Magic Camera Monday: July 11, 2011

Magic Camera Monday_Purple Detail Shot

I wonder what this could be?

Some very dear friends of mine (Jean and Nikki), asked about the status of a project that has been in the works for over a year. This inquiry was initiated because of a previous Magic Camera Monday post. In that post, I showed photos of the various thread colors I’m using on that quilt.

Magic Camera Monday: Orange Detail

Hmmm, what is this—some sorta hat? Looks kinda weird.

I mentioned that I keep the thread out as a constant reminder to complete the quilting stage of the project. For most quilters, quilting is the last stage of the quilt-making process—but for me—it’s only the mid-point.

As most of you know, I embellish my quilts. This quilt is no exception.

Magic Camera Monday: Orange Embroidery Detail

This looks like the other photo, but it's orange.

Jean and Nikki know this and are anxious for me to get to the next stage. I’m anxious and excited to get to the next stage too, but I’ve had issues when trying to quilt this piece. The stress and frustration of dealing with those issues has stopped the quilt’s progress—for the moment.

Even though I’m not currently working on it, I thought I’d share a few photos with you.

Magic Camera Monday: Rick Rack Detail

What's up with this? Looks like rick rack on the far right, but it's so much cooler.

In case you haven’t noticed, most of my quilts have hand embroidered details. This project takes that detail to a whole new level.

You see, I have become quite enamored with crazy quilting over the last year or so, and I thought this project would be a great avenue for showcasing this style of quilting.

Magic Camera Monday: Bubble Trees

What are those circle things?

Along with adding decorative embroidery, I thought I’d play around with incorporating sheer fabrics into the piece. I LOVE how each of these elements bring added depth and interest to the quilt.

Magic Camera Monday: Bird Closeup_1

Looks sorta like a chicken. If it's a chicken, is a pretty fancy one.

The decorative embroidery adds a lot of detail and texture, without being a distraction. Adding a little embroidery completely changed the look of the fabric. There is depth and movement, where it used to be flat color.

Magic Camera Monday: Bird Closeup_2

Ah . . . now I see where the large circles go. It's starting to make sense.

In spite of my frustrations, I can’t wait to see this piece quilted. The embroidery does a great job of highlighting certain areas, but it’s the quilting and embellishment that will bring excitement and drama to the piece.

Magic Camera Monday: Bird Closeup_3

Hmmm, still looks a little like a fancy chicken.

Embellishment plays a big role in my quilt designs. Each layer of this design was created to support the embellishment stage. Until that layer is added, the quilt looks incomplete. When finished, this will be the most elaborately embellished quilt I’ve ever made. I can’t wait to show you what I plan to do!

Magic Camera Monday: Big Birds

Oh, that's much better. Now I understand.

Here’s a good overview shot of the quilt’s center. You can see how all the pieces come together. I have to say, I really LOVE how the embroidery looks. The added dimension and interest it brings to the piece, is exciting to see.

Magic Camera Monday: Little Birds

Here's a look at the little birds that help balance out the composition.

Here’s a look at the rest of the quilt. I still have a lot of work to do before it comes off the frame. I don’t know when I’ll finish it, but I’ll let you know when I start working on it again. In case you didn’t know, some quilts—and quilters—need to age a bit before a project can be completed.

I hope you enjoyed my little show-n-tell, but before I go, I’d like to thank Jean and Nikki for encouraging me to revisit this project. You are a blessing to me.

P.S. I know it’s not Monday, but I felt terrible about only posting once last week, so I wanted to make it up to you.


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41 Responses to “Magic Camera Monday: July 11, 2011”

  1. Sharie - Moss Bluff Says:

    All I can say is WOW…………..The quilt is fantastic…………..

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Sharie, I’m glad you enjoyed the peek at my quilt. It’s been a while since I looked at it. I’d done a few things on it that I didn’t remember doing.

      I guess that’s one of the good things about putting a project off, you get the opportunity to find all sorts of surprises when you look at it again. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Kelley Says:

    these are the best ever. I love the little birds.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Kelley, Glad you liked the birds. I had a blast working on them.

      If I could just get past the quilting issues, I’d be ready to go on the bigger and better things—like embellishing. I can’t wait to add sparkle to this quilt. The beading will change everything. I get excited just thinking about it.

  3. Nikki Says:

    oohhh….. my…… gosh!!!!!! can you hear me squeeling like a little pot bellied pig????????? or maybe you could compare it to an 11 year old seeing that Justin Beiber guy in person – or flashbacks to the arrival of the Beatles in America for the first time – yes – it’s THAT kind of emotion!!! You have outdone yourself for sure my friend and I can’t wait for it to be finished. Of course you HAVE to promise to let me see it in person BEFORE it gets carried away across the world for two years. I honestly didn’t think anything would ever sway me away from Sing – but this one surely does turn my head. A very close second for sure.

    Loved being with you and Kathy yesterday – it aways ends way too soon. But festival will be here before we know it – and there’s one more meeting at Karen’s in October. So – maybe the quilt issues will have abated and I’ll get to see this quilt (hint hint). I love the quilt Tom – thank you for showing it to us!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Nikki, You are too sweet. You’ll be one of the first to see it, when it’s finished.

      Kathy and I enjoyed Saturday too. I agree. It always ends too quickly. I’ll be looking forward to October and hope we’ll get to see each other before then.

      I can’t thank you enough for the postcard. Soon as I got home I put it on my design wall. That way I can look it every day. You are too good to me.

  4. Robin Says:

    WOW!!!! I’ve only recently discovered your blog, but I have already received enough inspiration I’m going to need a whole ‘nother lifetime to work on the ideas you’ve got percolating in my brain! Thank you for sharing!!!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Robin, That’s wonderful to hear. I think I’m going to need a second lifetime too. I’ve got the ideas and the fabric, I just need the time.

  5. Carol Anderson Says:

    Well, I was wondering what happened to those little songsters as well! Now I know.

    It’s going to be so wonderful, Tom. Thanks for letting us have a sneak peek.


    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Carol, They’ve been roosting for a while now. I’d made good progress with quilting it, until I started having tension issues. I stopped quilting because I spent more time ripping out, than I did putting in.

      It’s amazing how ten minutes of stitching and transform into three hours of unstitching. That happens three or four times in a row and you start to question if the quilt really needs to be finished.

      I really like the quilt, so I’m not going to force myself to finish it. The frustration is a sign that I’m not ready to complete it. If I were ready, I’d be done with it by now.

      I’m almost ready to tackle it again, but I’ll wait until the quilt calls for me to finish it. Its been calling to me, but not very loudly. Other projects are more demanding at the moment.

  6. Eileen Keane Says:

    I will say-they look well fed. Russ, I really like your color combinations and what you’ve done so far.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Eileen, Yes, my birds are very well fed. You shouldn’t have animals if you can’t take care of them. Birds need feed.

      Glad you like the color combination, but it was dictated by a challenge. I normally don’t work in this color palate. That’s part of the challenge. Using those colors and making a quilt that looks like my work really stretched me creatively.

      Have a great day,

  7. Sherry Says:

    Thanks, Tom, for posting the pictures. I hope you and the quilting vibes get together soon…and make pretty stitches together.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Sherry, I hope it happens soon too. I plan to work on it. I set up my machine. I go through all the motions of preparing, but when it comes time to stitch, I just can’t do it. After that realization, I turn the machine off and find something else to work on.

      I won’t try to force the issue, because I could damage the quilt. That’s one of the reasons I stopped working on it. If I damage it, I can’t repair it.

      I’ve invested too much time and effort in the top. I won’t ruin it because of poor/inadequate quilting. I’d rather leave it partially quilted than damage it.

      I need emotional distance before I can work on it again. I see it’s potential, but I’m not ready to complete the process. The quilt will tell me when it’s ready to be quilted.

      It gives me clues every now and then, but it’s not speaking to me yet. When it’s ready, I’ll be ready.

  8. jayardi Says:

    • • • Looking good! Thank you for taking the time to share. Love what you are doing and I am really looking forward to the BIG REVEAL and details of this quilt’s history. ; )

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey there, I’m glad you enjoyed the peeks. I plan to tell the whole story when I start working on it again. I almost made it a part of this post, but decided to hold off and do it at a later date.

      I think everyone will enjoy learning how the quilt came about.

  9. Gari Says:

    AWESOME!!!! As an amateur crazy quilter I just LOVE that you are adding the details of the incredible embroidery!!! I am LOVING LOVING LOVING where you are going with this one! I love it AS IS….so I can’t WAIT to see how it…”AGES”…. 😉

    Yeah, that’s it…. I’m not procrastinating…. I’m letting my creativity and planning age!!!


    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Gari, I’m glad you appreciate my crazy quilting efforts. I’ve had a lot of fun incorporating the stitches into the design. The stitches add wonderful complexity to the work.

      Trying to figure out which ones to use was a little difficult, but I muddled through. I can’t wait to get to the embellishment stage. It will make the stitch-work really stand out.

      Aging is very important to creating a good quilt and a good quilter. 🙂

  10. Ali Says:

    Yowza, that is one impressive quilt! I think we can safely say that if I started a project like this, it would NEVER get finished LOL!

  11. Dreamz Happen Quiltz Says:

    It’s just NUMMY! The stitching makes it pop! Love your pics! Makes me wanna make a chicken quilt! HAH! I adore chickens!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi there, I think you would do a great job with chickens. I know you have a ton of models running around your place.

      Why don’t your grab some scraps and try it?

  12. Susan Vacek Says:

    WOW! How wonderful… your colors…. your hand embroidery…. your curves and swirls!!! (I AM talking about the quilt!)

    What kind of thread did you use for the embroidery? So you piece the bkgd, then applique, then embroider, then quilt, and finally embellish (if you don’t count putting rickrack on as embellishment???)

    Hugs and a big hand of applause!
    Susan V

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Susan, Your enthusiasm brings a smile to my face. Thank you.

      I used perle cottons and embroidery floss to do the decorative work. I used a variety of thread weights and floss counts. The only requirement was to use what I had on hand. As long as the color worked, I could use it. Sometimes I set more restrictions on what I use and how I use it, but I didn’t for this quilt.

      You are correct on the construction order. There are sometimes variations, but this is usually the way I proceed.

  13. Dot Collins Says:

    It is aging beautifully! I love it and look forward to its completion – whenever that is! I just finished a quilt top in May that was started more than 10 years ago – and I still like it – now to find time to get it quilted.

  14. Lynn Kelly Says:

    Since your ‘theme’ in this one appears to be ‘chickens’ – have you seen this quilter’s pages?

    Certainly looks like there is a bit of a ‘family’ resemblance! ha

    • Lynn Kelly Says:

      By the way, Tom, did I say I LOVE it? But then I mostly always love all your work so it is kind of repetitious to keep saying it. But then, I’m sure you always like hearing it……know I do!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Lynn, Yes, I’ve been to Feathered Fibers blog. She does amazing work. Everyone should check out her blog. Someday I hope to quilt like Carla.

      I’ve heard/read good comments about her online quilting courses. Maybe I’ll get around to taking a class one day.

      I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the show.

  15. Barbara Says:

    Tom…I agree with everyone else. I am loving your bird quilt…your concept of the birds shape is really clever! Why doesn’t my brain think like that? Your colors, fabrics and embroidery details are great! You mentioned this was a challenge quilt. What was the challenge?
    And remember quilting is supposed to be enjoyable. I realize this is a job for you, but if it isn’t coming easy… don’t force the process. Your are right…wait and enjoy the process!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Barbara, I’m glad you liked the birds. I love circles and I try to see how many ways I can use them in my work. These birds are part of that exploration. I designed the quilt to force/encourage me to work with techniques that I’m not especially comfortable with.

      I’ll be explaining the educational/skill expanding goals for this quilt in future posts.

      You are correct. Quilting should enjoyable. If it’s not, there’s a problem somewhere or there’s something else I need to learn before I can finish it.

      You are sweet, but quilting is not my job. It’s a passionate endeavor. I don’t quilt for a living, but sometimes I’d like to. I do something else to support my passion. This separation keeps quilting a joy and not a job.

      I’m not going to force it. I care about the quilt too much to mess it up. When it’s ready to be on the quilt show circuit, it’ll let me know. I hope it makes that decision soon, because I want to get to the beading!

  16. Liz Says:

    G E O R G O U S !!!

  17. jessica Says:

    Oh, it’s confirmed… I am in love with the color, Plum. Love the very first picture in your post….looooooove the colors!

    Beautiful & Happy… that’s what you’ve got goin’!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Jessica, I thought the first picture turned out well too. The Magic Camera helps a lot. I’m still learning how to use it, but sometimes I get lucky.

      I have to work a little harder on my compositions. Sometimes when I am shooting, I’m thinking about what I want to show you as a quilter not as a photographer.

      Thank goodness there are more Magic Camera Mondays on the way.

  18. Janet Stone Says:

    Wow, Tom! Margo from The Quilt Show sent me to your blog and thought I might like your quilts. I must say I am hard to impress, but I am so enamored with your quilts and your style! As a fellow embellish hound, I love all of your embroidery and can’t wait to see how you embellish this quilt. Put me down on the list of your fan club!!

    • Tom Says:

      Hi Janet, Thanks for stopping by to say hello. Margo is a dear. I’m glad she told you about me. I’m glad you like my quilts and enjoy embellishment as much as I do.

      I’m just beginning my embroidery journey and looking forward to seeing where it takes me. This is the exciting part of exploring a new technique. Now that you have found me, you’ll be able to see where it takes me too.

      Embellishing this quilt will be a lot of fun. I have a lot of elaborate things in mind for it, so stay tuned.

  19. Mona K Says:

    I’ve never met you, but I think I’m in love…the colors, the embroidery, the embellishments. Wow. Just…wow.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Mona, Thanks for stopping by. It’s always great to hear from someone who enjoys all the things that I do. I hope you’ll come back again. I have lots of color, embroidery and embellishment to share.

  20. Vivian Says:

    Elegant, enticing, splendid, captivating and how else can
    I express to you what I think of your quilt except to say
    Tom, when did you start quilting/embroidering and who
    encouraged you to do this? So much I would like to know about you as this is my first visit to your site.
    You have been blessed with your talents to create and
    I hope to see more. Thank you for sharing. Vivian

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hello Vivian, Thank you. I’m flattered that you think my work is worthy of such praise.

      I’ve been quilting for almost 11 years. I would say the same time for embroidery. I actually started doing embroidery in junior high, but that really doesn’t count as starting. I would more likely say I was exposed to embroidery in junior high, but dropped it until I started quilting.

      The same person introduced me to both. In junior high the introduction wasn’t welcome. When I was reintroduced as an adult, it was love at first sight.

      The person who has changed my life, on multiple occasions, is my friend and former art teacher Jim Gatling. You can see his work here.

      Thanks for dropping by to say hello.

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