Sherron McCleery’s Sophie’s Garden BOM

Today’s quilt was one that has waited to get on frame for around one year. Yes, that’s how long (and sometimes even longer) the wait can be to get onto my Innova. I have quite an extensive client list and 95% of what I quilt has been heavy custom work, so the wait can be quite the pistol. Sherron McCleery, who hails from Lakewood, California, was a GREAT sport about this reality and patiently waited. She pieced and appliqued a Block of the Month quilt called Sophie’s Garden. The pattern is from Pamela Curo and can be purchased here: Sophie’s Garden

Before I go any further, however, I’m going to run a little commercial of my own. (Afterall, this blog costs me over $300 a year to maintain and use, so I might was well get my money’s worth, right?) I not only have a longarming business, but I also created an Artisan Luxury Small-Batch soap company. I make cold-process luxury face and body soaps by hand, along with luxury shave soaps for men and women, solid block eco-friendly dish soaps and soon will launch both gardener’s soap and mechanic’s soap, both packed with scrubbing agents like ground walnut shells and pumice. I use luxury oils (olive oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter, and shea butter), as the biggest volume of my base oils, to make these wonderfully wholesome and natural products and I also sell various other bath and dish cleaning accoutrements. I have beautiful gift boxes you can custom build for all occasions. If you love my quilting, you will love my soap. It’s all we use in my entire family. Shop me at www.soapworksfactory.com

OK, thank you for humoring me on that front!

My client Sherron told me that she changed out two house blocks that were original to this quilt for the two leaf blocks that you can see in the top that arrived to me. I think her leaf blocks are perfect for this quilt!

As always, I got down to shooting a photo of the quilt and doodling over it until I drew out what I wanted. I tape what we Registered Landscape Architect’s call bumwad or trash paper (tracking paper) and place it over a light table to see through the papers. I mark with either a pencil or a fine sharpie.

I photographed the image and sent it out to Sherron for review. Once I received approval from Sherron, it was to marking and loading. Along the quilting way, I picked out a plethora of threads from my 200 thread cone stash and worked this quilt from top to bottom.

This is the part everyone is itching to get to, I just know it. Enough with the shameless plugs and stalling. Without further adieu, I present to you Sherron McCleery’s wonderful wall quilt!

It always amazes me, honestly, what quilting does to a quilt. This quilt was longarmed using two layers of Quilter’s Dream Blend Batting. Since this will be displayed on a wall, two layers helps this beauty stand up to the demands of vertical presentation. I just loved the thin piano-key quilting that I put into the border…nothing fancy because I wanted the frame to just push your eye into the interior and I think a simple treatment like this in the border is a perfect fit.

Here are the four quadrants of the quilt now, looking at things a little closer…

Going up a little closer, you can see more of the detail:

And here are more close ups of the wool applique blocks that Sherron created:

These last two shots are very cool to me, because there were thread changes as the motif traveled amongst the fabrics in the block. It takes a bit of work to do this, but it’s so worth this beautiful effect, I believe:

Well, that does it for Sherron McCleery’s marvelous Sophie’s Garden BOM. I thank you greatly for popping on in for a visit and I welcome you (or implore you…you pick!) to visit my luxury soap shop online at www.soapworksfactory.com.

Take care and I hope you have a little time to be creative today!

Patricia Heinrich Hechler

Buds and blooms has budded and bloomed!

It’s been a little while since I have blogged a quilt but this next one is a real show-stopper, I promise! But, before I debut Dawn Gerber’s amazing applique quilt, I want to take this time to place a tiny commercial here. You see, this blog actually costs me $300 a year just to blog these quilts to you and I am contemplating whether it is worth that fee to run this. So, I’m hoping this little plug helps generate some interest (from y’all) in my other home business…artisan luxury cold-process soap for face and body (and, they’re for sale, imagine that!) I currently hand-produce 16 versions of my essential-oil and plant-based soaps. If you love handmade soap, you will love my all-natural soaps. By the end of November, we will have 3 women’s shave soaps and 4 men’s shave soaps available as well, and we will even have magnetic-closure gift boxes available for the holiday gift-giving season. You can shop us at www.soapworksfactory.com. OK, see, that shameless plug was easy enough to get through!

On with this marvelous show quilt!

Dawn Gerber came to me way back in 2019, asking if I would consider longarming her next national show quilt, a turned-edge absolute work of wonder in blue and white. Knowing that Dawn was currently showing a quilt longarmed by the internationally acclaimed Judi Madsen, I bashfully agreed to take on this daunting project. National show quilts are unlike any other type of quilt, in that I know the work will be scrutinized, up close, to incredible standards. Dawn was advised that my schedule would slot her in in 2020 and the day came (and so did the quilt). Here is it as it arrived into my possession:

I got to work designing things by taking photos of this quilt and then printing them out. I always design old-school….placing tracing paper over the photos and sketching things out with pencil until I am satisfied. Here is one sketch that I brought into AutoCAD to draft out and create custom-cut marking templates from, after Dawn had approved the sketches. You can see the photo of the quilt below the sketch:

The sketch is scaled to size and then I draft out the sketch in the areas that a marking template is needed. I cut them out on a scrapbooking cutter and, poof, I have my own custom marking templates! The quilt was painstakingly marked with a water-soluble Mark-B-Gon blue pen and this step took over a day to accomplish.

We decided upon a double layer of Quilters Dream Blend batting, which would give the quilt wonderful quilting relief and substantial support for the demand of vertical presentation.

The quilt was loaded and around 95 hours of work later, we had the finished product. Care to see it? OK, OK, here it is:

I wanted to share with you more of the close-up’s, where you can really see where all that time was painstakingly invested. Here is some eye-candy of the border:

And….

So very cool, I must say! Totally custom and boy, did it pop! Onto more eye-candy, I say! Here is the very center block:

And, here is more detail shots of some of the other blocks:

Dawn Gerber and I can only hope that 2021 begins to have live quilt shows once again. While virtual quilt shows are nice, they are rather hard to take when we know how much work has gone into these quilts and how they really deserve to be seen up close and personally. Here’s to hoping 2021 finds many of us shopping and taking in these beautiful quilts first-hand.

Thank you for stopping in and please remember my fledgling soap company, Soapworks Factory. I hope you get to have a little time to be creative today!

Patricia

Memories Are So Sweet!

It’s an odd thing to first, bring you this blog after yet another surgery, and, second, to announce that this is a very, very special quilt that my quilting partner, Joyce Hite, meticulously pieced, applique’d and blanket stitched on her wonderful Bernina.  This quilt was just juried into Road to California, 2020 and we are totally excited over this news.  This particular quilt also received an Honorable Mention in it’s class at AQS Spring Paducah 2019 and just last month took a 2nd in class at IQF Houston.  It is a very special quilt for Joyce, as it represents her memories of growing up on a farm here in Ohio.  I will give a few more insights on this as you scroll through the pictures and this blog will be FILLED with quilting photos with an immense amount of custom freemotion (with ruler work) quilting!

“Memories” is a “taupe” quilt, designed by Joyce using many EQ (Electronic Quilt) patterns and a few blocks from one of her favorite quilters, Yoko Saito, using Japanese fabrics.  Here it is as it arrived to my “factory”:IMG_4286

Joyce created the beautifully wide border for some intricate quilting on my part…she really wanted to give me a space to have fun in and it didn’t take me long to channel my love of Sharon Schambler’s work and create a border for this quilt.  The remaining blocks took a bit longer…over 40 hours of designing on tracing paper with pencil over images that I printed out of each quilt block.  I would later use those drawings to record arc sizes and thread choices, as this quilt used somewhere around 45 thread colors on the top and around 7 colors on the backing.

Here’s a look at the beautiful quilt as it came off of my longarm. Over 1.3 million stitches and about 450 hours of work:IMG_5208

And a few closer looks, with the batting combination of Quilters Dream Blend and Wool giving such nice stitch definition.  Three colors of Glide 40 weight trilobal thread were used in the border to bring a slight hue of color into it.  A different frame was placed around each of the 7 different applique blocks:IMG_5191

and…IMG_5181

And, here is the quilt winning it’s Honorable Mention at AQS Spring Paducah 2019:IMG_6211

You can see the three colors of thread in the border here….An off-yellow, a lighter grey and a darker grey:
IMG_6212

And, here is my mass-dump of all of the detail photos of the blocks within the quilt.  Joyce is a remarkably talented quilter and her work is just something incredibly special to see up close.  Her sense of color, care with her applique, and level of stitching talent is truly special.  Her machine blanket stitch is just breathtaking and I am so thrilled to have her as a friend and partner in national show quilts.  Joyce and I have worked together since I was longarming for just 18 months (about two years ago!), placing nationally at that time, and her faith in me is something I will ALWAYS treasure.  She believed in me when I didn’t, and it means the world to me to be supported in that fashion.  She is truly an amazingly wonderful, kind and talented quilter!d13

Joyce’s first block she ever made was a churn-dash block, so this was a significant block in this quilt:d12

and…d11

and…d10

Joyce’s Mother was very skilled at flower arranging and all of her flower applique blocks pay homage to her memories of her mother’s very special talent:d9

and…d8

Now, Joyce doesn’t know this, but the acorn block here has a very special meaning to me and my family memories.  I grew up on a small parcel in Mentor, Ohio.  We had a HUGE Scarlet Oak in the backyard that dated over 200 years old.  The property, and that tree, were once owned by our President, James A. Garfield with his “Lawnfield” homelocated just to the west of the top of our street.  Our childhood was spent using that tree as “home” in games of tag, left us huge piles of rust-colored leaves in the fall that we jumped into, gave us acorns for acorn fights and painted acorn people with painted acorn “hats” and dropped on us sticks and leaves to form make-believe house outlines in the back yard in which we “lived”.  When one Memorial Day found a teenage version of me at the window, hearing a huge crack and shaking the picture window, I exclaimed to my Mom that the tree was literally cracking in front of me.  An emegency Arborist’s crew cinched it back together with a huge chain link cable system, but about 5 years later found the tree too bad to keep and it was, unfortunately, cut down.  The crew on that fateful day consisted of men who asked to be on that job crew, because, they too, loved the history of that tree.  It was a sad day, but I will never forget what that tree meant to us kids and my parents.d7

The “J” block is, obviously, a monogram for Joyce:d6

and…d5

Joyce spent her childhood growing up on a farm, and this barn block represents that special time in her life:d4

and…d3

This flower applique happens to be my favorite block on this quilt.  It’s hard to actually pick a favorite, but this was just such a gorgeous block with such dainty leaves that bent in the wind.  I loved the fabrics used on this one and I loved the french knots Joyce made in the stamens of the flowers.  Add to this that my first collegiate degree was in Horticulture and with my Master’s degree and the passage of my State Boards, I became a Registered Landscape Architect, and, well, it all makes sense:d2

I loved using Cindy Needham’s Ultimate Background Stencil set to mark out the basketweave on the flower basket and I think it turned out beautifully:d1

Well, that does it for the eye candy!  I thank you for taking the time to pop in for a visit!  I’m excited to announce that Joyce and I are currently working on the next show quilt (well, Joyce is done piecing and waiting for me to finish the longarming…which is taking a lot longer than first anticipated, but all good things must come in due time)!

May this Holiday Season fill you with warmth, love, support and kindness.  Take care and I hope you get a little time today to be creative!

Patricia Heinrich Hechler

 

Trip around the world and back again

Joyce Hite’s Trip Around The World quilt is done and, boy, was it a beautiful one!

One of my prolific clients, Joyce Hite (and my collaborator in show quilts), pieced this beautiful Trip Around The World quilt just recently.  I was extremely excited to get the chance to freemotion quilt this 38″ square piece.  Joyce asked me about specialty threads and inquired about metallic thread.  It was her hope to stitch with metallic in the dark blue border, but after my search, all I could find was royal blue metallic threads.  Until…I came upon Superior Thread’s Glitter thread line.   I settled on Midnight Blue Glitter thread, which is a holographic film that is rather like tinsel.  18 hours and 170,000 stitches later, this is what came off my Innova frame:IMG_5667

I just loved how the corner work turned out with the Signature Glitter thread.  While you can’t see it very clearly here, when the light hits it, it really looks like frost has settled over the stitches.  It’s a stunning effect:IMG_5670

A close-up of the center medallion.  It was so much fun to fill the “trips” around the world in different fills.  Each color of fabric received it’s own thread color, in Glide 40 weight.  Two layers of Quilters Dream batting were used…Blend (70/30) on the bottom and Wool on the top:IMG_5669

Here’s what the corner looks like from the solid back:IMG_5665

And, finally, another shot of the beautiful back:IMG_5664

I am so blessed with the gorgeous quilts that come to me and I’m hoping to blog a few more over the coming weeks!   If you’d like to get into my 2019 longarming schedule, simply drop me an email at:  threadworksfactory@outlook.com.

Thank you so much for stopping by to visit!  If you’d like to subscribe to my blog, please fill out the formwork to the right of this page.  I hope you have a little time to be creative today.  Take care!

Patricia Heinrich Hechler