure if you are able to see that I had used light green and cream threads to quilt the quilt.


American Patchwork & Quilting graciously supplied extra copies for me to give as giveaway prizes!  If you would like a copy of the magazine + the supplementary Flower Duet booklet, please leave a comment between now and April 30.  I will pick two winners.  Answer any of the following questions:

1.  What is the last magazine featured quilt you made – name of pattern and magazine?

2.  Soft colored or bold colored quilts for you?

3.  What would you like to see on Ivory Spring blog?

Thanks for stopping by.  I would love to hear what you think of the booklet if you have a chance to peruse it!  Meanwhile, stay well, and have a great week!

Virtual Trunk Show #4: DENSE QUILTING, part 1

Good day, Friends!  I am missing my sewing machine right about now.  I have been working on some digital designs, and catching up with my needlework projects in the last week or so, but no actual playing with the sewing machine.  I cannot quilt by hand to save my life, but I do enjoy being able to quilt with my machine.  I will forever be grateful to Diane Gaudynski for bringing home machine quilting due merit and recognition through her exquisite work.  Over the last few years, I have attempted in some dense quilting myself, always with Ms. Diane in the background as my inspiration.  The following projects feature the dense quilting I have done:

1.  Pieceful Garden (The Quilter, November 2008; UK’s Popular Patchwork, March 2010)

2. Cascade of Leaves (Quilter’s World, October 2010)

3.  Heirloom Pillow (Bernina’s Through the Needle, Issue 28, 2008)

4.  Ivory Spring (Quilting & Embroidery, Summer 2008)

5.  French Bouquet (Jump-start your Quilting, House of White Birches, April 2011)

Do you have a favorite for this round of my virtual trunk show?

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you have a lovely rest of the week.