A Very Good Dad

Happy Father’s Day! I was blessed to have a very good father. He’s been gone for 20 months now, but I smile every time I think about him.

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I’m a lot like Dad (except for the receding hairline!) and I know he was always proud of me. As a farmer, he could have wanted sons to take over the farm, but never once did I feel that he’d rather have had sons than two daughters. He always supported me. I don’t think he really “got” the heirloom sewing career, except that he knew I always liked pretty dresses. But he didn’t really care – if I was happy, he was happy.

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Then I started quilting. When my first quilt was not just accepted into Houston in 2004, but I got a phone call that it had won a ribbon, I asked him if he and Mom would like to take me down there in their motor home.

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When we walked into that huge show, he said in amazement, “My mother would have loved this!” And indeed she would have!

That was the beginning of 18 trips with them to Houston and Paducah! I think Dad thoroughly enjoyed those trips. I am still amazed at how cool he was driving that big old motor home through Dallas!  Once, at a truck stop getting fuel for the motor home, I got out and went into the convenience store. The trucker at the next bay looked at Dad, looked at me, looked at Dad again, and said, “Good lookin’ woman you got there.” Dad didn’t blink an eye, and replied, “I did all right for myself, didn’t I?” never letting on that I was his daughter, not his wife! He was so pleased with himself!

Mark went with me a few times, but he was working, and usually it was just Mom, Dad, and me. I had quilts in all but one of those shows, I think, and I was fortunate to win ribbons at most of them – and big ribbons at some. Dad would go to the award ceremonies, and to the preview nights. All he wanted to see was me with my quilt. The crowd noise really bothered him with his hearing aids, and the huge venues and concrete floors bothered his back. But he delighted in taking Mom and me!

This picture was at Houston in 2012. My world would change a lot in the next year.

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This picture was taken at Paducah in 2013; it was shortly after David died. This was the last quilt show Dad went to, and I think this is the last photo of me with him.

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Happy Father’s Day, Dad! You were a good man and a great father! 🙂

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A Very Versatile Machine Embroidery Design #3

You may have noticed that I use a lot of machine embroidery designs that are not “things.” No animals, no people, no coffee cups, no still lifes. Sometimes floral designs. But mostly, I really like swirl designs that lend themselves to many different looks. I’ve written about two other designs in this post and this post. Today I’m featuring a set of designs (yes, Zundt!) that I’ve used in several ways.

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The designs have a satin stitch outline around a long, open, running-stitch filled center.

Here I used just the smallest design, repeated and mirrored to form a border.

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When those center fill stitches are stitched with metallic thread, it creates a soft, shimmery look that almost looks like it’s been painted.

All four of the designs were used in “Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining.” (2010)

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The swirl design here is just to the left of the butterflies. I also used a couple of large floral designs and free-standing lace. The fabric is silver gray Radiance, and all of the embroidery (all Zundt) was done with gray Isacord and silver metallic thread. The butterflies, the large lace motifs (the quilt was cut from behind the motifs) and the wide lace edging (not visible in this photo; look at the full shot above) are free-standing lace. It is 85 inches square, and the embroidery used approximately 47,000 yards of thread and nearly 5,000,000 embroidery stitches. After the embroidery on the fabric was done, I free-motion quilted with Superior Threads silk Kimono thread.

This photo is from before it was completed, but it really shows the sparkle from the metallic thread (and Stella the cat says she needed to be in this post!)

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This quilt won the Pfaff Best Machine Workmanship award at Houston in 2010

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and a first place at Paducah in 2011.

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But I wasn’t finished with these designs! This is a very different look in “Distraction.”

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I pieced white and dark gray Kona cotton, then embroidered swirls over the pieced fabric. I love the way the piecing shows through the metallic-filled swirl centers – a lovely transparency!

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One of my favorite parts of this quilt is that I pieced the binding to match the pieced stripes in the fabric! Details matter! 🙂

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Actually, I wasn’t pleased with the way the edge of the quilt was slightly stretched, so I later took off the binding and re-did it so it would be smoother, but I couldn’t find a picture of the final edge.

Finally, here is a little quilt I made, “Lime Frost”, which will probably be a donation quilt at some point.

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It is Radiance, apple green and silver metallic thread, and a few Swarovski crystals. Besides the large central swirls that were also used in the other quilts, the smaller corner swirls are from my Craftsy class project.

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I hope this has inspired you to think of using those embroidery designs in multiple ways, and to use them as the base for lovely quilting!