Quilting and Applique

About Me

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Whidbey Island, Pacific Northwest, United States
I learned how to do traditional quilting in 1980. While in the process of learning the art of quilting, I learned that my passion was Applique. I learned all I could from the resources available at the time. Now I am looking forward to the future and what new quilting adventures are out there to be discovered.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wow, it has been awhile since I posted...

Life got busy last year and so my posts on my blog have been way behind.  I have been working on the historic Captain's quilt and Love Entwined as the two main quilts.  Then I finished a few quilts this past year. So I will share the pictures of the things I have done this past year and write a note near each one to explain it.

Hand Quilting Sampler - "For the Love of the Red White and Blue".  I used different colored quilting thread to accent the simple hearts. I love the rhythm of hand quilting.

This pillow was finished a few years ago but it gives more ideas of the type of quilting I like to do.  I love to use contrasting quilting colors in my work.  It then enhances the quilting more.  

Then I finished an afghan for a special friend.  I had been using up all the left over yarn from various projects into this Popcorn Stitch afghan.  I used a black base and then filled in the colors.  It is a nice warm one too. I was able to use up lots of odds and ends of yarns I had with this one. 

I got a better close up of the hand quilting in my 30 year quilt.  You can read about that quilt farther down in the Blog. This is the close up of the hand quilting.  I liked the quilt design in the plain block and will use that pattern for my next project I have been working on.  you will see that one later in this update.

I also finished the quilting and binding on this quilt.  It is the Floral Four Block that Jeannie Austin Designed.  The top and the applique are all done in felted wool.  The batting is also wool and the backing is cotton flannel.  I wanted something soft on my body if I used it for a coverlet.  I loved working on this one because it was easy and not so detailed as my other quilts can be.  I pulled the flannel backing towards the front to give that the binding edge and trimmed it with the blanket stitch. I used Presencia Perle Cotton in all of it even the quilting part.  It worked really well.

Next is the Heirloom Album ready for borders.  That part will happen more in the fall.  I wanted to show how it looks so far and I got a better picture of it too.  Finding a space to do the photos is always the challenge for larger quilts. The quilting pattern in my 30 year quilt will go in the plain squares in this quilt.  I will be hand quilting this and I will use a colored quilting thread to do this.  I am excited to try that to make it "pop" more.  

I save the historic one for this section because it is ongoing.  I have been really taking my time with this because it is historic and I want to make sure that I get the details correct.  I do lots of research with this one and also since there is no pattern and all the details come from my research with historic photos and my drawings, it is a challenge.  The biggest challenge was to find out how to do the size correctly for the next two ships.  the first two were sailing ships and the next two are totally different ships.  I needed to work on placement and size.  It took me a month of placing and looking and then a photo and looking to get the position I have now. In the midst of all this I was Superintendent at the local fair and so my time just evaporated lately.  Fall is right around the corner and the sunny days in the Northwest will end and hand stitching time will begin again. Yes, it is all hand stitched, no machine work at all in the applique.

So this is the arrangement I have so far with the ships laying out the pieces and taking a photo of them.  I spent lots of time finding the right setting to put all the historic photos on fabric transfers too but that is for another time and that will come later.  So there is a lot of work in this piece. No, I didn't keep track of the time, it is OK because it is not about how long it takes; it is about if I like it or not and if it is finished or not.

I still need to stipple the shading on the lower right ship and the light house.  I want to make sure my hand is steady and I am in a peaceful place to do that.  I can't erase those dots and it is too important to rush that part.  

The other applique piece I have been working on is Love Entwined.  I have stopped working on it to finish the Captain's quilt.  I want to finish the Captain's quilt by the end of the year to be able to start quilting it. So then I will be able to work on the LE again.  It is hard not to work on it because LE is so addictive.  But priorities :-) must prevail :-)

When I look at all the listings of everything I have done so far, I have accomplished a lot.  I am still doing many "work in process" and that is OK too.  Life also happens too and I am not always appliqueing or quilting.  I injured my back the end of October and was in tremendous pain.  I was seeing many doctors and going to many therapeutic appointments most of the winter and spring.  I am finally able to turn over in bed without pain and can do minor garden work and outside things.  But I have a "new normal" that I am working with.  I also got involved with 3 Boards and have been serving on them to help what I can in each of them.  I am also involved in a new Applique Chapter on the island.  It is part of The Applique Society and we are growing.  Many of the members and also members of the local quilt guild won awards at this last Whidbey Island Fair.  It was so much fun to see the people and get to reconnect with many I hadn't seen in a long time.  I guess I know lots of people.  It was fun.  I will put a picture of myself at the fair this year counting ballots for the people's choice award. David Welton took this picture and he was the photography Superintendent.

That is all the updates for right now.  Now I need to catch up on my wild blackberry picking.  They are ready and I need to get them into juice for some blackberry jelly later.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Shading into the sunset :-))

Well, the Tarquina is "shading" into the Sunset... :-)

I have been working on the shading a little at a time. Today I got to a "stopping point" with the shading because I needed to stand back from the ship a bit before I overdo the shading.  I need to wait and see if I need to keep the shading as is or do a bit more.  

Sometimes you get too close to the details of a project and can't see the big picture.  I did the stippling of the shading in a fine dot to keep it soft and not get too heavy.  I found that my hand started to get too heavy when I worked on the stippling too long. I do the stippling in a gentle tapping motion with a Pigma Pen brown 01. Today I was able to get the shading to a stopping point and now I will share the picture.  This has been an amazing journey and I am excited to start the next ship now that I have this part done. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Ship coming to life...The Brig Tarquina sailing out to sea...

A Ship coming to life...The Brig Tarquina sailing out to sea and heading to the West coast in the 1850's.

I am excited to show what I have done so far with this Historical quilt.  I took the design from a photo of a painting of the Brig Tarquina supplied by the family that I am doing this quilt for. This design and first ship was a big challenge for me. I worked on getting the ship the right size for the space I had.  So I  basted an outline of thread where the compass rose will be appliqued onto the background. I constantly had to tell myself to keep it simple, it is a representation of a Brig, it is a representation of the Ship Tarquina and be true to basic colors in the painting and possible colors and designs of the time.  I also had to not get too much detail.  I did have fun with the details I have finished so far and I still have to do the shading with the Pigma Pen in a stipple effect.  I will be using a Brown 01.  I want to practice a bit on a scrap fabric piece before I do the Tarquina.
This is the ship done so far.  It is all hand appliqued and embellished and no fusing has been used in this block.
Copyrighted Anita M. Smith 2013

Copyrighted Anita M. Smith 2013

Tarquina from a family painting

The other block I worked on was the 4th block of the Sue Garman "Ladies of the Sea". It is the Le Coureur 1776. This one was fun to do and the greens do not show up as vibrant as it is in person. I will do more of the "Ladies of the Sea" blocks after I get the Captain's Quilt done and ready for quilting.  Priorities at this point.
Copyrighted 2007 Susan H. Garman Design

Monday, April 15, 2013

Applique - History expressed in Applique - 'windows to the soul' updates...

So much has been going on since I last updated my blog.  I will update you with what is going on in the creative part of my life.  

I am still working on "Ladies of the Sea" blocks and my traditional quilting sampler options.  BUT, I have started a "must do/finish" project for a local family.  The project is an Historic quilt I designed in 2006 but was trying to find a way to put the idea together.  Since working on the "Ladies of the Sea" I realized I did not need a photo of the ships I wanted to put in this quilt and instead decided I had the ability to do the ships with applique.  Now this is a BIG step for me and it is another "beyond my comfort zone" idea.  I have been researching the pictures of the mid 1800's ships - Bark and Brig.  Between internet searches and books loaned to me by students and friends, I have come up with prototypes of the ships.  I have sketched and enlarged the drawings to fit my quilt layout.  The quilt will be about 42 inches square.  I have been collecting sea fabric and have other fabrics in my stash that will be used in the historic project.  

This quilt is called the "Captains Quilt".  Four Sea Captains that settled and lived in our area.  Two of them came around the "horn" of South America and settled on Whidbey Island in the 1850's.  Two others were descendants of the original Captains.  I have been collecting pictures and will be putting them into the quilt with a photo transfer process. I just finished working on the center Compass Rose based on Antique designs and colors.  In the center of this Compass Rose I have put a reproduction of the 1860 Admiralty Lighthouse in Applique and with embellishment.  It is not perfect but what I had to keep telling myself is that it is a "representation" of this lighthouse.  I still have to do some inking for shading but I want to practice some more before I do it on the finished lighthouse.
So here is the picture of the lighthouse and compass so far.

This is the original lighthouse picture I took the design from shown below.  

My next step is to start on the first of the sailing ships.  It is the Brig - Tarquina.  Doing the last "Ladies of the Sea" block - The Elissa - I was able to see that the ship, the Brig, is possible because I understood how Sails and Masts and Rigging were done.  The part that was challenging was in the drawing of the design from my historic resources because I had to decide what was important to put in the Applique and what is OK to be a "representation" of the Brig. 

This week I hope to finish the 4th block of the "Ladies of the Sea" - Le Coureur.  I just have to put the rigging on the block.  This will be the last block I make 2 samples of the same ship.  It was OK to do them 2 times because I worked out all the details to do it better each time I did the applique and embellishments   I am continually learning when I do Applique, so it was no problem to make the duplicate blocks.  

Below is the Elissa.

Copyrighted 2007 Susan H. Garman Design

Well that is all for this update and be looking for more information in the coming weeks.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Finally some new pictures to share and projects to talk about.

I finally was able to take some pictures of my "30 year quilt" and just finished the number 2 block of the "Ladies of the Sea" block of the month.  I also finished a sampler quilt I made as a Christmas gift that will get quilted this year. Yes, I am busy but love the productive creative place I am in right now.

Ladies of the Sea block 2:

Copyrighted 2007 Susan H. Garman Design

Contemporary version of the sampler quilt in more masculine colors.

Below is the first block I fell in love with in 1980, when I learned how to quilt by hand.  I made a "first quilt" but gave it away so I didn't have a quilt for myself.  So I decided to take the "Grandmothers Flower Garden" pattern and use the fabrics and colors that were available in 1982 and make a "quilt as you go" quilt. I didn't have enough of some of the solid colors so I found a "creative" solution to the problem.  I would work on it as I could but most of the time it sat there waiting for me to work on it.  The last few years I picked it up again and it was one of the 80% done projects that only need 20% to finish them.  So December 2012 I finished my quilt.  The quilt is all hand quilted, hand pieced and the hexagon shapes - grandmothers flower garden - are all appliqued down.  The back has the first sheets we got at our wedding 42 years ago and the pattern is the first block I fell in love with and this is the first quilt I made just for me.  The colors are now popular again and may come back in style.  The big thing was that it got done.  Now I can move on and do other things.  It is also good to see where I started from and where I am now 30 plus years later in my quilting adventure.  I finished it!

"30 year quilt"

There is another block I was working on in November/December 2012.  I am going to work on one block of this in between the Ladies of the Sea blocks.  I like variety and it keeps my interest in the blocks I am working on.  This also will be a quilt for me so there is no hurry in this one.  I just LOVE the colors in this block.  It is called Lily Rosenberry by Susan H. Garman.  I picked different colors than what the pattern package showed.  I had this really great fabric for the vase and was not sure if I would have enough because of course I didn't buy enough originally.  I was really careful and cut out all the vases needed and had fabric left over.  I was happy.  I just finished a fabric portfolio to carry my blocks in as I travel and for storage. So it has a nice flat home to stay in while I work on the other blocks for the quilt.

Copyrighted 2007 Susan H. Garman Design

Yes, there are lots of berries in this quilt.  1,004 berries to be exact.  They are easy to make with the special technique I use and you just do one berry at a time and before you know it, it is done!  So as you can see it is a wonderful quilt to work on.  

So now I will be working on block 3 of Ladies of the Sea times 2 and Borders of the Heritage Album and in between that a Lily Rosenberry block.  A person can get a lot done if a goal is set, time is allowed for the process and projects are chosen that stir the creative place in your soul.
Till next time - Set some goals and just watch how much gets done.  I love this saying  -"It is better to aim at something and miss than to aim at nothing and hit it".

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lots going on and lots got done...and still getting done

It is hard for me to believe it has been almost 4 months since I last posted. September and part of October were "crazy busy" finishing all the painting on the outside of my house before the fall/winter rains showed up. I managed to get it done with some very long days and hours. We had 81 days with no rain this summer and the first day of rain was October 12. We were also able to get enough wood for our wood burning season this year and have had the wood stove going for a while. It is such a quiet warm heat. The Dog and Cat love to "park" in front of the wood stove during the day.

I have been working on finishing more things. It sure feels good to finish the 80% done projects. I finished my "30 year quilt". I started it in 1982 with the first pattern I fell in love with when I began to learn to quilt and the first sheets from our wedding gifts. The sheets were 10 years old at the time I started the project. The quilt had lots of hand work and quilting to do in it and it was for myself so it was always on the "back burner" waiting for some time to finish it. I will post a picture when I get to a place to hang it and take a picture of it.

I also have been working on the "Ladies of the Sea" pattern by Sue Garman. This is the sampler below that Sue Garman did and is the cover picture for the patterns. It is an amazing quilt!
Copyrighted 2007 Sue Garman - Ladies of the Sea

A friend of mine, Joanne Ellsworth - who is 83 years old, made this quilt and she inspired me to make this quilt.  If Joanne can make this quilt, anyone can make it!  She is such an inspiration!  I am including the picture I took when she was showing her quilt at the Fidalgo Island Quilt show in April of 2012.  She was the featured Artist at this show. Her work is amazing.

For my version of the Ladies of the Sea: I am putting a set of 4 blocks and also making one set for a quilt. So basically I am doing the first 4 blocks 2 times. I am doing them identical so I can have the colors I used in the block as a reference for my future blocks. It will be fun to make a wall hanging out of the 4 block set. I will see how much fabric I have left to see if I will be making a border for it or not. So this is the first block in the series. I have a sister who is into sailing ships...so who knows, maybe she will be the one that gets the 4 block set. :-))
Copyrighted 2007 Susan H. Garman Design
I am half way done with block 2 and will post that picture when I get it done.  I almost have the wreath done on the 2nd block of the 2 blocks I do.  I have to do both at the same time because when I cut things out for the ship, I lose the freezer paper template for the wreath.  I just love the colors on this grey/blue background.  It is like the sea and like the sky and so it really shows the colors really well.  It took me a while to find just the right fabric for the background.
The Heritage Album Borders are all drawn onto Freezer paper and ready to go for the next step; which is to cut the freezer paper out and iron it onto the fabric and then applique the pieces to the border.  I wanted to get 2 blocks done for the Ladies of the Sea project before I worked on the border of the Heritage Album.  Plus, I would not let myself do anything new until I finished my 30 year quilt, so this next step is my personal reward to get to do the border.  I know how I am, once I get started on a project I am very focused on it until it is done.  I get a lot of things done this way. 
I wish all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Finishing things...

I am making a point of finishing items that are in need of only a few things yet to do before they are done.  It feels good to do this.  Then when I go on to the new things to finish I have the encouragement that it can be done and it feels so good to get them done.  It is amazing what you can do in free momemts when your resting at the end of a day. 

This block is a Margarete Heinisch design that I did at the Applique Salon Retreat in Lake Arrowhead California.  Zena Thorpe also was teaching at this retreat and they really challenged my talents, inspired my creativity and also was wonderful to be there to devote time to learn and work on applique projects.  I haven't decided if this will be a block on it's own or part of a quilt so I have not put an oval fabric frame on it yet.  I put the bird in the block.  It took awhile to do this one because I was on a hunt for fabric.  I finally found the right fabric and also used the "Peterson Field Guides - Western Birds" to get the coloring and details to put in my Wren.

This is a closer look at the Wren.
I updated some pictures of the quilt I did that won "Best of Show" at the Island County Fair.  Check out the previous post on that detail.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Busy, Busy summer...lots going on...

It has been awhile since I wrote last and lots going on.  I just came back from the Island County Fair today and the quilt I have been working on and finished just in time for the fair won "Best of Show".  I was so excited and humbled by the award.  I will put in a picture I took at the fair and it isn't as clear as I would like. (updated 8/27/2012) I updated the pictures with a better photo.  I was able to hang it on my photo wall and took a couple of pictures of it. It is all hand Appliqued and some embroidery work.  It was Machine Quilted by the amazing Jean McDaniel.

I also will be taking more pictures of the final 2 blocks I finished on the other quilt I have been working on.  The one above took priority and now I can focus on getting the blocks put together and will take a picture of that and show that one in the coming days.