Sunflowers for Kristin

Kristin considers herself a beginning quilt-maker, but I think she did a fabulous job with this sunflower quilt.  If it looks crooked, trust me, it’s not her.  My design wall leans against the wall, about a foot away at the bottom, making it dip and bow so pictures of quilts that I hang on there look distorted.  Her quilt came to me as straight as could be, quite an accomplishment for a beginning quilter!

Since this quilt would be used daily on her own bed, I did an allover, Edge to Edge (E2E) quilting design.  To go with the sunflower blocks, I stitched sunflowers and leafy vines all over it.

And, for an added surprise, I ….

I wonder if she found those yet.  😉

I’ve never seen a sunflower quilt like this before.  I really like the green Irish Chains connecting the sunflower blocks.  It makes it look like the sunflowers are peaking through a chain link fence.  Pretty cool!

“Naming” a Quilt

This quilt of Judy’s came to me already quilted in an allover meander.  Yes, you can take an already quilted quilt and quilt on it some more.  She wanted to add some names to make it personal for her son.  So, that’s what we did.

If you have an old or newer quilt that you’d like to add more quilting to, it can be done.  The quilting acts like basting so that you just pin the finished quilt onto the frame just like it is.

Lucky Stars

True Nature

In the process of starting this blog post yesterday, my computer was running sooooo slowly that I decided to move some pictures off of it and onto another drive to free up some room on this computer.  Maybe then it would run faster. Well, it did run faster, but not by that much.  Turns out it was the modem and router making it run slow.  OR… I won’t go there.

Anyhow, when I came back to this post to add pictures, I started to download a picture for Joan’s quilt, only to realize that they were gone!  Kapoof!  Nowhere to be found.  So, my apologies.  I scrounged up what I’d sent to Joan in an email and one on my phone of a strategy I’d used, but that’s it for today.  I had so much I wanted to share with you.  🙁

First, let’s start with the quilt pattern, the fabric and where you can buy the kit, etc.: It is designed by McKenna Ryan and is called True Nature.  Here is where you can find True Nature by McKenna Ryan.  It shows the whole quilt put together and each of the individual blocks.  Unfortunately, the site will not let me copy and paste their pictures into this post as they are copyrighted.

This first picture shows the upper left block.  Joan used wool batting on this quilt, and you can really see the quilting with this batting.  Wool batting is used on many show quilts because, not only does it show off the quilting, but it also doesn’t hold wrinkles or folds like other battings do.  In fact, many quilters will use 2 layers of batting for show quilts; either a cotton or poly blend with wool on top.

Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE wool batting!  In fact, I used it along with a poly blend on a quilt that won first place in a national show.  It’s been a long time, though, since I’ve played with it, though, and I had to remember HOW to play with it.  You have to decide what you want to show off and accent and what you want to recede into the background.  The moose and the tree background block is a good example.  The tree background with the bluish color at the bottom is one piece of fabric designed by McKenna Ryan.  Other colors of blue were appliqued on top to accent the water and create the moose’ shadow.  When I first started outlining the trees, I didn’t want too much stitching.  I wanted the trees to have depth. But, by not stitching down a lot of the trees, the result was poofs in places where it looked “off” and lost the depth of the many trees. So, I added a lot more stitching around the trees.

Same thing with the water spray foam at the bottom of the waterfalls.  I purposely left the foam parts as one long piece.  I was afraid if I’d stitched it down where each applique piece ended, it would look like a cloud more than the foam of water spray.  Also, when stitching the bears, I thought about where the body parts would stick out and where they would be indented, and that is where I stitched.

Finally, this is the picture I’d had on my phone.  I learned a lesson from Joan’s giraffe quilt and bought 100 colored pencils.  Pencils, because you can erase the marks, and colored because from now on out, I will be trying to match the color of the pencil to the fabric behind where I will be stitching through the paper.  Sometimes I’ll draw a design out on paper and stitch through it instead of marking on a customer’s quilt.  When I stitch through paper, though, sometimes the pencil will leave a mark on the fabric where I stitched.  So, I’m trying something new.  Besides, who doesn’t NEED 100 colored pencils?

For the bottom border, I had traced some of the other fish and was auditioning where to place them and how many fish to add to the school of fish already appliqued onto the quilt.  I decided 2 more would be enough.  Otherwise, it would have looked like a giant fish was attacking the bear standing next to the tree on the side border.  It needed to kind of fall off and blend a little better.


My apologies for not having the pictures to share with you regarding Joan’s quilt.  There was so much that I learned and wanted to share with you.  I know those pictures will turn up somewhere on that other drive.  I just have to figure out where I put them.  Well, I HOPE they will be there and I will find them.  :\

Red & White with Love

Mary made this beautiful red and white sampler quilt and is planning on giving it to someone very special.  I’m not sure when she’s giving it to him, so I’m not saying who right now.  It may look like there is pink in there, but there’s not.  The outside triangles are just a red and white blender fabric; very much red with some white contrast.  And, the plain blocks in the middle are very much white with some red contrast.

You can tell how large this quilt is by how it hangs on the design wall.

Mary wanted simple and traditional quilting on this, to include piano key borders and some feathers that don’t look too “girly.”  In the following pictures you can see the blender fabrics a little better, so you’ll see more clearly the distinct red and white.

I didn’t get too creative with the quilting, but I couldn’t resist adding some spools of thread.

And, at this point, I am stuck and cannot show you any more pictures here. Once again, my website is having a break-down with loading pictures.  My computer is running very slowly today, or maybe it’s the internet on my computer that is running slowly – I think the fact that it’s running slowly is the problem.  In any case, I’ve been working on this post for several hours now, and I give up.  You can find the rest of the pictures on my Flickr site here.

I have a question for you as I sign off.  When I did all my machine quilting on my domestic sewing machine, I matched the bobbin thread to the color of my backing fabric.  I did not and do not have any problems with my domestic machine, and if I do, they are super easy for me to fix.  However, on my quilting machine, I fight with the tension all the time.  I use the same size bobbin (L, the small one for longarms – you’d think if I used a larger bobbin I might have this problem, but not with a smaller bobbin) in my longarm as I do on my domestic machine.  However, the tension in the bobbin on my longarm will start out tight and by the end of the bobbin, the tension is loose.  That’s just the way it works.  I don’t know if that’s an issue with my particular brand, but I do know that almost all of my friends who have longarms have problems with their tension.

So, years back in my professional quilting, I decided to just use the same color thread in the top and in the bobbin.  Otherwise, I’ll get little dots of contrasting color peeking through on both sides where the needle pokes the layers of the quilt.  This way, if the thread colors are the same, they will blend better.

I’ve had a couple of quilts where the backing fabric is such a contrasting color to the thread color, though, that it has me wondering just how important it is to customers to have bobbin thread color to match the back of their quilts. Mary’s quilt was one such quilt.  She wanted red on the red pieces of the quilt blocks and white on the white pieces of the quilt top.  And, she used white fabric for the backing.  The red really contrasted with that white backing.  If I had used white bobbin thread, there would be little white dots showing up on the red fabric in the quilt top and little red dots showing up on the white backing fabric.  My fear is that people would look at it and think it is a mistake.  Yes, I should be able to get that tension perfect and have it perfect throughout the quilt.  But, so far, I haven’t been able to do so on my longarm machine.

So, my question for you is… It’s YOUR quilt.  Which is more important to you as the customer?  Is it more important for the bobbin thread to match the backing fabric?  Or, is more important to not have little dots of color on each side?

Merry Christmas to All

Mary inherited this Christmas panel fabric and decided to make herself a Christmas quilt.  See how she offset the blocks 2 strips along 2 sides of each panel?  That may be a trademark for Mary.  I personally think it’s a creative way to show off a focus fabric without the quilt looking too “blocky” if you know what I mean…in regimented rows.

You really can’t see the quilting, so Mary decided an allover edge-to-edge quilting design would work best for her quilt.  She went with holly scattered throughout.  The picture below on the left shows what the quilting looks like on top and the one on the right shows what it looks like from the back of the quilt.  Do you see anything unusual stitched in the picture on the right?  At the top of the quilt, I wrote “Merry Christmas to all”…


…and completed the saying on the bottom with “and to all a good night”.

Here’s a shot of the back, where you can see what I actually did with the quilting.

See how easy you can complete a holiday quilt?  Use those panels, quilt it with a simple allover design, and you’ll have a holiday quilt finished in no time!

Colorful Duo for Two

Back in 2013, I quilted this quilt for Jackie’s daughter; one her daughter, Kat, had pieced together for the new baby. Well, this is “part 2” of Kat’s quilts for her (now) 2 sons and grandsons of Jackie.  I’m really impressed that someone who, from what I understand, is a novice quilt maker.  She is able to put these quilts together like a pro!  They may be kits (I honestly don’t know), but the fact that she’s getting them put together so well tells me that she’s pretty darn good!  Both of Kat’s quilts are colorful.  The first one was a mix of oranges, greens, and blues.  This one has every color of the rainbow.  See how well she put together that star (with diamond shaped pieces) in the middle?  Sewing on the bias, like that, is not easy.

I love this quilt because of the colors, but also because of the solid colored fabrics.  I’m finding that I am drawn more and more to solid color fabrics.  I don’t know if it’s the simplicity of the fabric or that some fabrics can look so “busy” that the solids are relaxing to my eyes.  You can barely see the gray in the picture above, because the colors draw you in.  The colorful solids are made of plain ol’ cotton.  But, the gray fabric is an oxford shirt-type fabric.  I know there are other fabric companies making this style of fabric, but my brain is only telling me that the gray is a “Peppered Cotton”, designed by Pepper Cory for Studio E fabrics.   Gray is the color thread that Kat chose for the quilting – good choice, you can barely see it.  I think Jackie was concerned that the gray fabric might make it difficult to quilt, due to the stretch.  But, it quilted up nicely, just like the other cottons.

The quilting on this quilt is similar to Kat’s other son’s quilt, but this one has circles stitched in between the bigger swirls…and silly baby faces hidden in the stitching.


You might be able to see the gray fabric a little clearer with this next picture.

More of an overall effect…

What do you think?  What is your favorite kind(s) and color(s) of fabric?