Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Life's Bloom-in!

I need a new project like - not!  But I just couldn't resist another of Emma Jansen's designs after seeing her Bloom quilt posted on Instagram. (Oh, am I ever hooked on that technology... a reason blog posts have become less frequent.)

Emma and me at Spring quilt market 2012

Emma's talent just oozes out of her... one beautiful quilt pattern after another. I wish I had a thimbleful of her giftedness. And isn't she a doll?

Anyway, I ordered Bloom from her Ballarat Patchwork on-line store. The purchase was too easy, even converting Australian dollars to US dollars.

When the pattern arrived, I pulled fabrics. I've wanted to make a rainbow-colored quilt for a long time now.

From these yummy-colored prints, and using Steam-a-Seam 2, I drew, cut, fused and cut 345 appliqué pieces.

An unused (perhaps that should read "never-used") muffin tin helped me separate each bloom fabric combo.

After more than a week of cutting, fusing and sewing, I ended up with this 78" X 78" quilt top. I've decided to "appli-quilt" it. It's a term I made up to describe the method whereby you fuse shapes to a quilt top, make the quilt sandwich, and then appliqué and quilt at the same time. If you know Kellie Wulfsohn (also an Australian) and her work (Don't Look Now), that's how she makes many of her quilts. 

The back is made using "Twirling Blossoms" Lush, a Michael Miller fabric from

Of course, I always save selvages.

After waiting a few days for batting to arrive - Hobbs' Tuscany Wool, from Patsy Thompson - I headed to the garage for spray basting. I moved out the car and golf cart so I could lay a couple of old sheets on the concrete. Then, I laid out the batt. I actually sprayed one side and then turned it over to spray the other side. It was a little difficult to handle, but it worked. I'd heard it's best to take spray basting outdoors, but it always manages to be too breezy on the days I want to baste!

I went back to my sewing room with that sticky batting, and put it onto the backing that was already taped-down on my big table. On advice from a quilter in our MQG, I pressed the entire quilt top. Supposedly, it helps bond the adhesive and batting... bonding being a concern I had since the 505 Spray and Fix can instructions state it's for use with cotton batting. Until I start quilting, I really don't know how well this is going to work!

You may also wonder why I chose wool batt, living as I do in sunny-hot Florida. Well. Bloom isn't so much about being a quilt for warmth, as for an opportunity for free motion quilting. Wool is a favorite of Diane Gaudynski, a domestic machine quilter whose work I respect and admire. She likes wool for its resiliency and trapunto-ish-ness after quilting. I've also found that wool doesn't leave fold marks like some cotton battings do. I know this because I used a wool batt in Snowflake Medallion, another Emma Jansen design.

The step I'm working on now is marking for quilting. It's a step I really struggle with. I manage to do a much better job of suggesting quilting designs for others' quilts than my own! However, taking some time to think through possibilities, and with the help of freezer paper, Frixion pens, and several rulers - including my beloved, oft-used 12" set of nested acrylic circles - I'm slowly working through marking quilting designs. Some shapes will be "organic" - a term that I think really means "quilt on the fly as best as you can."

Now you know what I'm doing. That is unless this little man happens to come for a visit. Of course, then all quilting activities cease.


  1. Love your colors!That was fast, I can't wait to see the quilting.

  2. Can't wait to see your quilting on this lovely design!
    I haven't had much success with spray basting tho.

  3. Yippee! Sometimes, throwing everything else out and going with that "need to create" drive will bring the best exhilaration of accomplishment. I really think this is a great quilt, good job!

  4. This is going to be another show stopper! I look forward to seeing your lovely (award winning) quilting! I wasn't aware that wool doesn't leave fold marks like cotton does! I need to take more notice...I think I need some lessons!

  5. Love the way you have organised your colours. The quilt seems to have come together so quickly ( or so it seemed on here) Going to be beautiful after quilting!

  6. Your quilt looks super, great colours and very you.
    Have fun with the quilting.

  7. It's looking fantastic already. I love your colours. I'm sure your spray basting will hold, but you can always put a couple of safety pins in. I usually do that, as here it's so humid and apparently the basting isn't as effective in humidity. Can't wait to see how you will quilt it.
    PS: Wool batting is also my favorite!

  8. Love this quilt! And I'm really interested to see your quilting. What you've showed us looks wonderful and with your talent and creativity I know it's going to be something special!

  9. Love the colors and pattern you've chosen this time. I too love wool battings. Also silk is nice too, but a bit expensive. I have spray basted a few medium sized quilts, but find I like Sharon Shamber's method of hand basting with boards for any quilts that I plan to do on my Bernina. Check out her YouTube if you are not familiar with it. Can't wait to see how you quilt it. That's my hardest step to quilt making.

  10. WOW Linda,another wonderful quilt. Beautiful colours. I like the idea of sewing and quilting down the fused pieces, too. Can't wait to see how you quilt this- such a talented lady.

  11. That's such a happy quilt! I'm sure your quilting will be wonderful.

    I've had limited success with spray basting so am impressed you sprayed the batting in the garage and then took it indoors to sandwich it! If I'd tried that, the batting would have been a wadded up, wrinkled mess.

  12. That's a gorgeous quilt top. Love your colours. I haven't seen it before and I'm Australian. Usually we see stuff from our own designers popping up everywhere. Did the ironing help the spray baste stick? I have trouble with it sometimes.

  13. Another wonderful Linda quilt. It's gorgeous, sunny, and happy. I am also enjoying using wool batt. It seems to make the small quilts easier to work with and sew through.

  14. I love the bright colors of this one Linda. I struggle still with deciding how to quilt a top and end up doing the same old thing way too often. I assume you really like the Frixion pens? Blessings, marlene

  15. Love the quilt--Love your photos..I wish I could have been there to help with managing the quilt top when it was sprayed. I haven't spent time reading blogs or posting. I continue holding you in prayer!!

  16. Great quilt...
    Such an informative post too....have some wool batting that I won and have not used since NC is NOT that cold either and did not know about it being wrinkle free since it is still in the bag!! THANKS...

  17. Great post, Linda, especially about the basting spray. Pinning is so hard on my hands that I really ought to give it a try sometime.

  18. Love the latest quilt! Can't wait to see when it's quilted. Sounds like you're doing well - so glad! M


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