Des Moines and Just a Little Bit of Cutting


Wow, the last four-five weeks have been a blur. Des Moines was a great experience and I had wonderful students who were eager to soak up everything I could throw at them. I love it when I have classes full of students who are seeking the goal of applique enlightenment.

I judged the show with Libby Lehman and Laura Wasilowski and it was a positive experience all around. These are two ladies whom I have always had the highest respect for their ability and talents. I especially enjoyed spending time over nightly dinners getting to know them better. I have always loved and collected Laura’s hand dyed threads especially the #12 Perle cotton. Yum.

The not so great part (or souvenir?) was the bug/germ I caught on my last day there and it decided to hitch a ride home with me. I have no idea what it was but it sure packed a punch. I am finally back amongst the living and attacking my to-do list with a fervor.


It was great to see Tea with Miss D. Hanging beside the actual “Miss D.’s” (Diane Gaudynski) quilt in the Des Moines AQS Author exhibit. Probably the first and last time this will happen.


I seem to have a great many projects that have to be kept under lock and key by the request of the companies/organizations which makes it really hard to share what I am working on.

Just know the project in the top photo is one of the many projects I need to get done by spring of 2013 and falls under the requested “no-show policy”. I hope this one teaser picture is OK since it reveals nothing of this quilts final design.

I am also working on the next Naturalist’s Notebook Block, The center area of Naturalist’s Notebook (also the Asilomar 2013 project), Jason’s quilt to be finished by June 2013, and I have to get a mock-up done of a new approximately 50″ x 50″ design for Asilomar March of 2014. Not much to do really–Ha! LOL

This all sounds like the deadlines are far away in terms of time, but in applique “years”, the deadlines are just around the corner and with a tight, VERY TIGHT, turnaround time.


The Machine Trapunto

You can see I am cutting miles and miles of intricate “stuff” for the quilt. I am doing machine trapunto and this is the first step. I have machine quilted around my design  with water soluble thread in the needle and the bobbin. For those who want to know the brand I am using, it is Superior’s “Vanish” thread. The lighter weight version.

I layered my marked top plus Quilter’s Dream Poly batting and then stitched around the designs. When that is done, I then have to go in and trim the excess batting away from the background around the design areas.

I have written about these before, but the best scissors for this is the Dovo lace Scissors (scroll way down the link page until you see the Dovo brand scissors). They have one blade that has a tiny duck’s bill” on the tip. This keeps the blades from cutting into the quilt top and ruining it. I would not be able to make such an intricate design on this small scale if it weren’t for these scissors. I will warn you though, it will ruin the scissors for anything else.

I keep this pair for trapunto cutting only and I have found it was well worth the expense. I have another pair for the “trimming as I go” applique technique too when I need to utilize it.

Bohin makes a cheaper pair of scissors with both blades having the “bill” on their tips. I wish they would come out with a one tip version of the blunted tip because two blunted tips don’t work very well. They are too bulky to slide into tiny areas. However, in a pinch, they could do OK.

This design is so intricate that even sliding the one duck billed tip can be too large, then I have to go to a older regular pair of Dovos (used for dulling materials like batting only) to reach those tiny areas. Even though they may be a bit dull, I still have to be VERY careful not to slice through the top.

Do Dovos ever really get truly dull? So far none of mine have no matter how much I abuse them.

This is going to be a beautiful piece when finished and I can’t wait until it is published so I can then be free to reveal it to you.

I am also getting ready for Houston and kicking myself that I didn’t book enough time to attend Market as well. Lecien (Cosmo threads) are introducing a new product and you know I want to see what it is! Oh well, I will console myself over a Margarita or two or three….with my quilting buddies and new blog friends.

Also, just a reminder for those who may be interested….The Hudson River Valley  three day workshop will be coming up soon and this is a good opportunity for those on the east coast to take a workshop with me for more than six hours. The food has a reputation for being out of this world.

Hmmm, let me see, great food, chocolate decadence,  Applique and a beautiful retreat center. Oh, did I mention chocolate decadence? I am soooooo looking forward to this one!

Thanks for being continually patient with me and my schedule and I have to say that applique-rs are such a fabulous group of people.


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About Sandra

I am an Author, Designer, Illustrator and a major international award winning quilt artisan. I love working with fabrics and threads and they have become my medium of choice.

7 thoughts on “Des Moines and Just a Little Bit of Cutting

  1. Good to hear you are among the living again!
    Can’t wait to see all of the trapunto design you are working …
    Looks fantastic from what I can see!

  2. Sandra, out of this world doesn’t come near to describing the food at the Inn. I’ve been there twice for workshops and it’s fantastic. Kim’s cookies every afternoon for snack aren’t half bad either. 🙂

    Happy to see you back online-I’d forgotten about Des Moines. Got anything you’re allowed to share with us? Hmm……..?

  3. Hi Sandra… So sorry to hear you were ill, but happy you are better and back at work (play?) on your beautiful designs. I have missed your inspirational blog entries! I attended Pacific International Quilt Festival last week… was so happy to find wonderful batiks from various vendors for the poppies that we will do at Asilomar next year. Of course, I cannot wait to see the result of your top-secret design with the trapunto… Best wishes!

  4. On the subject of great quilt gadgets, after reading a post about the coolest new gadget which is a Light Pad I think in your blog – I saw one at an Art Supply store here and it was on sale but if I waited a tortuous 2 weeks, I could pick it up at an additional 20% off of that from the Rep. So I did and it was worth the wait. I got the 12 x 12 and wish I could get the bigger one but to give you an example of how great it is with the LED lights, I had a dark scrapbook sheet with a crow on it (that I HAD to have even though I don’t scrapbook) and laid it over the new light pad and was able to trace it with all the detail. It was fabulous. So if you have not yet gotten out and do so. It’s worth the money! I LOVE mine and in the week I’ve owned it, used it at least 3 times.

  5. I’m glad you’re feeling better. Your classes were the best! I can’t wait to get the rest of your Naturalist patterns. I’ve been looking online for the supplies you talked about in your classes. I think I found your pencils without having to buy stock in the company, lol. They sell them by the dozen. Oh and thank you for the tip on the dovo trapunto scissors, I don’t think I’ve seen them before. I find it difficult to cut without cutting into the top.

  6. What a tease !! I can’t wait to see the trapunto!! Is this your new project for Asilomar 2014 – if so I’ll have to start saving now 🙂 Glad your feeling better.

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