Ten firsts for the Troy Fair
Penny Streeter has a great passion for quilting. At this year’s Troy Fair in the Home Arts division, her quilt “Geisha Moon” took first place in the machine quilting category. She earned her first ever “Best of Show” with the same quilt in the same category. But for Streeter, there were more “firsts” than just the blue ribbon.
While attending a quilt show in Lancaster months ago, where she had a quilt on display, Streeter went fabric shopping and came home with a type of fabric she had never purchased before. This was the beginning of ten “firsts” that led her to the fair.
The new fabric was an Oriental print which had a gold overlay.
“I’ve never used Oriental prints before. I’ve always stayed away from the gold overlay found in most Asian prints,” Streeter said. “I guess I’m a traditionalist at heart and was always comfortable using the cotton calicos.”
This time Streeter was thinking outside the box. She saw a pattern she really liked in an old Australian quilt magazine. It had some aspects that she didn’t like so she adapted it.
“It’s a one of a kind,” Streeter spoke fondly of “Geisha Moon” which she started cutting out last March.
“I have probably worked on this quilt every day for the last four or five months,” said Streeter. She added that she employed many new techniques in the quilt she had never done before. Her “firsts” continue.
The arch that forms the moon in the quilt’s center is paper pieced. Streeter had never used this technique before. She had to look it up on the internet to teach herself how to do it.
The two colored center medallion of the moon is hand pieced.
“That was another first,” said Streeter. “I had never done any hand piecing before.”
The quilt has a dog tooth border which is all appliquéd on. She never did that technique before. The triangular “tooth” starts as a square. By hand, one corner is folded in and the other corner is also folded in. That forms the triangle. Each “tooth” edge was individually folded and appliquéd onto the quilt. Altogether there were 192 dog tooth points!
“Geisha Moon” was the first quilt in which Streeter used two layers of batting to achieve the Trapunto look.
“It gives the quilt a fuller look,” said Streeter. “Almost a third dimension.”
Streeter had never done a quilting technique called curved cross hatching. Another first for this quilt. Traditional cross hatching is straight line quilting and has been done for hundreds of years. One line of stitching goes straight across another. Curved cross hatching, which is a fairly new technique, uses curved lines of stitching to cross each other in two different directions. A mini arc “ruler” is used as a guide.
A pattern in the main border fabric contained interlocking circles called an “orange peel” design. Streeter enlarged that design to use as the quilting motif in the center. She had never done anything like that before.
Some of the stitching that Streeter has to do on a quilt is just temporary to hold layers in place. It has to come out and she had always used large basting stitches which pull out easily. Working on this quilt, she tried something new. Water soluble thread allows her to stitch those places which she doesn’t want to show later, without having to pull the stitches out.
“No more pulling basting stitches out,” said Streeter. This is one effective method of quilting multiple layers of batting, which is what she was doing with this quilt.
Streeter added some finishing touches to the front of her quilt that she was trying for the first time. She used Swarovski hot fix crystals for fabric embellishment.
“I used the crystals to enhance what was already there in the fabric,” explained Streeter. She used nine different colors in two different sizes of crystals. The smallest crystal that she used is 2 mm, or about the size of a poppy seed. The 3 mm crystal is just a little smaller than the head of a pin. There are over 10,000 of these crystals on her quilt!
The back of “Geisha Moon” has a fabric panel made of a preprinted picture. Streeter enhanced the picture using thread “painting.” Thread painting, which was also something she had done for the first time, is not done with paint and a paint brush. It is done with different colors of thread sewn on a long arm quilting machine. The picture, which shows two Geishas at a coy pond, took her eleven different colors of thread and five days of thread painting on her long arm quilting machine to complete.
Streeter’s long arm quilting machine is one thing that is not a first. She has had four others, but the one she has now is very much top of the line which meets her needs. But it wasn’t so easy to come by.
This particular machine gave her a real delivery dilemma when she got it. The 14 foot long arm quilting machine was shipped from Kansas City. When it arrived in Troy, the tractor trailer couldn’t get up Streeter’s driveway. The driver had to park along the street. They put the pieces in a pick up truck to haul them up the driveway. When the pieces were finally put together they found one more problem.
“We had to take a wall down to get the long arm into my studio,” said Streeter.
But that is one first that she probably won’t have to do again!