True Nature

In the process of starting this blog post yesterday, my computer was running sooooo slowly that I decided to move some pictures off of it and onto another drive to free up some room on this computer.  Maybe then it would run faster. Well, it did run faster, but not by that much.  Turns out it was the modem and router making it run slow.  OR… I won’t go there.

Anyhow, when I came back to this post to add pictures, I started to download a picture for Joan’s quilt, only to realize that they were gone!  Kapoof!  Nowhere to be found.  So, my apologies.  I scrounged up what I’d sent to Joan in an email and one on my phone of a strategy I’d used, but that’s it for today.  I had so much I wanted to share with you.  🙁

First, let’s start with the quilt pattern, the fabric and where you can buy the kit, etc.: It is designed by McKenna Ryan and is called True Nature.  Here is where you can find True Nature by McKenna Ryan.  It shows the whole quilt put together and each of the individual blocks.  Unfortunately, the site will not let me copy and paste their pictures into this post as they are copyrighted.

This first picture shows the upper left block.  Joan used wool batting on this quilt, and you can really see the quilting with this batting.  Wool batting is used on many show quilts because, not only does it show off the quilting, but it also doesn’t hold wrinkles or folds like other battings do.  In fact, many quilters will use 2 layers of batting for show quilts; either a cotton or poly blend with wool on top.

Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE wool batting!  In fact, I used it along with a poly blend on a quilt that won first place in a national show.  It’s been a long time, though, since I’ve played with it, though, and I had to remember HOW to play with it.  You have to decide what you want to show off and accent and what you want to recede into the background.  The moose and the tree background block is a good example.  The tree background with the bluish color at the bottom is one piece of fabric designed by McKenna Ryan.  Other colors of blue were appliqued on top to accent the water and create the moose’ shadow.  When I first started outlining the trees, I didn’t want too much stitching.  I wanted the trees to have depth. But, by not stitching down a lot of the trees, the result was poofs in places where it looked “off” and lost the depth of the many trees. So, I added a lot more stitching around the trees.

Same thing with the water spray foam at the bottom of the waterfalls.  I purposely left the foam parts as one long piece.  I was afraid if I’d stitched it down where each applique piece ended, it would look like a cloud more than the foam of water spray.  Also, when stitching the bears, I thought about where the body parts would stick out and where they would be indented, and that is where I stitched.

Finally, this is the picture I’d had on my phone.  I learned a lesson from Joan’s giraffe quilt and bought 100 colored pencils.  Pencils, because you can erase the marks, and colored because from now on out, I will be trying to match the color of the pencil to the fabric behind where I will be stitching through the paper.  Sometimes I’ll draw a design out on paper and stitch through it instead of marking on a customer’s quilt.  When I stitch through paper, though, sometimes the pencil will leave a mark on the fabric where I stitched.  So, I’m trying something new.  Besides, who doesn’t NEED 100 colored pencils?

For the bottom border, I had traced some of the other fish and was auditioning where to place them and how many fish to add to the school of fish already appliqued onto the quilt.  I decided 2 more would be enough.  Otherwise, it would have looked like a giant fish was attacking the bear standing next to the tree on the side border.  It needed to kind of fall off and blend a little better.


My apologies for not having the pictures to share with you regarding Joan’s quilt.  There was so much that I learned and wanted to share with you.  I know those pictures will turn up somewhere on that other drive.  I just have to figure out where I put them.  Well, I HOPE they will be there and I will find them.  :\

Twin Cranes

Susan inherited a lot of unfinished quilt tops and a lot more fabric and other quilting supplies from her dad and step-mother when her dad passed away.  I suspect Susan is a “finisher” and just wants all the unfinished quilt tops to be finished, useful and used.  I used to be a finisher, too, and would like to get back to that.  But, lately, the ideas have been coming in so fast I can’t keep up with them.

So, here is a set of cranes that Susan inherited.  The applique is raw-edge applique, but not even sewn onto the background fabric.  I wonder how her dad or step-mother cut out the birds with such precision.

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This was a no-brainer for me.  I tend to draw with threads on quilts, so I basically just repeated what was already in the picture and added a few touches to make them stand out.

The birds got feathers and I added a marsh with cattails.  That big circle behind the bird’s head is supposed to be a sun or moon.



I like to take pictures with the sun coming in from the side, but I’m finding I have a problem with glare.  This next picture has that glare, but it shows the whole quilt with the quilting texture.


I didn’t get a similar shot of the other quilt.  My guess is the glare from this one scared me off.  So, here’s a shot of the marsh pond with all the tall grass around it.  I added birds flying off at the top of this one, and I didn’t get pictures of those either.  :\


These were a lot of fun to draw on and, hopefully, will look good on Susan’s walls.

Back on the Farm

This is one of McKenna Ryan’s older pattern sets, and I’m not sure why it’s harder to get now, because I think it’s as cute as can be.  Joan seems to be able to find these patterns somewhere (where, I don’t know), but later on I’ll post a couple places where you can find these patterns.

This is Joan’s latest quilt, “Back on the Farm.”


Here lately, I’ve been more at a loss of what to add to quilts than I’ve ever been.  So, I’m less than pleased with what I came up with for this quilt.  I mean, really, what else does it need?  I think the quilt and all those tiny pieces speak for themselves.  Part of my problem is that I’m seeing more and more quilts quilted to death, with so much thread in and on them that you’d need arms of steel just to pick them up (because all that thread makes them heavy, too heavy to sleep under).

Anyhow, for the top right, this is what I did.  Steel roof on the barn, rows in the fields, etc.  Joan waited to add embellishments until after I quilted it (thank you, Joan!), so there will be ropes connected to that board the cat is sitting on, making it a swing.

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Top left… simply added where I thought muscles, curls, etc. should be and echo stitched around the animals.


Middle right…  too bad I couldn’t incorporate that spot on the piglet’s butt as a “dirty” spot around its anus…  😉

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Middle at the bottom…

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Bottom left…like above, I stitched feathers into the birds.  And, I almost forgot that I stitched a white spot in the upper corner of the cow’s eyes to bring it to life.

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This brings me to the border.  See the picture above with the cow?  I had decided to stitch foot prints of the animals in the quilt into the border.  After I got the quilt done, I realized that there wasn’t enough quilting in the border (even fullness means it hangs better), so I added echoes around the foot prints.  Those next to the cow above are supposed to be pig hoof prints.

The chicks above led me to add foot prints coming off the ramp/stairs.


Coming around to the right bottom the chicken feet change to goat feet.  Oh… I also added white stitches to the upper corners of this goat’s eyes as well.

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Further up, you’ll find duck/goose feet in the middle and cat prints int he upper right.

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Now this is where I need to do some explaining.  I had started this whole foot print border with the top border of horse prints.  And, after realizing I needed to add something to the border  to match the amount of quilting done in the blocks and adding echoes around the foot prints, I came back to the horse prints last and echoed around them.  I looked again and saw sperm floating along in the upper border.  I was mortified!  How do I fix this?  And, that’s when I added tiny circles inside the horse prints in an attempt to make it look more like horse prints and less like swimming sperm.   Moral of the story… sometimes echo stitching is not a good idea.


You can find the pattern for this quilt on McKenna Ryan’s website here. She has other patterns you might be interested on her website, too.

Or, if you prefer to do your shopping on Amazon, you can find a newer version of her farm pattern here. This pattern is where I got the inspiration to stitch a barn quilt on Joan’s quilt above.