The Lily Pad: The Journal of White Lotus Quilting

Introducing the ‘Behemoth’ Quilt-Along BOM

Posted in Block of the Month (BOM),news,White Lotus Quilting studio by whitelotusquilting on September 30, 2010
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We had so much fun with the 2009 Block of the Month (BOM) by Thangles that we’ve decided to do it again this year!  Times two!

Starting in October 2010 we’ll have the 2010 BOM by Thangles as well as a quilt pattern for more experienced sewers called ‘Beige Behemoth’ by Julie Owens of Big Horn Quilts.  Okay, I have to admit I haven’t finished either sample yet but it’s sure been a busy summer (you can tell by how infrequently I’ve been updating this blog — very busy means no updates!).

The Thangles BOM’s patterns are released month by month and cost $1.00 (plus sales tax) for the pattern AND fabric.  This year I’m using beautiful batik sprays for the fabrics.  You need to be local to the Puget Sound area to pick these up each month here at the studio; their exclusive BOM is not offered via mail or online.  This is a great pattern for beginners and a fabulous way to get your feet wet with Thangles if you haven’t tried them before.  I use them all the time for my middle-school students and in almost all of my projects.

The ‘Beige Behemoth’ BOM will work a bit differently — we’re going to do it as a quilt-along.  Here’s a picture of Julie’s awesome pattern, surrounded by fabrics that might make it into my quilt (obviously mine is more or less in aquas, not beiges!):

Beige Behemoth BOM pattern

Here’s a link to the pattern at her Big Horn Quilts on-line shop: Beige Behemoth.  Julie is a former engineer — like me — and I just think her pattern is pure genius.  All 12 months of the BOM are included in the one pattern so at $14.00 it’s a total deal.  The twin-sized quilt as shown is 70″ by 90″ but you can easily enlarge it to queen size 96″ by 96″ if you want a bigger quilt.  She suggests starting with 10 fat quarters — in the same color family if you’re doing a monochromatic version — with an assortment of light, mediums, and darks.  The twin size as shown takes about 30 fat quarters in total; the larger queen-size will take about 40 fat quarters.

I asked Julie for permission to blog about my adventures making up her pattern and she graciously agreed, provided I did not include any sizing details.  I’ve started a photostream on flickr that documents the steps I’m going through for each block, which you can get to by clicking on the picture above.  Remember that I won’t include any of the sizes in the descriptions, so if you would like to sew this quilt and join us in the quilt-along, you need to buy the pattern for the specific details, and reward the designer for her hard work.  Also because I’m a Thangles and other gadgets geek I’m not always completing the blocks according to her directions, but I wind up with the same results.  If you have any questions about what I’ve done just e-mail me.

The Behemoth has large blocks made up of several smaller component blocks.  Each month I’ll post a photo with a link to the flickr photostream with that month’s blocks.  If you’d like me to include pics of your blocks, too, just send them to me in e-mail and I’ll post those too.  It will be fun to see how all the different colors develop!

During the course of the Behemoth I’ll be using 2″, 3″, 4″ and 6″ finished Thangles.  I’ll also be using the Lazy Girls Flying Goose X4 ruler, the Lazy Angle ruler, the Square in Square ruler, and a few rulers I’ve had custom cut for me.  I’ll also be using standard rulers 6″ by 24″ , 6.5″ by 24″, 6.5″ by 13″, and 2.5″, 3.5″, 4.5″, 5.5″ and 6.5″ squares.

If you’re local to the Puget Sound area, I have several copies of the pattern on hand, just e-mail me.  If you want the 4 sizes of Thangles to go with the pattern, I’ll toss in one pack for free.  If you want any of the rulers I’ve used and can’t find them at your local store let me know and I’ll see what I can bring in for you.

Remember that I’m the ‘gadget’ librarian for the Kitsap Quilters Guild, which most months meets on the fourth Tuesday of the month in Poulsbo.  We have most of these rulers in the library if you’re a member and would like to check them out.

I’ve updated the gadget library page on the blog here, so now it reflects the guild’s holdings.  Also I’ll be adding pages for basic quilt units construction, so be sure to check for new pages, especially if you’re unsure about how to sew a particular component.  There will also be a page here for each BOM.  If you’re local to the Puget Sound area and want to come and sew here in the studio, check the BOM page for open studio sewing dates.

Happy sewing all!

Pineapple Blossom

Posted in Quilts,White Lotus Quilting studio by whitelotusquilting on January 23, 2009
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In one of our last guild meetings (Kitsap Quilters Guild), the speaker said that every quilt has a story, a reason for its existence.  I couldn’t agree more.  Sometimes it is the story that is the most compelling part of the quilt .  Maybe that’s why I love vintage tops so much.  I always wonder about who made the quilt and why, who they had in mind to give it to, and whether I can quilt it the way they pictured it finished.

So this is the story behind one of my recent quilts.  I quilt a lot for clients so it doesn’t give me much opportunity to finish my own quilts, and then it’s even rarer for one of my quilts to stay in the studio long enough for me to take pictures and post it to the flickr gallery.

But this one I did take pictures of.  It’s a birthday quilt I did for my dad, who has always held a special place in my heart.  When he visited a few years ago, he got to see my studio and all the sewing machines (he even fixed the lights on my longarm, which no one else had been able to do!).  He also saw my fabric collection, which is at its best eclectic.  I favor wild contemporary prints, the larger scale the better, the bolder, deeper colors the better.  But I also love black and whites, polka dots, stripes, great geometrics, and love love love those gorgeous Kona Bay Asian prints.  And of course batiks.  There aren’t a lot of solids in my stash (but there is a bucket labeled ‘solidish’).  Not a lot of fabrics to rest your eyes on and compose yourself before wildly dashing off to the next jolt of color.

My dad has more conservative tastes.  When I asked him about a quilt for his room, he said he would just like it to be blue.  Blue as it turns out is one of my very favorites (okay it’s the colors between green and blue that really float my boat, gotta love those turquoises!) so I have three buckets of blue, so we were good to go on that front.  But I thought blue by itself might be boring so it needed some yellow.  Yellow and blue is a classic quilt color choice, yes?  It could look kind of traditional if I tried.  Hard enough.

I went off to collect some yellow (not having even a quarter bucket full) and picked a pattern by Bonnie Hunter at  Her Pineapple Blossom is lovely and she has some fantastic stitching shortcuts that make the sewing fun and breezy (plus you get bonus triangles!!!).  It’s a sort of half-pineapple, and if you don’t know what that is, it’s a lopped off log cabin with triangles on the corners (in this case, on opposing corners only, not all four corners).  Those triangles get you a secondary diagonal pattern which just plain old rocks!  I left off the sashing to let the diagonals meet.

Instead of just using any old blues, I used lights and darks, alternating on either side of the block.  So then there are pronounced diamonds of light and dark blues set off by the yellow diagonals.  It came out a bit brighter than I intended, but it felt like the quilt was infused with liquid sunshine, and it made me smile.

Dads birthday quilt 2008

Quiltville's Pineapple Blossom pattern done in blue and yellow

For the back I picked 10 inch squares of alternating lights and darks in blues.  I didn’t have enough of the one fabric I wanted to use for the back so piecing it out of the three buckets of blue worked a lot better.  One of my favorite fabric designers is Martha Negley and her cone flower print (in yellow flowers on a blue background) I just loved, but only had a yard and half, so I matched the colors of that for the other fabrics.  Cone flowers are known for their healing abilities and since my dad had been struggling with his health, I thought this might be a nice thing to add to his quilt.  Plus I figured if the front was too bold and graphic for his tastes, he could turn the quilt over on the back and use that side instead :).  My stepmother I knew would love both sides so she’d be happy with whatever I made.

10 inch squares on back of pineapple blossom quilt

10 inch squares on back of pineapple blossom quilt

The bonus triangles you get from this pattern are a blast and I used them in the border, and still have a stash for my next Frankenquilt (quilts made of cast off spare parts from other quilts).  I found a New York print with the Statue of Liberty and bound the quilt with that (and use it for a narrow border as well).  I quilted it with a celestial moon and sun pantograph pattern on my longarm (pattern is Celestial Stitches by Kim Darwin, available here from Longarm University) and then showed it off at the guild meeting.  Even though it was past my dad’s birthday, I felt an urgency to finish and send it to him that I hadn’t expected.

Celestial stitches pantograph (from Longarm University)

quilting close up of pineapple blossom front

Before I could even get it in the mail, I got the call.  My dad’s brother had died quite suddenly, by suicide.  He had a construction company and the economy had killed off his business, and he couldn’t face the consequences.  My dad was devastated and from across the country there was very little I could do to comfort him.  So I sent him his quilt.

When he received it, he just loved it, wild fabrics and all.  He loves the colors and pattern, and especially loves the fact that I made it for him.  He said that it makes him feel much closer to me, to have the quilt in his house, and that he really appreciate the time and care, especially when things were so difficult for him at that time.

So one quilt.  One story.  Many families.  It’s why we do what we do.

Meet the Staff

Posted in Sheltie staff,White Lotus Quilting studio by whitelotusquilting on October 17, 2008
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White Lotus Quilting staff meeting

White Lotus Quilting staff meeting

SewBatik Fabrics coming soon

Posted in news,White Lotus Quilting studio by whitelotusquilting on October 13, 2008
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I went to Innovations 2008 yesterday, at the Tacoma Convention Center. Innovations is a machine quilting trade show and exposition, and the only show of its kind on the West Coast. While there are plenty of classes for the education-minded, there’s also lots of great vendors. I usually only get there on Saturday, and check out the wares.

I brought home a big pile of thread from Superior (So-Fine and King Tut, yum!), pantograph patterns from the Pattern Man and Cindy Roth, and a few odds and ends, including a Megan Best ruler, and a wonderful leaf quilting pattern book by Kim Stotsenberg. Also I signed up for SewBatik’s Longarm Associate program, which means that in about three weeks I’ll have some terrific samples on hand for my customers to choose from when ordering from SewBatik.

SewBatik makes the largest collection of 108″ wide batik fabrics that I’ve seen anywhere, and I love the way they’ve coordinated their 45″ wide batiks to go with them. Plus there’s flannel batiks, silk batiks, color graduated batiks, pattern graduated batiks… you get the picture. They have great kits — I’ve seen them all made up — and are small, personable company. Their fabrics are available through longarm machine quilters and online, but not in fabric stores.

I’m excited about having that much choice when it comes to quilt backings. Don’t get me wrong — I love pieced quilt backings, too — but when you don’t have a lot of time it’s great to be able to cut one huge piece to use for the back.

Kendra Allen’s ‘Global Warming’ quilt

Posted in news,Quilts,White Lotus Quilting studio by whitelotusquilting on April 10, 2007
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Kendras global warming quilt

Kendra's global warming quilt



It might not be news to any of you local quilters but I thought I’d pass along the good news to our farther-flung friends.  Kendra Allen’s ‘Global Warming’ quilt, about the plight of drowning polar bears, won the blue ribbon for its category, group art quilt, in the Kitsap Quilter’s Guild show this past February.
I feel like a proud parent because Kendra laid this quilt top out in my studio before she pieced it together; and I had the privilege of quilting it when she was done.  To me this is a wonderful confirmation of the value of collaboration.  As artists we inspire and reanimate each other with excitement for our medium and perhaps even encourage each other to try new mediums of expression.
If you haven’t discovered Gwen Marston or Freddy Moran yet, why not try their joint book, called ‘Collaborative Quilting’?  It’s a great exploration of how quilt artists influence each other and a great reference book for Gwen’s and Freddy’s designs.  And of course it’s a great coffee table book, a book of bright colorful designs to leaf through on a rainy day.  Not that we have many of those in the Northwest or anything. 🙂



Kwan Yin and the White Lotus name

Posted in Quilts,White Lotus Quilting studio by whitelotusquilting on February 21, 2007
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Kwan Yin quilt

A lot of people have asked me where the White Lotus name comes from and what it means.  To explain I’ll have to tell you a little about my Kwan Yin quilt project I did for a recent art show.

The Kwan Yin quilt hangs in my office now and I look at it every day, and a small portion of its center section is shown above.  (You can see the rest of it in the OH MY GODDESS! virtual tour). Kwan Yin is the Chinese goddess of compassion, and her image through several cultures is reflected in the center of the quilt, which I constructed to look like a meditation pond.  Serene koi float in the pond, behind leafy green fantasy leaves that sprout three-dimensional water lilies or lotuses.  Miniature prayer flags drape over the still silent water, and you can almost hear their fluttering in the breeze.

Her Chinese image is shown above, and there is also an image from Japan (Kannon) and from Tibet (Green Tara).  She is known as the ‘one who hears the cries of the world,’ and it is said that she has vowed to stay outside of heaven, tending to the mortals of this world, until there is no more suffering to alleviate.  Likewise she sees the good in all, even in those things and people that we have a hard time seeing beauty in.  On my quilt there is a giant eye at the top, complete with center mirror, to signify the eye that sees the good in all.

At the bottom is a section that represents the story of the shattered sword.  Kwan Yin’s compassion is said to be so deep that if one were about to be executed, and cried out to Kwan Yin in sincerity, the executioner’s blade would fall shattered to the ground.

I respect and admire this deity because she embodies so much of who I strive to be.  In my work, I want to see the best in every quilt, honor each and every creative impulse of my clients, and make their pieces shine.  In my personal life I want to open my heart to the suffering of others and alleviate it, even if in some small tiny way.

Kwan Yin is often associated with the white lotus and is sometimes depicted carrying one.  It is a symbol of enlightenment and healing.  When I went to choose a name for my business it seemed the obvious choice.