Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stash Dash Quilt Up Close, Part I

Quilting the center of the Bernina Stash Dash quilt was one of the biggest challenges I offered to take on this past August....hmmmmm, I thought after recieving it and spreading it out to look at it for the first time: "what on earth do I stitch around that star?" The task was somewhat daunting due to the fact that: 1.)this impressive star is the first thing everyone sees when they look at the quilt 2.)it has an elegant and somewhat complex design 3.)there were too many quilting ideas to pick from - it was hard to narrow it down and find "the one" 4.)it was more than likely that a couple hundred quilters would see it during it's Stash Dash debut. (perhaps even more than 200 quilters, it just depends on how many participated in the Stash Dash).

I sketched, re-sketched and asked the opinion of my best friend and quilting coach - Mom, until I came up with the perfect feather. This design really seemed to ad to the elegance of the star without distracting from it's impressive design. When I recieved the quilt, the star appeared to be floating on a large beige background. When the quilting process was complete, the star was anchored, yet simultaneously had been given "wings." As a longarm quilter who likes to get fancy...I LOVE large plain backgrounds to fill with swishing feathers, swirling mermaid hair, pebbles, leaves, stars, paisley's, teardrops...etc. It is an invitation and a challenge to create! And create I did!!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bernina Stash Dash Quilt!!!!!

It was quite the challenge to come up with ideas for this quilt. When I recieved it, I knew that it would be seen by dozens, if not hundreds of people. The pressure was on to "get it right!" The local Bernina store ( along with 8 other shops, participates each fall in the Heart of Carolina Stash Dash. Quilters who have signed up for Stash Dash & recieved their passports, must try to visit each store within the 3 day time period of the event. There are all kinds of goodies, door prizes, and extra specials at each quilt store just for Stash Dash. The goal is to make it to all the stores within the 3 day time table, because then the quilter qualifies for grand prizes which include sewing machines, cutting center kits, large fabric packets...things that make quilters drool. Anyhow...I knew that my work would be seen by all these quilters and knew that I needed to come up with quilting designs that were unique and eye-catching and appropriate for the overall design of the quilt. I was overwhelmed when I first saw all the applique, fancy center star which was floating in a large background space, and set in blocks on all the corners. I sketched...and sketched...and sketched some more....until I had some firm plans for the borders. At that point I still had no idea what on earth I would do in the center star...but that's another blog entry. Slowly but surely, the creative juices starting flowing, and I was able to come up with the perfect designs as I took this quilting adventure one step at a time. Stay tuned! There's a lot more of where this came from!

I love how this feather pattern ended up "peeking out" of the blocks. This little sunburst was the perfect design for putting in the 4 small stars at the corners of the main center star. They radiate, and stretch outwards like the center star does. They were also easy to make small enough to fit nicely in the small 2"x 2" space. These were the last part I did on the quilt. I couldn't think of the right design for quilting within the small centers of these 4 I just left them and went ahead and quilted the entire rest of the quilt. When I realized I was completely done with the job, except for those stars, I still didn't know what I should do. I was almost done....and it was getting later, and later at night...all's I had left were these little stars! I didn't want to leave them to do in the morning...SUDDENLY...I had a breakthrough...the lightbulb finally went off and I was able to go to bed with a challenging quilt job behind me...aaaaaah.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The One You've Been Waiting For!!!

If you click on the photos you can enlarge them and get a better view!

Here's the first glimpse of the Sept. 24th quilt I promised to share with you! I don't have time to do a long post right now...but I will be doing several entry's on this quilt in the near future. I am so excited to share this with you all!!!! STAY TUNED! More coming soon!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sneek Peek...

Remember that quilt that I can't post about until Sept. 24? Well, I figured I'd go ahead and give ya'll a sneek peek! It has some vines and leaves...some vine motiffs and lots of green leaves....there some nature designs in the quilt....did I mention there are lots of vines too???? Hihihihi!!!! Yes, that's all I'm going to tell you! You'll just have to wait and see....stay tuned people!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sea Breeze or Mermaid Hair???

Kathy, owner of Wish Upon a Quilt (see, recently asked me to quilt a top for her. When she dropped of her quilt she said that I could do whatver type of quilting I wanted on it. Hah! My favorite words to hear. The quilt top was a busy, crazy cut combination of bright fabrics arranged in an unusual color combination. This quilt is what I call "funky monkey." I liked the playful "attitude" of this quilt. Tipically, I would have done very simple quilting on this top, such as whimsey or meandering. However, it occured to me that my sea breeze/mermaid hair design would probably compliment the quilt, rather than take over. It is very important to me to be sure that whatever quilt design I stitch on the quilt compliment and finish the quilt. The feel of the quilting needs to match the feel of the quilt...not stand out stealing the show. If there are large blank areas in the quilt, then busy, super fancy quilting is appropriate. The sea breeze/mermaid hair was the perfect design for this quilt because it echoed the lively feel of the crazy patchwork design. The quilting added positive liveliness, not taking away or distracting from the overall design. Kathy was extremely pleased with how her quilt turned out. The quilting on this one really did add a whole new dimension. Mermaid Hair/Sea Breeze has fantastic texture and adds a nice flow to the quilt.

You all need to vote and leave a comment or email me to say which name you think best suits this quilting design. Mermaid hair? or Sea Breeze?

The pattern was most visible in the brown borders.
The Sea Breeze/Mermaid Hair echoed the design in the was not intended - one of those welcome coincidences.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom...and nice job!

This post is all about my best friend in the whole wide world...MOM. Today, is her birthday! Happy Birthday! I love you...thanks for being such an amazing're the best! I am thankful for all that you have taught me throughout my life - like how to longarm quilt for instance ((~: I have learned and am still learning so many valuable lessons from your example. More than anything, I am thankful that you have shown me what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to pursue Him with my whole heart. Thanks also, by the way, for putting up with my pig-headed moments. I thank God that He picked you to be MY mom. You truly are one of the most precious gifts in my life...thank you for your faithful friendship. I love you.

Marge did a great job piecing the quilt seen in this post. Not only were her color choices and pattern lovely, but her quilting technique was excellent. It is a pleasure to quilt a quilt that lays so flat and is so perfectly pressed. It turned out beautiful after the quilting was done, and Marge was very happy with the results. Mom was rockin' and rollin' on this beauty.

Love the lighting in the one. Our workroom is very "sunshiny." It is pleasant to work in.
Look at that level of concentration!!! You go girl! Show em' how it's done!

Anchoring the thread before "take-off"...

Upclose shot of her lovely stitching.

Overall, the quilting added a much needed finishing touch. The pattern of the quilt was interesting and held one's eye, however the solid-like prints stood out in stark contrast against the white background. It was as if the top lacked a final uniting step. The rich, yet "quiet," fabrics were the perfect background for adding busy, lively freeform feather to.
Ya' did good Ma....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I am so excited about a quilt which I can't wait to share with you all. Pictures of it would have been posted last week, but I am not allowed to put them up until the end of the month. The quilt was made for a special event at a local quilt shop and won't be seen by anyone until September 24. Sooooo, be on the lookout...this doosey of a quilt is definitely hitting the records as some of my best work.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sweden Wrote Back!!!

Recently, I noticed a place called Göteborg, Vastra Gotaland was beginning to visit my blog on a regular basis. Curious, I googled this place and learned that it was located in southern Sweden, near the west coastline of Sweden just north of Denmark. One day noticed that I had had about a dozen hits within one afternoon from Sweden. I realized that my blog had been circulated through a Swedish yahoo group! That was pretty exciting!!!! Intrigued, I did a blog post asking Sweden to write me. I thought it would not be likely that I would recieve a response. But ever hopeful, I decided it was worth a try. I waited 3 to 4 days. One day as I checked my inbox, I found an email entitled "Hej from Sweden." Gudrun, a fellow quilter, who lives on the small Swedish Island of Hono, wrote me back! Eagerly I opened her email. She said she had circulated my blog through the yahoo group and that she really enjoys reading it. Hah! A Swedish quilter halfway around the world just told me she enjoys following my blog!? I was thrilled. Here's part of her first email to me:

"Hello Bethany! Nice to read your blog today:-)). I read your blog as often as I can. It is not so many blogs that is about quilting and I think I discovered your wonderful blog quite early among the swedish quilters and yes, I tipped some about it. I live on the westcoast on an island that is called Hönö. This rural district includes 10 islands and we have to go with the ferry, when we want to reach the mainland. Have you heard about the swedish town Gothenburg, Göteborg in swedish? I can see that town from our island.
I hope you can understand my "swinglish":-)))
Hälsningar från Gudrun"

For a few weeks now she and I have been emailing and getting to know eachother. She is a retired teacher of Swedish literature and German. Not only does she speak German and Swedish, but also what she calls, "Swinglish"...I call it very good English ( : She enjoys spending time with her family and grandkids. Some of her hobbies include gardening and quilting (of course). She has shown me many lovely photos of the various quilting projects she has made. Above is one of her quilts called: "Sol, Vind och Vatten." It is the result of a challenge she participated in with one of her online quilting groups. She said she will give it to her daughter and her family to put in their sailboat.

With every email she sends I learn something new about her and what life is like on the Island of Hono. Today I got to see a picture of a place near her home where she likes to swim in the summertime. One of the funny things about our emails is that I thought her name was: Hälsningar från Gudrun. I wrote her an email saying: "Hello Hälsningar!" After I wrote that I thought that it truly did sound like an odd sort of name. I googled it, and my suspicions were confirmed. "Hälsningar från Gudrun" means: Greetings from Gudrun! Hahaha...oh how I laughed at myself. It was too late at that point to catch my error, I had already sent the email. I did write her a second email, laughingly explained my silly mistake. The incident proved to be highly amusing to Gudrun. The first line of her reply email said: "Are you still laughing? hihi"

It has been a delight to meet and get to know Gudrun. I look forward to emailing with you more in the future! (I know she's reading this!) And until the next email: Lycka till (Good luck) with your quilts and Kram (hug) from Bethany! (Kram and Lycka till are some of the new Swedish lingo I've picked up from Gudrun).

Gudrun out for a stroll...

Hono Harbour, love that blue sky...
I think, though I could be mistaken, that this is the area where she likes to swim in the summer.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dainty Lilies and Flourishing Feathers...

These feathers and swirls are requested often and take the look of the quilt to a whole new level. Freeform feather (originally designed by my mom Nancy) always adds such elegance to the quilt. This design tends to be especially appropriate for quilts with large areas of white or light background fabrics. Too much plain background can leave a quilt looking too "quiet" or even lifeless in some cases. As a longarm quilter, I love the opportunity to use some of my best design techniques and ideas. The lilies in this quilt were so delicate and pretty, but spaced far apart. The large feathers not only echoed the elegance of the lilies, but united them by making the spaces look appropriately sized. The flourishing feathers and scrolls aided in the overall look of the quilt, giving it a soft flowing feeling.