Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ultimate Stencil Handout...

I am busy prepping for my next engagement.  Part of my classes will include a quick lesson on using the transparencies/Ultimate Stencils.  I have a kit for each person and they draft a simple star and then make it their own by adding extra details.  The cool part is that I tell everyone to draft a simple 8-pointed star but every single person comes up with something different. 

I rewrote my handout for this lesson yesterday and made it much simpler and it dawned on me that many of you would like to have this same information.  The only way I could figure out how to get this to you is to have you CLICK HERE.  It will take you to the Ultimate Stencil part of my website.  There is a date in blue, 4/21/16, and you can download the handout from there.

Hope this helps!!!!  Let me know if you have any questions along the way.

Hugs, Cindy :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"Sweet Dreams" Pillowcase Update

I've been putting in some long hours on quilting the pillowcase quilt trying to get it to the hand-work stage before leaving for Carson City, Nevada on Friday.  Thought you'd like to see the progress since the last post!

I'm very pleased with how this is turning out.  It's nothing really fancy but often times "simply said is better said". 

The areas between the feathers was pretty poofy so I decided to use my "Baby Clams" background stencil.  This was a perfect choice as the clams helped to eat up the poof and the clam design beautifully filled in the awkward spaces. 

The poofy parts in the middle of the feathers will be filled with my "Baby Triple Lines" background stencil.  These will be marked tonight and quilted in the morning.  The geometric lines will add a nice balance to all the soft stuff going on.

I'm going to fill in the poofy parts around the embroidery with little bitty pebbles and then bring the triple lines about an inch-ish past the end of the pillowcase into the silk and then bind.

The back of this quilt is a beautiful dusty blue linen yardage and the thread appears pink here but it's actually white Magnifico and Kimono silk.

Nothing will go to waste on the pillowcase.  When I disassembled it, I obviously used the front part for the quilt top.  I still had the back of the pillowcase left.   I'm going to cut off the bottom hand-stitched edge and make the hanging sleeve with it and use the remainder of the pillowcase for the binding.  I will post a picture of the finished piece hopefully in the next week or so.

Hugs, Cindy :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Pillowcase Quilt-Teaching Table for Houston

We all know we're NOT supposed to touch the quilts at Houston or any other show for that matter, but you know me, I like to be different!  In addition to the primary quilts exhibited in the "For The Love of Linens" exhibit this year, I want to have 1-2 "teaching tables" where visitors can see AND touch smaller pieces.  I'm going to call this the "Petting Zoo".  

One of the pieces at the Zoo will be a pillowcase quilt.  Vintage pillowcases are very common and the bottoms of them almost always have beautiful embroidery and lace work.  

In the past I've created three different pillow case quilts and each time I've stuffed the intact pillowcase with Quilters Dream Cotton Request batting and was always challenged on how to finish the frilly ends. The folded sides and top always looked a bit awkward too.
 I finally had one of those "DUH" moments when I realized that I could disassemble the pillowcase and only use the front of it for the quilt.  Layer it like a normal linen wholecloth quilt and then bind it.  Now why didn't I think of this years ago????

So...I cut the pillowcase apart.  I marked my design and then pin basted four layers together...i.e., backing, Hobbs Heirloom wool batting, white Dupioni silk for my underlayment and then the pillowcase on top.
Because this is a long piece I have three rows of overlapping feathers that I am going to quilt in a light blue Superior Threads' 50 wt. Tire Silk and then fill the background with baby clams in their 100 wt. Kimono silk.

The back of this piece is a beautiful dusty blue linen.  I want this piece reversible so I am going to use Superior Threads' 40 wt. white Magnifico thread for the feathers and then the same Kimono silk for the background baby clams.

I am going to be creating some videos for The Quilt Show on how to do a pillowcase quilt.  They are my co-sponsor for the exhibit and these will be shown on their blog as we get closer to the Houston show. 

I will be featuring a few more pieces for the "Petting Zoo" in upcoming blog posts...stay tuned!!!

Hugs, Cindy :)


Back in McCloud...mmmmmm.....

I've been holding retreats at the McCloud River Mercantile in McCloud, California since 2009 and each time we meet there it's very special.  There is such an amazing energy here and everyone who attends feels it.  We had a "room with a view" on the drive up as Mt. Shasta was completely covered in snow and there was hardly a cloud in the sky.

As retreaters started arriving bags were piling up just waiting to be unloaded.

It didn't take long for everyone to get snugged in and the quilting started.  Of course there was ALL of the visiting to be done as many of us only get to see each other once a year at the retreat.

I have several "Linen Ladies" that attend and this is Bev Armstrong's piece.  A FABULOUS cutwork dresser scarf placed on top of a red silk underlayment and quilted absolutely to death.  She actually adopted this out of my "passing it forward" stash.

This piece was being done by Donna Smith on a drawn-threadwork piece placed on top of a green silk underlayment.  Beautiful!!!

This is a piece that I am currently working on for the Houston Exhibit.  It's a beautiful cutwork dresser scarf that I am quilting leaves/grapes and filling with micro-echoing and beadwork.  Very, very tedious and slow but I think it will be well worth the effort when it's done.

I have several more pieces that are in the works for Houston and I'll be posting on those shortly.

Hugs, Cindy :)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Handbooks and Stencils on Sale!!!

I have some exciting news about The Ultimate Stencils!  Clear transparencies have been added to the set to make it SO much easier to draft your designs.

In the past I have instructed everyone to predraft their designs on photocopied Master Grids.  This made it difficult as the photocopied grids were not the same size as The Ultimate Stencils and it also made it difficult to visualize exactly how the design would look on their quilt top.

A friend/student suggested that the master grids be copied full size to transparency film.  I was able to find the product and am happy to say it's fabulous and makes designing with the Ultimate Stencils a snap.  Please check out the YouTube video for a demo.

If you have previously purchased The Ultimate Stencils, the transparencies ONLY are available for sale for $10.  Click HERE to purchase the transparencies.

The Ultimate Stencil set now includes the two transparencies and the complete set is available for sale for $35.00.

My Ultimate Backgrounds is a 20-stencil set of six different background designs in three different sizes.  This is available for sale for $75.00.

Many of you are aware that I self-publish my own books and sell these as E-books off of my website. (No printed books are sent...these are e-books only).

My Complete Collection of Handbooks normally sells for $100 and includes:  Beginning Machine Quilting;  Needles and Threads; Heirloom Backgrounds; Heirloom Feathers; Learning to Design-Wholecloth & Pieced; Linen Wholecloth Quilts; Pin & Straight Basting; Thread Education by Dr. Bob and Handbook Supplements.  This set also includes my newly updated and written quilting designs book "New and Improved-The Ultimate Stencil" and "Oldies But Goodies".

"New and Improved" is now 153 pages and includes hundreds of designs already drafted on the Ultimate Stencil master grids.  I've included wholecloth design ideas using the drafted designs.

                                           STENCILS-HANDBOOKS SALE!!!

To celebrate the new transparencies, I've decided to run a sale for six days only.  If you purchase the Complete Collection of Stencils for $95, (includes The Ultimate Stencils/Transparencies as well as the Ultimate Backgrounds), I will include my Complete Collection of Handbooks for FREE!  This handbook set normally sells for $100 and includes the New and Improved and Oldies but Goodies designs books.  These books come with free yearly updates which are sent every February by email download.  Purchased separately these three sets would sell for $210.
Click HERE to purchase.

If you would like to purchase only the set of Ultimate Stencils for $35, (new transparencies are included), I will include the 2-book set of designs for $25 for a total cost of $60.00.  Purchased separately these two sets would sell for $85.
Click HERE to purchase this set.

Thank you VERY much and please let me know if you have any questions.

Hugs, Cindy :)


Friday, March 18, 2016

International Quilt Week!!!

Celebrate International Quilting Weekend by joining the party at The Quilt Show!  Prizes are waiting to be won and you can see over 200 shows for FREE at    Everything is free this weekend and you can indulge in some fabulous shows. 

I have filmed two different shows for Alex and Ricky.  My first was episode #202.  I am ever-so-thankful for this particular show as it showed the world for the very first time my  baby steps at creating the linen wholecloth quilts.  My life was forever changed.  Ricky made the remark at the end of the show to "pack my suitcases" and boy was he ever right...they've been packed ever since.  My second episode was #1606 and shows how far my quilts have come since that first episode was filmed.

I will have a featured exhibit in Houston this year on the linen wholecloth quilts and I am VERY PROUD to say that The Quilt Show is my co-sponsor for this exhibit.  How cool is that???!!!

Hugs, Cindy :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Handbook Updates!

If you have purchased updates to my e-books, I wanted to let you know that those updates were just sent out a bit ago.  Please check your email in-box for the newsletter which contains the links to your handbooks.

I post this notice on my blog and on Facebook as a back up in case your email has changed and you never received them.  Please email me with any questions.  Thank you!  Hugs, Cindy :)


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Victorian Charm by Ramona Resurreccion

Ramona Resurreccion is one of my "featured quilters" at our upcoming Special Exhibit in Houston this year on linen wholecloth quilts.  She is from Australia and does the MOST amazing quilting on linens.  I have featured her before but this is her latest piece called Victorian Charm.  All I can say is WOW...there's a reason she's in Houston this year!  Her story is below.   Thank you Ramona and congratulations on a spectacular piece!  Hugs, Cindy

"I named this quilt "Victorian Charm".  I have finally finished it.  One side is a bit faded as I accidentally left it unfinished on the table close to the window where the afternoon sun was so harsh before I left for Japan last year.  It is noticeable when you have a closer look.

I embroidered some free standing lace and applied beads on the background fillers.  I also attached lace arounod the borders.  "

Cheers, Ramona

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