Monday, March 16, 2015


Cleaning was inevitable. It had to happen....

I rarely custom quilt for customers anymore but I have a few ladies who have been with me from my beginning who I will always quilt for. This particular lady loves the asian panels and I have really enjoyed quilting these tops. There are a wealth of quilting designs to be found in the fabric and I have always felt comfortable playing with the lush traditional Japanese motifs.

I auditioned threads to get the process started. I will probably choose the lightest thread you see. And despite my dislike of changing threads I will likely switch on the ivory,  to... ivory.  My default thread color choice is almost always the lightest color present in the quilt top.

My machine and I love Superior Threads. 
So Fine 50 wt. thread is what I use for the 
majority of my long-arm quilting.
 Studio clean, quilt loaded, now what?
 You guessed it....Plexiglas.

The Plexiglas had a boxy maze drawn on it already, instead of erasing it I laid it down and used it as a starting point. I liked the way it looked over the circle, so I left it and started adding straight line work mixed with a tracing of the Japanese water and flower motifs.
Moving the Plexiglas from the quilt top to a white table, gives a different perspective, enabling you to see the quilting design independent of the quilt top. It's a great opportunity to start evaluating how the quilting works or doesn't work compositionally on its own.

I like where it's going but the circles need more definition, at this point I decide to get rid of the boxy maze outside of the circle and define the circles with a quarter inch (ish) echo.

 hmm...  it's ok but something isn't quite right. I feel like the density of the quilting in the circles is too heavy. Densely quilted areas are going to recede while the areas that are less densely quilted are going to pop. In this case I would prefer that the background recede not the circles... back to the drawing board so to speak.

I leave the boxy maze but change the scale, I do like a quilting design that maintains a similar density throughout. All the straight line work is still too much of the same for me, there is not a strong delineation between background and foreground. I am going to lose the boxy maze and add swirls to the background area to define and simplify the space.
I like the feel of where this is going, I think it is starting to work more fluidly with the quilt top.
I love working through my designs this way, I am able to see a lot of different ideas come to life without committing to anything.
I will continue working out the kinks in this quilting design but I feel more confident in my direction and don't feel like I am just staring at a blank canvas any longer.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to make friends with your Plexiglas. 
I will leave you with a couple finished Asian panel quilt details, the first quilt is the back of an owl panel, the second and third are Kimono quilts, all pieced by Carlene Embry.

Have a wonderful week. 


  1. Thanks for sharing your thought process! As always- beautiful work!

  2. Simply .. amazing .. thank you for sharing this beautiful process.. you are very gifted ..

  3. Absolutely amazing! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Absolutely amazing! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Oh my gosh, your quilting elevates those quilts tremendously!!! Gorgeous as always.

  6. I love seeing the process you go through deciding on the quilting designs. The end effect is wonderful.

  7. I just discovered your blog. Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing your process:) Please feel free to check out my work on my blog.

  8. Wow! Gorgeous Work! Thank you for sharing your thoughts

  9. I pinned the pic of red flowers months ago. It is respinned at least 7 times a day-pretty work

  10. Great way to work with the designs. I use a plastic panel and it is so nice to audition potential designs for client. Not generally custom work but so much easier to illustrate to them what the final project will look like. Comfort for them and for me.

  11. as a novice long armer, I appreciate the info. I just have one question for you. After you draw your pattern on the Plexiglas (which I love that idea), do you use the Plexiglas as a pantograph to quilt the design?

  12. I learned a lot. Not so much about using Plexiglass, something I will probably never do, but just how to approach basic decision making.

  13. Is the kimono quilt for sale? It is breathtaking.

  14. This is really art. I congratulate you to your talent and the passion to start every time anew. I must admit I never never would have the nerves for it but i adore it.

  15. How long are you working on a absolutly fabulous quilt which looks so japanese.
    It seems to me like a 5 years plan.