Another Experiment with the Westalee Circles on Quilts Ruler-Part I

November 15th, 2015
I’m loving this circle ruler and wish I could have more time to mess around with it!  The photo above is my 2nd experiment of just playing around with it, trying to develop a quilted design “on the fly.”  I started out by creating the framework for the centermost part of the design…the “spokes of the wheel,” if you will:
I used my Westalee circle ruler on my Babylock destiny to create the 4 concentric circles.  I then used one of my Quilters Groove Rulers to create the swags that frame the circle, and then created a series of parallel swags.  You can do this kind of work with any arc ruler as long as it has markings on it for 1/4 in, 1/2 in, etc.  In the photo above that happened the next day, I started adding in my center design.  In the photo below, you can see that the center is done:
I used my soap lines that divide the circle into 8 quadrants as the center axis for 8 featherettes that are arranged evenly inside the next “empty zone” that forms a circle:
I was still thinking over how to handle the next empty circle zone, so I skipped ahead and filled the swag zone with a string of pearls.  I used the same silver polyester thread that I’d used in the center circle:
In the last empty circle zone, I wanted to create  a design that could span a bit of both sides of the circle line.  In this next photo, I’ve only stitched one and you can see what I mean:
And here’s what this zone looked like once I’d filled in the rest of the circle:
In this next photo I’ve hyperquilted the center-most design and stitched the inchworm design inside the crescents that lie below the pearls in the swags:
…and this brings us to the end of the “center spokes” of the design and the end of Part I.  Tune in again in a few days and I’ll show you how the rest was stitched.  In the meantime, “happy quilting!”

A Lovely Day of Finishes

November 7th, 2015
Between making samples for my Craftsy class, samples for our new ruler work DVD, and just trying out some new techniques, “my cup runneth-over” with partially completed samples of “stuff.”  So, it felt pretty good a few days ago to finish up a few loose ends.  Although my original intention was to add one more “zone” of ruler work to the circle ruler experiment above, I had to finally concede that there really wasn’t even room for that.  So, I finished off the outside with the “irregular swirl” background fill design.  This shot is more of a close up:
This is an old FMQ design that comes from the family I call “The Innies and the Outies” where the design is formed by starting with some baseline design (in this case, a “blob” shape) and then swirling in toward the center and then swirling back out, all without crossing any lines.  You can add a lot more of a sense of movement to this design by stitching it with a variegated thread:
Here’s one last shot of that first wall hanging where I was experimenting with my Westalee Circles on Quilts Template set:
(I started another one that I like even more, but that’s for another day!)  I also finally added some outer edge quilting to this sample I’d made this summer for my Craftsy class.  Here, you can see all the temporary soap lines I used to help guide my frame design:
I used a flexible curve ruler to create a series of mirror image curves that would act as my spine guidelines for a frame of feathers:
…and then I filled in that frame by stitching the feathers:
The last thing I did was to add an art deco border to a quilt I’d made for the ruler DVD:
I couldn’t get a shot of the whole thing that showed the border very well:
I like the center section:
I’ve spent more hours machine quilting in the last 2 days than I’ve spent quilting in ages.  It sure feels good to be at my machine again!

Developing a New Block Design

November 3rd, 2015
This is a new quilt block design I’ve been working on.  (Please excuse the crosshairs that still remain; I haven’t gotten around to removing them yet.)  I’ve been making some designs using leaf shapes and this one features the large ginkgo leaf from the ginkgo leaf Appli-K-Kutz dies we used to carry.  I like how delicate they are.  It’s interesting to me that the arrangement of the stems forms a secondary design that my eye wants to follow.  Here’s a closeup of the center section:
In the photo above, you can see that one pair of ginkgo leaves has an internal design that looks like plumes that emanate from the center/bottom portion of the leaf.  The opposite pair of leaves have a swirl design inside:
Check out the edge finishing on the ginkgo leaves.  It’s kind of a lacey inside scallop variation but I like the delicacy of it.  In each of the 4 corners of the block, there is a swirl that sits on the diagonal:
That swirl is positioned in the exact same position it occupies in another block I made about a year ago.  Here, you can see that swirl in the 4 corners of this tulip block:
I figured that these 2 blocks might look nice together and if I had that swirl in the same spot in both block types, they’d form a neat secondary design each time that 4 of them came together.  Plus, it also meant I could make some kind of cool ruler work design on the inside of the structure that the 4 of them created!  Here is a shot from my design wall as I started playing with it.  In my head, I assumed I’d place them on point but I do not like the way the ginkgo block looks when set on point:
You can kind of get an idea of what I mean about swirls from different blocks “meeting up” in the photo below that shows 3 of them next to one another:
I still like the block types together, but the on point setting just doesn’t work for me.   I’ve decided that setting the blocks on square is the way to go.  Here’s a mock up of them on my design wall once I’d completed 2 of them:
The 2 ginkgo leaf borders that are dangling around them weren’t made for this quilt.  They were my test stitch-outs for a new border design.  One of them uses the large ginkgo leaf and the other uses the medium ginkgo leaf.  I hung them here just to get an idea of whether the “flow” of the borders might work with these blocks.  You probably recognize that center block as my old feathered wreath MEA block.  I’m going to add a swirl in all 4 corners of that block, too, so it can have that same “meet up” effect as the other swirl blocks.  So…what’s on your design wall these days?

Part 2 of Ruler Work in the Round

October 28th, 2015
I was finally able to get back to this fun experiment today!  This began as my first experiment playing with the Westalee Circle Rulers:
I started by creating a series of concentric circles (this was pretty easy using their ruler system) and then I went in and began filling in with some free motion work.  (You can read Part 1 of Ruler Work in the Round by clicking here.)  I actually ended up taking out some of my stitching because the designs I made just didn’t seem to fit the space as well as I’d hoped, but I’m liking the end result.  I had to think about what I wanted to replace those designs with, so I just moved on and added the swags around the circles.  Those are easy to do.  I  used a Quilters Groove Ruler and created my first “row” of swags.  I then went and added multiple channels (a 1/4 in channel, then 1/2 in channel, then another 1/4 inch channel.)  I threw in a string of pearls inside the 1/2 inch channel and then went back in and added the remaining designs inside the  wide inner circle I’d made earlier.  Here is a shot of when the entire inner circle had just been filled.  I did this by stitching 2 different featherettes, each in an opposite orientation:
Here is a tangential shot:
My original plan for the outer circle did not pan out.  Instead, I ended up stitching a design called “fingertips.”  This is laid down very quickly and the only thing you need to pay attention to when you’re using this design is the orientation of the fingertips:
(I know the color just changed dramatically but this photo was taken in a different place than the others.)  The last thing I did was to fill the shallow swags surrounded by pearls.  I swapped to a different thread color again (just because it’s fun to have all this color) and here’s how it came out:
I had plans for another “zone” but I’m kind of running out of space here so I’m not sure if I’ll go any further with this or not.  I DO know I can’t wait to try playing on another one!

Ruler Work Demo

October 24th, 2015
If You’ve been wondering what all the “hoop-la” regarding ruler work is about, then sign up for my ruler work demo at Asheville Cotton Company next Thursday afternoon 10/29/15 from 2:00 to 3:30.  I’ll be doing ruler work demos on a home sewing machine and we’ll cover as much as we can in 1 1/2 hours!  Learn how to use straight edge and curved rulers, as well as how to couple your ruler work with free motion quilting to create intricate designs:
It’s much easier than you might think!  To reserve a spot, just call Asheville Cotton Company at 828-277-4100.  There’s an added bonus to coming to western North carolina right now.  The fall leaf views are pretty darn spectacular…