Let’s Go Visit Arcadia Avenue

Today’s blog is a very special one to me, with a custom quilt that I was told by my client, the amazing Geri Schick, to do my thing on because she had faith in me.  I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to have clients that have that kind of trust.  Piecing a top takes a lot of both time and money and to be put in care of this next step in the process is just an amazing feeling.

Before I show you the final results, I really want to take you on a “walk” to Arcadia Avenue (the pattern name for this quilt!) and show you a few aspects of prepping for a custom quilt job.  Let’s get started!

When a quilt comes in, I like to take some time with my customer to go over the things they like to see for quilting patterns (traditional/modern, feathers/flowers/lines, pebbles/swirls, etc.) and the things they don’t care for.  In learning just that, I can start to formulate ideas.  Sometimes, I’ll ink those ideas onto clear acetate and place it over the quilt, to show right on the spot.  Other times, I need to let the quilt “marinate” in my mind and stew around for a bit before I present the ideas in the form of an email with pictures.  Once my client agrees with my design ideas, the quilt gets marked, loaded, and quilted.  Let me show you first this quilt, as it was, before quilting.  You may be able to see some faint chalk lines in the blue areas:IMG_2522

This quilt is what I consider to be fairly heavy custom quilting, all freemotion, so the quilt had to be marked with linework to define the spines of feathers and other rulerwork.  First, I lay a piece of clear acetate over the quilt and mark my idea with a dry erase marker.  I then use my rulers and place them on the designs to determine the size of circle rulers to use and the spacing that will exist between straight lines.  I write on that acetate those dimensions so that I know as I roll the quilt and lose view of what has been done:


Then, I lay those rulers on the quilt, center them along the centerline so that they are equally spaced along that centerline from side to side and I mark on the quilt where the spine rests:IMG_2525

Time to stitch that spine with the ruler:IMG_2530

Next, I get to stitch the feathers in along that spine and fill up the quilt with all the quilting detail.  For each of the pieced hexagons, I did the same thing…marking my design out on acetate over the quilt so that I knew how I wanted to treat each area.  Here are the finished results:


And, the closer details:IMG_2571



And, the amazing paper piecing of Geri Schick and how each hexagon was quilted:IMG_2568











I am really pleased with the results.  I am so happy that Geri Schick decided to bring this quilt to me and I would love to see this hanging at a future show so that I pay it a visit once again…  It’s always nice to get to see quilts like this again and they’re missed once they go out the door with their owner 🙂

If you have a quilt you’d like to send my way, please go to my “contact me” tab and drop me an email.  I would love to bring your quilt top to life.

Have a fantastic day and I hope you get the time to be creative.

As The Sun Rises

I can see some amazing things taking place here at The Threadworks Factory.  First, my new Intelliquilter digital quilting software and tablet are now here and installed perfectly by the amazing Mr. and Mrs. Higginbotham of Classic Quilt Studio.  Servo driven, I can engage or detach the motors with the click of a box and just two seconds of my time.  Servo driven means utmost accuracy.  The stitching is gorgeous.  I can edge to edge or custom quilt digitially, as well as free-motion now!  Second, I have seen, over this past month, an increase in customer requests, which tickles me pink.   I am truly blessed to be getting in amazing quilts.  Thank you one and all!

This will be a short post on a quilt that recently came off frame.  A delightful Hunter Star done in batiks with a Kaffe Fassett backing.  Vibrant and cheery has nothing on this quilt.  The request was made by my customer, the talented Karen Gottschall, to do what I could to pop out the hunter stars and to stitch this in an Omni Variegated thread and use a quilters dream wool batting.  After the A-OK from Karen as to my thoughts of the custom quilting, the quilt was loaded.  Here is my view as the fun is about to start in this sunrise colored quilt:


And, here is the final result for this 56″ x 56″ quilt!  Since the stars were quilted with the same fabric as the other pieces, the only way to give some sort of pop to them was to stitch in the ditch around them and leave them otherwise untouched, so that they would spring up from the other quilted areas.  It was the best I could do.


A bit of detail.  I simply placed vertical lines (known as piano keys) in the narrow pink border to help separate the feathers that were installed in the body from the feather in the border.  It helps to vary curved and straight stitching so that there is added interest and I think the marriage between the two worked perfectly.


And even more detail:


And, here is the fun, fun, fun back. This is honestly two quilts in one:


Thank you for stopping in and seeing what I am up to.  We have six more custom quilts in the cue, so check back over the next month!

If you would like to receive notifications of my blogs, look over to the right side of this page and you’ll find a registration area.

If you’d like me to quilt your quilt, drop me a line and I can forward you the intake form.  Once I have your quilt in my possession, the designing will begin.

Get your Christmas quilt(s) to me soon…quilts for Christmas must be to me by October 15, 2017.  Please mark that on your quilting calendar!

Have a fantastic day and I hope you get a little time to be creative.

Wedding Bells

First off, let me just say that I truly have the best clients.  The kindness, love and charity that they show on a regular basis simply astounds me.  Sometimes, a quilt comes in that is being donated to charity and the quilt maker wants something nice done.  Sometimes, it’s a gift to their Mother and sometimes, it’s a wedding gift.  I understand this.  My second and third quilts went to my family members.  I am only piecing my fourth currently.  But, this quilt that this blog is about is simply a stunner.  The fabrics and hues and pattern were just all perfect.  The piecing was spot on and great care went into it.  It truly showed.  The border was an added touch and this quilt top sparkled with it.

My client brought in the magazine from which she got the pattern and wished for her quilt to be quilted the same way.  We only made two changes… We added intermittent feathers in the white blocks to help dress them up a tad and since she put a border on it, we ran feathers up the border.

Here it is:


A more detailed look at it:


My client brought Warm and Natural cotton batting for this quilt, which will give it an aged/antique look once it is washed.  I used glide thread throughout this quilt.


I placed a freemotion feather along the edge, marking in chalk the spine for it and placing a corner element to it to help dress it up.


This was such a gorgeous quilt and the pictures just don’t do the vibrancy of it justice.  I am sure the receiver of this beautiful quilt is just going to be stunned by it.  Such care of work went into it and I was honored to longarm it for this very special occasion.  May this union be truly blessed.

Have a fantastic day and I hope you get a little time with which to be creative!

Red, White and Quilted

Today we have up a recent finish on a custom quilting job done on a red and white quilt.  This quilt is from a good customer of mine who works in the quilting industry and will be selling a book entitled “Red, White and Quilted”, by Linda Lasco.  My customer (www.quiltedchristmas.com), fell in love with a quilt in that book, quilted by the world renowned longarmer, Margaret Solomon Gunn, and wanted her quilt longarmed just like Margaret did it.

So, it was up to me to study the picture and mark out this quilt for such a fantastic design produced by Ms. Gunn.  Onto the frame it went, and half a workweek later, it rolled off absolutely stunning.  Everything was quilted with rulers and freemotion.  I do not have a computer on my BRAND NEW Innova longarm currently. (If you’re interested in checking Innova longarms out, you can visit www.accomplishquilting.com.)

I used two layers of quilters dream batting… blend on the bottom and wool on the top… to give great relief.  I also used glide thread in three colors: white, red and an aged gold thread.

Without further delay, here are the results:IMG_1891

The quilting process involved rulerwork first on the diamond areas in order to keep things as straight as possible.


Once the rulerwork was done, it was off to fill all of the areas of quilting.  A simple continuous curve pattern was run in many of the red and white squares, followed with a running feather placed around two of the focal diamonds in the larger white blocks.


The centers of the focal diamonds were microquilted into a very dense fill so that they were nearly embroidered.  Feathers and pebbles were placed around it.


The feathers had a slight arc of their spine to help give them just a touch of movement.  the spine of these feathers was marked with a water soluble “Mark-B-Gone” pen, but no rulers were used to stitch the feathers out… the spine marking was simply there to help guide me.



I just loved the detail work in the quilting.  Margaret Solomon Gunn did a fantastic job of quilting the original out and it was inspiring to recreate her work.


My customer brought me the most lovely backing fabric and I just adored the end result.


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Have a fantastic day.  I hope you get to spend a little time being creative.


Christmas in June?

Seems a little off to me, but maybe that’s just me.  I guess, when your customer owns this Christmas quilting website (Quilted Christmas), your mind is never far from the 25th of December.  And, so goes this next quilt.  This was a digital panel that my customer brought to me, hoping that I could make this panel look like a quilt in time for the launch of this new Moda pattern.

She requested a double layer of batting and a quilting job that would render this as much of a pieced quilt look as possible.  So, we brought out two layers of batting:  Quilters Dream Blend for the base and Quilters Dream Wool for the top layer.

My customer has many years in the quilting business and knew exactly how she’d like this quilted, so I took her inputs and worked them up in my style of longarming.  As you learn longarming, you’ll learn that you have your own unique style, much  like your own handwriting, and while you can vary the look of things, they begin to take on a very identifiable trademark of sorts.  I guess I am no different and I am beginning to see that!

This digital panel from Moda, called Sugar Plum Christmas, needed a lot of stitch in the ditch in order to pop each “piece” as though it were appliqué and not remain in the “printed” look it started life as.  Ditchwork is tedious and tiring and often requires rulers.  When it’s a digital print like this one, there is no ditch to guide yourself along in, so it’s even slower and more tedious.  We plodded along…

You would think, by now, that I would remember to take a picture of the quilt top BEFORE it is quilted, but I seem to be lacking a few extra brain cells with which to record something like that.  So, let us all just skip ahead a bit and give the reveal!

Without further adieu, here is:

Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for http://www.quiltedchristmas.com

This was fully free motion custom quilted, as I do not have a computer on my longarm.  Glide thread was used throughout and there were just 2 colors used–red and white.  The border spine was pre-marked with a Bohin chalk pencil and that was it.  Let’s look at the details a bit closer up:

Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for http://www.quiltedchristmas.com


Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for http://www.quiltedchristmas.com

And here are some even closer images:

Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for http://www.quiltedchristmas.com


Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for http://www.quiltedchristmas.com

I placed a freemotion holly and curl spine in the red borders and it added such a cute touch. I also echoed the stars to help pop the out a bit more.

Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for http://www.quiltedchristmas.com


Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for http://www.quiltedchristmas.com


Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for http://www.quiltedchristmas.com


Moda’s Sugar Plum Christmas, Quilted by Patricia Hechler at The Threadworks Factory for http://www.quiltedchristmas.com


Well, that does it for this installment of “What Came Off My Longarm”.  Until next time, I hope that you get the chance to be creative!

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AQS Spring Paducah 2017 Eye Candy!

What a trip that was.  My sister and I traveled 5.5 hours to Paducah, Kentucky to take in the AQS Spring Paducah Quilt Week and what a week it was.  Back in December, 2016, on a whim, I entered the first quilt that ever came off my longarm (or domesic or mid arm, for that matter), and lo and behold, it somehow made it into this juried show.  We were in route to see it hang and this prestigious event!

The weather looked to be spots of rain and cooler temperatures, but that didn’t deter us.  We had plans!  We light out early Tuesday morning for the hotel.  If you’re ever in Paducah, look up Auburn Place.  This is a charming hotel that sits nearly across the street from the famed Hancocks of Paducah.  Auburn Place, so nicely manicured inside and out, always looks brand new with each passing year.  Friendly staff great you with each arrival and if you’re parched, so does fresh lemon water.  If you have a sweet tooth, all you have to do is find yourself busy until the early evening and then head downstairs for fresh cookies and milk.  Every.  Night.  No.  Kidding.

We checked in and then immediately high-tailed it to Hancock’s of Paducah before we drove downtown and parked at the event center.  We stopped just long enough to record this moment in time, snapping a picture of the locomotive parked by the famous Paducah floodwall:IMG_1539

We made our way through the door and helped ourselves to some hors d’oeuvres, realizing, when the food line led to a number of empty serving trays, that the 4:30 start time listed on the tickets really meant more like 3:30.  Lesson learned!

We got to take in the awards presentation and when AQS dropped the top class winners, from the ceiling of the theatre, fully illuminated, we were thoroughly mesmerized.

AQS Spring Paducah 2017 Winners

When the awards were done, we trapsed across downtown Paducah by foot to the convention center, where we were able to speak to the Best of Show winner, Janet Stone.  That was humbling!  Janet took the show with her “Ewe Are My Sunshine” and promptly decided to take the money and run.  I believe she was awarded $20,000 by giving up her rights to her masterpiece and turning it over to the care of AQS for future display and full ownership.

My sister and I made our way over to my entry, “Digging In The Dirt”.  It was so cool to see it hanging there.  My sister Shari Heinrich snapped this picture for posterity.

Photo by Shari Heinrich, “Digging In The Dirt”, Patricia H. Hechler

Off we went to take in the sites of over 400 quilts from 47 states and 15 countries!  What an honor to be recognized with just my first quilt off the longarm.  I have a LONG way to go to ever consider my work capable of netting a ribbon at Paducah, but I have my eye on a prize!  I’ll explain more of that in a bit.

Shari and I went back to our hotel, exhausted from the day, several miles of walking, five and half hours of driving and hundreds of quilts seen.  There would be more time to see more things, buy more items, and build more memories.  First, there was this thing called sleep.

Each morning, Shari and I would take in the free breakfast at Auburn Place, helping ourselves to a little bit of biscuits and gravy and some yogurt.  Then, every morning, we drove downtown, parked the van, and heading straight to Kirchoff’s Bakery and Etcetera Coffee.  I honestly don’t know of any better bakery OR coffeehouse in the United States.  It was that good.

I would head to the Convention Center, and sometimes my sister came with me.  Other times, she stood her ground downtown and hung out by the river, spending her time writing her next literary piece.  She’s got a novel written and she’s currently searching out a publisher.  I’m hoping that 2017 is the year she lands a publishing contract!  If you’d like to see her blog, here it is.  You can even sign up to follow her if you like!

Onto quilts, I say!  We have officially made it to the “Eye Candy” part of this blog post!  Bring on those stunning quilts!

This one, entitled, “Flowered and Feathered Frenzy” was made by Susan K. Cleveland of Minnesota.  The solid colors were just so eye-catching and it won first in it’s class.

Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Flowered and Feathered Frenzy”, Susan K. Cleveland



Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Flowered and Feathered Frenzy”, Susan K. Cleveland


Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Flowered and Feathered Frenzy”, Susan K. Cleveland

Next up is my personal favorite from the show, and one of the big winners.  It must be the Registered Landscape Architect in me, but I just adored the entire quilt.  From fabric choices, to design, to quilting, this one really took my heart.

Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Moonflower”, Molly Y. Hamilton-McNally
Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Moonflower”, Molly Y. Hamilton-McNally


Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Moonflower”, Molly Y. Hamilton-McNally
Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Moonflower”, Molly Y. Hamilton-McNally

Talk about composition and movement.  This quilt had it all.  I felt that the piecing was going to drip onto the floor at some point.  It was stunning!

Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “A Spring Twist”, Karlyn Bue Lohrenz
Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “A Spring Twist”, Karlyn Bue Lohrenz

I just kept going back to this next quilt each day, to study it a little more and to take in all that color.  The gradation on this quilt was something else.  If you needed cheering up, this was the quilt for you.  It didn’t ribbon, but it was certainly a show-stopper in my book.

Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Rainbow In The Round”, Pam Biswas
Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Rainbow In The Round”, Pam Biswas

And, here was the winner in our class, Large Bed Quilt, First Entry into AQS Paducah.  We had around 36 quilts in our class, which I believe was one of the biggest classes in the show.  Congratulations to Ben for winning a huge class.

Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Imperial Star”, Ben Darby
Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Imperial Star”, Ben Darby

Viewer’s Choice went to this lovely horse.  The amount of quilting on this one was absolutely fantastic and the horse’s mane looked like it was flowing off of the quilt.  Talk about effective quilting and fabric painting!  I was so happy to see this one ribbon!

Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “White Knight”, Patt Blair
Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “White Knight”, Patt Blair
Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “White Knight”, Patt Blair
Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “White Knight”, Patt Blair

This was such a stunning quilt with an emmense amount of quilting done on it.  I just kept going back to examine all the work put into this quilt.  It’s hard for me to imagine why this one didn’t ribbon, but there is just so much hard work accomplished in these pieces that the award often is just making it into this show.

Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Waiting For Mr. Fraser”, Laurie Tigner
Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Waiting For Mr. Fraser”, Laurie Tigner
Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Waiting For Mr. Fraser”, Laurie Tigner

This next one was in the Modern Category and while that category isn’t my cup of tea, I did really find this one impressive.

Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Spinning Stars”, Mel Beach
Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Spinning Stars”, Mel Beach

Taking it’s class for Group Quilts was this impressive red and white quilt.  It’s hard to believe that a guild put this one together, due to it’s complete uniformity and precision on every single stinking block!  I have to say, there are some incredibly talented guilds out there.

Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Red, White, and Stars”, Austin Area Quilt Guild, Austin, TX
Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Red, White, and Stars”, Austin Area Quilt Guild, Austin, TX

This last quilt was one of my favorites as well and has won numerous ribbons throughout the AQS Quilt Show season.  Talk about precision in quilting.  The gemstones were a perfect touch.

Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Wickedly Green”, Deborah Poole


Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Wickedly Green”, Deborah Poole
Photo by Patricia  H. Hechler, “Wickedly Green”, Deborah Poole

I got to take a few classes with national teachers and find a few things I was in need of.  My sister and I had a great time having some great food and meeting some great people (though we were completely remiss in continuing our training for our upcoming half marathon).  I can safely say that the half marathon, the Cincinnati Flying Pig, went off with only a few hitches and we both completed it in great spirits!

Even with me stating that I was not going to make another show quilt, I got the bug to think about my next show quilt and I promptly grabbed up fabric for it!  I can honestly say that I think I have everything needed for my next attempt to make it into and AQS show!  Give me a few years!

On top of that, after days of mulling things over and test driving, with my sister egging me on the whole time, I have decided to trade in my A1 Platinum longarm and move over to Innova.  In just over a month’s time, I will become an “Innovian”, working with a larger 26″ throat on a 12′ frame with lightening stitch.  I’m very excited.  There is no computer just yet, but that may come in the future.  The A1 that I used will be up for sale at Accomplish Quilting, and I will blog their page and the particulars when it is on the market.  It’s a great machine with many newer upgrades, including the awesome Platinum stitch regulator, Beautiful orange locking wheels installed by me, custom deck graphics designed by me and 0-center leaders installed by me.

(UPDATE:  My A1 longarm was purchased prior to it making it’s way to Accomplish Quilting’ store. It is already in its new home and my new Innova is under roof!)

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I hope you all have a fantasic day and you get to spend a part of it being creative.


“Wonder” Is Right!

Dare I tell you what that title is all about?  Well, let’s get to it, then!  This custom quilt job was recently completed on what is called a “One Block Wonder”.  So named because the fabric for the main part of the body is created by fussy-cutting a single piece of fabric.  My dear customer who is prolific at quilting (I have no idea how she does it, leading such a busy and fabulous life), created this masterpiece of precision and perfect fussy-cutting and allowed me the honor of free-motion custom quilting this.

My goal in tackling this, after my nervous reaction of “Oh, boy, is sure hope I don’t ruin this gorgeous quilt” was to think about the piecing of it and let the piecing process drive the quilting.  I wanted to help unify the quilt and the floral theme of the fabric, so I set about designing, after taking a picture of it and printing it out.  I also drew up a life-sized hexagon in AutoCAD and printed out a bunch of them, so that I could design at full scale.  Eight Different designs were drafted out for the hexagons, all carrying a “flower” type design.  When I had them drawn at full scale, I picked out the rulers that would be used on each one and marked those drawings so that I had complete understanding of how each would be done.

Here it is all quilted:


The triangle edge was pebbled, in order to recede it and allow the hexagons along the edge to pop out more.  A custom border was applied through free-motion with a simple curl and leaf pattern.  I wanted to carry the flower theme there, but I did not want the border to upstage the body of the quilt in any fashion.  A cute flower was placed in the corner of each border to added effect.

You can see the randomization of the blocks.  To achieve this, I numbered each of my patterns from 1-8 and wrote over the top of my picture printout.  That became my “instructions” and along with the pattern sketches, which I dimensioned.  I had the perfect roadmap to break this quilt down into simple-to-understand directions.


It was fun to watch this quilt “grow”.  Row by row and advance by advance, things really started to take shape.  I used two different thread colors for the stitching and monofilament for the stitch in the ditch on the borders and cubes.


I loved seeing how the different areas of the quilt expressed different things all due to the fabric patterns.  I cannot believe this quilt’s body was cut from one fabric, what with all the colors that went on.  My customer showed me the initial fabric, and that was an eye-opener for what all became of it once pieced.  This was truly a spectacular quilt and the piecing was amazingly accurate.


And from the back:


I used two layers of batting.  The base was a layer provided by my wonderful customer, and I believe it may have been a Pellon cotton.  The top layer was Quilters Dream Wool.  It’s such an amazing product that holds it’s bounce tremendously well and it’s a favorite of mine.

I used glide thread in a medium purple and medium blue.  With that slight sheen of this amazing polyester trilobal thread, it was perfect for this very showy and bright quilt.  I was so happy (and relieved) that my customer loved her quilt.  I get handed a very big dose of responsibility with each quilt I am given, and I’m so happy when my customer is happy.  That makes everything worth it!

If you’d like to learn more about me, you can explore this website.  If you’d like to see some educational videos on how to longarm, please visit my youtube channel, The Theadworks Factory.  Many thanks for stopping in to visit.  I appreciate your time!

Have a great day and go out and create something!