Close Stitching

prettyplanet16detail2It was a near miss. Machine quilting near hand embroidery is a challenge. It’s those dang French Knots and Pistil Stitches sticking up that catch on the machine foot.

prettyplanet16But I managed to complete Pretty Planet #16 without bad words being spoken. I must confess: machine quilting is not my favorite part of creating art work. Designing and hand stitching the pieces float my boat. But after finishing this little quilt, I realize that free-motion machine work really adds another layer of texture to the piece.

It Takes This Long to Make It


Windy City #6 (9″ x 12″) by Laura Wasilowski

A few days ago I asked if you could estimate how many hours it took me to make this small quilt, Windy City #6. And, as an experiment, I tried to keep track of the time to complete it. But honestly, my skills at time keeping stink! It seems I go into a zone when making a quilt and lose track of time.

Below are the stages of creating the art work and an estimate of the number of hours to complete each stage. Let’s see how close you were in guessing the total time.

  • Hand-dyeing the fabrics-  .5 hours
  • Fusing the fabrics-  .5 hours
  • Designing the quilt-  1 hour
  • Adding hand embroidery-  6.5 hours
  • Machine quilting and binding-  1 hour
  • Photographing and documenting the quilt-  .5 hours

Windy City #6 (detail) by Laura Wasilowski

The total is about 10 hours from start to finish with most of time spent on hand embroidery. Now, what you don’t see in this list is the hours of enjoyment I got from making the art work. That’s really hard to measure.

Should I Bother?


I decided to add some decorative stitches to this older quilt. It’s completely finished from quilting to binding to hanging sleeve. So I unstitched the hanging sleeve and began the reverse blanket stitch around each tree top. Using my BERNINA on the widest setting, I like the way the stitch spikes out from the edge of the tree.


But then this happened. I was so entranced with the stitching I forgot to make sure the hanging sleeve didn’t get stitched too. Should I bother removing the stitches? Or just use a narrow hanging rod to display the quilt?

Oh, and the winner of our last Free on Friday give away was Bette. Congratulations Bette!

MEMEME and a Thread Winner!

mememeI thought I’d show you a detail of the machine work on my Whimsy Lane #4 quilt. This free motion stitch is called the MEMEME stitch. You make an M, you make an E. This stitch allows you to get in and around organic shape easily. And it’s very calming. Give it a try!

Oh, and the winner of yesterday’s Free on Friday thread sample is…… Karon. Hope you enjoy the threads!

Another Nut Under the Needle


A nut house in process.

My second in a series of nut houses, or Nut House #2, is about to go under the needle! The hand stitching is complete and the machine work on my BERNINA awaits. Hope to get this done before leaving for the International Quilt Festival in Houston TX.

The pressure is on, wish me luck!

threadringAre you under pressure from a nut too? This may help you out. Leave a comment today on the blog and you may win a sampler of my hand dyed thread and a thread ring.

Spa Treatment?

bernina11While I’m off teaching at the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza this week, my lovely BERNINA sewing machine is on a trip of it’s own. It is going to the spa!

Yes, it is going in to my local dealer to get all cleaned up and pretty. I recommend it for all sewing machines. They work so hard for us and deserve a little special treatment once in a while. Is it time to give your machine the spa treatment too? Maybe you could both go to the spa and get a tune up!