Part 2 of 2nd Westalee Circle Ruler Work Experiment

November 27th, 2015
When I left off on the last post about this design, we’d competed the quilting on the center portions of all the circle areas and were ready to move ahead.  This is where we finished up last time:



Using the faint soap lines in the photo above, as well as new soap lines marking the center between each existing pair of soap lines, it’s pretty easy to start creating new designs that spring from the outside of the current design.  Even though it isn’t a circle anymore, if you keep working with it as if it’s still a circle, you can elaborate on that circular symmetry.  I used one of the Quilters Groove Arc Rulers to stitch the arcs below that kind of bow inward, but you could do the same thing using any arc ruler:



(The way I made them all the same height was I figured out what the longest height possible was to allow me an empty binding zone, and then made a small mark at that point all around the circle.)  Next up, I stitched arcs bowing outward in between each of these.  Again, these are made in similar ways and the result is determined by the direction you place the arc in before you start stitching:



Now for some fun fill-in work!  I started by stitching small featherettes inside the short/wide arches and used a turquoise rayon thread to make sure the detail would show.  If you go into this kind of fill-in work with the goal of taking up all available space, they go pretty quickly and appear fairly symmetric.  If you are new to this kind of work and want to learn how to do it, the stitching of featherettes is taught in my DVD called Ruler Work for the Sit-Down Quilter and also in my newest Craftsy class called Ultimate Free Motion Feathers. (Here’s a permanent link for a $20 discount for that class.)   Here’s what those arches look like once filled:



I swapped threads and loaded a light lavender into the top needle to create the featherettes inside the remaining arches.  Here’s a shot once all those were stitched:



I then threw in the “fingertips” design inside the 1/2 inch channel in the shorter/wider arches.  I really like how it forms the sense of a continuous ring even though it is repeatedly interrupted by the other arches:




…and here’s a closeup so you can see the differences in the featherettes more clearly:




Notice how 95% of my “fill-in” designs are featherettes, yet they don’t feel “old” or over-used because each zone of featherettes is a little different from the neighboring one.  That is something I really love about featherettes.  All it takes is a minor change in proportion or to throw in a new element (i.e. a swirl, etc), and you’ve got a design that looks new and fresh.  I had to go back in and add hyperquilting into at least 1 of the outer arches.  Here’s a closeup where only one featherette has been hyperquilted and I think you’ll see how much it adds:



I finished up by hyperquilting the remaining featherettes in that one zone of arches, then added “plumify it” as my background fill design outside of the enchilada:



Again, designs like this that appear complex are really not so tough if you can envision them as component parts and just work on one area at a time.  Happy belated Thanksgiving and I hope you are surrounded by family and friends.  Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog…you are the whole reason it exists!

Boost Your Creativity and Skills!

November 27th, 2015


Hello Friend,I hope you’re enjoying a holiday season filled with family, good meals and a healthy dose of chaos! I’ve enjoyed such a wonderful year and much of that is thanks to your time and support. If I may, I’d like to take a moment and express my appreciation for you by sharing some exciting news. For a limited time, I’m thrilled to announce that Craftsy is offering ALL online quilting classes for $19.99 or less, including mine, as part of their huge Black Friday Sale! I did a little research and I’ve listed a few classes I think you might be interested in below.

Patsy Thompson
Patsy Thompson | Craftsy Instructor
Classes Picked Just for You
Hurry! This sale ends Monday, November 30, 2015 at 11:59 PM MT.

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?