Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Oliver's Garden

I'm Nicole Morris from Aunti Nicole's Corner.  I live in Anaheim Hills, California with my husband Pete and my kitty Willie No!  During the work week I train and support Autodesk CAD software like Inventor, Plant 3D, and AutoCAD Electrical.  I work with engineers to help them build 3D virtual prototypes of their products, machines, plants and buildings.  Its very exciting work and keeps me learning all the time.  My favorite part is the helping people overcome their day to day challenges.  So when I'm not helping someone else to realize their ideas, I am creating my own.

I am blessed to be part of a family of quilters, my mother Jane St. Pierre and sister Dana Melo are both extraordinary quilters and I am always learning from them both.  I originally started quilting in 1989 when I was in New Mexico for a year and missed my mom and my sister.  Quilting was a touchstone that bridged the gap for us and remains that way to this day.

Left:  1st Completed quilt...I know huh...its amazing I didn't quit after that.  It did take me several years to finish ;]  Word to the wiser than me.  If you start one of these, for Pete's sake don't put it away until it done.   That's my Pete and My Willie in the middle taken many years after completion.

Right:  Stars and Swirls, started one 4th of July a couple years ago.  Machine Quilted.  Single piped binding.  Love this quilt.

Left :  Wedding purse for my cousin Julie who married July 3rd, 2009.  I scanned pictures of all the women in her and Dustin's life, there even a great-great-grandmother there.  I made the photos look sepia tone and printed onto fabric.  The four sides of crazy quilting and embroidery were completed separately and then added together at the end.  Fun project.

Right:  Celtic Spiral (No Fuss).   This is from a class I just taught end of May 2011 at Orange Quilt Bee in Orange, California.  I used the Clover bias tape maker and Roxanne's glue baste to layout the design then just hand appliqued.  Layout took about 3-4 hours.  Applique a couple of nights.

Below:  Delectable Mountain, a wedding quilt for my friend Kat in New Mexico 2008.  Machine Quilted to within an inch of its life.  After taking a Sue Nickels class on freehand feathers, I was emboldened.  There are 12 blocks of pottery and feathers around the outside.  My advice, if you start the border with a lot of detail, you have to go all the way around.  8]  There is a pebbled border that caused a bobbin change way too often.  I was sure happy with the end result, and Kat loves the quilt. 

Right:  Goose goes to North Carolina.  My office mate moved to NC with her husband.  I hand quilted on a 1" diagonal.  I sat on this for a few weeks after completion, not wanting to send this out.  I hated to see this one go and the friend too.

 Left:  Shoe-Fly,  Friendship quilt, for my dear friend Gina Griffin in New Mexico.  Hand quilted.  Love the southwestern colors in it.  Can't see it here but I like to use variegated thread when I hand quilt.

Left:  Saw a quilt at a show and wanted it, so I made me one.  I added a double piped binding on the outside.  Tutorial Double Piped Binding.  Oh and here's one for a Two Sided Binding.  for when you like the back so much, you have to use it on the front ;]  This was machine quilted by Jan Dahlke in Weed, California, she did a beautiful job.

Right:  Did I tell you I design patterns?  Here is the first ones that took off and is still going strong.  This is Tic-Tac..Oh!  You can find this pattern on my blog.  
 I am also blessed to be part of two quilting friendship groups, EZ Quilters and the Wool Gatherers and am a member of Flying Geese Quilt Guild.  Hey we are having a quilt show October 1st if you find yourself in Southern California around that time.   I love the methodical nature of hand quilting or applique.  Most hand projects take a while to create so I do a lot of machine quilting in between.  

Below:  It was my month to choose which block I wanted my EZ Quilter friends to make for me.  I gave two choices, this pieced block or a mariner's compass.  2 did compasses and Mom and I did the other two corners.  The center was hand pieced (I had to try it)  I designed the layout of the pieces in my software, Inventor.  See the before and after here.

Left:  Currently hand quilting this piece.  I used a template only to draw the circles, the rest I did freehand designs on the black and reverse appliqued each with different backing of batiks and hand-dyes.  This is addicting and I will most definitely do more.

Oliver's Garden

Today I'd like to share with you, a quilt that I created for my soul sister Dione, who I have known since we were babies.  She announced to me that her and Garrett were getting married.  (I just love this guy).  So I took her to Road to California, 18 mos before the wedding and told her I was going to make a wedding quilt and to look for inspiration.  By the end of the show, she said "Green Hawaiin"  I said "OK" with my eye brows high.

So I started planning.  When laying out a quilt, I like to build it in the computer first.  This allows me to make adjustments and really get the layout right.  This can save a lot of time, money and frustration.  I can print out the design to scale and adjust the outcome by hand to give it a less mechanical feel.  These two are variations of the design.  The 2nd one is the closest to the end result.  (3D Models built in Autodesk Inventor).

Picking the fabric was a challenge.  I tried white background with green first, but it did nothing for me.  Then I tried black with the green, ooooooh thats it!  I figured I would be hand appliqueing and quilting and it will probably take the whole 18 mos so I had really better like it.  So I picked out some fabrics and made two small samples.  (I highly recommend this!)  I really liked both, but the batik had too much dark overtone and with black background, it was just too dark.  In my program, Inventor, I could actually take pictures of the fabric and put them on the model.  This really saves money and time and gives me the confidence to move forward.  Also the green has little Chinese symbols and ginkgo leaves which I know the bride and groom would love.  (The design phase took about 3 months.)

I used doubled freezer paper to made the templates for reverse applique. 1/8 of the design for the center and a 9" piece for the borders. Mirrored and rotated as necessary.   I traced onto Kona black using my favorite retractable white chalk marker.  I completed the center first.  Meanwhile, I sent the borders with my Mom while she vacationed around the country.  I created bias strips using the Clover Bias Tape Maker, cut short pieces and appliqued them and the center down to the inner border.  Then added the outer borders and appliqued the  corners. (The Applique took about 9 months).

Once the top was completed, I hand quilted with 1/2" echo quilting, using Mettler black silk-finish thread.  This part overshot the wedding by a couple of months, oops.   (This part took about 8 months).

June 13, 2009 we traveled to South Dakota, so Dione could get married where she grew up.  It was a beautiful farm wedding and we all had a wonderful week with Dione's parents, my folks and Garrett's family.  The scalloped binding was finished shortly thereafter, coming in at 109" square.  Dione and Garrett received their quilt only couple of months after their wedding.  Hey at least it wasn't for their 3rd anniversary, LOL.

I have completed many quilting projects over the years and this has been my favorite project.  I know that Dione and Garret treasure the quilt and that makes it all worth the effort.  I wished them love with each stitches I put into this quilt.  They should be good to go for a long time to come.

Feel free to stop by and visit my blog and gallery.  All are welcome and I would love to hear from you!

Special Thank You to Madame Samm and Stash Manicure for allowing me to share some of my favorites with your readers.

Have a wonderful July!
Aunti Nicole


  1. Holy Buckets!! Nicole, first of all, your quilts are amazing! However ... totally, totally lucky friends! Love your Geese flying to NC and the Shoe Fly, Friendship quilt ... love them and thank you so much for sharing all of your beauties!

  2. What an amazing, diverse collection of quilts! And I love your cat's name :D

  3. Well you started out with an amazing quilt, so why wouldn't it get better and better. Just love the Hawaiian quilt - thank you so much for sharing all of your wonderful quilts and I am off to visit your site.

  4. Your quilts are lovely. I especially love the wedding purse you made for your cousin. I'm sure she was thrilled with it. It's beautiful.

  5. All of your quilts are wonderful but I especially love the Hawaiian one.

  6. Oh your Hawaiian quilt is stunning, you are one talented lady! Linda

  7. *stunning*
    *left speechless*
    sew good, I really have to w-o-r-k on my skills again =^}
    thank you from a sunny Amsterdam!

  8. Good Morning Nicole...goodness me, I want to go back to bed to wake up and evaluate my quilting ..
    I am not accomplishing anything at the moment...ok, the friendship quilt, tic tac those...the olives one...oh good grief, I could never do anything like that even if you were beside me lol. It actually looks more like a tapestry then it does a quilt..have no idea how you did that...ok, I am not without words... lol

  9. Beautiful trunk show, especially the wedding quilt. A true labor of love.

  10. Nicole, you are an amazing quilter and designer. Thanks for sharing your beautiful quilts with us. Hope that you keep up with all the designs that are in your very creative mind for a long time to come. I'm heading over to your blog to visit. Thanks for all the inspiration.

  11. Nicole, this has been an amazing start to my morning! The way you have been able to meld your skills as CAD engineer and designer, with your talents as a quilter and designer.....just awesome! Thanks for sharing with all of us!
    Jacque in SC

  12. Every quilt I saw is just amazing! Gosh even your first quilt.. WOWWIE!

  13. Not in my lifetime - but so very glad you did these amazing quilts for me to see. You are a truly talented lady and I can tell you really do like to challenge yourself. Words fail - Judy C in NC sends her best wishes

  14. You make me wish I lived in California so I could take classes from you. Your quilts are stunningly beautiful! Oliver's Garden - OMG!!

  15. Can I be your friend so I can have you make me a quilt?! lol What a wonderful friend you are! Your quilts are extraordinary! Do you actually quilt "through" the batik?! I've heard it will "kill" your fingers because it's so dense... not true?! Loved your blog!

  16. Oh my gosh - I feel smarter just having read your post! What a lot of work you put into your quilts - and they are stunning! I loved all of your quilts but the bride's bag is amazing - what a lucky, lucky bride! Your quilts could hang in a museum!! Thanks so much for the show today! xo, Nan

  17. I am totally blown away by your quilts and in particular the green Hawaiian one. Your work is amazing and the love that goes into each stitch is more than obvious. I'd love to know exactly what kind of chalk marker you used on that dark fabric. I do a bit of wool applique and can't ever seem to find something that shows up well. blessings, marlene

  18. Gorgeous! I love the Stars and Swirls quilt (very vintage Americana looking). And the Green Hawaiian wedding quilt is spectacular.

    BTW -- we're neighbors! I live in Placentia.

    -- Colleen @ Made By Colleen

  19. Nicole, You are a wonderfully amazing friend and soul sister. My favorites that you have made are some of yours that you don't even mention about here. However, nothing is as dear to me as Oliver's Garden. I know that a Hawaiian quilt was a new and inviting challenge for you and I am ever thankful at the amount of work you put into it, as well as your Mom. Garrett and I are excited to display this beautiful piece in our new home next month! You and Pete will be the first to come see! <3 Love always...your soul sister. Oh, and I'm going to go put the Flying Geese Quilt Show on my calendar right now! xo

  20. I feel like I've just been to a quilt show!! What a beautiful, creative bunch of quilts you have created. Keep on quilting!!

  21. Nicole, I feel like all of us are a little overwhelmed with the artistry and attention to detail you give each quilt. You're computer background is certainly an advantage for you in your creative endeavors! I can never imagine doing what you do even with you sitting right beside me like another quilter remarked. You are one of those unique artists that take fabric to a whole new level. Thank you for sharing and now off to visit your blog.
    Gmama Jane

  22. You are an artist. The Wedding Quilt is gorgeous.

  23. You have done some gorgeous quilts!!! I'm really impressed!

  24. Thank you all for the wonderful comments. It really made my day!
    -To Madame Samm, I still love green (it any easy being green!)
    -To Stitchin By the Lake, I use the Bohin Marker, its retractable so no sharpening.
    -Colleen Greene - Howdy Neighbor!
    -Truffle Queen, I try not to hand quilt the batiks if possible.
    -Dione, love you too sis.

  25. Your quilts are so beautiful and the black and green is over-the-top!! Thank you for sharing!!

  26. Your quilts are lovely, you are very talented.
    Thank you for sharing your thought process behind your quilts.


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