Sunday, April 30, 2017

Little Whales Quilt

Fun little breath of fresh air for me, after a couple of really detailed projects (check 'em out here and here!). This will go to a little baby boy, and it's super cute. The fabrics are ultra-soft flannels and minkies. Sylvia and I decided to use high-loft polyester batting, to give it a bit of structure, since the flannel fabrics were so drapey and limp. But large-scale, loose stippling will keep it fluffy and cuddly. It's gonna be warm and durable and great for an energetic little boy! Good one, Sylvia!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Linda's Snowman quilt

This is the second quilt of this kind that I've gotten to work on. The first was the class sample for Rumpled Quiltskins. I had fun trying to change it up a little bit to make this one unique. Nothing major, because my client liked the first one, but just a few differences here and there. I have to say, I kinda love how it turned out!

My quilty friend Linda made some subtle changes to the pattern when she pieced/appliqued/embroidered this one. And I got to improve on some ideas that I started in the original. For one, I repeated the snowflake pattern in the outer borders, but last time, I was sad they didn't show up better. So this time, I used TWO threads in my machine.

Even with two threads, I STILL wish the snowflakes were more prominent. They took a long time to trace and stitch. Maybe if I got to do another quilt like this, I'd try using something thicker - maybe like a DNC floss or doily thread. I'll have to do more research. Or perhaps I would use a totally different colored thread for the surrounding filler - like red or something dark.

Some small-scale swirls in the border, surrounding the snowflakes. And diagonal candy-cane strips in the inner two borders, treated as a single border. Loopty-Loops in the gray sashing strips.

I did a LOT of outlining in the snowman blocks. Around every single tree and snowman and scarf and mitten. I think it gave the details great definition.

This is one of my favorite parts - where this tree travels through TWO squares. Snowman propping it up in the bottom square, and squirrels playing on it at the top. So fun and whimsical!

These neighboring snow-people are giving each other Christmas gifts. Cute!

Pieced backing. Had to share a pic!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Campers Quilt

This little cutie came to me from my client Lorna, and it's a store sample at Rumpled Quilt Skins in Okotoks, AB. Lorna is so great at getting the most out of her sewing machine's decorative stitches. All sorts of little embellishments were used for details on the campers, and there were more added after I gave the quilt back to her. Buttons on the tires, clothespins, mini pillows, etc. Be sure to stop by the shop and see the real thing!

The pattern is called "Campers" by Amy Bradley Designs.

My quilting is all free-motion, hand-guided on a longarm quilting machine.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The World's Heaviest Quilt

I'm not sure if there's a Guinness World Record category for this, but this quilt might just the heaviest one in the universe. My new client, Brenda, made it for her daughter Christy, and Christy wanted it super heavy and puffy.

It has minky backing (heavy), and TWO layers of polyester (heavy) batting - one that is low-loft and one that is really high-loft on top. She asked for very loose stippling so it could really be puffy. And I think we nailed it. It barely fit in the re-usable grocery bag!

I also attached binding to the front of the quilt for her, so that when Brenda got it back, it was ready for her to wrap around the edge of the quilt and hand stitch to the back side.

From bottom to top: Minky backing, one layer of Quilters Dream Select polyester batting, one layer of Hobbs Polydown batting, and then of course the quilt top.

"O Tannenbaum"

This is the third of four quilts that were brought to me by my new client, Heather. This one was actually pieced as a gift FOR Heather, buy her friend, Betty - a very accomplished quilter and adjudicator.

The applique and piecework is excellent quality. It had some really precise, tiny pieces to work with, and Betty handled it perfectly! This pattern is a BOM pattern called "O Tannenbaum", designed by Hilary Gooding.

I had fun embellishing with the quilting. I worked some holly leaves into the outer borders. I only regret that they don't show up better. I wish I would have used a thread in a slightly lighter shade. Lots of ruler work - triangles - in the green and red right triangles throughout the center portion. Some simple serpentine and outlining in the house blocks. Tight swirly filler surrounding the focal point poinsettias in the four corners. And ribbon candy, along with orange peel in the star blocks. I think it'll make a lovely Christmas conversation piece!

My quilting is all free-motion, hand-guided on a longarm quilting machine.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Vogels' Ribbon and Banner Quilts

This is the second time I've gotten to make keepsake award-ribbon quilts for a customer. Last year I experimented on my cousin Emily, and this time, I was honored to be entrusted with the special ribbons and banners from an old friend in Iowa. I knew their kids as small children when I worked as the Director of Activities for the American Shorthorn Association. They were adorable little duffers at the time, and now the youngest one is graduating from high school! How is that possible?? Time marches on!

Mom Kris did a valiant job of trying to save as many ribbons as she could, as the Vogel family showed cattle all over the USA, with LOTS and LOTS of success. In honor of Payton's graduation, Kris sent me some of their most special ribbons. Hundreds of them. More than 400 of them, actually! And those are ONLY the national- and state-level ribbons. By far, most were from the NAILE in Louisville, KY, and the Iowa State Fair. There were also ribbons from Shorthorn and Hereford Jr Nationals, Denver, Kansas City, Fort Worth, and others I'm forgetting now. There were a LOT of ribbons!

I sorted them all by show, so that I could get a consistent variety in each block of each quilt. Kris wanted one quilt for each of her three children. They had plenty! In fact, there were enough left over that I was able to make a small table-topper quilt for Kris herself. By then the main colors of ribbons left were blue (1st place), red (second place), and white (third place). Did you know that in Canada (and other countries in the English commonwealth) 1st place gets RED, and 2nd place gets blue? A little factoid for you!

I used a log-cabin-block pattern to overlap the ribbons, and then zig-zag stitched them in place, on top of quilt batting and the backing fabric. So the quilting happened as the piecing (well, applique actually) was being done.

Kris also sent along several banners that they earned for Champion animals at the Iowa State Fair. She wanted them arranged 3-across. The banners were larger than the small class-placing ribbons, of course, so I felt like they needed extra quilting. Otherwise, I was worried that they would fall apart - the banner (quilt top) would fall away from the batting, which would fall away from the backing fabric.

Some of my favorite class ribbons were actually the really grubby ones - stained, creased, old. I can imagine Kris digging them out of one of the kids' pockets, the morning after pulling in late at night after a show. The kid probably had adhesive or paint or cow snot or MANURE on their hands as they smooshed it into their pocket with one hand, while leading the calf and holding the showstick with the other.

The Vogels always had long show strings - lots of calves entered in a show, so those kids were coming in and out of that show ring all day long. I'd venture a guess that many of the ribbons wound up in a puddle of oil and hair at the bottom of the show box. I'm so sad to admit that most of the ribbons from my own show days were deposited directly into the trash can on the way back to the stalls. Banners and silver platters and cool prizes, like furniture - those were cool to me, but I never thought ribbons or county-fair trophies were a big deal and didn't care to save them. If only I'd had a little foresight!

It's not the actual ribbons in these quilts that matter as much as the memories made, the hard work and money invested, the hours spent, the miles traveled, the friends met, and the bonds formed. Hopefully these quilts will serve as an honored reminder to each of the Vogel kids of the extraordinary childhood they had going down the road.