Sunday, September 19, 2021

A Couple More Blocks for My Retro 'Eighties Building Blocks Sampler

Good morning, my lovelies!  I have been "SEW" busy lately that I'm starting to accumulate a backlog of things I wanted to share here on my blog.  Today I'll show you the last two 10" blocks I made for my Retro 'Eighties Building Blocks sampler (adapted from the 2014 Moda Modern Building Blocks QAL).  Here's what the design wall is looking like these days:

All of the 10 inch Blocks Are Completed!

This project would be a finished quilt top by now if I was able to work on it consistently, but I've been more focused on customers' quilts lately.  I've also been responsible for more church music over the past few weeks, now that Church Council has decided we have to wear masks while we're singing and a lot of our singers are staying away because of health concerns etc.  So, those are my excuses for only having TWO new blocks to share since the last time I posted about this project!

Block 18

Both of these blocks finish at 10" and use Kona Solids in Lipstick, Snow and Black.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Custom Quilting FINISHED on Judy Niemeyer Prismatic Star Queen Quilt

Today's post will be quick, short on commentary, and loaded with photos because I just could not resist showing you how gorgeous my client's Prismatic Star Queen turned out after quilting!

91 x 91 Prismatic Star Queen, Custom Quilting Completed

My client Mildred used Judy Niemeyer's Quiltworx pattern, Prismatic Star Queen, to foundation paper piece her quilt top.  Several Etsy sellers have this pattern available here.  I believe my client may have purchased the pattern and batik fabrics together as a kit.

Feathers Aplenty, Feathers Galore

Since Mildred wanted me to quilt her top to look "just like the pattern cover photo," I used the digital design set that Quiltworx created specifically for this quilt, the same one they used to quilt the sample quilt on the pattern cover.  

Friday, September 3, 2021

Behind the Scenes: Digital Custom Long Arm Quilting With Q-Matic on a Judy Niemeyer Quilt

Good Morning, Happy Friday, Happy Labor Day Weekend, and Happy September!  It was in the fifties this morning in Charlotte, which felt GLORIOUS after the sweltering hot Armpit-of-the-South weather we've had for the past few months.  Fall is my favorite time of year and it can't get here soon enough!

Custom Digital Quilting Fit for a Prismatic Star Queen

Sneak Peek of the Custom Feather Quilting Under My Needle

I've spent more time quilting in the studio than sitting at the computer lately, so I have lots of things I could be sharing with you.  Today, I thought folks might like to see a custom quilting project that I'm working on for a client right now and learn a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes when custom quilting with digital designs.  Spoiler alert: the process is not as automated as you might expect!  Here's my client's quilt top, prior to being loaded onto my frame;

Auditioning Threads for Mildred's 91 x 91 Prismatic Star Queen Quilt Top

My client Mildred pieced this gorgeous Prismatic Star Queen quilt top using one of Judy Niemeyer's Quiltworx foundation paper piecing patterns.  

Sunday, August 22, 2021

My Pineapple Log Cabin Is Quilted, and I LOVE IT SO MUCH!

Oh my gosh, you guys -- I am so, SO pleased with how the quilting turned out on my longtime UFO pineapple log cabin quilt!!!  😍😍😍

Pineapple Log Cabin Quilt with Moulin Rouge E2E

Pineapple Log Cabin FAQs:

I was so relieved when I got to the bottom of this quilt without having to piece any extra batting on the sides!  The widest batting comes is a stated width of 120", and packaged batting usually gives you a few inches more than what it says on the package in the length, but the width of a roll is the width of a roll.  Whew!  Normally, I make sure to have at least 4-6" of extra backing AND batting on all four sides of a quilt.

Glide Thread in Sea Foam, Moulin Rouge E2E Quilting Design

Talk about playing "batting chicken!"  So, let's talk about this Sea Foam thread color!  My first instinct for this quilt was a more traditional off-white or ivory thread color, but I wanted to keep the focus on my piecing design and on my fabrics.  

Friday, August 20, 2021

My Suddenly-Empty Nest + My Client's Gorgeous Jason Yenter "Seasons" Quilt

I have a gorgeous client quilt to share with you today, but first -- OH MY GOSH; it's SO QUIET and empty in my house right now!!  If either of my sons was home right now instead of being away at their respective colleges, they would definitely still be asleep, but still.  The silence of the suddenly-empty nest is deafening!

My Son Anders -- and My Kaleidoscope Quilt -- Live at Furman University Now

We moved Son-the-Younger into his Freshman dorm at Furman University yesterday.  The Giverny Teleidoscope quilt I made ended up fitting the dorm bed just fine, although Anders did complain about how he's going to be too hot now and "suffocate."  Poor baby -- smothered by mama's love, even from hundreds of miles away!  😂

Anders' Quilt Blessing at Christ Lutheran in June, Photo Credit Annabelle Laine

I don't think I ever shared any photos from the quilt blessing at our church, Christ Lutheran, back in early June.  They did it outside with just a few families at a time this year due to the pandemic, and summer photography intern Annabelle Laine took this great photo for us.  

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

It's FINALLY Happening: My Giant Pineapple Log Cabin Quilt is On the Frame for Quilting!

Some of my long-time quilting friends out there thought this day would never come, but there's no going back now -- I loaded my pineapple log cabin quilt last night and the quilting will commence TODAY!

Loading My Massive California King Pineapple Log Cabin Quilt at Last!

Here are the answers to the most common questions I've gotten about this project over the years:

  1. I paper pieced the blocks using a free foundation pattern that I downloaded from Fons & Porter here, but after taping just one block together I took it to my local FedEx shop and printed single page copies on their large format printer.  Although the foundation paper piecing pattern came from Fons & Porter, it's not their design -- it's a pattern for reproducing an antique pineapple log cabin quilt from the collection of the International Quilt Study Center.  You can see that quilt here.
  2. The blocks finished at approximately 17 3/4".
  3. The fabric strips are cut at 1 1/2" wide since I'm paper piecing, but the finished width of the strips is 3/4"
  4. Each block contains 97 pieces, and each block is taking me roughly SIX hours to piece.
  5. This quilt is for my own California King bed that measures 72" wide by 84" long.  It's a deep pillow top mattress, so I planned my quilt top to be 120" x 120" to ensure that even after the shrinkage of quilting and washing, the quilt will still completely cover the mattress when it's on my bed.
  6. I started this project in June of 2014, SEVEN years ago!

Friday, August 13, 2021

Olga Quilt Finish for a Brand-New Quilter + More Y-Seams for My Retro '80s Building Blocks Sampler

Part One: Yolanda's Very First Quilt!

Good morning and thank goodness it's Friday, everyone!  I haven't been blogging as frequently as usual because I've been busy, busy, busy.  My oldest son Lars just got home from working all summer as a camp counselor and he leaves to head back to college this Saturday.  My younger son Anders' 18th birthday is TODAY and he heads off to begin his adventures as a college freshman next Thursday.  I've been doing lots of laundry, birthday planning and college shopping for the boys to ensure they have everything they need for school.  

Of course, quilting has been happening, too -- I'm behind on a few quilts that I wanted to share with you, and today I want to show you this Olga quilt (a beginner quilting pattern from Tuesday Bassen, inspired by vintage Scandinavian textiles and available for purchase here) that I quilted for my client Yolanda.  The most amazing thing about this quilt is that it was made by a TOTAL beginner -- not only is this the first quilt that Yolanda has ever attempted, it's her very first project on her very first sewing machine.  She did an amazing job -- I would never in a million years have known that she was brand-new to sewing if she hadn't told me that when she dropped off her quilt top!

60 x 60 Olga Quilt with A Bit of Fun E2E

Yolanda requested a "simple meandering quilt design" for this throw quilt destined for sofa snuggling, and I suggested A Bit of Fun E2E, which combines a basic meander with loops for a playful counterpoint to the rigid geometry of the piecing lines.  

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Bring On the King-Size Quilts: My Q-Matic is Finally Here!

Today's big news is that my Q-Matics computer robotics that has been backordered since May finally came in and was installed on my machine yesterday!

Q-Matic Computer is Here, Up and Running on My 13' Long Arm

Now I can finally get to the Queen size quilts in my queue whose makers have been waiting so patiently.  I can now quilt anything up to 120" on my 13' Big Girl frame (Bernina calls it the Large frame, but I am calling it my Big Girl Frame after being restricted to the dinky little 8' frame at the Bernina store that couldn't handle anything bigger than a Twin).  Not only can I get caught up with larger customer quilts now, but I'm finally going to quilt my enormous 120" x 120" California King pineapple log cabin quilt -- if I can only make up my mind about how to quilt it!

It took my dealer about 5 hours to install my Q-Matic, and I managed to piece two more blocks for my Retro '80s Building Blocks sampler quilt while he was working in my studio.

Progress on my Sampler Quilt Project

Since my Featherweight was still set up from the LeMoyne star blocks I made last week, I chose two more blocks containing Y-seams (in the original Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt, these were made with flying geese units, but I redrafted them to have fewer seams).

Monday, August 2, 2021

Julie's Positivity Quilt for the Mercyful Quilts QAL

Good Monday morning and Happy August, y'all!  I'll get to my goals for the fresh week and shiny new month later in this post.  First, I want to show you this beautiful Positivity quilt, pieced by Julie Kennedy of Julie's Quilts & Costumes, and quilted by Yours Truly:

60 x 80 Positivity Quilt for Mercyful Quilts QAL

"Positivity" is a FREE pattern from Preeti Harris of Sew Preeti Quilts, available here.  Preeti and Bernie Kringel of Needle & Foot are currently sponsoring a QAL (quilt-along) using this pattern to create donation quilts for Bernie's Mercyful Quilts charity benefitting dying patients and their families at Mercy Hospital in Sacramento, California.  Those participating in the QAL, which runs through September 5th, are encouraged to either ship their completed quilts to Bernie or else donate them to local charity.  Although I didn't have time to piece a top for this effort, I was glad to collaborate with Julie in support of this worthy cause.

Positivity Quilt Pieced by Julie, Quilted by Me


One of the things I love about Preeti's Positivity pattern is that, although there's nothing explicitly religious about the plus sign design to non-Christians, Christian patients and their loved ones will see the plus sign as a cross -- a reminder of the promise of resurrection, which makes this quilt both physically and spiritually comforting.  I love the color palette Julie chose, too.  The blue crosses/plusses against the warm neutral background fabrics is calm, soothing, and organic, like earth and sky and water.  

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Happiness is an Eight-Pointed Star, and Y-Seams Are My Super Powers

If Prince Charming was a LeMoyne Star quilt block, then Wendy Welsh of Wendy's Quilts and More would be my Patchwork Fairy Godmother.  I am just ridiculously happy about how perfect this 10" eight-pointed star block turned out on my very first try, nice and flat and zero puckers in those Y-seams, and all this was accomplished without any seam ripping or swearing, thanks to Wendy's fabulous Hand Piecing 103 - 8 Pointed Stars video.

10 inch LeMoyne Star, Block 15 for my Retro '80s Sampler Quilt

In the original Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt, this Eight Pointed Star block (also known as LeMoyne Star, Lemon Star, and Puritan Star) was simplified to be more beginner-friendly by bisecting the 45 degree diamonds into half square triangles, eliminating the set-in seams as shown below:  

I prefer the cleaner look of the traditional block with the Y-seams for my own quilts, and I relish a good piecing challenge.  This is supposed to be a skill building project, after all!

I finished the partially-pieced block I shared in my last post (also with unnecessary simplification seams removed in favor of Y-seams) and that one came out pretty good, but I'm regretting using white thread because I can see little white thread dots at the center of the block.  I might redo that center bit with red or blue thread.

Block 12 Completed, 10 inches

Block 12 from the Moda Modern Quilt Blocks Sampler was first published as Mosaic #13 in the Ladies' Art Catalog #341, according to Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, 3rd Ed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Yes, I DO Remember How to Make a Quilt Block…. Back to My Retro ‘80s Building Blocks Sampler!

My mom came over to sew with me after church on Sunday, and I decided to get back to my languishing Retro ‘80s Building Blocks sampler (also known as Nanu! Nanu!).  I got one simple 5” block cut out and sewn together and another more complicated 10” block cut out and partially pieced before my mom called it quits and I decided to spend the rest of the afternoon playing with my spoiled rotten Rottweiler.

Block 12 in Progress, 10 inch Version With Y-Seams


My Retro '80s Building Blocks sampler is adapted from the Moda Modern Building Blocks Sampler that was released in 2014.  I changed the block sizes from multiples of 6" to multiples of 5" to get the size I wanted, which complicated cutting considerably since I no longer have "ruler-friendly" fractions for most blocks, substituted out a bunch of blocks, and have redrafted any blocks that Moda simplified because I'd rather sew Y-seams than have unnecessary seams bisecting all of my diamond patches.  The whole point of this sampler was to be a skill builder, after all.

Moda's Version of Block 12, 12 inches, with Easier Bisected Diamonds

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The White On White Bailee Quilt, Final Reveal!

Today's post needs to be a quickie because I have a full day ahead of me, but I just had to share pictures of how that white-on-white "pieced whole cloth quilt" turned out.  My client picked it up yesterday and she'll be surprising her mother with it when she flies out to see her tomorrow.

The "Pieced Whole Cloth" Quilt, Bound and Ready for Gifting

My client is thrilled with how this project turned out and I can't wait to hear about her mom's reaction to the quilt.  This is supposed to be the white on white quilt that she always wanted but couldn't have because of her messy kids and dogs.  I think we nailed it, don't you?

56 x 68 Finished Quilt with Bailee Quilting Design

It's so hard to get pictures that do justice to the quilting when it's white thread on a white background.  

Monday, July 19, 2021

Vintage Economy Quilt is Headed Home: The One About the Super-Wide Binding

Good Monday Morning, Quilt Lovers!  This vintage Economy Block quilt is finally all stitched up and ready to ship back to its owner this morning.  I really love how modern and fresh this 80+-year-old quilt looks after all these years, and I'm glad to have extended its useful life so the granddaughter of the original quilt maker can continue to enjoy it.

Vintage Economy Quilt Repaired, Ready to Go Home

Although there's another, more familiar quilt block named Economy, I identified this quilt block as the Economy pattern that was first published in the Kansas City Star in 1933 using Barbara Brackman's definitive Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, 3rd Ed.

Economy Block, First Published in the Kansas City Star  (1933)

I think this quilt was made sometime during the 1930s-1940s, based on the the date the block pattern was published, the color scheme, and clues from the construction methods and materials used in the quilt.  It was well cared for by its owner and looks great for its age. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

The Pieced Whole Cloth Quilt, Part I: Q-Matic Loves Karlee Porter Designs (and So Do I)!

OH MY GOSH, you guys -- I have died and floated off to quilting heaven!!!  Look what I started quilting yesterday for one of my clients:

Karlee Porter's Bailee E2E Design, Quilted on Bernina Q24 with Q-Matic

This quilt is a gift for my client's 80-something-year-old mother, who says she "always wanted a white-on-white quilt but she could never have one because she had kids and pets."  So my client pieced a very plain quilt top from large squares of assorted white and ivory solids and textures, and told me that "the quilting needs to be the star."  Now, in case you are wondering what is the best way to become my Best Friend Forever, it is DEFINITELY by telling me that my quilting gets to be the star of your quilt!  💕

Setting the Design Up in Q-Matic

When I purchased this particular design for my collection, I didn't think I'd ever actually stitch it out as an edge-to-edge design like this.  I was thinking I'd stitch single repeats of the design motif on plain alternate blocks for custom quilting.  The level of detail in this design is insane and it would be completely lost on a print fabric or busy piecing.  

Monday, July 12, 2021

Vintage Quilt Repairs Continue + Millie Goes Home to Minnesota

Good Monday morning!  I'm still working on that vintage quilt repair that I wrote about last week (here).  At this point, I've finished all of the hand stitched repair work in the quilt's interior and all I have left is the binding.  This is a hand pieced quilt that had open seams to be stitched shut in almost every block, as well as a few other minor holes and one serious hole where something acidic had spilled on the quilt and eaten through the cotton fibers.  When deciding how to deal with this hole, I tried to address it the way the original quilt maker might have done, so I looked to the repairs on this antique Oak Leaf and Reel quilt for inspiration:

75.75 x 69 Oak Leaf and Reel Quilt, circa 1860


I photographed this quilt at the Paducah museum in 2019, when it was the inspiration quilt for a New Quilts from an Old Favorite challenge.  This hand pieced, hand appliquéd antique quilt is part of The Richardson Collection belonging to the Kentucky Museum at Western Kentucky University.  

What really fascinated me about this quilt was the way it had been repaired long ago:

Thursday, July 8, 2021

TGIFF is At My Studio This Week! Modern Scrap Petal Garden Baby Quilt

 Hello, and happy (almost) Friday! I'm delighted to be hosting this week's TGIFF (Thank Goodness It's Finally Finished) Friday linky party, because I am head over heels in love with this sweet modern baby quilt that I just finished quilting for a client.  

36 x 42 Scrap Petal Garden Baby Quilt with Jessica's Abacus Chevron E2E

The machine appliqué pattern for this quilt is called Scrap Petal Garden, from Cabin in the Woods, and it's available on Etsy here if your local shop doesn't carry it.  I love the fresh, bright flower petals against my client's low-volume background fabrics, don't you?  I know everyone loves the before and after quilting photos, so here's what the top looked like before quilting:

Sunday, July 4, 2021

The High-Tech, Low-Tech, Good News and Bad News Update

Happy Sunday, Happy Independence Day to those of you in the United States, and Happy July, everyone!  Today's post will be a smorgasbord of high-tech and low-tech excitement that has accumulated over the past week.

The Charlotte Modern Quilt Guild hosted a Zoom lecture with Canadian quilter Libs Elliott a few days ago, which was fabulous!  Libs is best known for her use of computer code to generate random geometric designs for modern quilting.  She shared that her parents were antique dealers and that she'd discovered and fallen in love with old quilts at auctions and estate sales.  As she related her journey from trying to replicate traditional patchwork with hardly any instruction through creating ideas of her own on paper and then trying to figure out how to make a quilt that looked like her sketches, I really appreciated her spirit of adventure and the way her style and her process have evolved over time.

Enjoying Libs Elliott's Lecture on Quilt Design with Computer Code

I got some good news last week, and I got some bad news.  Good news first!  I found a buyer for my APQS machine, a quilter from Northern Minnesota who was delightful to talk to on the phone.  She will be driving over 1,300 miles come and pick up the machine this week, and I wish her a safe and smooth journey!

Bad news: I already sold the IntelliQuilter computer robotics that I had on my APQS Millennium, because my Q-Matic computer robotics for the Bernina was supposed to be here at the end of June.  Well, guess what?  The Q-Matic is now pushed back until at least August, due to the global shortage in microchips.  😧 Yikes!  That means I can't stitch any digital edge-to-edge quilts for another month!  My Bernina dealer, Creative Sewing & Vacuum, has graciously offered to let me use their demo Q24 machine at the store for computerized quilts that  I need to get done in the meantime.  The only catch there is that, to conserve floor space in the shop, their demo Q24 is set up on the smallest 8' frame and the widest quilt that will fit that frame is about 71".  Not big enough for the queen quilts in my queue!  I had a customer's baby quilt that needed to get done, though, so I brought it over to quilt it with Q-Matic at the store.  I can't show you this quilt quite yet -- the client is picking it up on Wednesday -- but I'm hosting TGIFF Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday this week and I'll show it to you then, okay?  Pinky promise!  For now you just get this little tantalizing glimpse:

Borrowing My Bernina Dealer's Demo Q24 with Q-Matic

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Studio Tour: Let There Be Light! And Also, Thread! Upgrades From My Sweetie

You guys, I am SO EXCITED about the wire cable track lighting that my husband installed above my new Bernina long arm last night!  I LOVE IT! 💕💕💕

Wire Cable Track Lighting Installed Above My New Q24

The Bernina Q24 has plenty of bright LED lighting along the throat of the machine head itself, but I wanted the entire length of the frame lit up from one side to the other so I can inspect each section of a quilt as I'm advancing it on the frame.  Bright task lighting enables me to find and remove any pet fur or stray threads before they get quilted in, and makes it easier to notice things like open seams that my hopping foot could catch in if I didn't see them ahead of time.

Bright Lighting Helps Me Spot Problems Like This Open Seam

That photo above with an open seam was my own kaleidoscope quilt, by the way -- I am not a perfect piecer, either!  (When I see something like that as I'm quilting, I like to mark it with a hand stitched tailor tack in contrasting thread so it's easier to find it later when I want to hand stitch that spot closed).

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Free-Motion Quilting with My New, Snazzy Quilt Beast: Meet the Bernina Q24!

Now that the vintage Corn & Beans quilt has been repaired and returned to its owner, I finally had a chance to start playing with my new Bernina Q24 long arm machine yesterday.  I am in Quilting Heaven!

First Free-Motion Stitches on my New Q24

This is a preprinted practice panel that I bought from Lisa Calle when I took her long arm quilting workshop in Paducah in 2019.  My Q24 was delivered with a full bobbin's worth of orange thread, so I threaded her up with a cone of So Fine thread, color Orange Julius in the needle for the maiden voyage.  I haven't done any free motion quilting at all for nearly a year, having been so focused on learning that IntelliQuilter computerized quilting system, so I'm a bit rusty -- but I just love how  this machine handles for free motion work.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Vintage Corn and Beans Quilt Repairs, Part 3

I made some more progress on the vintage Corn and Beans quilt repair project.  The second of the two blocks that needed to be completely remade and patched over has now been made, attached to the quilt, and requilted.  In case anyone is curious, it took me two and a half hours to piece each of these corn and beans blocks from start to finish, including cutting and pressing the blocks.

Two Blocks Replaced and Requilted

The turquoise and pale blue block was the one that my client's dog had chewed through.  The block next to it needed replacement because both of the fabrics in the original block were disintegrating:

Original Block with Disintegrating Fabrics

I could not find exact matches for these fabrics, but I did the best I could to replicate the look and feel of this block with new fabrics.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Olivia's Night Stars Baby Quilt AND MaryBeth's UFO Quilt That's Nearly as Old as I Am

I have two very different client quilts to share with you today, one that I was forbidden from posting until after the baby shower that happened this past weekend, and the other is one that I posted on Instagram a few weeks ago but forgot to share here on the blog.  

#1: Olivia's Night Stars Baby Quilt


The baby shower is over, so I finally get to share!  Y'all, I am just in love with this baby quilt that my client Olivia pieced for her sister in-law's baby shower.  The pattern is called "Night Stars," designed by Emily Dennis of Quilty Love (available on Etsy here).  

My Client Olivia's Night Stars Baby Quilt with Circle Melodrama E2E

My client shared that this quilt has much more extensive piecing than the projects she usually makes and it took her a lot longer to complete the quilt top than she anticipated, but she did such an amazing job.  

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Vintage Corn and Beans Repair, Part Deux: How to Patch a Giant, Gaping Hole in the Middle of a Quilt

You guys, I was so proud of myself at the end of the day's work on this vintage quilt repair yesterday.  I managed to patch the gaping hole in the quilt backing, fill in the missing cotton batting from the right side, and then patch the giant hole in the front of the quilt with my recreated block -- and I did it all by machine so the repair is strong enough to stand the test of time.  Moreover, the quilt lays perfectly flat through the repaired section and there are no unwanted tucks or pleats around the repair on either the front or the backing side.  WHEW!  Fools like me rush in where angels fear to tread...

More Obvious Than I'd Like, but Better Than the Gaping Hole

There was some damage to parts of the sashing beyond the edges of the missing block and there was also a good bit of distortion of the quilt around the chewed area, such that a perfectly square block would not work as a patch by itself.  The adjacent blocks in the quilt measure about 12 1/4" finished -- who knows what size they were originally, as they have probably shrunk over the years.  

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Rebecca vs the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: A Corn and Beans Vintage Quilt Repair In Progress

Just as I was about to type "Good Morning, Lovelies," my grandfather clock struck noon...  Ah, well -- good afternoon, then!  Today I'm sharing the first chapter of a vintage Corn and Beans quilt repair that I'm working on for a client.  

Client's Vintage Corn and Beans Quilt, With "Window" Added By Her Dog


Why, yes -- OF COURSE I can fix that!  😂. I am such a glutton for punishment, aren't I?!

This vintage Corn & Beans quilt is actually in pretty good shape overall, except for worn binding, a few small holes/open seams here and there...  and a giant window chewed right through the middle of it by my client's Cavalier King Charles Spaniel!  It's machine pieced and quilted by machine (minimally, by today's standards) and I've been mulling over how to fix it for awhile now, knowing it was coming up in my queue.

My Replacement Block, Next to the Original


When working on a vintage repair for a client, I'm charging by the hour and trying to stick as closely as possible to the agreed-upon estimate, so I start with the absolute worst damage first and try to work as efficiently as possible.  This area of the quilt needs to be completely reconstructed through all three layers, so that's where I chose to begin.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Giverny Kaleidoscope Quilt Finish + Big Birthday Surprises: A Bernina Q24 is Coming Next Week (APQS Millennium + IntelliQuilter For Sale)!

Today's post is a long one; I have three things to share with you.  

1. Graduation Quilt Finished Early!

First things first, my lovelies -- I put the final stitches in the binding of Anders' high school graduation quilt last night.  I finished it EARLY, y'all -- graduation isn't until Tuesday, and Quillow Sunday at church is on June 6th.  Woo hoo!!  This was my One Monthly Goal for May, and it feels good to hit the finish line with several days to spare!

70 x 90 Giverny Teleidoscope Graduation Quilt for Anders

I really love how the ombre backing fabric came out, too:

Giverny Teleidoscope Ombre Backing

I ended up doing a 1/2" finished width binding on this quilt because it seemed more proportional to the oversized kaleidoscope blocks than my usual 1/4" binding.  As for the size, it came out right at 70" x 90" before washing it, and I used 100% cotton batting so I'm bracing myself for some shrinkage to happen in that first wash.  I had intended for the quilt to be a little larger, but it will be fine.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Preeti's Spring Broken Improv Quilt with Raindrops On Water E2E

You guys, I have been DYING to show you this client's quilt ever since it was on my frame a month ago, but I was sworn to secrecy.  This quilt top was created by my client Preeti of SewPreetiQuilts using improv piecing techniques (no pattern available).  Her inspiration for the quilt, entitled "Spring Broken," was the lost opportunity to enjoy this year's Spring Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. due to pandemic restrictions.  The fabrics are all from Ruby Star Society.  Isn't this gorgeous?

Raindrops On Water E2E on Preeti's Spring Broken Improv Quilt

I love it when clients send me quilt tops that are so different from the projects I'm working on myself.  I've never tried my hand at improv piecing before, but now I've made up my mind to sign up for an improv piecing workshop the very next time I have an opportunity to do so.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Date Night With Jack the Ripper: A Directional Tension Thriller With a Happy Ending

Friday Night with Jack the Ripper

You should have seen the look on my husband's face when I told him I was ripping stitches out of Anders' graduation quilt.  You'd think I just told him that I fed one of our neighbors to the dog or something.  It was all there in his eyes -- shock, horror, revulsion, "how could you do this to me, to us, and to our family?!" blah blah blah.  But a quilter's gotta do what a quilter's gotta do, and sometimes you just have to put on your Big Girl panties and reach for the seam ripper.

So I finished quilting Anders' graduation quilt late on Tuesday night, but when I took it off the frame and flipped it over, I saw a couple of spots where I wasn't happy with the stitching on the back of the quilt.  I know better than to make rash decisions when I'm tired, so I walked away from the quilt and decided to come back and triage in the daylight, after a good night's sleep.  Sometimes I can pick out and restitch small sections of quilting invisibly, knotting and burying the thread tails so you'd never know any "quilt surgery" had happened there.  This was not one of those times.

Tuesday Night, When I Thought I Was Finished

Inspection on Wednesday morning revealed directional tension problems in the first two rows of quilting, about 15" across the entire top of the quilt.  

What the Heck are Directional Tension Problems?

Oh, I'm so glad you asked!  

Friday, May 14, 2021

Spring Forth: One More Cuddle Quilt Ready for Outreach Drop-off This Weekend

Happy FRIDAY!!!  The Charlotte Quilters' Guild Outreach committee is doing a drop-off this weekend for charity quilts, and I managed to squeeze one more in for quilting so that I'll have three to turn in this month.  I took advantage of the opportunity to try out a new quilting design called Spring Forth.  It shows up really nicely on the pieced backing side of the quilt: 

Spring Forth E2E in Tabriz Orchid Glide Thread, Backing Side

I knew the quilting design wouldn't show well on the front of this heavily pieced quilt, and I didn't really want the quilting to stand out on the front of this one, so I tried to pick a design and thread color that would blend in and let the piecing shine.  Not every quilt is all about the quilting!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Tuesday's To Do List: Champagne in Giverny for Son-the-Younger

Well, I hope everyone likes the champagne bubbles because we're committed to them now!  After agonizing over trying to choose the perfect design for Anders' graduation quilt for weeks now, I finally decided to show a few options to the soon-to-be-graduate himself and see what HE likes.  Anders chose this design for his quilt, Kristin's Champagne Bubbles E2E, and I started stitching it out this afternoon.

Kristin's Champagne Bubbles E2E on Kaleidoscope Quilt

I just LOVE how my IntelliQuilter can quilt out such smooth, perfect circles onto a quilt, don't you?  This is one of those quilting designs that can only be stitched out with a computerized machine.  I chose 100% Quilter's Dream Cotton batting for this quilt since Anders complains about being too hot at night -- and since he'll be attending college in South Carolina.  The thread is Glide in color Split Pea, selected because it blends into most of the lighter colored fabrics in the quilt top and is a near-perfect match to the backing fabric.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Featherlicious Quilting on a Hunter Star Quilt + Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Wool Batting

This beautiful Hunter Star quilt is fresh off my frame, ready to be shipped back to my client Jo, and I am so pleased with how it turned out.  Jo pieced this quilt as a gift for her sister, using fabrics from Moda's Daybreak collection by Three Sisters.  

Abundant Feathers E2E on Jo's Hunter Star Quilt with Wool Batting

When Jo first reached out to me about this project, she had seen the Graffiti #7 E2E on my Color Outside the Lines quilt and thought she might like something similar.  I suggested Abundant Feathers instead because it has a similar sweeping movement, curved lines, and dramatic impact of the Graffiti design, but with a more traditional style that better complements the soft colors and traditional fabric prints in Jo's quilt.  

I know everyone loves seeing "Before & After" photos.  

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Spring Daffodils, Sunshine, and Abundant Feathers "for the Babies"

In addition to my personal quilting projects and the quilting I do for clients, I also quilt tops for our Charlotte Quilters' Guild's charity outreach program.  Our guild donates to the NICU and Pediatric wards at both the Atrium and Novant hospitals in Charlotte, in addition to the women's cancer units and veterans' hospice.  Many of our guild's members make donation quilts from start to finish, but others will bring in piles of pieced quilt tops for other members like me to quilt.  

The quilt I'm sharing today is one of nearly SIXTY quilt tops that were made and donated recently by a single person, a guild member's mother who is ninety years young.  Every morning she sits down at her vintage Singer sewing machine and sets to work on making "quilts for the babies and children in the hospital."  Just imagine how much love and compassion this one woman has sent out into the world over the decades of her lifetime, working one day and one stitch at a time!

39 x 39 Cuddle Quilt with Abundant Feathers E2E

The sunny color palette and daffodil print fabric are so cheerful, perfect for the Spring season.  

Saturday, May 1, 2021

It's All Fun and Games in the Studio Until Rebecca Unleashes the Flying Monkeys...

Hello, There!  It's Me, Rebecca Grace!

This blog post is a quick public service announcement for the extra-special readers who have subscribed to receive my posts automatically via email.  First of all, THANK YOU!  Full disclosure: When I put that little Follow by Email widget into the sidebar of my blog so many years ago, I thought the only person who'd ever sign up would be my mom.  I never dreamed that there were thousands of quilters out there who would care enough about what I had to say or was making to invite me into their personal in-boxes.  Your comments, questions, suggestions and encouragement mean so much to me.  💕

Affiliate Links Disclosure

Rebecca Grace Quilting participates in Amazon, Etsy, and AccuQuilt affiliate advertising programs. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission in the event that you make a purchase after clicking one of the links in my post. Thanks for your support!