Invisible Hand Quilting?


Back to some hand quilting.   I got the Fantasy Garden quilt top basted


As always I used safety pins.

For this I used white backing and Hobb’s Tuscany Wool batting.

This top is very busy.   The fabrics have so much going on that no matter what I do the stitches are not going to show much.

Lately I have been doing a lot with contrasting thread.  when the fabric has a subtle print stitching will show.


For the new one the actual stitches aren’t going to show because of all the pattern.

Sometimes this situation leads to what is called “quilting for god”   which means that you are investing a lot of time quilting but the only one who really knows it is there is god because no one can see it.

So how to quilt it?

This brings me back to the batting choice.    The batting I used is quite thick , it has a higher “loft” than cotton.  Even though it is thicker it is lighter and easier to quilt than cotton, it has to do with the fibers, there is more air space between them in wool.

I selected a lofty batting because the stitches wont show much (not at all from even a short a distance) but the texture will show.

the quilting stitches indent the batting and create a textured surface.

here is one block


one large square and lots of half square triangles.

for the triangles I am quilting it by the piece.  Simply stitch inside the seams on each triangle.


I am using white 40 wt hand quilting thread and a size 10 Bohin sharp needle.   Why white thread?  Because when there is not a predominant matching color I always use white or off white. I could have also used black.

The stitches in the tiny triangles do not show much but the texture does.   It is very hard to get a true view of that in a picture, particularly when I have just a few stitches done, but it does show on the back.


On the squares in the center of the blocks I will hand quilt around the flowers and leaves in the fabric.   I will post detail pictures of that when I get some more quilting finished.

I am just about ready to do some more piecing with this fabric.


Here I have divided it up into 2 rows 1 light and 1 dark.  Sometimes we only see color and value becomes obscured.   Value is defined as the relative lightness or darkness of a color. To sort by Value, or light and dark, it helps to ignore color.

If you are not sure you have your fabrics divided by value try eliminating color by taking a picture in black and white.

DSCN5435 (2)

Can you see how some of the fabrics actually have less contrast than we can see in color. I will rearrange them to improve contrast before I start piecing.

Teddy (freshly back from the groomer) has a new trick.   When I get up from my quilting chair he jumps on.


He wants to be sure I don’t forget to take his picture.


Now back to more of that invisible quilting

Happy Quilting



Women Only?

women only

I belong to several Facebook quilting groups.  The groups are wonderful, a sort of modern quilting bee or guild meeting with no time constraints.   Any time day or night there are avid quilters sharing what they are working on, beginning quilters asking for help, advanced quilters sharing tips.  It really is wonderful!

But there is one thing that really bothers me, (and since you are reading my blog and know I am a man I know you aren’t one of the offenders) Gender Bias.

I can’t tell you how many Facebook posts I read in these groups that start with “Ladies I have a question…”   or “Good morning Ladies I want share…”   How hard is it to say “I have a question”  or “good morning I want to share” rather than making it gender based by inserting Ladies?

Sometimes if I respond to one of the posts I will preface it by saying “I’m not a lady but….”

I have been called “girlfriend” more than once on Facebook by a person who assumed I was a woman.

One person posted on Facebook recently that she saw a man come into the quilt store and buy a sewing machine.   He just went in and bought one without even asking questions…She “knew” it was for his wife,  she could not even imagine what other reason a man would have to buy a sewing machine and thought it was terrible that he didn’t give it more thought or let his wife pick it out for herself.  Never a though that he might have bought it for himself.

I have made a lot of quilts, I write for Quilters Digest, I have been featured in Quilters Newsletter, have had 6 quilts in AQS shows, won the best hand workmanship award…I really do know stuff and I love to share it but I prefer not being called a lady or dismissed as a fool.

There are many men who quilt but we often get treated as second class quilters.     Today I went to the fabric store (large national chain) to pick up some thread and a piece of backing fabric.    The aisles are very narrow with no room to pass. A “lady” wanted to get past me so I backed up out of the way down another aisle and as she stormed by I heard her muttering under her breath “what is he even doing here?”     I have had clerks at fabric stores ask what my wife is making, or did my wife tell me what to buy.   Today the lady at the cutting counter was wonderful, pleasant and efficient, but often I feel like they are begrudgingly waiting on me when there are so many more deserving people in line.  It is the demeanor and tone of voice as well as the words.   Comments like “are you sure you know what you are doing?” or “you realize this fabric is for quilting don”t you?” are common, accompanied by eye rolls and head wags and facial expressions that speak volumes.

I try to do most of my buying on-line, my computer doesn’t give me attitude and condescension but I shouldn’t feel less than welcome in any retail store.

I realize that women have had the same experience in male dominated venues.   A friend of mine was once told by a car salesperson to come back with her husband before he would sell her a truck. (she went to another dealer and bought a new truck that night which I thought was great) It is not right to have a bias for what either gender has knowledge, skill or interest in.

So why write all this when I know that you aren’t guilty of it and it is just a minority?  I just needed to get it off my chest.   Thanks for listening :) and thanks for inviting this man into your quilt world.

Now back to Quilts

I finished the center applique on this


I bought backing fabric for this


Started a plan for this fabric


worked on this


and this


Something more uplifting next time

Happy Quilting


Applique update


I have made some more progress on the applique kit. (click pictures to enlarge)

Teddy is looking a little scruffy, he goes to see the groomer on Monday.   He seems to approve of the top so far.

I am really looking forward to hand quilting it.

Happy Quilting


Progress report


I got a bit more hand quilting done on the Bella Suede quilt.

here is the back


Also progressing on the applique top (click pictures to enlarge)

I am thinking about how to quilt this one


it is only 45 inches square so it should go pretty fast.

Back to work

happy quilting


The Winners


I selected the winners of the fabric giveaway this morning.

I used a random number generator to pick 4 numbers.  The numbers correspond to the number of comments in the post.

here they are

giveaway draw 2

I will send an email to the winners today requesting a mailing address to send your winning fabric.

The first winner is Amy

you win the Color Weave 3 bundle


Next is Sara

you win the Fantasy Garden

fantasy garden

Next is Sharyl Dawes

You win Port City

port city

And last is Sandy

You win One Nation

one nation

Thank you P&B Textiles for this great giveaway!

I added borders to my Fantasy Garden quilt top.

First I had to consult with Teddy.   He was curled up napping


but he was happy to wake up and help.


here it is before borders


First I added 2 inch white border


Since the top is going to be a wall hanging I wanted the borders to be the “picture frame” and the white fabric is the the matting.

Next I used the remaining fabric to make a 2 inch border


I will use white for the binding as well.

I also made some more progress on the applique quilt kit

DSCN5411 DSCN5410

I have a plan for the Color Weave fabric…..I am not sure when I will work on that but once I have an Idea I usually need to get to it pretty soon :)

Happy Quilting


Helper Teddy


I worked on the Fantasy Garden quilt today.

I had 10 fat quarters of fabric. (Fantasy Garden by P&B Textiles)


I came up with this block design


I wanted to be able to keep the large-scale prints in pretty large pieces.
here are 12 blocks in no particular order.


I made 4 more today and that will be it for this one.   10 fat quarters gave me enough fabric to make 16 blocks.   I do have some of the fabric leftover and that will become a border.

All those 1/2 square triangles make for a big pile of trimmed off points.


Teddy wanted to help me arrange the blocks.


we decided on this


And here it is all joined together


Right now it is only about 40 inches square.   I think it will be a wall hanging quilt :)

Check back soon to see it with borders.

And of course the hand quilting will follow.

The last day to enter the Fabric Giveaway is Sunday Jan 11.   This line of fabrics is one of the prizes.   Here is the link to enter:

Happy Quilting



More Applique


I did a little more work on the vintage applique quilt kit.


Here is one corner


The kit instructions included a list of DMC embroidery floss to use for the applique.   The instructions were to use one strand of floss to do the applique with a blind stitch.   I decided to use 2 strands and use a button-hole stitch.

It is difficult to turn the edges under and stitch the piece down with a button-hole stitch, but I don’t like to do raw edge applique so I am turning the edges under and basting them first.


The pieces are all numbered and the top has a numbered diagram as well… it is easy to find where the pieces need to go.    This is number 5.


I am doing standard applique on the stems….the stems are bias strips that come with the kit already folded


here are some more leaves added….I take out the basting thread after the button-hole stitch is done.


A flower and a bud added


I still have a good amount to do, but it is going a lot faster than I expected and I am already getting excited to do the hand quilting on it.    I think I might do the quilting with light blue thread.

I am planning to finish the Fantasy garden top today

DSCN5370fantasy garden

It is still really cold here!  (4 degrees, 4ºF = -15.556ºC, and the windchill is -15, -15ºF = -26.111ºC)  Here is what my weather app says:   Hazardous Weather…
*wind Chill Readings Will Occasionally Reach 15 To 20 Below Zero This Morning.
* Frostbite Can Occur On Exposed Skin In Less Than 30 Minutes.

Sounds like quilting weather

Happy Quilting