Friday, September 26, 2014

Relaxing Hawaiin-style

Some of my Mom's orchids and the inspiration for my latest designs!
Are you ready for something easy- or at least mindless?  I know I am!!  Especially, after a grueling week at the office, NOTHING fits the bill like Hawaiian-style needle turn appliqué!  Easy and relaxing with rewarding results. 

Original designs ready to be basted
I had some gorgeous fabric my husband  hand dyed that I was 'dyeing' to tryout.  

For the two tone, matching fabric - he's calling them Tropical Twins- I wanted to design something very simple that would showcase the color- in other words let the color do all the work.  The design itself is really EASY appliqué.  All large shapes and gentle curves perfect for practicing points.

Basted and ready to start applique
Very easy applique

For the mottled purple I knew I could design something a little more intricate.  My Mom's orchids where my inspiration. I chose a simple Kona white background because that is the classic Hawaiian choice and because I wanted to showcase the beautiful texture of the purple fabric.

My original design inspired by my Mom's orchids

Closeup of my Orchid design cut out of my husband's hand dyed fabric
More closeups of my quilt top

I prepped and basted the quilts last weekend.  These two plus one I have been stitching on and off for about a year now should keep me busy for quite a while :)
Until next time... 

Best stitches from Mercy in Miami

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hawaiian-Style Applique by Faye Labanaris

Faye Labanaris project in progress, pattern by Meg Maeda
In my humble opinion, nothing is more relaxing or rewarding than Hawaiian-style applique.  First of all, you make all your decisions at the beginning of the project.  And, once you cut and baste the two fabrics, the rest is all happy, mindless stitching.  Actually, if you go the traditional route, all you have to choose is ONE fabric because your background will be a plain white fabric.  Even your quilting design can be a no brainer if you follow tradition.  Of course, you can deviate from tradition at any point and the results are just as gorgeous.  I first took a one day class in Hawaiian quilt making from Faye Labanaris in 2003. It was creative, rewarding and so much fun - my personal definition of quilting :)  

The photos in this blog are Faye's Hawaiian-style quilts in various stages of progress.  The designs are by  Meg Maeda.  Faye is using fabrics hand dyed by my husband.  He began experimenting with hand dyeing fabrics for about 6 months. As a quilter, I can't be more thrilled with my husband's new found creative outlet! It's ALMOST as good as when he decided to learn how to bake the perfect cheesecake last year :)
Faye Labanaris project in progress, pattern by Meg Maeda
Anyway, he mailed some of his sample creations - the fabrics not the cheesecakes - to Faye and she created some amazing Hawaiian-style quilts using his fabrics. Faye graciously agreed to let me share her quilts in progress! I am speechless!!

Faye Labanaris project in progress, pattern by Meg Maeda

Faye Labanaris project in progress, pattern by Meg Maeda

Faye will be teaching Hawaiian-style Appliqué at the Kathy Dunigan Appliqué Academy in February 2015.  This is a NOT TO BE MISSED opportunity.

Until next time...

Best stitches from Mercy in Miami

Friday, September 12, 2014


My Bits of Baltimore auction donation is finished and will be in the mail this afternoon!!!  Click on the link below for more info...

You would all like some photos of my block.  It is completely untraditional and features fabrics hand dyed by Sharon Schamber and my husband.  
It took me 6 months of weekends and evenings to complete. It's the first piece I have hand quilted in almost 10 years.  I hope it raises lots of cash for a great cause!

Until next time...
Best stitches from rainy, steamy Miami

Saturday, August 23, 2014

How Long Does Something Like this Take?

Hello dear blog readers!
Some of you may know that I have been working on a donation block for the Baltimore Applique Society online auction - Bits of Baltimore. It's fair to say that apart from my gainful employment, I have been working on this project exclusively - and enjoying every minute of it. 

Discovered that my cubicle wall at work
makes an excellent design wall!
Well, yesterday I went back to the organizer for the second time and begged for more time to complete this project. By the way - THANK YOU for the extension Cathy!  
In the email exchange, Cathy mentioned that she had put in well over 80 hour of work into her donation block.  That got me thinking, just how long have I been working on this wall hanging?  Most of the time I have Netflix running in the background while I hand stitch.  So I went back to my Netflix history and was shocked to that since I started work on this block - late February this year - I have watched well over 112 hour programming.  That does not include the time I stitched riding in the car or listening to books on tape.

I am very happy to report that I have enjoyed every minute and every stitch!  And will continue to enjoy it for several dozen hours more because I still have to quilt the piece.  Currently I am marking the quilting design and expect to start hand quilting tomorrow.  Yes - hand quilting.  Even though I am a reasonably accomplished machine quilter, this block screams at me to be hand quilted.

So how long does it something like this take?  The answer is lots and lots of joy-filled hours!

Woven Ribbon quilting pattern in the borders

Radiating quilting design to emphasize the Peahen's tail feathers

Until next time...

Best stitches,
Mercy in Miami

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Color Inspiration

Happy Fourth of July everyone!  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday surrounded by friend and family, laughter and love. 
I know I have not written for a bit.  I have been very busy with work; the gainful employment type and not the stitching type.  In fact, I have barely stitched in about 6 weeks.  The little time I do get, mostly in the car while Jim drives, is dedicated to my donation block for the Baltimore Applique Society Bits of Baltimore donation block.  I'm hoping to get in some quality stitching over the holiday weekend.  If so, I promise to post photos.  Until then, let me share a few photos I snapped in the last few weeks for color inspiration.  And maybe a Hawaiian quilt pattern or two :)
Until next time...
Best stitches!
Mercy in rain soaked Miami


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Quilter's Yard Sale

Hi everyone - I hope you all had a lovely Memorial Day holiday. I spent the good part of the weekend cleaning out my sewing room and coming to grips with the fact that I will live long enough to finish everything in my UFO list. SO... I have decided to part with a few BOM's that I know I will never even get an opportunity to start. All the kits are complete and purchased from first rate quilt shops so it's all premium fabric. Email me at if you are interested.

Best stitches! Mercy in Miami

Baltimore Autumn by Pearl P. Pereira- Complete Block Of the Month including Pattern Set, Background Fabric, and all fabric for center medallion, borders, and blocks. Includes the two specialty button kits. Originally purchased for $490. Sale price $225 – includes shipping in the continental US. 

Baltimore Halloween by Pearl P. Pereira- Complete Block Of the Month including Pattern Set, Background Fabric, and all fabric for center medallion, borders, and blocks. Originally purchased for $460. Sale price $225 – includes shipping in the continental US.

Baltimore Christmas by Pearl P. Pereira- Complete Block Of the Month including Pattern Set, Background Fabric, and all fabric for center medallion, borders, and blocks. Includes the specialty button kit and baby rickrack embellishment. Originally purchased for $475. Sale price $225 – includes shipping in the continental US. 

Sarah’s Revival by Sue Garman – Complete Block of the Month including Pattern Set (36 paper cut blocks) background fabric, and all fabric for medallion, borders, cornerstones, and blocks to make 90” x 90” quilt top. Pattern alone retails for $90. Sale price $225 – includes shipping in the continental US.

Friends of Baltimore  by Sue Garman – Complete Block of the Month including Pattern Set background fabric, and all fabric for pieced sashing, borders, cornerstones, and blocks to make 87” x 87” quilt top. Pattern alone retails for $96. Originally purchased for over $600. Sale price $425 –includes shipping in the continental US.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Exciting TKDAA Update for Hand and Machine Enthusiast

Fanciful Free Form Feathers Class Sample
Preparing this blog I was amazed that it has been almost 4 years since I taught my most popular class - Fanciful Free Form Feathers.  Time flies!  Part of the reason is that it takes a lot of planning and the generous backing of a sewing machine company to host a machine class.  Well, Kathy was able to pull it off and Bernina will be a sponsor of the TKDAA event in February 2015.  That means that I will be able to offer my one day machine quilting class.  This is a wonderful class because it's packed with machine quilting information that applies to more than feathers.  And the best part, is that I share all my tips including how to free motion quilt with NO MARKING - including the feather bouquet in the photo above!  
Tropical Portal

Kathy has also been hugely successful in pulling in needle artist with differing styles and techniques from very traditional to very cutting edge.  Therefore, in an effort to round out the class offerings and give the event participants more choices, I will not be teaching a block class.  Instead I will be teaching a project class; Tropical Portal.  That means that the kit and class are designed to help you start a complete project - and with the luxury of a three day class you will get a wonderful head start! 

You will receive all the materials (except backing, binding, and batting) and instructions to finish the project at home.

Tropical Portal in its natural habitat
As always, my kits will feature mostly hand-dyed fabrics and all the needles, threads, etc. to participate in class.  The supply list for both classes has three items or less! 
Yes, it's a change from what I shared earlier and means I will not be able to teach my Basket of Roses or Esperanza Rose block classes.  If anyone had their heart set on either blocks, I will have the patterns and fabric kits available at TKDAA event and fabrics will all coordinate beautifully with the Santa Maria - New World Rose block and include the same background fabric.  Hopefully, I will have another opportunity in the future to teach the complete New World project.  In the meantime, I hope you all like the Tropical Portal project and will consider coming to TDKAA!

Until next time,
Best stitches from Miami

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Could this really be the Santa Maria Shipwreck?

Could this really be the Santa Maria Shipwreck? 

Santa Maria On Point in Progress
How exciting!  I have received lots of emails about the news that they may have found the wreck of Columbus' flagship - the Santa Maria because I have stitched two Baltimore-style blocks that feature my interpretation of the Santa Maria.

 I am amazed at how much the ships in the blocks look like the artist renderings and the photos of replicas.  There is no mistaking that it's THE Santa Maria in my blocks :)

Please click HERE to read all about the exiting discovery!

Until next time....
Best stitches from Mercy in rainy, hot, and humid Miami 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Blocks in their Natural Habitat

Waterlily at Fairchild Tropical Garden

Jim and I spent the morning at Fairchild Tropical Garden; one of our favorite places to walk, talk, relax and feed our creative souls.  This is also where I get inspiration for my Tropical Botanical series of blocks that I have been working on for years. 

My interpretation of Waterlilies

Typically, Jim takes the photos and I take notes on color, texture, design and the rest happens in the studio. 

Heliconia and my Tropical Portal wall hanging
Yesterday, Jim had the idea to photograph my blocks in their "natural habitat" to see how the fabric version compared to the natural version.  Of course, everything pales in comparison to God's creations.

 I was however, very pleasantly surprised at how I was able to capture the tone, mood, and color of the tropics.  And now that I have our own hand-dyed fabrics to work with I am so excited to start the next batch of blocks.

Until next time,
Best stitches from Mercy and Jim in Miami