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My Millefiori

You can probably tell that I like to dabble in all things quilty.  Last summer, I decided that I wanted to conquer English Paper Piecing.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that EPP is extremely addictive because you can take it anywhere…it’s easy to do on the couch while watching tv, great for road trips (when you aren’t driving), and can also be done at social gatherings.  

When people hear “EPP” or English paper piecing, many probably envision little hexagons, endearingly called “hexies” pieced together with traditional or reproduction fabrics that may end up looking a little dated.  I’m not crazy about that look, but I LOVE Willyne Hammerstein’s book Millefiori Quilts.  (And now there’s a second book to follow the first.)  In the first book, one quilt pattern in particular caught my eye–the “La Passacaglia”.  It combines pentagons, triangles, diamonds, and other shapes to create a myriad of rosettes that are breathtaking.  I will say there is a slight drawback if you are using the practice of fussy-cutting (positioning your templates on specific motifs on the fabric to create another design), and that is using fabric yardage inefficiently.  But you’ll be making scraps for other projects as you go, so really, it’s a win-win!  

Here are a couple of pictures of some of my completed rosettes.

These all show really great examples of using fussy-cutting with your epp. I really can’t wait 
to finally finish my quilt top.  I have all the pieces sewn together for the standard design by Hammerstein, but didn’t like the fact that I would be chopping several rosettes in half to square up the top.  So I opted to fill in the rest of the quilt to be even with the rosettes that stick out…the quilt top is really pretty small when you consider how much time and cutting goes into it.  

I laid out my quilt top on a piece of foam board and pinned it so it wouldn’t shift, then used the paper pieces to fill in around the edges.  I probably should really look into documenting the layout better than I did, but for now I just have some pictures on my phone.  I’ll share those with you once I have completed and know the layout works, so if you want to do the same thing you can!  

I started this project in December 2014 and finished Hammerstein’s layout in September 2015.  I’m not sure when I’ll finish the fill-in part, but hopefully it’s soon, because I am dying to quilt this thing!  

If you’re looking for other pictures of some really awesome La Passacaglia quilts, you should check out the following Instagram users: @kamiemurdock, @lilabellelane, @izy_sewbusy to name just a few.  You can also search the hashtag #lapassacaglia for some really inspiring pictures! 


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Longarming…my Love!

Since the last time I posted (I know…it’s been a while!), I have taken up long arm quilting.  Somewhere along the line, I had this idea in my head that long arm quilting was “cheating”, and if a quilt was quilted on a long arm, then it wasn’t really “your” work.  I could not have been MORE wrong.  

The time and skill that go into this type of quilting is ridiculous!  I also had no idea that there were multiple types of long arm quilting.  I just assumed that all “long arm” quilting was a computer program that you just pressed play, and BOOM! it’s done.  Once I realized there was a niche of long arm quilting that I would absolutely adore, I’ve been hooked ever since.  (And plus…there’s no more basting with safety pins on your living room floor!  You can’t beat that!!!)  

The category of quilting that I specialize in is free motion quilting.  That means no pantographs, no computer programs…just you and the machine.  Your hands and brain putting the thread and needle to work to create something magical that can’t be duplicated. 

Ruler work can also be seriously fulfilling, and there’s no limit to the  
amount of different designs you can create with straight lines. (collaboration quilt
for Janome)
Free motion quilting on a customer’s quilt (Valerie M.)

Free motion quilting on a customer’s quilt (Sarah J.) 
that was donated to a local charity fundraiser.

If you have any preconceived notions about long arm quilting, I would really encourage you to re-think them.  All it took was one time for me to know it was something that I would want to do for the rest of my life, and it’s really nice to have a break from piecing your own quilts to see the awesome talents your long arm clients have and the diversity of their work.  I never cease to be amazed by the quilts my customers bring me, and dreaming up designs to put into their quilts really challenges you to think outside the box.  I’m so glad I’ve started my FMQ long arm journey, and I really relish every moment I spend doing what I love.