112: Dusty Farrell

Dusty FarrellGlow in the Dark

Dusty Farrell has been drawing and painting since he can remember. Longarm quilting is a wonderful way to express his talent. Dusty’s work is totally free hand. There’s no computer attached to his longarm, no programs to follow, no drawing on the quilts. “Anything I can draw with a pencil, I can quilt,” says Dusty. He and his wife, Stephanie, own Country Stitchin, a full service quilt shop in historic Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania.

Week 1

Here’s a first for Quilt Out Loud, a show taped in the dark. Dusty Farrell takes quilting to the level of performance. He turns on the music, turns off the lights and using glow-in-the-dark threads, he quilts his heart out. His “Good Feathers Gone Bad” technique is all about the twisting and turning and overlapping of feathers and not about being perfect. He’s adding texture and flow to the quilt. He first stitches a spine for the feathers to follow and then adds traditional feathers with a flair. He uses the Handi Quilter HQ24 Fusion longarm quilting machine choosing this model because the black light is built in. Dusty is a fast quilter and has been known to quilt a queen size bed quilt in 30-40 minutes.

Short Takes on Longarm Quilting with Vicki Hoth

Vicki shows Jodie ways to play with thick threads, like those made by YLI, which can add so much to a quilt but can’t be threaded through the machine needle. One method is couching the thread down with either a matching or blending thread in the machine. Another method is to wind the thread on the bobbin and stitch the quilt on the back side. To do this successfully the entire quilt is stitched from the front side. It is then removed from the machine, turned over, and stitched from the back side with the bobbin thread appearing on the right side. This way you have an outline of where you want these thick threads to be stitched. Vicki shows a neat trick for easily burying the thick thread ends.

Week 2

It’s back to quilting in the dark with Dusty Farrell using YLI’s glow in the dark threads. He’s making an intricate Spirograph pattern which is easily accomplished using the Quilters Rule Nested Circles tool. He sews around the template moving it just ¼ inch each time. The tool does all the work keeping the hopping foot along the edge. It makes concentric circles forming the quilt’s center medallion.

Week 3

The lights are turned on and we see that the quilts are just as lovely in the light. Dusty Farrell demonstrates his echo puzzle filler, again all free motion. The background fill adds texture around the center medallion. If the larger motif has feathers these should be incorporated into the filler design. The filler design can also be enlarged and stitched edge to edge on a quilt. It’s all about scale. The more you practice the better you get and the more you’ll want to experiment. YLI has come out with a Dusty Farrell glow-in-the-dark sample thread pack of 6 glowing colors which are fun to play with. In answer to what kind of batting he prefers, Dusty replied 80/20 Hobbs. He sometimes uses two layers of batting to give even more texture to his quilts.