Thursday, November 30, 2023

Mary's Turquoise Stars Quilt, Preeti's Syzygy Quilt + December Quilting Goals

Good morning, quilting friends!  I have a folder on my computer desktop containing a huge backlog of gorgeous clients' quilts waiting to be shared with you, and every time I open that folder I waste at least 45 minutes trying to decide which quilts deserve to be chosen for their moment in the spotlight.  When I started long arm quilting for clients I was really good about posting each finish right away, but either I quilt too fast (not!) or I write too slow (more likely!) and at this points I have photos of at least 150 quilts in that folder and more photos of more quilts get getting added every week...

The quilts I'm sharing today were both quilted quite awhile ago and I can't believe I never wrote about them because I LOVE them so much.  Without further ado:

Mary's Turquoise Stars

Mary is one of my favorite clients to quilt for -- she ships her quilt tops to me all the way from New Mexico even though there must be a thousand long arm quilters closer to her, she chooses striking, modern patterns and beautiful fabrics, and she often reinterprets the pattern creatively to create something fresh and unique, as she did with her Turquoise Stars quilt, shown below.  Mary used the star block from the Chevron Star Quilt pattern by Lee Heinrich Designs (formerly known as Freshly Pieced, available here on Etsy (this pot contains affiliate links).  

Mary's 67 x 87 Turquoise Stars Quilt with Billowy Combo E2E Quilting

One reason I didn't share this quilt immediately is that I was frustrated with my inability to get accurate color representation in my photos -- I was probably taking these shots late at night and trying to color correct in software, with limited success.  Mary's fabrics for this quilt are Art Gallery PURE Solids, and her background fabric is a deep, muted navy blue with a gray undertone called Night Sea.  The color is a little better in the photo below, but it's still too vivid and royal blue looking: 

Billowy Combo Custom Layout E2E Quilting

More to love about Mary: She lets me do fun things with the quilting!  Instead of just picking one allover E2E ("edge-to-edge") quilting design for Turquoise Stars, I combined nine different design motifs from Karlee Porter's "Billowy" collection, setting them up to alternate in three separate rows.  It took a lot longer to set that up in the computer, but it essentially created a larger scale design repeat, exceeding the depth of the throat of my long arm machine even, that creates more interest in the vast negative space of Mary's quilt than we would have if we'd chosen just one of these motifs to repeat over and over again across the entire surface of the quilt.

Another thing I really liked about this quilt was how cool the variegated thread looks in real life (no, I was not able to capture that at all in my photos!).  We chose Superior's Fantastico 40 wt variegated trilobal polyester thread in color Niagara, a mix of turquoise blues, because we wanted the quilting to disappear where it crossed Mary's turquoise pieced stars and contrast for dramatic impact to show off the quilting design against the background fabric.

Fantastico 40 wt Trilobal Polyester Thread in Niagara

Word of warning here -- Fantastico thread is gorgeous, but it's also fussier to work with than other 40 wt trilobal polyester threads like Glide, Isacord, etc.  It tends to kink up and snarl for some reason, almost like the thread is getting twisted as it comes off the cone??  Next time I use this thread, I'm going to try putting it on my horizontal spool pin even though it's crosswound, or maybe try putting the cone upside down on my vertical pin so the thread unwinds in the opposite direction and see if that makes any difference.  It's that gorgeous in real life that it's worth more experimentation!

Detail of Billowy Combo Quilting on Mary's Turquoise Star

Here's what Mary's quilt top looked like prior to quilting, with all that negative space just begging for decoration:

Turquoise Stars Prior to Quilting

Preeti's Syzygy

I know why I never got around to writing about this stunning quilt from another of my favorite clients, the incomparable Island Batiks Ambassador and talented pattern designer Preeti Harris!  I couldn't share it with you immediately after quilting it because it was for an Island Batiks Ambassador challenge and couldn't be shown before the date set by the fabric company in June of 2022.  Then after the big reveal date, Preeti is such a fabulous, entertaining writer that once she'd written about her finished quilt there really wasn't much left for me to say about it!  I am sending all of you to Preeti's blog Sew Preeti Quilts to read about this quilt, how she designed it in EQ8 software, the inspiration, the meaning behind the name, her construction methods -- seriously, go check it out here, because it's fascinating.  This quilt is Preeti's original design, so no pattern is available, and her fabrics are all from Island Batiks.

Preeti's 48 x 48 Syzygy NYB Quilt with Evenflow E2E Quilting

Here's what I can tell you about my contribution to this unique modern take on the classic New York Beauty quilt.  I quilted it with an edge to edge design called Evenflow that was brand new at that time, loading the quilt sideways for a vertical orientation of the quilting design on Preeti's quilt top.  I love the way I managed to get those straight line segments to line up so perfectly with the seam lines -- that took a little extra fussing and finagling on my end, but even so, it was only possible because Preeti's quilt top was so well pieced and those seams were straight to begin with.  

Detail of Evenflow Quilting in So Fine Thread, Genoa Gray

The Evenflow quilting design contains backstitching, areas in the design where the machine travels along a previously stitched line to get to another place in the design, and that can be detracting when you use a heavy thread and it's really obvious which places have one layer of stitching and which areas are double stitched.  So I like to use Superior's 50 wt matte polyester thread So Fine for backstitched designs like Evenflow.  In this case I'm using So Fine in color Geno Gray.

Detail of Evenflow on New York Beauty Blocks

I hope Island Batiks appreciates having Preeti on their Ambassador team to promote their beautiful fabrics.  She puts so much thought and care into each one of these challenges and her original designs are just getting more and more innovative, inspiring many modern quilters to incorporate batiks into their work.  I can't wait to see what she'll come up with next!

Preeti's Syzygy Quilt Top Before Quilting

HUGE, HUGE thanks to Mary, to Preeti, and to all of the wonderful quilters who entrust me to quilt for them.  I truly enjoy collaborating with all of you on your masterpieces and I'm honored that you've chosen me to quilt for you!

December's Monthly Goals

Also, thank you to all of the readers who weighed in on my setting options for the FrankenWhiggish Rose applique blocks that I wrote about in my last post.  At the moment I'm leaning towards the simplest setting option, but I do appreciate everyone's feedback and suggestions.  It's given me a lot to think about, and I do still have a lot of time to think about it while I'm prepping 48 more of those tiny rosebuds.  They are quite tedious and I need to be in the right frame of mind to work on them, but I've got some personal time off scheduled at the end of the month and this might be just the thing to keep my fingers occupied while watching holiday movies.  Goal #1 for December is going to be prepping ALL of the remaining rosebuds for these blocks!  If I get any of them stitched to the blocks, that will just be gravy on the cake, as the mixed metaphor goes...  ;-)

Fiddly Little Rosebuds

And yes, I still have 48 more to make, because I haven't made any of them in well over a month as I've been taking my Deco blocks to guild sewing events and working on clients' quilts with holiday deadlines in my studio.  

My Deco Quilt, Currently In Progress

Which brings me to my Goal #2 for December: Finish Block Twos and make ALL 54 of Block Three for my Deco quilt!  I know, right?!  It's crazy talk, since I had the bright idea of ignoring the pattern designer's convenient strip piecing instructions and I've cut out all those little squares and rectangles to piece together individually, one block at a time, but Deco needs to get moved along and off my design wall to make way for the new projects I'll want to start in January.  Deco is a pattern by Brittany Lloyd that is available on Etsy here.  I've made all of Block One (the blue/green and blue/purple log cabin blocks), 2/3 of Block Two (the orange and lime green blocks in the top and bottom rows, but not the red and yellow blocks for the center row), and Block Three are the green/navy and lavender/navy ones with all those little squares.  Wish me luck!  I'm linking up with One Monthly Goal for December.

Speaking of which...  Back to work I go!  I'm linking up with all my favorite linky parties:


Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  


To-Do Tuesday at Quilt Schmilt  


Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication

Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter


Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation  


Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More

Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts

Off the Wall Friday at Nina Marie Sayre

Beauty Pageant at From Bolt to Beauty

 TGIFF Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, rotates, schedule found here: TGIF Friday


Frédérique at Quilting Patchwork Appliqué

Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I hope you meet your goal and get the rose buds stitched and move the quilts along - I thought this might happen as your business picked up, you are so busy quilting for business that you have no time for your own - good luck

dgs said...

Beautiful quilts and stunning quilting. Great goals for December and I want to wish you luck and finishing them, but I'm also confident you can do it.

Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

You picked two great quilts to talk abouThanks for sharing on my weekly show and tell, Wednesday Wait Loss.
t in this post! Both so lovely and modern. Love your quilting choices as always.

Bernie Kringel said...

Wow Rebecca - these two quilts are prime examples of truly stunning quilting. When I took a first glance at Mary's quilt, I thought there wasn't any quilting on the stars. The thread really blends in. It is beautiful. However, my favorite between the two is the quilting on Preeti's quilt. The design is right up my alley and the way it lines up with her quilt lines is amazing. It is fun to hear about a quilt from the longarmer's perspective. So much art goes into your side of it. Happy quilting!!

Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said...

I really love what you were able to do for both Mary and Preeti's quilts (and I remember seeing them share those stunning finishes on their own blogs). That is fascinating about the thread; I hope that a small change like going to horizontal or upside down will make a difference.

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

Two great quilts! I enjoy reading about your thoughts re machine quilting/threads/pattern choices. Hope you get some 'me time' for your projects soon too.

Anonymous said...


Sandy said...

I love the way you quilted those two pieces, but especially Preeti's quilt! So beautiful. Good luck with your stuffed circles, and I can't wait to see your finished Deco quilt! I keep thinking about putting that design into EQ8 to eliminate the chopped-off points, but I keep procrastinating for fear of getting stuck. LOL!

chrisknits said...

Love the quilting in that quilt! Which makes me wish I had Pro-Stitcher on my machine, but I don't do it for hire, so do I really need computerization? No, but it would be fun to play with! Thanks for the tip on the thread, I stopped using mine because of the shredding. I will def try this tip.

Anne-Marie said...

Good luck with your goal(s). I'll be cheering you on and also being glad I don't have to do the appliqué prep. 😏 I'm surprised you had trouble with the Fantastico. It functions very similarly to Glide for me. I've discovered my machine is a bit of a diva and prefers the slippery/silky threads.

Peacemeal said...

Gobsmacked. I literally fell off the chair - I leaned in sooooo far to see the exquisite work that the chair went out! Thanks for sharing these. Your work is beautiful!

Sue said...

Thank you so much for sharing so much about your long arm decisions. You are a great teacher.

quiltingbydawn said...

Beautiful quilting on both of those pieces! Mary's quilt is made with the quilting! Stunning! Preeti's quilt is unique on its own but your quilting just adds to it. Amazing!

Kathleen McCormick said...

The quilting on both of these is exquisite. I just ran into a similar problem photographing something and I was so annoyed, but I totally understand your frustration. I have not had any problems with Fantastico. Did you try a thread net or batting stuffed in the top of the thread bar to hold it in? That is one I hear suggested alot for slippery threads. Just went back to the prior post as I saw it fly by and never commented on it. Thanks, too for linking up to TGIFF!

dq said...

Not only is your choice of patterns perfect, the thread color is exactly right as well. The second quilt really is stunning with your quilting. said...

The quilting on Mary's quilt puts it over the top! Seeing the photo of the top. . .well, it looks totally NAKED! The quilting you did on Preeti's quilt . . .well. . . .WOW! How you lined up the design. . .amazing. . .that quilting makes the project stunning! Best wishes on your goals. Any progress you make though is a win. Don't beat yourself up if you aren't totally successful. (Now, I need to take my advice to heart! LOL)

Sara said...

Wow! Stunning quilts!! I'm always amazed how the right quilting design can take a quilt way beyond what could have been imagined. All that blank space really demanded something special and you sure delivered. Preeti's quilt must have been pieced perfectly for those stitching lines to be able to be lined up. Both are just gorgeous!

Pat at Bell Creek Quilts said...

Your quilting adds a wonderful dimension to all the quilts you add your designs too! :)

Kate said...

Both of those quilts have a lot of WOW factor. The quilting on both is gorgeous! I've followed Pretti for awhile and she does make gorgeous quilts. Good luck with your December goals. That Deco pattern is going to be stunning.

Gregg said...

Absolutely gorgeous quilting! I just purchased the Billowy set myself - so wonderful to see it on a real quilt, and I love the way you mixed the blocks. It makes for really wonderful quilting in all that beautiful open space. Thanks for always sharing the quilting designs you use and how you think about thread choices and design matches - it helps those of us with less experience learn how we too should be looking to enhance what we quilt.

Mary said...

I finally figured out how to comment on Blogger posts. I have to use my laptop, not my iPad. Anyway, I loved reading this post and how you highlighted my Turquoise Stars quilt. The quilting on it is just magnificent!