Threadz from Hell

Threadz from Hell

I said I was going to post the problems that I have had creating my quilts. Most of those problems were of my own making. I had to figure out how to solve those problems.  However, Threadz from Hell was just about bad thread. Not my fault. I bought a box of thread from Maderia. There were probably a dozen spools all in different colors. The line was called Jewel Tones. This thread snagged, broke, tangled, looped, frayed and knotted. It did not do anything right. I had the opportunity to meet a rep named Bob at an IQA Quilt Show in Houston.  I told him my problem. He said the thread was not meant for quilting.  I said I bought it at a quilt show. I told him I did not want my money back … I would like to exchange the spools for something else.  He said to call the home office and they would help. They said if I did not have a receipt they would not do anything.  Needless to say I did not have a receipt. So to make lemonade out of lemons I made a quilt to tell the story. I soaked the spool in a mixture of glue and water. When they dried I cut them in thirds and sewed them onto the quilt. Telling the story. This quilt has won a few awards and was featured in a national magazine.  I  know other quilters have felt “My Pain”. Maderia  might make other wonderful threads. However, their customer service was not so wonderful.




I learned a great deal about the civil rights movement making this quilt. It was done for a Visions exhibit honoring Martin Luther King. The boy on the left is MLK and the boy on the right is Lyndon Johnson. Taking a class from Susan Shie I learned to write on fabric and look at quilting very differently. Doing my drawing on a piece of silk broadcloth I appliqued the boys using a blind stitch on my sewing machine. I fused the stripes.  I ,also, fused the navy blue fabric cutting out the star shapes first and placing the stars behind the openings. I was having difficulty writing on the fabric. I wanted to make it easier. So I painted a medium over everything. Sounded like a good idea to me.  NOT. Yes the writing was easier.  However parts of the quilt top shrunk and the top no longer laid flat. After I finished jumping up and down and yelling … I had to solve the problem.  The blue arrow points to one of the places where I cut the quilt top apart and removed the offending area. There was more than one place. I cut along the lines of the head and hat. Cutting the piece to fit. I laid a piece of muslin behind and zig zaged it back together. When it was all done. I quilted it with vergitated Aurifil thread. the quilting was done at angles. Then the border and ribbon were added.

So not only did I learn history …. I learned how to fix a problem.

A Furry Wuppie

I just finished this small quilt and it is the 1st Furry dog I have done. Weims don’t have that much fur. I had many pattern pieces to cut out even before I got to the fabric. I used my BERNINA with the open toe darning foot, dropping the feed dogs and following the lines on the freezer paper pattern. The only thing that would have made it easier was if my BERNINA cut out the fabric. But one cannot have everything. I made the dog independently of the background. I put a piece of Misty Fuse on the batting. Laid down the turquoise scraps leaving the space open for the dog. I placed down the dog.  On top of that I put a fine netting and backing fabric on the back. Then I quilted, bound and labeled it.

The 1st photo is what one of the pieces looked like when it was cut out with the sewing machine. It is freezer paper. It was ironed to the fabric which had been backed with misty fuse.

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Lastly the label. It is for a gift from Lizzy.


Presenting … Mostly Gray…Channeling Nevelson.  Created for HERstory Fiber Art. Lousie Nevelson paved the way for the Feminist Art movement of the 70’s. This quilt was outside the “box” for me. Which is humorous since Louise’s art was inside the box using objects that she found in debris piles. She assembled and painted her boxes black, white or gray.

Not without its problems this quilt was fun to make.  Each section was created individually on my BERNINA. Assembling when the quilting was finished. The wire whip was the first problem. I marked the fabric with the wrong marker. I could not remove the marking. After screaming, yelling and looking for a magic wand … I had to make a new whip.  I did and it was facing the wrong direction. But then I discovered that the quilt I was making was 6 inches too long.  The finished product was supposed to be 24 x 30. So I switched the whip to the other side, eliminating some measuring spoons and deleting the salt and pepper shakers. Everything fit perfectly.

Each section was trimmed and trued to size. Using a zig zag stitch I joined them together. I covered those connections with fast turn bias tubes with a blind stitch on my sewing machine. Making a single fold bias I covered the back on where I joined the blocks.




Fixing a Problem

Last year at the Houston Quilt Festival I was inspired by an exhibit using heirloom pieces of cloth.This is my quilt using my old stuff.  On my mission to tell you how I got to the finished product and the mistakes I had to correct … I am telling you how I diverted disaster.

The fabric except for the background  are old dollies,  crocheted pieces, lace, a silk skirt and a glove. I found them in a box of collected items. Except for the silk skirt … they were items that my mother, mother-in-law, and step mother had saved. The silk skirt was a throw away in a pile of fabric at a fiber arts meeting.

I had the quilt  blocked and almost finished. I had trouble with removing some of the chalk markings on one of the dollies. So after trying everything on could on a small area. I washed parts of the quilt. Sounds good … it did not work. The washing managed to make things worse. I did not prewash anything. The pieces had been washed and ironed many times. The starch that had been left in the fabric for years congealed into areas leaving spots.  I decided to wash the whole quilt. What could happen? How bad could it be?  I found out.

The kid glove (probably my mother-in-law’s) shrunk and turned into a nasty shade of yuck.. After stomping my feet and yelling, I had to find a way to solve the problem. Cutting out the glove, that had turned to a heavy piece of parchment… Replacing it with one that I made out of ultra suede. Taking the buttons off the old glove and stitching it on the new glove. The quilt laid flat again. Yay!!!!!!!    Then I bound it with the fabric from the silk skirt that someone did not want. Sewed on the sleeve. But in the tradition of not everything going smoothly… I sewed the sleeve on the wrong end and had to take it off and do it over. Now all I need is a label and a title. Any ideas????





In Memory of…

This quilt resides at the Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is one of the largest museums of it’s kind in the country.  I take classes because I learn and expand my horizions. From Katie Pasquini Masopust … I learned to build my quilt in sections. That meant I quilted each section separately and then put it together. It was really great to work in small sections. It also made each section perfectly straight when I finished. Putting it together was another story …especially when I forgot a section. That section was the part to the left of the can of gas. The next issue was the border. From Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry I learned about borders. I tea dyed some Benartex fabric because it was too bright and I made the border. However, unlike Caryl the border was after the quilt was put together and quilted. This quilt is 5′ x 6′. I quilted it on my BERNINA 1530 over 20 years ago.

Averting Disaster

This is my 2nd quit story on a disaster. And how I managed to make it work.  My award winning bipartisan quilt “Mt. Ruffmore” had its problems.  It is Beau, Buddy, Barney and Heidi.  Dogs that lived in the White House. I used wool batting because I remember being told that you could steam out any distortions. Not true !!!! The distortion in this quilt was monumental.

Because I quilt on a BERNINA (a sit down home machine) I cannot quilt very long continuing lines without getting a distortion.  The lines in this quilt are about 1/8” apart. No matter how much I steamed this quilt it would not lay flat. The sky and the upper border resembled a small mountain range.  After I jumped up and down, stomped my feet and screamed; I had to figure out how to solve the problem.

The red lines indicate where I cut into the quilt. First I cut off the upper and side borders. Then I cut the sky and took out a v shaped section. I zig-zagged it back together. Trimming the sky to be even and straight. The borders went back in 3 sections. Attaching the borders to the quilt I used a 3 step zig zag. With probably a length of 2 and the full width.  I covered the edges ( the zig zag) where the border met the quilt with ribbon.  Note * Not all ribbons are created equal. The inexpensive ribbon shrinks.  I used Ofray and there was no problem.

Then I bound, labeled, and sewed on the sleeve and I was done. Each quilt has its own story. I thought it would be fun to share these stories. Hope you like it. If you have any questions …please ask.