Posts Tagged ‘Diane Gaudynski’

I finally finished binding my feather plume sample from the February FMQ Challenge tutorial by Diane Gaudynski.  (I highly recommend you read through Diane’s tutorial at least once – it is packed with excellent instruction and advice on free motion quilting.) I call the sampler ‘Rogue Feathers’ –  my friend Jenny named the little feathers at the bottom ‘rogue feathers’, surrounding the circle.  I quilted the feathers there because I couldn’t bear echo quilting any more!  I am pleased with my little silver sampler.Rogue Feathers a free motion quilted sampler on silver silk by Diane Loomis

Free motion quilting detail of Rogue Feathers by Diane LoomisOne of the reasons I love this fabric is the way it subtly changes to the shade of the silk thread used for free motion quilting.  I’m having trouble showing this in photographs,  so here’s another view that shows the color changes in a different light.

(I haven’t stopped participating in SewCalGal‘s 2012 FMQ Challenge -just running late with my posts.  Look for a new blog entry before the end of the month with my July challenge entry! In case you haven’t followed SewCalGal’s blog recently, she generously featured my quilt Five Bar Blues earlier this month in a post about the Road to California quilt show.  )

2012 is the 25th anniversary of the New England Quilt Museum and in honor of this silver anniversary the Museum has issued a ‘Silver Threads Quilt Challenge’.  The challenge is to create a quilt inspired by the word ‘silver’, and I had a project in mind using this beautiful silver fabric before I discovered the challenge.

Here is a sneak peek at the wall hanging … not surprisingly, it has feathers…

sneak peek at silver feathers on the Silver Anniversay Quilt Challenge for the NEQM by Diane Loomis

I just finished machine quilting my silver-inspired quilt, so it is ready to be blocked, bound, and finished.   The bright blue is from the water soluble blue marker that I use to mark my quilts (the blue markings are already gone since the quilt’s first immersion today in clean, cool water.)  The quilts will be on display at a special exhibit at the 2012 Lowell Quilt Festival from August 9-11.

From another perspective you can see my signature as well as my favorite circle-spirals.

silver circles on the Silver Anniversay Quilt Challenge for the NEQM by Diane Loomis

Want to see the finished quilt?  Mark your calendar to visit the Lowell Quilt Festival, Thursday August 9 – Saturday August 11.  Visit the Lowell Quilt Festival website for more information about activities, lectures, and exhibits.


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Confession #1: Wow! I can’t believe I’m posting this again just under the wire.  The 2012 FMQ Challenge is really providing me with a deadline and motivation to keep up with at least monthly blog posts (even though they may be written late at night).

Confession #2: I took my first workshop with Diane Gaudynski in 2004, and I learned to quilt feathers from her then.  I have quilted feathers for many years … they are one of my favorite things to quilt!

As I read Diane’s excellent February tutorial, I looked for something new to learn from this lesson.  I noticed that Diane’s feathers all flow beautifully into smaller and more delicate feathers into a graceful end of the plume.  When I looked at  my feathers, I saw that I tend to end my feathers with a larger feather, or loop, at the end.

First feather plume sketch

So I decided my challenge for the month was to try to taper my feather plumes to be smaller at the end.

I began drawing feathers, early this month.  I discovered changing my habitual ways of drawing (and stitiching) feathers was more difficult than I expected!  This was my first drawing.

I wasn’t very happy with the result.  It didn’t flow and didn’t feel balanced.  I definitely had trouble making the ends of the feathers small and graceful.

Back to the drawing board!

Diane posted a blog entry on ‘Feather Plumes Linked‘ earlier this month.  I loved the idea and tried it with paper and pencil.  I like these linked feather plumes alot!

I tried to create a type of circular ‘focal point’.  You could use two or three plumes, instead of a continuous circular wreath.  Imagine a special shape, motif, or monogram inside the two rounded plumes….

Feather plumes focal point

 Yes, I quilted some feather plumes also.  But first I wanted to test different thread colors of silk thread for use on this wonderful silver silk sateen fabric that changes color in different light.  I used each of these threads to stitch some sample feathers.

Silk thread choices for free motion quilting

My favorite color was the pale lavender for these sample feathers.  I used lavender, light blue, light green, and some silver thread in this sample.  Although it takes a little longer to switch spools, I really like the movement and dimension that different thread colors add.

Practice free motion quilted feather plumes

Here is my final [for now] feathered plume for February.  I am pleased with it — but there is so much unquilted space!

Linked feather plumes for February 2012 FMQ Challenge

I had to add some more quilting to the empty space.  So the design evolves…. I’ll post a photo or two of the finished sampler soon!

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Happy New Year!

To encourage myself to re-start blogging this year, and to challenge myself to practice new free motion quilting techniques, I ‘took the pledge’ to participate in the 2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge.

Check out this challenge at SewCalGal’s blog — especially the list of talented machine quilters (all home sewing machine quilters!) who have volunteered their expertise.   Every month a different tutorial will be available at for the 2012 FMQ Challenge.   I’m looking forward to the different tutorials, especially those that will be out of my ‘comfort zone’.   It’s good to stretch, and I believe we never stop learning, and there’s always room for a new idea, insight, or tip.

This month’s video tutorial was by Frances Moore who demonstrated a simple leaf motif.  Here’s my sample of the leaf motif, quilted in an 8″ square (also, my January ‘entry’, submitted in the nick of time – practically the last hour of January!)

January sample for the 2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge
The leaves are quilted with pale green silk thread (of course!) on a quilt sample sandwiched with  cotton batting.  I tried a sample with wool batting but there was way too much ‘pouf’ in the open area for the 8″ square.  My variation of this motif adds the echoed outline around the center square of leaves, and around the inside of the leaf border.

Next month’s tutorial (probably ‘this month’ eg February by the time you read this) – not to be missed – is by Diane Gaudynski.  Visit Diane’s blog for previews of her February tutorial explaining how to quilt a feather plume.

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The first class I took with Diane Gaudynski in 2004 was the beginning of my passion for machine quilting, and Diane’s work and teaching continues to inspire me.  Every time I think of classes I’ve taken with her, re-read her books, or search out new tidbits from her website, I am inspired all over again.

And now Diane has started a blog! chock full of beautiful photos and some of the best discussions about machine quilting you’ll find anywhere.  So go visit her blog, and get quilting advice from the best!

Diane Gaudynski's Blog

I’ve subscribed to her blog, so every morning I peek into my Google Reader to see if there is a new post from Diane to enjoy.  I haven’t been disappointed – last week she added a new post every day!

*image used with permission from Diane Gaudynski

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I have been assembling units for a pieced border this week and forgot how much I like using homemade starch.

Pieced border units

I usually reach for the can of starch or sizing from the store, because it is just there.  When I use it, I never know whether it will spray or dribble in globs out of the can.  If it sprays, the starch also goes all over the ironing board, the floor, or other nearby furniture.  This week I took 10 minutes and got a box of starch out of the kitchen cabinet and cooked up my own starch, using Diane Gaudynski’s recipe (which you can find on her website at the bottom of the monthly ‘Tips’ page).

I put it in a plastic spray bottle (no more metal aerosol can).  Now I can control the spray and exactly where it goes!  No more sticky globs… and the starch adds body and stiffness to my fabric without leaving white flakes all over everything.  It really helps to tame those bias seams – almost eliminating distortion when piecing triangles or other bias-cut shapes.  Of course, it’s also perfect for starching the back of your quilt just before you layer it for machine quilting.  The additional stiffness of the backing makes it easier to avoid tucks or puckers while you are basting and quilting your quilt.   And it helps your quilt slide more easily on the bed of your sewing machine when you are machine quilting.

I highly recommend using your own homemade starch!

P.S. Can you guess how many border units are in the picture above?

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