Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It Takes a Village

Mostly pictures...few words tonight. Made this for my mom for Christmas. She's my rock, and we are most fortunate she lives in our "village". A table runner or a 17"x52" hanging. Her choice.
All houses are paper-pieced, even the wonky church with the slightly crooked door! DOH.
I had fun with the embellishments and embroidery, right down to the wreath on the door, the apple tree, and the pot of hydrangaes.

As a retired teacher, I had to include a little red schoolhouse.
To keep the folksy, scrappy feel, I used different neutral/tan background fabrics for most of the house blocks. I designed these one day while my Thermodynamics class was taking a test.
City hall has granite steps, a clock and a flag flying. I couldn't find narrow red&white fabric at Joann's but did manage to get a few inches of ugly patriotic military fabric, complete with a flag!
It was a blast to make, and I know that she loves it.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Have Any 2009 quilts in need of Quilting?

If so, please take advantage of my 2009 year end sale on longarm quilting. If you mail me a quilt and have it postmarked before January 1, 2010, it may be quilted (all-over/panto style) for.........

(drum roll....)

$0.0075 per square inch, plus $5 for thread. Additionally, I can supply you a Hobbs Heirloom batting at $0.0017 per square inch. This is an awesome deal, and will be nonexistent come 2010. Shipping is at your cost, but for a twin quilt is rarely over $13. Payment can be made by check, money order or Paypal.

Email me if you are interested

Some of my quilting may be seen here on this blog, and on my Mainely Quilts of Love website.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Christmas Quilt

I know I promised a look at a cute Christmas quilt, and I know that I am a day late. Shucks!...I got too busy the last 2 days to post this. I just visited her blog, so I know she has it, and hopefully has it bound by now and is snuggling beneath it. It was SO adorable, made from more Christmas prints than I have ever seen, let alone had my hands on. I'd have to collect for years to have that many.
It naturally makes me nervous doing a white quilt. Everything shows - the dirt, the blood(DOH!) and of course the mis-stitchings which we all make. I knewI had to be careful. I also knew that I wanted her scrappy fabrics to be the focus, so I luckily convinced her early on that a white thread would be so much more effective than any other colors. She fortunately agreed with me there. The pattern was a blast to quilt. I marked a number of items in eraseable pen before quilting - there were bows, presents, little trees, pointsettias, holly leaves and small strings of lights (unless I forgot any). And then I connected these holiday motifs with a loopy quilting.
To my delight, it all worked very effortlessly. I placed most of these in the white so that they show. I love the effect ot the little strings of lights - a motif that I initially thought would be trickier than it really was.

Dontcha just love the Cookie Monster??!

It is SO cheery and happy. It was a very fun afternoon of sewing.

And every one of her trees was done with a star on top, and a quilted garland through it. I wish that the pictures could show the fun whimsical quilting. It's a quilt I'd love to make someday. Thanks, Beth, this was a fun job...Much more fun than the one I am quilting right now. So, stay tuned for the LA Chronicles for more on my quilting adventures!
Hope you had a great holiday. Later this week I will show my Christmas present...intended to assist me with designing quilting designs.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Doodles and Doodles

Last week I ordered Kim Brunner's Twirly Whirly Feathers DVD and book. I am so desperate to learn to do heirloom feathers, I tell you! This DVD set is really good. It's a splurge of a present for myself for Christmas. I have been doodling feathers everywhere.
And then a few days ago I pulled out some scrap sheet I had and took to the longarm with what I thought I had practiced adequately on paper. In actuality, there is no "adequate" amount of practice time. These are hard, and if the thread is any color besides clear or an exact match to the fabric, then they don't look fantastic. You all know me, I expect immediate results. I hate to practice to achieve perfection!!
I was pretty pleased with how my fabric debut turned out. I started with straight feathers. Then I added a gently curve to the sping. Then I did the more twirling ones, which I discovered right off should be done on no less than 6-7" borders or larger. My 5" border shown above is WAY too narrow. I like my attempts at the circular wreaths and the fillers. I can see using these many places.
Such as here...
Some may call me crazy for quilting something on a quilt that I just learned, but hey, that is me. The border turned out pretty good.
I am planning still what to do on my quilt, which I hope to quilt on in early January. I am still contemplating doing a Quilt Whisperer class offered thru MQResource in January. If I knew I'd gain only the insight to how to quilt this, it would be worth it to me!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bound for TX and SC

My longarm quilting has not slowed down just because Christmas is 4 days away. There's a lady in TX whipping up the last of her presents, and dare I say at the very last minute. I initially didn't think I'd get to these until after the holidays, but when they arrived and I had nothing else to do, I got them quilted and back into the mail. This first one is lap sized and is all from Gobble Gobble prints. She sent me a sketch of a meandering loopy-leafy pattern with pumpkins in it. Yes, PUMPKINS. I gasped and had to sit on the thought of how I'd quilt pumpkins nicely on the quilt. Then after a suitable waiting period, I made a 2-3" template, strategically marked 32 of these on the quilt and carefully did the meandering fill to connect with all of them. It worked marvelously! There are 2 pumpkins per 12" block, carefully placed in the same larger blocks.
It is a bit more evident on the back. The backing shows the quilting very well because it is so dark.
Her other one is what I call "Stars Fell on Texas", or the Red White & Blue Stars quilt. It's very much in Americana fabrics, and she specifically asked for meandering stars. I started this in a great variagated blue thread, but quickly abandoned it when it became a pain in my ass with thread breaks. The cottons often are harder to tension, but that coupled with being variagated was my demise.
I ended up using a 50wt navy blue polyester. It was a tad hard to see quilting, but is much more user friendly.
And bound for SC, is really a very girly and pretty quilt. It was made all from vintage sheets (I think). If not vintage sheets, then all vintage fabrics. It's what I coin a "Gramma's quilt". I just love these old-fashioned prints. It wasn't that impressive just as a top, but once quilted, I fell in love. It's soft & snuggly, and so pretty. I can't wait to see how Michele binds it. It's not my best picture becasue I took it in the dark, but I wanted it to show the wonderful texture of the quilting. It will wash up so soft & crinkly!!

Next up...Beth's cuter-than-ever Christmas quilt. Stay tuned, and have a fun week!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Customer's Pretties

I am in a nice lull right now. I just finished my last customer quilt yesterday, and have had the nice pleasure of getting to sew a little just for me today. Have I accomplished much?...of course not! All I managed to do was putter and piece a backing for this quilt, which I will quilt before classes resume again in January.

I'm saving showing pictures of the recently finished Christmas quilt until the owner receives it. I like to keep a little bit of suspense. But suffice it to say, it was a cute, cute, cute scrappy Christmas quilt with more holiday prints than I have ever seen! You'll love this one when I show it.

I did 2 quilts for a woman in Florida. She's had these a while. This one is a sampler, and I myself have had some of these fabrics in my stash. She requested a more customized quilting, different for each block, and with some outline stitching. This quilt took me over 7 hours because of that!
I did some strategically placed flowers and triangle-block feathering.
And some swirls, stippling and more outlining. The outer floral and green borders were done with a leafy, vining pattern with some flowers and swirling tendrils thrown in too. It really doesnt show much except on the darker green.

I'll say that this quilt was both challenging and fun. It's hard to get bored when each block is different.
This is the center medallion. Her buttonhole stitch appliqued flowers were very pretty so I added some quilted flowers to compliment them. To my delight, they turned out pretty well.

Here's her 2nd quilt. She claims to have made this nearly 30 years ago. I think that the colors verify that! It's nicely pieced. In fact, much of the white blocks are hand stitched. It was a challenge not to stretch it too much. That is why I did a fairly dense peacock fill quilting in the white areas.
The gold squares have large flowers, and this motif is copied into the outer border as well. This was a large queen sized quilt just like the other one she sent, also taking many hours to quilt. I must limit stop starts as they are what slows me down!

Maya in California also sent me 2 quilts to do, but somehow I only took pictures of one of them! Oops... This is her sampler quilt. It's only about 60" so it was much more manageable to do.
I chose a pantograph I have not yet tried. I have seen many a longarmer out there that does the "Popcorn" pattern. In fact, I have my own version of this which is free-handed, which I prefer since it is done from the front (the "seeing") side of the machine. But, I wanted the pantograph experience so I endured staring at the red laser for 3-4 hours. It turned out well.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday This-n-Thats

Lots of little things here...

I received the 3 FQ I won in a recent giveaway. Since I love these sea creatures SO much, I was very much delighted to hear I had won. Now, what to do with them??... I have an idea, perhaps. It has to do with this next bit of rambling.

As many of you know there are a number of online quilting bees being started right now. I am in one set to start in January, and have joined another provided another 5-6 people join too (this is where you, the reader can help!). This is a swap in which you make 1-2 blocks per month, and on your month you will receive the loot of blocks. If you are interested, visit here!

A post without pictures would just be boring so let's rectify that. This is a twin sized quilt that I got around to finishing the binding on recently. It is made from Tina Given's fabrics from the Cloe's Imagination line. I just drool for these! They are so fun and whimsical. I love them so much that I bought a spread of them in the blue-purple colorway too for when I have time to make another large quilt. I found that they are hard to photograph well, so here is a closeup of the fabrics...
...and another closeup of just the quilting. It's a feathered leaf-n-swirls pantograph I have used on a few recent quilts. I really like it, and it's not totally mindless as real "pantos" are.
This will go to my Etsy store, as most of the others I made have. To m y pleasure, I have been able to sell three quilts in the last month. I just hope that this trend continues. I hurried to get the binding on so that I could list this in hopes of downloading it prior to Christmas. Fingers crossed.
The orange-ish bees are totally my favorite!
My backlog of customer quilts in in that preChristmas lull, but I expected it honestly. I have one on the machine currently, and have another 7-8 expected to arrive in a week or so. If you happen to have a quilt you'd love to get quilted, I can give you a heck of a deal if you contact me!
Have a great weekend (and hopefully a warmer one than I will be having)!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Christmas Lights, and more Lights

I have been sent a total of four of Bonnie Hunter's Christmas Lights quilts for longarm quilting (good word of mouth ladies!!). Last month, I did this one for Lisa, and here are a couple more recently finished and returned to their owners. I have to admit, this is not my favorite pattern, probably because I am not a big "gold" person, but I do love how the color variations make each one different.
The first one is currently being bound by Bonnie in Texas. She basically wanted her's similar to the first one that was done. Fun feathering in the triangles and a swirling outer border. The thread is different, but essentially, they are very similar.
The next one I did for Eleanor (who may be blogless, I don't really know!). Her's has a twist. Instead of red, she used a pinker print and I think it is a Kaffe Fasset print too. It's a wild combination of more modern and old fashioned prints. She also chose to rotate every other block so that the red/pink blocks are not all the same orientation. Very interesting! She preferred an allover pattern rather than a special border, so here's what I did...
I used a sage green thread. There is an ocean of swirls in the borders. It really has a nice texture for a quilt. And then there are the feathered triangles. I need to get creative and try something else in setting triangles soon - expand my skills :-)
If you know of anyone else that did this mystery quilt and still needs it quilted, please send them my way. I'd love to quilt it for them!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Making the Best of Things

After receiving my rows of 9" star blocks from a Row Robin swap, I promptly set to work repairing and resizing the ones that were in need. There were a few that just "did not play well" with the others, mostly because they were either not a star or the greens were too forest green and not enough of the olive.

I pulled out these blocks and last weekend put two table runners together. These will be for my sons teachers for Christmas. This first one, I actually made two additional stars. The center block was 10" not 9.5" and I just didn't know how to make it work easily with all of the other smaller blocks. The stars I made are simple 8-point stars but they have a gorgeous deep red Fairy Frost to make them more festive. Those of you who visit here know how much I love the Fairies.
Lisa sent me too many fantastic Christmas prints last month, and I got to use some of them here. It's such a simple pattern for a runner, but it turned out to be very simple and effective. So much so that I did another one just like it.
The quilting on this first one was done all on the longarm, even all of the ditch stitching. I am slowly forcing myself to do more and more outlining/ruler work.
Here's the second runner. This is a great thing to use that tree block on. I don't know how this could be seen as a star, but it is perfect on a holiday quilt, especially with the pinwheels, which I just didn't care for the green background of with the other blocks. With the tree, they look like they were made for eachother. I longarm quilted most of this runner, but took it to my home machine for the outline stitching (before I got brave enough to do it on the LA)
The quilting is essentially the same on the two pieces...feather leaves, ribbon curls in the red sashings, and stippling around the stars.

...and the back of one...
I love how they turned out so much that I am seriously considering making runners from the entire stash of these blocks, or at least one for my holiday table.
Have a good weekend (PS, we are getting SNOW!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A couple Recent Finishes and a DOOR!

"and a DOOR"?

Yes you read that properly. And the best and most needed door ever if I do say so myself! This is the newly and almost completely installed door that keeps my precocious cat OUT of my sewing room. She does not appreciate not having this here. But since I couldn't convince her with stern words and taps on the nose that my frame is NOT a cat hammock, she had to go for good.
...and back to more interesting things....

This lap quilt was sent to me for quilting. It was made of the nicest (I think) Kona Bay Asian fabrics. Even the black was a high-weave fabric, similar to a batik. I was uncertain about the quilting at first, but then decided to copy some of the wave-like and ripple-like motifs that are in one of the rose materials. I also copied a flower motif into each oc the corners.

The quilting in the center medallion print was kept minimal. I believe the owner is using it as a wall hanging. I outlined a few of the flowers and the Asian ladies, as well as the medallion itself. It gave me a good practice on some simple ruler-work, an area I want experience, but not too much or too fast!

Here is a close up of the corners...The thread is a Floriani and it is one shade above black, so basically a shimmery charcoal. It shows, but not tremendously.

On the other end of the spectrum is this king-sized quilt all done in reproduction fabrics. It is meticuluously pieced, and well made. I stressed over that row of HST''s because they did have the tendency to stretcha tad as I quilted, despite not having a bias edge on the outer edge. I said way more dirty words than a gal ought to say too as this happened. Fortunately, I was able to stipple these potential wrinkles away mostly.

This quilt was nice because the owner sent a single, unseamed piece of backing. I am getting so I really don't "love" pieced backings because it is one more thing that can potentially not lay flat.

I hope that the quilting on this is not too whimsical and that it reflects the very traditional nature of these fabrics and patterns.

And you'll have to pardon my lazyness in taking some of these pictures before I removed the chalk marking pencil!!