Monday, August 29, 2016

Adventures in Books Written by Karen McTavish

Well, I could've kicked myself.  I really should've kicked myself.  In the move, I lost my book, "Custom Curves" by Karen McTavish.  I foolishly thought, "Oh well, it's a popular quilting book, when I need it, I can just buy a new one, right?"  Uh, wrong!  It is out of print and its cost on ebay and Amazon is about $600.00 (not a typo). AAARGH!  I'm not making this up.  I was too far in shock to I tore my new house apart looking for my copy and could not find it anywhere!!!!

So....I bought a very expensive, but not quite THAT expensive copy of "Elemental Quilting" by Karen McTavish, and told myself that since these books are worth so much now, I'd better step it up and learn some of these techniques (although customers I have would never pay for it).

I decided to follow her Trapunto method on a diamond wedding ring quilt top I had.  Here are some pictures of the process:

The first steps were to draw the element using a water soluble pen.  You could use an air-eraseable pen, but I didn't know how long it would take for me to complete the element and needed the time the water soluble pen provided.  Then I loaded the quilt onto the frame WITHOUT backing (a tip from Karen McTavish's book -- I thought it was crazy, but she was right) and 8 ounce polyester batting.  This is the thickest my quilting machine will handle.  Some people use wool batting, but that won't work if the quilt will be washed as wool felts -- and using a water soluble pen makes washing the quilt necessary to remove the markings.

Quilted the elements in the marked squares then removed the quilt from the machine.

In the book, Karen McTavish says to use wash-away bobbin thread and you re-quilt the motif the second time you load the quilt.  My machine wouldn't run the water soluble thread, so I had to make the first time quilting count -- and get those thread-paths correct.

The next stage is to use embroidery scissors to cut right up to the stitching and removed the 8 oz. polyester batting outside of the element (or motif).

More trimming.....

At this point, my mini-me Princess decided to load her own quilt and did her very first quilt for her baby dolls!  So proud!  What a cutie pie!

Then I re-loaded the quilt using backing and "Warm 'N' White" batting.  I chose to do McTavishing in the melon units and pebbles around the Trapunto filled elements.

Work in progress, the pebbles are  really getting the elements to pop out.

Freshly unloaded from the frame!

A close-up.

Another close-up.  I'm loving how this turned out and I may just start doing all of my personal quilts this way.
As this quilt was a practice quilt, I added an old style "Humility Block" -- where I could practice whatever I want.  In this block I in-set a diamond and surrounded it with continuous curves that I had learned from my lost book.  I love how this too turned out.  Now....I just need more work on my pearl borders as they're not quite circles....practice, practice practice!

Oh...and good news!  After searching for the book "Custom Curves" by Karen McTavish for over an hour at every single mom and pop quilt shop that I could find on the internet, someone HAD one last copy in their inventory -- so I bought it -- at the cover price! collection is complete, and no, I won't be sharing that book anytime soon.  (Ha ha!)  Now...the real question...when am I ever going to bind this quilt?  It's okay, my daughter hasn't bound her quilt yet either!  I am a slacker when it comes to doing the binding.

Happy Quilting!


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