Monday, February 8, 2016

Tips for Working with Cutwork

Yesterday I received a request from one of my Facebook followers asking how I worked with cutwork.  I just happen to be updating my E-Book, Linen Wholecloth Quilts, and was adding more pictures to that chapter.  Perfect timing to send those instructions your way!

Cutwork linens have "open" areas that were created by the original maker.  She embroidered pre-stamped designs, carefully cut away the fabric around her stitching, and then added bridgework to hold the areas together.  This photo is showing the backside of a piece of cutwork linen.

Because of the open areas you need to have an additional layer of fabric that goes "underneath" the linen.  This keeps the batting from poofing thru the open holes.  I call this an underlayment.

This photo shows how I laid the cutwork linen down over the top of the underlayment.  I stitched around all of the embroidery on both sides to nail it down.  The shot above is "before". 

This shot is after the ditchwork has been done showing how it is nailed down.  

Can you see the poofy areas of fabric underneath the bridgework?  This is personal preference only...I don't particularly care for the poofy areas and chose to go in and scribble in the holes.  Yep....every hole!  I am careful about selecting an underlayment that complements and blends with the bridgework.  This allows me to travel from hole to hole along the embroidered edge and keep it continuous line.   This is a "before" shot...

These shots are "after" the scribbling is done.  See how I also went in and added some pretty details inside the area surrounding the cutwork???

Thank you Debbie J. for such a good question... Hope this helps!

Hugs, Cindy

PS:  These samples will be at the Houston exhibit  for teaching purposes. :)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Tips for Working with Lace

I just got home late yesterday from a whirlwind trip to Texas...four guilds back-to-back in four days...whew!   I had a great time, got to visit old friends and had a wonderful time sharing my quilts with each guild.

I am already busy working on new pieces for the upcoming exhibit in Houston and wanted to share a tip you may be interested in.  One quilt I'm currently doing a lot of hand work on has large corners of lace and an icky raw edge.

I always tell my students NOT to quilt just mash it down and it really isn't attractive anymore.  By quilting it you make it flat and it loses its beautiful texture.  I recommend that you quilt "underneath" it first and then lay the lace down over the top of it.

In this instance I quilted a half-inch grid and a feather wreath  in my 3-layer quilt sandwich.

Then I folded the lace corner over the top of the previously quilted sandwich.  Notice the icky raw edge of the lace...

Because the lace is so large I very lightly hand quilted the lace edgings down.   I am going back in and adding small freshwater pearls in the little dots that are in the lace to provide detail and help tack it down a little bit more.

Because the outer edge of the lace was unattractive and frazzled I needed to cover it.  I have some tatting yardage shown above and placed this over the top of the raw edge of the lace and then added pretty beads in the middle of the holes to dress it up a bit more.
I LOVE how this edge turned out and especially love the old buttons I decided to add around the border.

From now until the exhibit in Houston, I will be able to share tidbits and pieces of the quilts that will be featured and not photos of the entire quilts.  If you are unable to come to Houston this year I promise I will do a fabulous blog post after the show with full pictures of EVERYTHING!

Hugs, Cindy :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"For the Love of Linens"...Special Exhibit at Houston!!!!

I am very excited to share that I will be the curator of a special exhibit in Houston this year entitled "For the Love of Linens".  This will be the first time EVER that an exhibit like this has been there! 

There will be seven featured quilters with their beautiful work showcased.  These fabulous quilters were chosen through past blog post features and include Karen Azevedo, Susan Stewart,  Ramona Resurreccion, Marilyn Hawkins, Monique Figlietti and Rhonda Dort. 

I am also equally thrilled that The Quilt Show will be the co-sponsor for this exhibit!!! WooHooo!!! Many years ago I was a featured guest (Show 202) when they were still new and filming in LaVeta, Colorado.  It was because of that show that the concept of linen wholecloth quilting was shared with the world and my life was changed forever.  It is my honor and privilege to have them as a very special part of this exhibit.  You may also recall that I filmed another episode (1606) where more of my linen quilts were showcased. 

My head is full and buzzing with all the work that needs to be done between now and November but this is a bucket list opportunity and the long hours will be well worth it.  I will be doing  blog posts with tidbits, photos and stories of some of the "behind-the-scenes" work going on.  Please mark your calendar for Houston this year...I hope I get to see you there!!! 

Hugs, Cindy :)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

"All Dressed Up"

Last April, 2015, I received an unexpected package from RaNae Merrill ,(a fabulous quilter and instructor), which contained some of the most exquisite and beautiful crocheted lace doilies I have ever seen.  They took my breath away.  I put them in a special basket and took them out occasionally to fondle them.  It finally dawned on me what I could do with them!

I had some beautiful fancy silk fabrics that I purchased from a quilt show a few years back and randomly pieced them together and attached them to a backing of  heavily textured woven fabric that I snagged from Kent's grandmother's collection.

I took my favorite doilies and carefully arranged them on top of the silks.  Believe it or not I'm NOT quilting this!  I want the texture and beauty of the silks and the doilies to speak for themselves.  If you quilt lace you destroy it's texture and beauty. 

I have quite a collection of vintage buttons and all sorts of beads and pearls.  I have the pleasure of attaching each beautiful lace doily to the silk fabric foundation with beads and buttons. 

I always "doo-dee" up the backs of my quilts and decided this would be a fabulous way to create a hanging sleeve for this piece.  I took a piece of taupe-green linen fabric and arranged four more lace doilies on top of it.  I didn't cut them at the top edge..I merely folded them over the sleeve and then stitched my binding down over the top of them.

This was another lace doily in the collection.  At first I had it on the front of the piece but I figured out something better for it.  It was the only square piece in what RaNae sent so I thought it would be the perfect "keeper" for the beautiful letter she sent.  This has been hand sewn down on the back on three sides (the top is open).  I will fold up RaNae's letter and tuck it inside to preserve the history. 

I have to share RaNae's letter with all of you.  It still gives me bumps...

"Going through these today was like falling in love again.  I think you will probably understand when you pick up each one and admire it.  When I contemplate the sheer number of hours of women's patient, painstaking work I am in awe of what this box contains.  And not just the hours--the care, the attention, the friendships, and yes, certainly, the prayer (I was told they were made by nuns).  What a treasure is contained in this box.

They all came from Buenos Aires, where I purchased them on a trip in the early 2000's.  I remember my first trip was in 2001 (I returned just one week before the 9/11 attacks on the World  Trade Center).  I think I went again in 2003 and it might have been on that trip when I found these. 

I think creating more beauty with these would be the best way to honor our sisters who made them".

Yours in quilting~ RaNae Merrill

Monday, December 28, 2015

Updated Ultimate Stencil Handbook

I am in the midst of creating new classroom easel demos and class instructions on using The Ultimate Stencils.  I wanted to let you know that I just revised the free handbook that is available on my website in case you're interested.

I simplified it a LOT making it much easier to understand...I hope.  By focusing on one design, a simple Lemoyne Star, and then showing you how to add to it, I believe has made it easier to understand.
I have been encouraging everyone to draft their designs on the paper Master Grids first and then transfer the designs to their quilt top using the Ultimate Stencils as their guide.  For me it's hard to visualize how a design will look on a quilt when you only see it on the paper. 

I've been using some clear vinyl sheets with the Ultimate Stencil guides marked with a Sharpie marker and they are SO much better.  I lay these vinyl sheets on top of my quilt top and instead of marking my design on the paper Master Grids, I am marking my design with a dry erase marker directly on the vinyl Master Grids.  I can easily see what the design will look like on the quilt. 

These vinyl sheets are time intensive to create and I may have come up with a solution.  I will be testing out a thin plastic sheet that can have the Ultimate Stencil guides permanently printed on them.  You should be able to use the dry erase markers on them too.  Keeping my fingers crossed it will work.  If so, I plan on creating a whole bunch of these and will offer them for sale.  I'm trying to do this in the most economical way possible to keep it affordable for all of us.

I'm looking forward to the New Year and all the cool new things that come with a fresh start.  My first engagement will find me in St. George, Utah for Quilt St. George and then a week later I'll be at one of my favorite quilt shows of all, Road to California.

Big Hugs, Cindy :)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

2017 Retreats!

Hi Everyone!

I am using this blog post as a back up to the newsletter I just sent out.  I wanted to let those that want to attend the 2017 retreats in McCloud and Auburn know that registrations will be taken starting January 1, 2016 and will be taken by email only.  Email address is: 

If you are coming with a group please have only one person from your group email me with all of those that wish to attend.  That will greatly cut down on my time and ensure that your group will stay together.

If you would like more information about the retreats as well as the dates being offered, please CLICK HERE to be taken to the retreat section of my website.  Please email me if you have any questions at all.

Thank you to everyone who continues to love attending these retreats as much as I do!

Hugs, Cindy :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Creating Feather Wreaths With The Ultimate Stencils

I am buried over my head rewriting the Heirloom Feathers and Heirloom Backgrounds handbooks and quilting up all new class samples for next year's workshops.  It's exhausting, exhilarating and exciting...lots of "e" words!

I just finished up some new instructions on how to draft feather wreaths using the Ultimate Stencils and thought this would make a great blog post for anyone who was interested.

A classic round feather wreath can sometimes be hard to draft and have things perfectly centered and round.  The circular Ultimate Stencil makes that easy.

Lay your Ultimate Stencil on your quilt top and decide how big you want your feather wreath to be.  The red dotted lines are showing how far OUT the feathers will go and how far IN they will go.  Mark these lines.  Now mark the spine (blue dotted line)
 This is what the marked lines will look like on your quilt.
Draw/quilt your center feathers.  Notice how wide the bases of the feathers are...this helps the feathers make that tight turn.

Now fill in the outside turn.  Perfect feather wreath! 

If you want to make a squared feather wreath you will need BOTH the square and the circle Ultimate Stencils.  Start with the square stencil first and mark your outside square...where you want your feather to extend to (shown in red).  Now mark the horizontal and vertical center lines (shown in green). 
Take your Circle Ultimate Stencil and line it up with the marked horizontal/vertical center lines.  Mark where you want the feathers to go in (inside of feather wreath).  Mark your center spine.

Mark/quilt your inside feathers.
Mark/quilt your outside feathers.  Be sure to fill your feathers all the way into the corners to square this up!
Wha La!  Two very easy ways to create feather wreaths in ANY size you need.  :)

I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for being one of my students, one of my retreaters, one of my blog stalkers or a new Facebook friend.  I am ever grateful for all the inspiration each of you provides in my life.  I never take for granted that I have been blessed with the unique opportunity to teach and quilt and touch your lives as well.

Have a blessed Christmas...enjoy your family...and take the time to tell those you love how much you appreciate them.

Love, Cindy :)

PS:  If you want to follow me on Facebook, I MUST be able to see something "quilting" related in a photo, employment, etc. or I will not friend you.  I am limiting my Facebook page to quilters only.  Thank you for understanding.  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Thank You Austin!!!

I just got home late Tuesday from Austin, Texas where I taught my last two workshops and delivered my last two guild programs of the year.  What a VERY special guild and a wonderful way to end an incredible year. 

As I was sitting and waiting for my turn to share my Love of Linens trunk show for their evening guild meeting, I had to snap a picture of the table setting in front of me.  Pretty cool.

I also took advantage of my "down time" in my hotel room in-between the workshops and guild programs and got lots and lots of drawings and new designs done for the Heirloom Backgrounds handbook updates for next year.  The new Ultimate Backgrounds stencils came out just this past August and I've been so busy I really haven't had any good quality time to sit down and see just what these can do.   Here's two quickie ideas:

This is the Twisted Clam stencil that  I use  for lots of different backgrounds. 

It dawned on me you could eliminate every other horizontal and vertical line (shown with the green dots)...

...and make a very pretty ribbon grid simply by sketching in another wavy line!

This is the Diamonds/Triangles stencil.

I eliminated the horizontal straight lines so I had a zig-zag.  I then drew a long vertical line and marked a dot every inch.   Using just the top zig zag line only, I lined a point up to a marked dot and drew a full line of horizontal zig zag lines.   Then I moved the stencil down an inch and repeated the process.  Now I have a pretty zig-zag background OR... adding repetitive lines or any texture you wish you've created an easy Chevron background!

I have TONS of ideas, inspiration and drawings all over my sewing room and am looking forward to sharing them with you from time to time on my blog.

I have finally gotten into the groove of my Facebook page and am adding quick ideas and tips there on a more regular basis.  If you wish to be "friends" with me on my Facebook page please ask!  I only ask that there be something "quilty" in your request or I may not accept you as a friend.  I've been a bit overwhelmed with requests and trying very hard to make this a quilting Facebook page so I'm being a  bit more selective about who is added. 

Hugs, Cindy :)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Special Holiday Sale~Stencils & Handbooks!!!

If you are looking for the perfect "quilty" gift for yourself or for that special quilter in your life, take advantage of special pricing on my Ultimate Stencils, Ultimate Backgrounds and my Complete Collection of Handbooks!  The sale will run until 8 am PST Tuesday, December 1st.  These are gifts that never wear out, will constantly be used and provide nothing but inspiration!!!


The COMPLETE STENCIL COLLECTION includes both the round and square Ultimate Stencils which are used for creating your very own quilting designs.  A free handbook is available for download in the Ultimate Stencils section of my website as well as multiple YouTube Videos.

It also includes the 20-stencil set of Ultimate Backgrounds which includes six different designs in three sizes each...clamshells, triple lines, twisted grid, twisted clams, basket weave/bamboo and triangles/diamonds.  It also includes 1/2" and 3/4" grid.  A free 32-page downloadable handbook is available in the Ultimate Backgrounds section of my website as well as YouTube videos.

This set normally sells for $90 and is on sale for  $80.  I am offering FREE SHIPPING for domestic orders and $5.00 flat rate shipping for international orders.

Click HERE to purchase!


The COMPLETE COLLECTION OF HANDBOOKS includes ALL of my self-published books and comes with free yearly updates.  This collection includes the 2-book set of quilting designs; Needles and Threads, Thread Therapy, Heirloom Feathers, Heirloom Backgrounds, Beginning Machine Quilting, Pin & Straight Basting, Linen Wholecloth Quilts, Learning to Design-Pieced and Wholecloth and Handbook Supplements.

If you are buying this as a gift for someone, I would be very happy to send a certificate to you to let them know this has been purchased for them and will be happy to send the downloads after Christmas.

Please remember that these handbooks are being rewritten and updated at this very moment so new ebooks will be sent at the end of January.

This set normally sells for $100 which includes free updates.  I am offering this set for $60.

Click HERE to purchase!


If you are interested in purchasing just the ULTIMATE BACKGROUNDS stencil set, this is on sale for $70 with FREE domestic shipping and flat rate $5.00 shipping for international orders.

Click HERE to purchase!


If you are interested in purchasing just the ULTIMATE STENCILS,  these are on sale for $20 with FREE domestic shipping and flat rate $5.00 shipping for international orders.

Click HERE to purchase!

Thank you VERY much!!!  Have a fabulous Thanksgiving hliday with your family.  I'm definitely looking forward to spending lots of time with mine.

Hugs, Cindy :)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

'Tis the Season...For New Class Samples!

Every fall/winter I devote nearly three months worth of time creating new class samples and rewriting and updating my self-published handbooks.  It's always a huge and daunting task but by the end of January, when most of it is done, I'm very thankful for time well spent. 

I was very lucky to be the recipient of some beautiful donated  orphan blocks from three of my students/retreaters and it gave me just what I needed to create some really fun samples for my upcoming classes and workshops.  Since my brand new Ultimate Backgrounds have been born I've been desperate to create some good samples to demo techniques and I thought you would enjoy being in on the "being born" stage of things to come!

This is a close up shot of a block where I was able to use the baby size of the Basket Weave stencil to create a beautiful texture in the basket.  The baby size of the clam shells was used for the background.  Kimono silk thread was used for both.

Speaking of baby clams, these are going to be used in these pieced triangles to provide some great movement.  I love using repetitive lines in almost all of my quilts...These lines will be added in a bright orange silk  to provide both movement and texture.

This block shows how I divided up the center and corner sections into smaller squares and then  filled with the mama sized Twisted Clams background.  Triangles will be filled with free form feathers.

I am loving the diamonds/triangles background...This silk sampler will show several different ways of filling the space with repetitive lines and cathedral windows.

I am desperate for some samples using The Ultimate Stencil.  This  drawing is used on my easel demo...I thought it was way past time to put that drawing onto silk.  Basket Weave background has been added.  Can't wait to start on this one!!! 

I love the Twisted Grid stencil...loads of things to do with this one!  I am showing it here with alternating repetitive lines...

By removing every other vertical line I was able to create a beautiful twisted grid basket weave...

...and then, of course, there's always the favorite Cathedral Windows in a twisted grid.

I have a huge stack of samples just itching to get into the machine.  For those of you who get my handbook updates you will be seeing all of these and more in your new books next January-ish.  For those of you joining me in the classroom next year you'll get to see all of these up close and personal there.

By the's a perfect weather day here in Chico, California....cold and WET!!!  We are getting some long awaited, much needed moisture for our drought-stricken state.  Mmmmmmm....

Hugs, Cindy :)