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.

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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.

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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.

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

 

 

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

 

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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.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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And from the back:

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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!

It Sparkled! Honest!

First off, Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!  My love of Irish music and my past life, living in Dublin, Ohio, make today a very special day today.  I have to admit, I was saddened when I took a DNA test for ancestry and found zero Irish in me.  It won’t keep me from playing jigs and reels, however!

Onto quilting, I say!  I am very lucky to have a dear customer provide me some beautiful quilt tops as of late.  She is such an interesting person who has lived such an interesting life and it’s very neat to learn more about her as our friendship grows.  I’ve quilted more tops for her in a month than I, myself, have made!

This blog is about one of these quilts; one that I picked up at my local quilt shop (www.thelittleshopofstitches.com) and ohh’d and ahhh’d over.  All this negative white space really excited me, as it presented some great opportunities to showcase custom quilting.  It sparkled!  It glistened like a freshly fallen snow and it was just much more magnificent than any picture could show.  We were off to design!  I snapped this picture, printed it out, and placed a sheet of tracing paper over the picture so that I could doodle away until I found the perfect design.  Well, that didn’t take long… my first design was perfect.  When you see a quilt that you love, the designing of it goes smoothly.  Your mind’s eye has already started to dabble with ideas and this one was just going to be gorgeous.

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Armed with my sketch, I began quilting.  All the sashing was stitched in the ditch.  This was for two reasons:  1.  I wanted to help pop them out a little, since I wasn’t going to be taking the block design into them and, instead, would be quilting them as stand-alone blocks and, 2.  Because I was going to be traveling in those seams to travel within each block for quilting purposes.  It would look silly, on the back, to only travel part way in the seam of the sashing.  So, before each block was quilted, all the sashing was stitched in the ditch.  This is a time-consuming process, but very worth the effect it brought.

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You can see, now the finished block.  The light blocks and the white areas were all stitched with a cream thread.  This allowed the thread to just slightly appear over the white areas and to pop a bit on the lightly colored areas as well.  for the dark purple and dark blue areas, a slightly lighter hue of the same color was used.  This also allowed the threads to slightly appear.  There was a LOT of ruler work on this quilt, but it sure makes for a beautiful finish.

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A picture from slightly farther back. Now you can see the darker blocks and how the rays in them helped to give a bit more movement to the block.

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Wow!  What a gorgeous quilt with all this quilting! 202,791 stitches in this beautiful piece.  I was sad to see it leave my sight, but so happy to return this to its rightful owner.  I’m going to miss this one, but I’m happy to have some pictures of it for keeps.

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And the back… what about that back!  I love backings that allow the quilting to show through and this one was perfect.

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So ends another project with more custom quilts on the horizon!  I’m going to have a full week next week, dabbling with designs and then, with sweet sorrow, parting with them, but I just love longarming.  My clientele is growing and I have to say, I have just the nicest quilters.  I get to live vicariously through them and I get to submerse myself in all sorts of quilting genres and I just love that!

I have created a youtube channel.  If you’re interested to see a video on the creation of this quilt (or watch any other instructional videos I have made), go to www.youtube.com and seach for “the threadworks factory”.  Subscribe to my channel to get notices of any new videos.  You can also visit my facebook page @thethreadworksfactory and follow along there.  Lastly, you can also register for blog updates right her on this site.  Look to the right of this screen and find the registration button.

Have a wonderful day and I do hope you get to make some time for yourself!

 

 

What a Block of the Month Masterpiece!

I was up at my local quilt shop last week to pick up a quilt from one customer and low and behold, I had something that’s never happened before…suddenly happen!  Four different people momentarily pulled me aside to say, “I have quilt for you to quilt”.  I nearly started looking around, for surely they could not all mean ME.  Really.  I was rather shocked, thinking that I’m not at that stage of the game just yet to be searched out and requested as a longarmer.  I wasn’t one to turn this cool thing down, however.

I met up with one of these new customers at the local guild, where I gave a lecture on longarm quilting (another very cool and surprising thing to get the chance to do, I might add).  We went over a few small things and scheduled a meeting with me to dial this quilt in.  A pantograph was picked after lining up a few and quoting prices and thread colors were chosen.  Quilters Dream 70/30 blend was chosen and once the frame was free, the quilt got loaded.

This was excellently pieced by my wonderful customer and loading went great.  I wish I had a “before” picture, as it was lovely, but what was about to happen would make it even more lovely.  This quilt had a beautiful  flannel backing that was just so luxurious.  I was in love with this.  Here is a picture of it on frame with some advancing already taking place.  You can see the wonderful flannel backing:

img_0978This pattern is from Urban Elementz and is called “echo blossom”.  It was stiched at 10 stitches per inch (to show more of the thread) with Glide thread for both the upper and bobbin thread.  A slightly darker color was used on the backing so that it’s wasn’t so bold.

img_0979This was a block of the month quilt kit offered by The Little Shop of Stitches in Miamisburg, Ohio.  You can find them at:

www.thelittleshopofstitches.com

Here’s a view of several blocks of this quilt:

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Here is the full quilt.  What a gorgeous block of the month quilt this was.  The fabrics were gorgeous:

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Have a wonderful day!