Saturday, December 24, 2022

Merry Christmas! My Christmas Gumdrops Quilt is Finished!

Happy Almost Christmas, everyone!  I put the last stitch in the binding of my Christmas Gumdrops tumbler quilt last night so that's one less WIP (Work In Progress) that I will be carrying forward into 2023.  Woo-hoo!  Not quite as impressive as the last Christmas quilt finish I shared, but not every quilt needs to take ten years (and ten gallons of blood, sweat and tears) to finish!

Christmas Gumdrops Tumbler Quilt, 51 x 67 After Laundering

This one patch quilt was super easy to put together.  I used the 6" finished Tumbler die from AccuQuilt to cut my fabrics quickly and accurately (this post contains affiliate links).  Accuquilt makes tumbler dies in 3" and 4" sizes as well, but I chose the 6" size to better showcase my novelty Christmas fabrics and because larger fabric patches means fewer seams and a quilt that comes together a lot faster.  If you're interested in adding a tumbler die to your collection, now is a great time to do it because the 6" size I used and the smaller 4" tumbler die are both included in AccuQuilt's current buy-one, get-one-free promotion.  

Peppermint Palace E2E with Masterpiece Cotton Thread in Sage

I experimented with new-to-me thread and batting with this quilt.  The quilting thread is Superior's Masterpiece 50 weight 3-ply cotton thread in Sage, and the batting is Quilters Dream Cotton in the Supreme loft (double the thickness of Quilters Dream Select that is a typical midloft cotton batting).  

Thursday, December 15, 2022

"Ars Longa, Vita Brevis": My Jingle BOM is Finally a Finish!

So, did anyone want to see how my Jingle quilt turned out?  Ta da!  Woot woot!  Bring on the eggnog and pop the champagne!  Party in the streets!!!  Before getting into this, I want to give credit to pattern designer Erin Russek for creating this beautiful patchwork and appliqué design, for teaching me how to applique through her clear, well-written pattern instructions and tutorials, and for releasing this pattern as a mystery Block of the Month back in 2012 so I wouldn't know what I was getting into until I was too far in to give up!  Erin's blog is called One Piece At a Time and that's pretty much how she walks you through this quilt.  First we're going to make one leaf.  Then we're going to make one little bird...  If you just focus on learning one piece at a time, you can do anything, right?  Erin's Jingle pattern is now available in book form from C&T Publishing and you can get it directly from the publisher here or on Amazon here (this post contains affiliate links to defray the cost of the thousands of yards of thread that went into this quilt, wink wink).  Erin has lots of great applique tutorials and free projects currently available on her blog here and I can't recommend her patterns more highly, especially if you're someone like I was who admired appliqué but thought it would be "too hard."

Without further ado, here's my finished Jingle quilt:

68 x 68 Ars Longa, Vita Brevis (Jingle) Totally Finished

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Megan's Knitted Star Quilt + Janita's Wintry Batik Table Runner

 Hello, there, Quilty Peeps!  I hope you are all staying warm (or cool, if you live in a hot climate) and are managing the hubbub of the holiday season with a level head, a grateful heart, and an overflowing glass of eggnog (if you’re into that sort of thing).  I am 95% finished with my gift shopping, the trees are up and decorated thanks to Bernie, and Christmas carols are looping through my brain like jolly elvish ear worms.  How about y’all?

I did finish the custom quilting on Jingle but I’m waiting to share it until it's labeled, bound, and is hanging on my wall.  Meanwhile, I have a couple of clients' quilts with seasonal flair to share with you today.

Megan's Knitted Star Quilt

Check out this striking Knitted Star quilt made by my client Megan!  The pattern is by Brittany Lloyd of Lo & Behold Stitchery, and you can purchase the pattern alone or a complete kit here (this post contains affiliate links).  

Megan's 64 x 64 Knitted Star Quilt with Gems 2 Quilting Design

Megan used a Kona Solids kit pairing Kona White with Gotham Gray.  I've seen other versions of this quilt made up with a white background and red and green snowflakes, red background with green or white snowflakes, which also look great.  Brittany hosted an eight week Knitted Star QAL (quilt-along) on her blog when she released this pattern two years ago, and those step-by-step tutorials are still available here if any of you are interested in making this project.  If you are local to Charlotte, North Carolina, Megan is hoping to offer this quilt as an in-person class at Quilt Patch Fabrics in Matthews.  Call the shop at 704-821-7554 if you're interested.  One more "helpful hint" from me is that this pattern, like many of Brittany's designs, involves cutting and piecing many, many strips of fabric and the accuracy of your cutting (and piecing) those strips will have a huge impact on how easily this goes together for you.  Accuquilt is offering their strip cutting dies at steep discounts right now, and being able to cut 24 perfectly straight, exact width strips in a single pass would not only speed you through the cutting process so you could start sewing sooner, it would also improve accuracy and reduce the possibility of cutting mistakes that can happen when rotary cutting hundreds of strips.  

I quilted Megan's Knitted Star with a pattern called Gems 2 that creates a wonderful illusion of depth, an effect that is further enhanced by the loft of Megan's favorite batting, Quilters Dream Wool.  The thread is Glide in White.

Detail of Gems 2 on Megan's Knitted Star

The thread was chosen to disappear against the white patchwork snowflakes.  Had I used a dark gray or black thread to disappear into the background, it would have detracted from the bold graphic design of the patchwork.  

Friday, December 2, 2022

Christmas Stars and Snowflakes for Janita + Custom Quilting Jingle's Pieced Blocks

Good Morning, Happy December, and Happy Advent!!!  I have one finished client's quilt to share with you today PLUS those of you who are patient enough to read through all of my blah blah blah (or those sneaky enough to just scroll to the bottom) will also be rewarded with a few progress photos of the custom quilting that is still in progress on my Jingle appliqué quilt.  The end is in sight!  But first, let's ooh and aah over Janita's pretty Christmas Star quilt:

Janita's Christmas Star Quilt

Detail of First Snow E2E Stitched in Glide Thread, Color Dijon

This is such a pretty pattern.  I'm always a sucker for a star quilt, and the way the red X at the center of these stars connects to the sashing also reminds me of red ribbons tied around gift packages, with the stars as giant bows!  

Janita's 55 x 71 Christmas Star Quilt

I don't have pattern info for this quilt, but if anyone reading this recognizes the pattern source please share that in the comments and I'll update the post to include that information for anyone wanting to make their own version of this quilt.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Custom Quilting Background Fills on My Jingle Appliqué Quilt

Happy Wednesday-Before-Thanksgiving!  Is today a cooking/baking day for you, a traveling day, a cleaning day, or a decorating day?  For me, it's a QUILTING day!  This has been my week off from quilting for clients, and I've been hustling along with the custom quilting on my own Christmas quilt, hoping to get it finished and ready to display for the holidays.  I just wanted to pop in and share a few quick images of my progress so far.  This is the portion of the center medallion that I was able to mark and quilt yesterday:

Center Appliqué Medallion with Background Fill Quilting In Progress

By the way, before I go any further I should mention that the pattern book for this quilt, Jingle Quilt by Erin Russek, will be on sale tomorrow through Monday for C&T Publishing's Black Friday and Cyber Monday site wide 30% off holiday sale event.  If you've been thinking you might want to make your own version of my Jingle quilt, or you've had your eye on any other quilting or crafting books from C&T Publishers, use the codes BLACKFRIDAY30 (valid November 24-27) and CYBERMONDAY30 (on November 28) to get 30% off your order.  (Yes, this post contains affiliate links, blah blah disclaimer blah...)

Seriously, I can't recommend Erin's patterns and instructions enough.  This is my very-first-ever appliqué project after years and years of admiring appliqué quilts and thinking they were too difficult for me to attempt.  Erin's instructions are so clear and her methods are goof-proof, even for beginners.  

Monday, November 21, 2022

Move Over: A Modern "Klimt" Strip Quilt Finish for Julia + A FMQ Refresher for Rebecca

And now, back to our Regularly Scheduled Programming...  Look at this beautiful Move Over quilt that my client Julia brought me for quilting a few months ago!  Back in the Summer when I was quilting this, the staggered strips of turquoise blue in this quilt reminded me of ocean waves crashing on the shore -- the white strips were the foam.  But now, with all the snow getting dumped on the Northeastern United States, I see a blizzard in Julia's quilt, and the black and white polka dots are snowflakes!

Julia's 60 x 77 Move Over Quilt with Rolling Waves E2E

Move Over is a pattern by Mari Martin for Connecting Threads that is available as an instant download here.  It's a beginner-friendly pattern that would go together quickly for a more experienced quilter, and I can envision it looking great in a mix of red, green and white fabrics for the holidays.  I quilted this for Julia with Rolling Waves E2E, a digital design that can definitely suggest waves as the name implies.  On Julia's quilt, this quilting design in conjunction with the straight line "bars" and irregular speckled polka dot fabric also reminds me of a recurring motif in Gustav Klimt's fabulous Art Nouveau paintings from early in the 20th century:

Bildnis Emilie Flöge by Gustav Klimt, 1902, Wien Museum

See those wavy lines with swirls in the woman's dress?  

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Ten-Year Projects In Progress: Update on Frankenwhiggish Rose, Jingle BOM, + Deco Quilts

So...  I put my Whig Rose blocks back up on my design wall yesterday morning to see how much work remains to be done on them.  I started this needle turn appliqué project in March of 2014 (you can read about it here) and it's been an on-again, off-again kind of thing.  I'm finding it really monotonous to appliqué the same shapes over and over again.  The reason I haven't started any of the Sarah Fielke 2022 Block of the Month projects I signed up for is that I wanted to finish THIS appliqué project before starting on a new one, and this one ain't finished yet!

FrankenWhiggish Blocks on November 12, 2022

Just for kicks, let's compare today's photo to the one from the last time I had these blocks up on my design wall, back in January of this year:

FrankenWhiggish Blocks on January 12, 2022

So it took me TEN MONTHS to complete eighteen of those wretched little tulips!  AAAARGH!!  And I still have ten more to go.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Where Are My Lone Star/Star of Bethlehem Quilter Peeps??? Rebecca Needs a New Challenge Project!

 Alright, y'all -- from time to time I have to subject you to one of these posts where I get carried away by the wild, delirious possibilities of new projects that I may or may not be starting.  Today is one of those days, and I'm about to drag you around the inside of my brain like you're on Willy Wonka's wild ride through the chocolate factory!!

Having recently finished my Nanu Nanu! Retro '80s Building Blocks Sampler quilt that I started in 2016, and having finished my mammoth Pineapple Juice Nostalgia pineapple log cabin quilt last year that I'd been working on since 2014, I am feeling like I have earned the right to start a challenging new project.   Especially since I have another major long-term WIP quilt, my Jingle applique sampler that I started in 2013, scheduled to go back on the longarm the week of Thanksgiving so I can finish custom quilting it.  Nevermind that I am still not done with my Frankenwhiggish Rose needleturn applique blocks or that I have yet to start any of the three Sarah Fielke BOM projects that I signed up for this year.  We have a saying about that in the South: I'm FIXING to start them...  ;-). Seriously, though -- I've decided to wait on those until the end of the year, when the entirety of all three patterns is available to me, so I can confidently ignore all of the directions and do whatever I want with them, out of order, as I please.  And so, this reproduction pattern from Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts came sauntering by, shaking its tail feathers at me, and I am feeling smitten:

Behold, Stars Upon Stars!

Stars Upon Stars 64 x 74 19th Century Reproduction, Pattern available here

Stars Upon Stars is a late 19th century quilt owned by the Grand Rapids Public Museum in Michigan, and Edyta Sitar obtained permission from the museum to draft her pattern.  You can read more about this quilt and zoom in on high resolution photos on the museum's web site here.   You can purchase the Laundry Basket Quilts pattern to make your own version of this quilt on Etsy here (and yes, this post contains affiliate links to help pay for the asylum to which I'll likely be committed if I actually start this quilt and it doesn't go well...  😅)

Friday, November 4, 2022

Mary's Offset Gradients Quilts + A Show Ribbon for Talia's and Michelle's American Violet Quilt

Yippee, Skippy -- I get to share another of Mary's jaw-dropper quilts with you today!

Offset Gradients (Spectrum) Quilt for Mary

Mary's 57 x 78 Offset Gradients (Spectrum) Quilt, Pattern Available on Etsy Here

Mary used the Spectrum quilt pattern from Alison Glass to make her Offset Gradients quilt, and you can find that pattern for sale on Etsy here (this post contains affiliate links).  You can see Mary's completed quilt, all bound and finished, and read more about her process on her blog Quilting Is In My Blood here.  Oh my gosh, I love how this quilt turned out SO MUCH!  It was so hard to pack this up and ship it back to Mary when it was finished!!

Offset Gradients with Sunrise Chevron Quilting

We used Hobbs 80/20 Black Cotton/Polyester batting for this quilt because of the deep, rich fabric colors.  An 80/20 batting gives beautiful definition to a quilting design without getting too "puffy."

This is one of my favorite quilts that I've quilted because it's such an excellent example of how you can achieve the visual impact of custom quilting with an allover, edge-to-edge quilting design.  

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Edge-to-Edge Quilting Over Machine Appliqué: Megan's Fiesta de Talavera + Debbie's Modern Rectangular Chevron Quilt

Good morning and happy Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday!  I've been working on this post in fits and snatches throughout the week.  😉  

So, the Barnful of Quilts show in Waxhaw that I told you about in my last post went off without a hitch a couple weeks ago.  It was a perfect early autumn Saturday, the air crisp without being cold, all the trees in peak foliage and beautiful sunshine filtering into the barn to illuminate the quilts on display.  Many thanks to host and organizer of the show, Valerie Fox of Fox Family Farms, and to her co-organizer (and my client) Megan Shein and their small army of volunteers who scrubbed the barn spotless, climbed ladders to hang quilts, and saw to the myriad details that made the event a smashing success!

Megan’s Glorious Fiesta de Talavera Quilt

One quilt that I especially enjoyed seeing at the show was this machine appliquéd quilt, Fiesta de Talavera made by my client Megan.  This was one of several quilts I’ve quilted for Megan that were exhibited in the show, but it's the only one I hadn't shared yet on my blog.  Doesn’t it look fantastic hanging from the barn rafters?  

Megan's 67 x 67 Fiesta de Talavera Quilt with Denali E2E Quilting

Fiesta de Talavera is all fusible raw edge appliqué, satin stitched, done completely "in the hoop" using machine embroidery, and Megan made this quilt in a class at a local shop that specializes in machine embroidery.  The Fiesta de Talavera pattern and digital machine embroidery designs are by J. Michelle Watts for Anna's Awesome Appliqué Designs, available here on Etsy (this post contains affiliate links).  I should mention, for those who haven't done any machine embroidery -- just because it's computerized doesn't mean it is instant!  This quilt required hours and hours of cutting and stitching over weeks and weeks to create all of these intricate blocks, and once all of the embroidery was finished the blocks still needed to be sewn together the same as any other quilt top.  I'll circle back to this quilt and give you more details about it later in this post, but first I want to show you another client's completely different style of machine appliquéd quilt that I also quilted with an allover, edge-to-edge design.  We tend to associate appliqué with traditional quilt styles, but it's a useful technique for modern quilts, too.

Debbie's Stunning Rectangle Chevron Quilt

This next quilt was made by my client Debbie, who told me it was a UFO (UnFinished Object) project that she'd begun in a workshop at one point and was glad to be finally finishing and crossing off her list.  I don't know the name of the workshop or who taught it, but the the techniques involved were traditional piecing and fusible raw edge appliqué (of the skinny, lighter valued rectangular shapes).  Whereas Megan's raw edge appliqué was satin stitched "in the hoop" with an embroidery machine, Debbie's raw edge appliqué was stitched on her regular sewing machine with a blanket stitch, pivoting and turning the project under the needle at every corner.  

Debbie's 54 x 59 Rectangle Chevron UFO Quilt with Starlight E2E Quilting

Isn't this gorgeous?  Debbie's quilt was hanging in my office for a few days before she got back from vacation and was able to pick it up, everyone who saw it was oohing and aaahing over it.

So, instead of talking about just one of these quilts at a time, I thought it would be fun to share these two quilts together, both machine appliqué, both edge-to-edge quilting designs, one in a traditional floral album appliqué style and the other very contemporary and geometric.  

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Suzette's Stunning Improv Quilt + The Barnful of Quilts Show in Waxhaw TODAY!

Good Morning, my lovelies!  Today's post needs to be short and sweet because I'm exhibiting at today's Barnful of Quilts show in Waxhaw from 10 AM to 6 PM.  If you're local and you're looking for something fun to do today (I'm writing this on Saturday, October 15th), head on out to Waxhaw and look for me!  The address is 7505 Sims Road in Waxhaw, NC.  Hope to see you there!

Before I head out the door, I wanted to share this stunning improvisationally pieced quilt made by my client Suzette.  It looks like an art piece that you'd hang in a gallery, but at 93" x 105" it was sized and intended to be a bed quilt for her daughter.

Suzette's 93 x 105 Improv Bed Quilt with Tikki Soft E2E Quilting

Suzette's daughter, the one for whom she made this quilt, works at the Whitney Museum in New York City.  

Tikki Soft E2E Stitched Sideways in Omni Natural White Thread

Now for the quilty details: We chose the Tikki Soft E2E quilting design by Karlee Porter for functional as well as aesthetic reasons, loading the quilt sideways on my frame to stitch the design with a vertical orientation.  I used Quilter's Dream 80/20 batting and Omni thread in Natural White (this post contains affiliate links).

Friday, October 7, 2022

The One Where the Longarm Quilter Finishes Her OWN QUILT: Nanu Nanu! Retro '80s Building Blocks is Ta-DONE

Y'all are not going to believe how I decided to quilt my Retro '80s Building Blocks sampler that I've been working on in fits and snatches since 2016.  When I started this project, I was drawn to it partly because it would be so much fun to custom quilt each block individually...  But by the time the quilt top was finished SIX years later (who's counting?), I just wanted the quilt to be done.

85 x 93 Nanu Nanu! Retro '80s Building Blocks is FINISHED!

I know some of you are in shock, wondering why I would take a challenging quilt pattern, make lots of changes to make it even more difficult to put together, and then just quilt over six years of blood, sweat and tears with an allover meandering edge-to-edge design.  Well, I will explain.  

Reason #1: This is a Bed Quilt, Not a Show Quilt

This Time, It Fits the Bed Perfectly

Don't you love how the rainbow borders tie in with the Pink Floyd poster above the bed?  And it's no coincidence that I have the exact same shades of blue, yellow, green, white and red in my quilt to match the wallpaper in the adjoining bathroom, either.  I matched my Kona Cotton Solids Color Card fabric swatches to my handprinted Italian wallpaper in the early planning stages of this quilt!  Once an interior designer, always an interior designer...

From his second birthday until he was 12 years old, my younger son Anders slept underneath his Mommy-made "Froggy Quilt of Many Colors."  I finally took it off the bed because it was beginning to show some serious wear and because I thought the novelty frog print fabrics were too babyish for a middle schooler, and I promised him that I would make him a new quilt.  Because I overcomplicated the plan for the new quilt and got sidetracked with lots of other projects along the way, Anders has been sleeping under a plain old comforter from Bed Bath & Beyond for the past 6 or 7 years, a comforter that was supposed to just be "temporary" until Mom finished the new quilt.  Oh, the SHAME!  I can't tell you how good it makes me feel when I walk past his room and see a handmade quilt on his bed again!  

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Mary's Murmuration + Knockout Nene Quilts

Last night, I finished up quilting two gorgeous quilts for my client Mary.  😍. I keep pulling out my phone to look at and drool over the photos -- I am dying to share these quilts with you!  But it will take about a week for the big, brown UPS truck to get these quilts from my studio in North Carolina back to Mary in New Mexico, and then Mary will understandably want to bind both quilts and share them on her own blog, Quilting Is In My Blood, before I share the quilting photos here.    So you don't get to see those quilts today.

But then I realized that somehow I neglected to share two earlier projects that I quilted for Mary several months ago.  How did THAT happen?!  I know how it happened.  I loaded someone else's beautiful quilt on my frame and got totally engrossed and distracted!  

Without further ado...

Mary's Murmuration Quilt with Contour Cocoon E2E

Murmuration is an improvisation pieced quilt pattern from Bryan House Quilts, available for sale here.  The watery blues and greens of Mary's fabrics inspired the quilting design, Contour Cocoon by one of my favorite digital designers, Karlee Porter.

Mary's 62 x 72 Murmuration Quilt with Contour Cocoon E2E Quilting

In order to get that cascading waterfall effect with the quilting design, I loaded Murmuration sideways on my longarm frame -- like Landscape instead of Portrait mode, in photography terminology.  This is what Contour Cocoon looks like the way it's designed to stitch out:

Detail of Contour Cocoon E2E, Upright Orientation

Among quilters shopping for their first longarm quilting machines, a frequent discussion topic in social media forums is how big of a frame is needed.  Usually people think about this in terms of how many King size quilts they are likely to quilt for themselves, and how many King size quilts they think their potential customers might bring if they are wanting to start a business.  However, my 13' frame isn't only useful for King quilts.  

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Happy First Day of Fall 2022! Nancy's Trail to Kansas Quilt + Elaine's Yellow Brick Road Quilt

 At exactly 9:03 PM EDT today, the Sun will traipse across the Celestial Equator.  Do you know what that means?  It means that today is the first day of FALL, despite temps still in the nineties and the threat of boob sweat stopping us Southerners from decking ourselves out in sweaters as we long to do.  We will rip out our impatiens and plant mums, and pile pumpkins, gourds, and random bales of hay on our suburban porches.  We may still be wearing sandals for a few months longer, but we will be choosing fall colors for our pedicures from here on out.  It's all about "mind over matter" as we celebrate the arrival of Fake Fall in the Carolinas.  

To help us all get in the mood for the new season, I've been holding back a couple of Fall client quilts to share with you today.  Grab your pumpkin spiced latte, your pumpkin muffins, slather on some pumpkin spice hand cream and if it STILL doesn't feel like it's fall, try lighting a pumpkin spice candle or two.  Here we go!

Nancy's Piecing the Trail to Kansas Quilt

There is a story behind this quilt, and another story behind THAT story...  When Nancy contacted me about this project, it had been languishing as a UFO (UnFinished Object) for quite some time.  The pattern is called Piecing the Trail to Kansas by Lynne Hagmeier of Kansas Troubles Quilters, and it comes with a historical fiction "journal" that has a chapter for each month about the joys and sorrows experienced by a family of pioneers on the wagon train to Kansas Territory in the 1850s.  The quilt block for each month related to what was happening in the book for that month's chapter.

Nancy tells me that she really got into the story about the pioneer experience and had enjoyed piecing the quilt top as a BOM (Block of the Month) program at a local quilt shop, but once the BOM program ended, her enthusiasm for finishing it petered out.

Nancy's 79 x 90 Trail to Kansas Quilt, Finished at Last with Primitive Fall E2E

I'm so glad she brought this to me because it's a gorgeous quilt that deserved to be finished!  There is also a story behind the Primitive Fall edge-to-edge quilting design we selected for this quilt, featuring pumpkins, moons, stars, birds (crows?), and botanicals.

Detail of Primitive Fall E2E on Nancy's Quilt

In the pattern cover photo below, you can see the additional appliqué elements that were supposed to be added to the background of this quilt.  Nancy had had enough of this project and just didn't feel motivated to do all of that appliqué work, even though the appliqué elements were symbolic representations of the storyline about the pioneer woman's family.  

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Carrie's Gorgeous Rainbow Quilt + My NEW Favorite Batting

Good morning, my lovelies!  Keeping secrets is so hard...  I have been in agony for weeks, waiting until I could share this spectacular rainbow quilt made by my client Carrie (and quilted by Yours Truly).  

Carrie's 75 x 75 Rainbow Quilt with Raindrops on Water E2e

Carrie, who describes herself as a "relatively new quilter," is a new client who found me on Instagram and took that leap of faith to ship her quilt top off to a stranger in another state.  This is her first time making a quilt with solid color fabrics and her first time hiring a longarm quilter.  She made this quilt as a wedding gift and I hear it was a big hit.  💕

Loving the Dimension and Weight of the Deluxe Loft Cotton Batting!

I am always excited when I see solid and tonal printed fabrics in a client's quilt top because I know that whichever quilting design we choose, it is going to show up dramatically on solid fabrics whereas the quilting often gets "swallowed up" by busy prints.  The quilting design on this one, by the way, is Raindrops on Water.  Because there is some backtracking in this design and because we wanted to see quilting texture more than quilting stitches, I chose 50 wt So Fine in color Blizzard for the thread (this post contains affiliate links).  But what I'm REALLY excited about is the batting we used -- do you see that magnificent, delicious, and decadent dimensional texture?  Are you guessing wool?  Because if you are, you are wrong!  This is Quilter's Dream Cotton batting, DELUXE loft.  

Friday, September 9, 2022

Olivia's Church Windows, Gail's Autumn Bear Paws, and My '80s Sampler Gets Borders and Backing Fabric

Good happy morning, everyone!  I am so far behind in posting photos of the quilts I've been doing for clients that I am having a hard time deciding which quilts to share with you today.  Seriously!  The second-best part about being a longarm quilter is that I get to see and collaborate on so many gorgeous quilts in every color and style imaginable.  (The very best part about my job is that I get to meet, talk with, and be inspired by the wonderful people who make these quilts).  

So, considering that my phone is busting at the seams with photos I haven't shared yet, I ought to quit writing the blah blah and just show you some quilts already!

Church Windows Baby Quilt for Olivia

The maker of this fresh and modern baby quilt is a high school math teacher, so she's automatically my hero.  Olivia has brought me several baby quilts over the past year, shower gifts that she's made for friends and relatives.  This one is extra-special, though, because it's for Olivia's own first child who is due to arrive any day now.  I'm so excited for her!

Olivia's 39 x 40 Church Windows Baby Quilt

Olivia chose the Church Window quilt pattern from Lo and Behold Stitchery, available on Etsy here (this post contains affiliate links).  After looking at lots of designs together, Olivia chose this Annabelle edge to edge design from Christy Dillon for its ability to soften the geometry of the piecing lines with soft curves, feminine florals, and a modern vibe that will "grow with the baby" versus anything overtly "baby."  Don't you love the way the flowers appear to be vines supported by a patchwork trellis on this quilt?

Annabelle E2E Design Stitched in Barely Pink So Fine Thread

We used Quilter's Dream Bamboo blend batting, one of my favorites for baby quilts due to its lighter weight, softness and breathability.  Previously known as Quilter's Dream Orient, this blend includes not only bamboo but also silk, cotton, and Tencel fibers.  The thread I used is 50 weight So Fine in color Barely Pink.  So Fine is a great choice for quilting designs like this one that involve backtracking/overstitching on previously stitched quilting lines because it doesn't build up and look "thready" in those areas.  

Monday, September 5, 2022

Note To Self: There Are No Magical Border Elves Who Finish Quilts While You Are Sleeping

Oh my gosh, y'all -- I would so much rather be making blocks for a new quilt rather than putting seven borders on this WIP (Work In Progress) project that I've been puttering around with for the past six(!) years!  When I came up with this bright idea of Mork's rainbow suspenders for a quilt border, I was only thinking about how cool it would look and not thinking at all about actually having to go to all of this bother at the tail end of the project when I just want to be DONE with it already!  I procrastinated cutting the border strips after I cut the black inner border a couple months ago -- swiftly remembering how much I hate cutting long lengthwise strips for a big bed quilt.  Well, I finally cut them all and have been piecing them together and attaching them to my Retro '80s Building Blocks sampler.  This is where I left off last night, with only the final purple border strips waiting to be attached:

Only One More Border to Go!

First, I'd joined the Kona Lipstick and Kona Black borders together, pressing the seam allowance towards the black on the top and bottom strips and towards the red on the left and right side strips.  That way, the seams nested and locked together nicely when I mitered the red+black border corners.

Trying to Keep Organized...

Then the next four colors were strip pieced together to apply as a single border: Kona Tangerine, Kona Grellow, Kona Peridot, and Kona Ocean.  

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Betty's Woven Radiance Quilt in Tula Pink True Colors + A Shout Out to Samwise for National Dog Day

Hey there, Quiltfolk!  Today I'm sharing a quilt made by my client Betty for her young granddaughter, who was personally involved in selecting the Tula Pink True Colors fabrics for her quilt.  (This post contains affiliate links).

Quilting Whirligig on Betty's Woven Radiance Quilt

With a quilt like this one, it's all about those dazzling print fabrics -- the quilting design needs to be secondary and subtle.  We chose Karlee Porter's Whirligig quilting design because I felt like Karlee's mod flowers channeled a similar vibe as the Tula Pink fabrics, and I liked the movement of the wavy horizontal lines connecting the quilted flowers and bubbles.  Thread is Glide in a pale blue-green called Mint Julep and the batting is Quilters Dream Cotton

Betty's 77 x 94 Woven Radiance Quilt with Whirligig E2E

By the way, Woven Radiance was designed by Stacey Day for Free Spirit Fabrics to promote the Tula Pink True Colors fabric collection.  The pattern for Woven Radiance is available as a FREE download from the pattern designer here.  I love the color placement in this quilt -- it just shimmers!

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Eat My Cake: Public Art at the Historic Asbury Park Waterfront in New Jersey

Good morning, lovelies!  When I was visiting my sister's family in New Jersey last month, I stumbled upon a fabulous series of public art installations right on the waterfront of historic Asbury Park.  As much as I love the accessibility of fine art in museums open to the public (instead of all art being owned by private collectors before museums became a thing), the art in museums can only impact people who have free time, money for admission, and transportation. Sometimes the art in traditional museums can be confusing and alienating to viewers who haven't had access to the kind of education that enables us to appreciate things like historical context, symbolism, etc.  But contemporary street art?  That's the most democratic art of all, art that meets people in their own communities, speaking in a visual language that is current rather than arcane, encouraging residents and visitors to engage with the artwork on a personal level.

Detail of Eat My Cake by Holly Suzanne Rader

My favorite mural was Eat My Cake by "graffiti glam" artist Holly Suzanne Rader of Hollywould Studios.  Check out this short video by the artist where she talks about her inspiration for depicting Marie Antoinette wearing a candy ring pop on her finger and mirror gem-encrusted Dolce & Gabbana headphones, as well as her hope that her work might inspire more little girls to become artists.

Welcome to Asbury Park

But I know most of you have never been to Asbury Park, so I need to set the scene for you.  This is a town on the northern Atlantic coast of New Jersey that was first developed in the late 1800s as a summer resort destination, with a beautiful carousel and a Beaux Arts Convention Hall and Paramount Theatre complex (built in 1925 to replace a previous structure that was destroyed by fire) that spans the boardwalk and stretches right onto the sandy beach with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.  

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Lucky Stars and Oriana for Ramona: Behind the Scenes with Backing, Design Choice, and Thread Selection

Good morning, my lovelies!  I have missed you!  These past few weeks have been busy for me with travel, family celebrations, and moving Son-the-Elder into his off-campus apartment at Appalachian State, and as a result I have quite a backlog of quilts to share with you.  Today we're looking at two gloriously colorful quilts, both made by my client Ramona who blogs at Doodlebugs and Rosebuds Quilts.  

Ramona's Lucky Stars Quilt

Detail of Lucky Stars with Grecian E2E

First up is Lucky Stars, a pattern by Atkinson design that you can find here on Etsy (this post contains affiliate links).  Lucky Stars is a fat-quarter-friendly pattern that is perfect for showing off Ramona's collection of Kaffe Fassett prints and batiks.  I love how the sawtooth star blocks are designed so the stars float just within the background fabric -- no risk of losing your star points if your piecing is less than perfect, which makes this a great pattern for beginners, too.  I am adding this to my own ever-lengthening list of wanna-make-its!  Wouldn't this be great as a baby quilt? 

Ramona's 76 x 91 Lucky Stars Quilt with Grecian E2E

This quilt was unusual for me in that, after some initial back-and-forth with design options, Ramona ultimately left the choice of the quilting design completely up to me and she had no idea how I was quilting her Lucky Stars until it was finished.  Ordinarily I consult with clients and make design recommendations, but get their approval on the final selection.  

Monday, July 25, 2022

Barbara's Gee's Bend Inspired Housetop Quilt

Do I have a treat to share with you today!!  This striking contemporary quilt was made by my client Barbara, who was inspired by the iconic "Housetop" style of abstract quiltmaking that was pioneered by the African-American quilting tradition that originated in Gee's Bend, Alabama.  If you're not familiar with the Gee's Bend quilting tradition, definitely check out both of those links. And then check out this article detailing the history of the Gee's Bend quilters in the Smithsonian Magazine, too.   Do it now -- I'll wait!  Seriously!  I would argue that the entire modern quilting movement as we know it today traces its roots back to "The Quilts of Gee's Bend" exhibit that took the art world by storm when it opened at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 2002:

Gee's Bend's "eye-poppingly gorgeous quilts turn out to be some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced. Imagine Matisse and Klee (if you think I'm wildly exaggerating, see the show), arising not from rarefied Europe, but from the caramel soil of the rural South."             -- Michael Kimmelman, Art Critic for the New York Times


Barbara's 57 x 65 Housetops Quilt with Bobbing For Apples E2E

So hopefully now you've given yourself a crash-course on the Gee's Bend quiltmaking tradition and you can fully appreciate what Barbara was working towards with this piece.  Don't you just love the mix of colors and fabrics in her quilt?  The vivid coral orange, salmon pink, brick red and mustard with just that little bit of deep raspberry convey so much energy!  And I love how this quilt reads as though it's all solids from a distance, yet she does have that khaki and white stripe in there and wide swaths of the yellow tonal print fabric.  Those details make the finished piece so much more interesting than it might have been with a more restricted assortment of fabrics.

This Quilt Is Even More Gorgeous In Real Life

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Feather Quilting Dresses Up Jingle's Setting Triangles

Hey there, Quilty Folk!  I finally have some quilting progress to share on my Jingle sampler that is not invisible!

Sashing Triangles Done, Just Starting This Star Block

By the time I was done with the Drudgery That Is Ditch-Stitching, a little devil was whispering wicked things in my ear like "How much credibility would I lose as a professional longarm quilter if I paid someone else to do this for me?" and "maybe I should try some other hobby, like golf?"  Y'all, I have tried golf and it did not go well -- so it looks like I'm stuck with quilting!

It took me three days to quilt these feather designs in my setting triangles, four if you count the day I spent considering all of the bazillion possible ways I could quilt them until I narrowed it down to this one.  It's a digital block design from Anne Bright that I chose because it has formal, symmetrical feathers that complement the style of metallic Hoffman fabrics that I used in my borders and fussy cut for some of the blocks.  But it's not too traditional, either, with the staggered feather plumes curling around on themselves.  There's a touch of whimsy to these feathers that connects well with the simple appliqué shapes.  At least, that's the hope!

These Inside Corners Were Challenging!

These weird inside corner shapes (above in green and below in red) were challenging both in deciding what to quilt there, how I wanted to turn the corner with the design, and then fitting the designs into the weirdly-shaped spaces.  I was very glad when I had the fourth one stitched without messing any of them up!  

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

More Christmas In July: Sharon's Flannel Snowflake Quilt + Jingle Progress

Since my last post was all about boring invisible ditch quilting, I feel like I invited you all to a parade to see the Emperor's (imaginary) New Clothes!  So today I am sharing another Christmas quilt, but with this quilt you can actually see the quilting.  I quilted this one a few months ago and I've been waiting for July to share it with you.

My mom pieced this quilt using the Snowflake pattern from Modern Handcraft and a kit of flannel fabrics from Keepsake Quilting.  She chose Minky dot fabric for the backing, and the finished quilt is soft, snuggly, and weighty -- perfect for curling up with a good book or a Hallmark Christmas movie in the month of December.

Sharon's 60 x 72 Flannel Snowflake Quilt

This is only my mom's second quilt ever -- didn't she do a great job?  We went with Quilters Dream 80/20 batting and Glide thread in White.  The edge-to-edge quilting design is called Snowflake E2E 2 and it took forever to stitch out.  

Saturday, July 2, 2022

It's Christmas In July! 9 Years In the Making, My Jingle Quilt is Finally On the Frame

You guys -- NINE years after starting my very first appliqué project, and THREE years after completing the quilt top, Jingle is FINALLY on my frame for custom quilting!  WOO-HOO!!!

Jingle Is On the Frame!  This Is Happening!!!

I had admired appliqué quilts in the pages of Quilters Newsletter Magazine and at quilt shows for years before attempting one, thinking that appliqué was a really advanced skill that would be way out of my reach as a novice quilter.  And then one day I stumbled across Erin Russek's quilting blog, One Piece At a Time, and saw that she was doing a free pattern called Jingle as a Block of the Month combining pieced blocks with prepared edge, hand stitched applique.  Her applique tutorials were outstanding and her voice was so encouraging that I decided to give it a try.  Erin's pattern for this quilt is no longer offered for free because it was published in book form in 2021.  You can purchase the Jingle pattern here on Amazon, or directly from the publisher here (This post contains affiliate links).  

Loaded Up and Ready to Go

I've scheduled a couple of weeks at the beginning of July for custom quilting Jingle, but if I'm not finished by the time I need to start on my next client's quilt I can just zip it off my frame and set it aside.  I am hoping to either completely finish the quilting or at least get it to where I'd just need to come back and finish background fills.  Fingers crossed -- this is my One Monthly Goal for July.