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.