Tag Archives: Gloria Loughman

Done At Last

For well over a year I’ve been working on and off on two small wall hangings.  I took very different design approaches by happenstance, yet both represent the current stage of my quilted work. They also reflect my obsession with circles.

Mosaic was planned to a fare-thee-well.  I found a photo of a mosaic composition that appealed, revised it for quilting, drew up a full size pattern for it, and used Gloria Loughman’s techniques to make it.  I’ve blogged about my process before so I won’t repeat the details here.

mosaicMy starting point, above, and the finished product, below.

MosaicI changed the color scheme and spent a lot of time appliqueing the fabric shapes on each section before I sewed the large pieces together.  Then the piece hung over a bannister for months before I forced myself to quilt it.  If only I had been able to replicate the quilting designs in my mind – sigh.  I had hoped to give the notion of the jagged mosaic pieces. If you question the quilting you can see, you should have seen what I ripped out and redid.

Mosaic_closeup2Pong, the other piece that’s been hanging fire, has been in a state of becoming for at least a year and a half. It started as bits of fabric sewn together willy-nilly.  Then, I decided to practice some big stitch embroidery with perle cotton.  After that, I thought it needed to be bigger so I added hand dyed fabric.  When I came across leftover bits of transparent fabric backed with Mistyfuse I decided to layer that over what I had already done. Finally, I found fabric backed with Wonder Under – more leftovers – and added spirals.  All that was topped off with more embroidery. At that point I declared the piece finished for real. It was becoming very heavy.

PongThe quilting was an extra challenge as I had to work around/between the embroidery.


pong_detail1This piece is named for the prehistoric video arcade game. I thought those circles seemed to be bouncing back and forth between the sides.

Taken together, these two pieces represent my attempt to integrate several techniques in a quilt without making the techniques the quilt’s focus.  They also mark my willingness to persevere with free motion quilting on a “good” piece. I don’t know why I always do so much better on my sample pieces.

And this wraps up my finishes for 2013.  One other quilt is almost done, but since only the boring part, the binding, is left, I decided to treat myself to fabric play time for the last day of the year.

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Filed under Completed Projects, Inspiration

Another Way To Finish Quilt Edges

I changed my mind about how to finish the edges of “Canyon” once I discovered Gloria Loughman’s technique for a thin inner border and a wide binding.  Originally I had planned to face this quilt as it’s a contemporary or art quilt, and your usual and customary narrow folded binding just wouldn’t work.  Then, I realized that a skinny line with a wide binding might give it some pop.

You can find a full description of Gloria’s method in her newest book, “Radiant Landscapes.”  I bought a copy because I had enjoyed her previous books.  While I’m not much taken with her tiling technique as illustrated below, I found her suggestions for painting cloth and finishing quilts to be useful.  I think this and other binding treatments may also be in her “Quilted Symphony” book.


The finishing method I chose requires you to square off your quilt as usual, but leave at least a few inches of batting and backing around your quilt once you quilt it. You’ll add a narrow border and a wide binding.  You sew narrow (about one to 1.5 inches wide) strips of your inner border fabric to your quilt sides and then top and bottom, making sure the strips are the same distance from your batting and backing edge all the way around.  Don’t guess, use your ruler. These strips get pressed toward the quilt edges.

Loughman binding

Next, you pin your folded binding strips (mine were 5 inches wide, then folded in half to measure 2.5 inches),  lining them up so the cut edge parallels the outside edge of the narrow border.  After you sew on your binding, you will be folding it over the quilt edge.


Before you sew on the binding you decide how wide you want your narrow border to be. You’ll position the wide binding accordingly. If you want a really skinny border, sew a 1 1/4 inch wide strip to the edge of your top. After sewing you’ll have a 1 inch wide strip.  If you position the cut edge of your binding 1/2 an inch in from the outer edge of that strip you will end up with a 1/4 wide strip once you sew on the binding, if you use a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Gloria’s technique calls for a 1/8 inch wide border.  I made mine 1/2 inch because I felt it looked better.  Just be sure to allow for your seam allowance. The photo above shows my wide binding positioned 1/4 inch in from my narrow border’s outer edge.

Once you pin the binding to the quilt front, (here’s the slick part) you turn over your quilt so the backing side is up.  This is the side you’ll sew on the binding from, using the stitching line of the narrow border as your guide to a parallel line.  I pinned from this side, removed the pins from the top side, and adjusted my needle position so I could get a 1/2 wide inner border.  Use whatever works to get the narrow border width you want.  Sorry the border stitching line doesn’t show up in the photo.  I told you that backing fabric concealed all my stitches!


After you sew the wide binding to the quilt sides, press the binding toward the edge and fold it to the back.  Doing this gave me a binding that measured about 1.25 inches wide. Hand sew the binding down, and then follow the same method to do the top and bottom binding.  It’s your standard butt edge binding method only wider.

wide binding

This method appealed to me because I find it difficult to get a straight line for narrow borders, and because I like the wide binding.  Having the batting under your seams helps stabilize your narrow border, as does cutting your strips much wider than your finished border width.

If you want a much wider, 3.5 inches say, outer frame, then try Gloria’s technique for a narrow border with wide facing edge.

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Filed under Techniques

Slowly I Sew, Inch By Inch

Here’s the latest versions of a few projects I showed in earlier incarnations.  Unfortunately, the quilting brownies didn’t visit my sewing room and finish these up in the night, so I had to do the work myself.

First up, my beaded curtain top is pieced.  I found that the extra robin’s egg blue Kona fabric I ordered didn’t quite match.  Well, it’s pieced now and I’m not looking back (or ripping it out.)  Besides, there’s no guarantee I’d find the exact match.  Lesson learned – different dye lots are indeed just that, different.  My hope is that extensive quilting with the right thread will cover up blend the different blues in the background.


And my Gloria Loughman piece is finally ready to be sewn together.  I’ve been sewing down all the fusible applique for a week now, finicky bit by finicky bit.  Were there lessons learned? And how! Here’s just a few: don’t ever, EVER use the tear away embroidery stabilizer with the little holes (it doesn’t meet my definition of tear away and it melts under an iron set at nylon;) and don’t use thread that requires a size 14 sewing machine needle to sew around little fabric pieces.  That large needle will shred the edges.


Aside from that, I’m pleased with the way the piece is looking.  If you want to try this technique from “Quilted Symphony,” I suggest you use lightweight fusible interfacing on the back of your pieces so your stitching doesn’t pucker up, and just leave it in.  Ripping out the tear away stuff was about as tedious as removing paper from paper piecing.  And I think the tearing can weaken your stitches.  I just left the stabilizer alone in some heavily appliqued areas.



I think it’s time for me to stop sewing and start quilting.

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Filed under In Process

It’s All About Process

I’ve been working on my Gloria Loughman type piece over the past few weeks as my slow quilting project.  And I’m using some of my “pretty” hand dyes in it.  They’re keeping company with fabric by Ricky Tims, Jinny Beyer, Marcia Derse, and some anonymous donated stuff. Once I decide whether I’ve gone far enough (or too far) I’ll be ready to add stitching to each piece and then sew them together.  The white outlines are stabilizer backing that will be removed once the stitching is done.


My inspiration was a mosaic piece I found on Pinterest.


I developed a full size pattern so I could make freezer paper templates of each large piece and figure out where to place the fusible applique.


Then I cut out my fabric and stay stitched each piece to embroidery stabilizer.


Next came playing with the applique. I used both Wonder Under and Steam a Seam.  My iron is still trying to recover.


The applique got more elaborate.


I added circles with Paintstiks and came close to calling this step done.  I’m still playing with a few additions.


Filed under In Process

New Year, New Project

I’m going to tackle one of my quilting resolutions this month, though I started the project in December (of 2012, of course. Was there any doubt in your mind?)  Along the lines of slow food I’m going to try slow quilting.  By this I mean carefully considering a project, planning it, drawing it out, and then sewing it.  Please stop laughing.

A friend lent me Gloria Loughman’s Quilted Symphony and I’ve been itching to try her planned approach.  All the shapes are drawn on stabilizer and freezer paper, appliqued/paper pieced individually, and then sewn together.  It’s a bit similar to Vikki Pignatelli’s technique, but strikes me as less improvisational.  As you can see from the picture below, Gloria’s technique is curves friendly.

So when I came across this picture of a mosaic I thought it would be adaptable for a quilt – lots of curved lines, different textures, room for embellishment, etc.


My first step, the only one I’ve done so far, was to trace a picture of the mosaic, grid it, and then expand the drawing using a larger grid. Pre-photo copier days this was about the lowest cost method to enlarge a picture.

mosaic-gridNext, I gridded a piece of plain wrapping paper to the size I want my finished quilt to be.  Then, I carefully drew my design to the larger scale, using the positioning on my original grid.  For my next step I’ll go over my pencil lines with black marker, though I think I’ll mark the bits to be appliqued with red marker.  After that I’ll be in terra incognita as I try to create patterns from the individual pieces.  And of course I’ll have the fun of creating unique fabrics for the pieces.  I can see this will be a long term project.


Filed under In Process