Monday, June 9, 2008


Hooray for a day of sunshine! Even for an Oregonian, the rain is getting to be a bit much for this time of year. It's time for sandals, short pants and sweaters to be packed away. Let's see if I'm as ready for summer after next week when I visit my daughter in the Alabama heat and humidity. Then I'll be glad to be back in the cloudy cool Pacific Northwest - where we do love our roses!

My Joseph's coat has been a real distraction as he shines in all his glory outside the window at my desk. The color variegation and the multiple blossoms on one stem - I know they have a name for that type of rose, just can't remember right now - is truly a wonder to behold.

Just a note: click on any picture to enlarge and see the quilting up close and personal.

I took today to play with my longarm machine. I wanted to get a stitch out sampler of some of the new patterns and to review some of the functions and procedures with Creative Studio, our new software for our Statler Machines. You never know how much you've internalized the processes until you step outside of the box and begin actually applying them in new and different ways. Some of the things I tried today were as easy as pie. I found others that made me think a little bit to work it out, and then I found those processes that need a little more time with the manual.

When I looked at the designs for this latest release I found a common thread running throughout. Most of these new designs are all about TEXTURE.

I played with the traditional clamshell pattern taking it a step further by adding echoes to the shape to help make it an easy edge-to-edge design, and then adding additional textural patterns inside of the clam shapes. The possibilities are endless.

The clamshell is a design that appears to be easily executed but has in the past been one that put me a little on edge. Keeping the curves nice and rounded; keeping the spacing accurate; managing to keep the points out of the curved line above and below - these are some of the challenges when executing this design. The computer driven machines help with the accuracy but there are set-up issues with the alternating trim design. I'm not a big fan of multiple tie-off points which is a part of alternating patterns. And, through all of this technical jargon, much thought, and many hours at the computer mouse in hand, I finally came up with some designs that are easily executed, accurate, and give a fresh new look to an old favorite.

There are 14 designs in the collection ... 6 single blocks, 6 edge-to-edge designs, and two bonus edge-to-edge designs added in to increase the flexibility when working with a Classic rather than an Optimum. The bonus single rows will also allow other options with an odd sized quilt when the rows just won't divide up right and the pattern becomes too distorted. This collection (1207) is on sale this month for almost half off the total value is purchased individually ... and ... if you drop a comment (say, "Put my name in the hat!") in the box at the end of this post you'll be entered into a drawing to get a free edge-to-edge pattern! This picture shows a row of 1217 Clam Bubbles E2E and a row of 1208 Clam Double E2E. I had no idea the two different patterns would fit together so easily like that!. Fun surprises all around.

Two fun edge-to-edge designs I've shown you before as line drawings are just as cute stitched out. 1218 Sock Monkey and 1220 Cloudy Cascades sitiched out like a dream today. I had run a single pattern of them before as a test. Today I wanted to include them in actual stitch out for my customers to review. Sometimes it's hard to translate what you see on the screen to how it might look on a quilt top. Much easier when you're looking at an actual stitch out.

Cloudy Cascades gives you a chance to practice with Alternating function in the Creative Studio program so the mountains don't march down the quilt top in rows.

The tiger stripe blocks and triangle are really all about texture. These designs would look so good on an lodge type quilt, a guy quilt ... think about the texture that is created with a baptist fan but now make it into wavy lines following a diamond shaped pattern. 1210 Tiger Stripe 1, 1211 Tiger Stripe Triangle, and 1212 Tiger Stripe 2 look good stitched out to the desired size be it large or small so density of quilting is easily controlled and balanced.

And, last of all, I do several "soldier" quilts throughout the year and I'm always looking for ways to create designs that work for both men and women, are utilitarian in nature as these quilts will be well-used and well-loved, and the designs must set-up and stitch out easily. 1197 Ripples & Stars and 1216 Clam Star E2E are two new designs that will meet those needs. Both patterns are offered at half price during this next week. Be sure to visit the Mountaintop webstore to take advantage of the sales.

Remember to participate in the poll at the top of the side bar, and get your name in the hat for a free pattern to add to your Statler Library. The drawing will be held first thing in the morning July 1st!
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