Monday, November 03, 2008

Jacob's Ladder for Brenda

I have a customer quilt from a very special customer named Brenda. She is a beautiful frosted blonde; well, that's when she is not a gorgeous redhead; ok, she has fun with her hair. Stylish with jewelry and accessories to match her wonderful wardrobe. You can tell that she likes to look good and does not mind spending time to get the look she wants. Brenda is surrounded by angels. She loves them and uses them in her decorating at home. Actually, angels are part of her personality. She helps many people in her quiet way, never looking for attention or praise. She just steps up and does what is right. That is what makes her beautiful on the inside, too. She has a beautiful smile and laughter bubbles just below the surface. Her laugh is quite contagious. So when I got two quilts from her, I knew that I was going to treat them special. I would have to ruminate over them until I got some ideas going.

One is a small (64 x 64) Jacob's Ladder from a class that we took from our friend Debbie at the Crazy 9 Patch. The other quilt, a king-size with black background is two, or is it three, years in the making. Brenda attends the same adult quilting class that I do on Tuesday nights at the high school. It is more for fellowship than learning. We all have a good time. The blocks in this king size are the result of a sampler that Janet, the night class instructor, taught the year before I joined the class. But that kingsize quilt will be in another blog post. For now, I am working on the Jacob's Ladder.

This layout looks like an and O pattern. Brenda used a Magnolia print called An East Wind by RJR done in beige with pale taupe and rust accents. The Musical Instruments inner border pull out the rust accent colors from the mmagnolias. I decided that I needed three different threads. The thread for the main background will be Signature cotton color is Linen. I will use Bottom Line #616 Copper for the SID and feather spine accents. The sides of the ladder will be a German thread I found at MQS 2008 made by Gunold Co. 5455-7316 no name. I will also use the Gunold thread on the musical instrument printed inner border using a sashing pattern I learned at Deloa Jones' class at MQS 2008. I will also use the Gunold thread to stitch the CCs (continuous curves) in the ladder sections. Brenda likes Quilters Dream deluxe cotton which I have on the roll.

I attended a Helen Squire workshop a few weeks ago. The class taught me to look at a quilt with different eyes. First, Helen recommends that you hang the quilt up and then leave the room. Come back later with fresh eyes and look at the whole quilt, not just the pieces or blocks. Ask yourself, "What is important?" "What do you see?" Seeing the "whole" quilt will greatly improve your perception of size. It also helps you see secondary patterns in the piecing that can be accentuated. Though there are 2 different sizes of blocks in the quilt, the "most important part" of the quilt are the 4 large stars created by the setting used in this Jacob's Ladder. So the ladder sides will appear as star-points in this quilt. The center part of the star is 12".

I wanted to put something special in this large 12" block that would make the stars stand out. I looked through my new Helen Squire pattern CD and found the perfect center for the star. It is called Cupid Wings and the wings are doubled and then surrounded by open heart shapes. It is like this pattern was made for Brenda.

The outer border is my challenge. Since the rest of the quilt is somewhat formal, I wanted to try formal feathers in the outer border. I call these hump-bump feathersand they are, without a doubt, the most difficult feathers to do on a longarm quilting machines. The complexity is made worse by my own hard-won tendency to use open longarm feathers. Feathers are a sophomore or junior skill. So when I finally learned how to do them, I put feathers on everything. These hump-bump feathers require me to go slow and stay focused lest I fall back into my funky feathers. Oops.

I also do not normally put double spine lines in my feathers. I decided that I wanted to drag that rust color from the magnolias out to the border by doing micro-stitching ribbon candy in the double-line spines in the corner pieces. The 12 SPI is not small enough to do micro, I had to turn it to 'manual' and crank it up to 30 and off I went. I have a couple of baubles but I'm OK with the results. And it gives the exact color effect that I wanted.

Here are the photos and thanks for looking. I sure hope the angel named Brenda likes it.

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My life has changed in the last couple of years - some bumps, I retired from quilting, and then I moved to Texas. I'm anxious to see what new adventures await me in the next phase of my life.

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Ramona, California, United States
I started quilting when a quilt shop opened in our little town in January 2004. I have been hooked ever since.

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Books I"ve read lately

  • The Help (Kindle)
  • The Appeal by John Grisham
  • Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (again) by Harper Lee
  • Bleachers by John Grisham

This is called Fruit Cocktail

This is called Fruit Cocktail
It is all batiks