Firstly let me apologise for not posting for a long long time.  My life has been busy to say the least both at home and at work.  So I thought I would take you on a  journey through the production of my quilt Tranquility, which was placed 3rd in Catergory at Festival of Quilts and then went on to win 5 more ribbons including Best of Show at the Great Northern Quilt show.  I cannot tell you how proud this makes me, knowing that all the hard work and planning and taking a leap of faith, has been all worthwhile.  It will be entered into a few more in the UK before it goes over to the US at a later date.

So lets begin at the beginning.  This one started like many others of mine, with a doodle on a small sheet that grew.  If anyone has been on my Designing courses you will know that I work a lot with tracing paper to create my work, and this one was no exception.

Transferring the design to the fabric

Like others before it the design is then transferred to the fabric on a lightbox (made by my fabulous Dad for ame) and this took a whole day to do.  I used a chalk/ceramic lead pencil and traced out all the details of the main part.  I tend not to put in all the fills at this stage as I like to see how each one I have in my head, actually looks once stitched into the fabric.  The Fabric – yet again it is Radiance which is half silk and half cotton and on this one I did not stabilise it before loading it. (not recommended if you haven’t used it before.)

Once the design is transferred then its time to load it onto the frame.  This is when the hard work starts, making sure it loads square, that the lines all line up, angles are at the right angle and not wavy (this fabric tends to want to walk) and the basting to hold them all there begins.  This can take a few hours to do on its own, and not a proper stitch in there yet (2 1/2 days work so far and counting)

 And now, well now the fun starts.  How many thread colours can you get in a quilt?  Answer – quite a few.  The majority of these were used in the quilt, yes, nearly all of them.  The outlines and main areas are stitched first and then the real fun begins.  If you know me you will know I love feathers, so in they went, in Purple.  I love these. All the work in this one by the way is freehand, no computers involved, just little old me. 🙂

This is when I stopped and hung it for a while whilst I decided the next  colours to put in. (sorry about the colours, my phone is not that happy with the reflections.

I decided that the next bit to tackle was the rays and I wanted three colours in there and I already knew the quilting was going to be tiny, as it is a ‘thing’ of mine.  I placed a sewing needle next to it to give  sense of scale

There was then lots of fill work to do around the feathers and designs.  If you look closely at the centre design there are three colours in there also and some teeny tiny work. Also three colours around the other purple designs.

And then onto the grid work.  The clam shells are stitched with a 100wt thread Invisifil, and the continuous curves are again three colours, two with 40wt thread and one with 100wt thread.

Its all starting to come together now 🙂   I am starting to think about how to create the finishing edges now.  Hmm, that could also take quite a while to make.

Lots more background work and fills to put in now, outlining the remainder of the feathers, and filling in all those gaps.  This meant that the quilt had to come off the frame again and more stencil work grids added. Oh and of course, up to now there have been lots and lots and lots of knotting and burying going on, again lol.

Back onto the frame to fill in all the other details and area to get it to the point of adding all the fancy edgings.  And inbetween, a production trial of course.  Its always best to make sure your fancy ideas are actually physically possible lol

I think that is enough for now.  In the next post I will take you through the process of producing the edging and give you a glimpse of the back.  It is my favourite back so far. 🙂

So, see you all again very soon with the next instalment.


  1. Maggie Attfield

    What a wonderful piece of work! I am completely humbled by this. I particularly like the detail you give us on the preparation-it is all too easy to stand in front of a detailed piece of work and say flippantly, “I don’t like it!,” with no thought about what you are really seeing. So, thank you.

      1. Maureen Taphouse

        That was exactly the strong argument I had with some “quilter” at Sandown Show about Joe’s beautiful work for her grand daughter. This old dear was adamant it HAD to be done by computer and she won’t have any truck with my comments! . Those photos really show up the stunning details that you never really grasp when looking straight at it. That backtracking on your feathers , couldn’t see a stitch out of place !