Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Double-Sided Wedding Quilt

Here's a quilt that I actually worked on several weeks ago. But I couldn't post until after the happy couple had celebrated their nuptials and received this generous gift. This extra lovely piece is actually two-sided. The back is a different color scheme than the front. What a lucky couple - to have a newly-minted marriage AND a wonderful quilt!

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

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mother-In-Law's Flower Garden

This quilt came from a new client of mine. She made it for her 94-yr-old mother-in-law, who lives in a nursing home. It is a "cheater" attic windows pattern - made to look as if you're looking through a window. Normally this pattern requires Y-seams, which are really tricky. But this one used half-square-triangles instead.

Carol, my client, wanted custom quilting to make it extra special, but still wanted it to be cuddly, so I tried hard to keep the quilting sparse. The batting was really, REALLY high loft, and the backing fabric is flannel, so hopefully it will be warm and supple and lovely.

I quilted some heart shapes in the outer border. Continuous curve in the Shoo Fly sections at the top and bottom. Carol had the idea of putting an oval around the center (focal) flowers in each square. And then I filled around with some large-scale meandering.

Unfortunately, it wasn't until I was editing these photos that I realized that I had accidentally hung it upside down. Agh!

Carol had me apply my "Effortless Binding", which means she brought me raw yardage fabric, and I applied it to the quilt with a tool that I have, which stitches the front and back of the binding simultaneously. The machine stitching will be super durable in the nursing home, where this quilt will be machine laundered by the staff. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Joy's Wedding Quilt

This quilt was from my lovely client, Joy. The design of the quilt top made me think that it was "paper-pieced" - a method that uses a diagram on a piece of paper, to which you stitch pieces of fabric and then rip the paper away. But Joy called it a "non-paper-pieced" pattern. No matter HOW it was achieved, I think it is beautiful. Striking design and color choices.

Joy and I gave the quilting design a lot of thought. It was tempting to go with some kind of show-stopping custom design, but in the end, we decided to go with an edge-to-edge approach. It would have been beautiful with a custom quilting treatment, but I knew for sure that it would have gotten really intricate and tight - making the finished quilt stiff and non-cuddly. And since this was made as a wedding gift for a new couple, I figured they would appreciate the tactile usability of a snuggly quilt.

Another great one, Joy!

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

Now for the educational portion of this post.... Joy informed me that this pattern had some tricky elements. The directions were (at best) difficult to follow or (at worst) flawed, resulting in some less-than-flat areas on this quilt top. By the time I had quilted down half-way, it became apparent that there was  excess fabric in the sides of this quilt. See the arrows below, pointing to the excess fabric that I pinched up.

In the spirit of one of my favorite philosophers (Bob Marley) I said, NO WORRIES! After okaying it with Joy, I simply stitched that excess fabric down in a tuck with a straight line of stitching. See below. It worked BEAUTIFULLY with this pattern, because I was able to simply re-align the points in the center of the pattern. I honestly don't think anyone will notice. The only reason I share it here is because I want others to see... Joy is a very accomplished quilter with lots of experience and really great technique. And even though she is really talented, sometimes things don't turn out right. It happens to us ALL! Maybe the pattern was poorly written. Maybe you made a mistake when cutting. Maybe you put the project away for a while, only to return years later and forget where you left off. Maybe you were drinking wine and watching "Sleepless In Seattle", and good luck to anyone who tries to figure out WHAT you were doing (this has NEVER happened to me!). Quilting is a human art form! It's not SUPPOSED to be perfect! I'm happy to help disguise those little wonky places, work around them or tame them down as I quilt through the quilt top. The end result is stunning, and no one will be the wiser! Quilters/sewists are often most critical of themselves and their own work. Take a break on yourselves, people! See how great this quilt turned out? All's well that ends well!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Christmas Stars

Part of the fun of my quilting job is that I get to start experiencing upcoming events (like Christmas) well ahead of the curve. I love Christmas, so it's very fun for me to dream of the white days to come, right here in the middle of August.

Dorothy brought me this great "star" quilt in Christmas fabrics, and let me have my way with it. We agreed that the green outer border made a great "canvas" for some feature quilting. It's a subtle print that pretty much reads as a "solid" color, so the quilting lines and texture will show up nicely. Being a quilt destined for a cuddly, cozy time of year, I didn't want to put a bunch of dense quilting on it, which would make it stiff.

So, for the outer border, I went with a simple arrangement of holly leaves and berries. Serpentine lines in the two thinner borders. And mid-to-sparse meandering stars in the interior. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Christmas Quilt with Snowflakes

This is a great Christmas quilt. Several of the fabrics in the quilt top had a shimmer to them, which was really evocative of snow or candlelight. At my client's request, I applied an edge-to-edge quilting plan of swirls and snowflakes. It was all free-hand, so unlike nature, the snowflakes are not perfect. I think real-life snowflakes have 6 points. Some of these had more, some had less. But I think the overall effect accomplishes a winter theme. It'll be here before we know it!

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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sweet Scrap Quilt

Such a lovely little quilt here. A fun and fresh color scheme with a simple and clean pattern. I enjoyed doing some very light custom quilting on this piece.

Piano key border, and I didn't even have to mark it. I just used the lines in the piecing as my guide for the piano keys. Then a large-scale filler in the interior section - overlapping swirls.

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

Monday, August 21, 2017

Mariner's Compass

Lorna brought me this really technical quilt top when I showed up at the Okotoks Quilt Stroll last Sunday. I was setting up my tent display, and Lorna (who had arrived for her shift as a volunteer for this wonderful outdoor quilt show) said, "Oh! I'm glad you're here. I have a mariner's compass quilt that I want you to quilt for me. I'll Don bring it to you, so that you can take it home with you. Can you get it done in time for the Open House in two Saturdays?"

Well, guess what... I did! In fact, I got it done in just four days! I ordinarily don't have a very long wait for my customers, compared to many of my colleagues. Right now, I'm at about a 3-week turn-around time. But I always try to accommodate rush requests. For instance, if I have quilts that AREN'T on a deadline, I'll leapfrog rush orders up earlier in my queue. I do this sparingly and only when I feel confident my clients won't mind. The hardest time of year is always pre-Christmas. But last year, I got all my clients' gift orders finished, with time to spare.

Quite a bit of dense quilting on this piece, accompanied by spaces with less dense quilting, so that they pop out. The compasses have sparse outlining (Stitch in the Ditch) and maybe some light filler in their backgrounds. Small meandering circles in the background space around the compasses. Some dot-to-dot ruler work in the setting triangles. Piano keys on the bias in the dark border. Serpentine and continuous curve in the half-square-triangles. Simple and clean... and out the door!

See this quilt in person on Saturday (Aug 26, 2017) at the Rumple Quilt Skins "Fall Open House"!