Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quilting Heals All Wounds and Lessens All Longings

Hi gang!
Like most quilters I love flowers.  This is the first year that I have had more space than just a tiny patio or apartment balcony to flex my greenish thumb - after all I am a farmer's grand daughter.  I'm disappointed to report that the farmer gene must be a recessive gene.  I'm strictly a "container" garden type of gal.  Everything I plant in a pot like my bougainvillea on the left or my African violets at the top of the page are thriving.  Everything else is a tragedy.  I also discovered a few other important facts; 1 - It's really hot OUTSIDE, 2 - The really BIG bugs live OUTSIDE, and 3 - There's a lot of dirt OUTSIDE.  My conclusion  - OUTSIDE is really beautiful when viewed from the INSIDE through big glass windows and doors (ahhh air conditioning).  

I also love the ocean and am fascinated by the creatures that live in the sea.  Flipper was my favorite movie as a kid.  The Seaquarium was my favorite school field trip (even though MacArthur Dairy gave out free ice cream samples).  While my friends were reading National Velvet and pleading with their parents for a horse, I was always begging my dad to take me fishing with him.  I dreamed of a pet dolphin.  Long story short - I get sea sick standing at the edge of a pier.  BUT I'M A QUILTER!  Quilting heals all wounds and lessens all longings -which explains my current Hawaiian-style applique theme obsession; Under the Sea.   I just started a new wall hanging (shown here pinned to my "design wall" that doubles as living room curtains).  I have drawn, cut and pin basted the entire piece.  It should finish at between 40 to 42 inches square.  
The center is my favorite part of the design and I'm thinking for a future project to applique four centers and then piece into a larger square (2x2).  A wave design border would finish it off and make an adorable baby quilt.  

But then again, I love the seaweed, coral, and dolphins in the border.

The pattern is based on my miniature quilt, Enchantment Under the Sea (shown left), that finishes at 13 inches square. The miniature size was inspired by Diane Gaudynski's A Visit to Provence which won first place in the miniature category in AQS's Paducah show in 2004. It's hand appliqued and machine quilted.  Quilting close-ups below.

The inspiration to NOT echo quilt it like a traditional Hawaiian quilt was a combination of Diane Gaudynski's classes and a sculpture at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.

Responses to requests by blog readers:
1.  How to make a Bullion Knot - I found an real treasure!  It's an incredible website by Mary Corbet that has a terrific video of how to make a Bullion Knot.  The trick to these knots is to slow down and to use a needle with a very small/narrow eye such as a milliners or sharp needle and not a crewel or chenille needle.  Remember that all the wraps have to pass over the eye of the needle so make it as tapered as you can.

Request from blog reader of a closeup of how I free motion machine quilt hand applique and embroidery.  This is Shirley Bloomfield's block Summer Bounty that I free motion machine quilted for her.   The best tips for how to machine quilt hand applique and hand embroidery are on Sandra Leichner's blog.

Sneak peak at what else is in the works.   Sunflower blocks in progress - used Template Stamps by Cindy Blackberg.  The plan is to set the sunflowers into square blocks then set the blocks on point leaving enough space for a touch of applique and of course, my favorite -  lots and lots of free motion machine quilting!

More flowers from Key West - photo take in at the Hemingway House gardens.

Fabric guard dog on duty!
A last word before I close out this entry.  Some of you may have noticed the photos of my quilts and designs obscured by a copyright stamp.  I apologize for not presenting a clear and larger view but I have been forced to protect my work.  I consider myself a nice person and really like to share with fellow quilters.  However, out of common courtesy, please email me and ask permission to use any content contained in my blog for purposes other than personal use and enjoyment.

Until next time...
Best stitches,
Mercy in Miami
aka The Savage Quilter


  1. I just looked at M Corbet's video-NOT ANYTHING like what I was doing! NO wonder I was so frustrated LOL. My next Balt Halloween block has the owl- but the feet are not showing, so I will have time to perfect this ...Thank you so much! I love your underwater scenes-( any thing that smacks of Hawaii actually)- thanks again for the "how to"- so glad I found you! Sandy

  2. Thanks Sandy! I love all things tropical too! Fortunately I live where tropical flora and fauna are varied, plentiful, and visible all year long. So far all my flower designs are sketched from live models either in my Mom's or my yard. The birds and sea life are drawn from photos taken by either my husband or myself. We're only a few miles from Biscayne National Park (only underwater national park in the US) and 30 mintues from the Florida Keys.

    I'm so happy you are liking the blog.
    Best stitches,

  3. What an absolutely incredible Hawaiian block! I adore those seahorses & dolphins! Any chance this pattern is for sale? I'd gladly buy it. I have several Hawaiian blocks (20"+) in progress right now, and a full-size pattern for in the future. Love it!

  4. Hi Caroline,
    Thanks! Happy you like the block! As a matter of fact, I will be posting a few of my designs for sale mid summer. I need to finish up stitching the bigger sample so I can photograph it for the packaging. I have a few other Hawaiian-style blocks that I will also be offering including Monstera, Croton, Pineapple, and Periwinkle. Hopefully, you will find more that you like.

    Best stitches,

  5. I can't wait to see the blocks you'll be offering! Your work is lovely...fondly, Sandy

  6. Thanks Sandy! I'll try not to dissappoint!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. CONGRATULATIONS! Congratulations on your blog being chosen as 'Blog of the Week" by AQS! And thanks for the enjoyable blog.

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    1. I am happy you were able to get some value from my blog entry. I really opened up my heart when I wrote it.
      Best stitches