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Pinwheels that Pop

See what I mean about Pinwheels that POP?  Lately, I find that I am loving bright colors and solids or near-solids.  The bright colors of the pinwheels on this quilt “pop” against the black background.  I don’t know what pattern this is.  It’s an interesting, and nice, mixture of pinwheels and matching colored half-square triangles put together to contrast against the pinwheels.

In my humble opinion, you can’t do custom quilting on this quilt.  First off, it would kill the playfulness of the quilt.  Secondly, you wouldn’t really see the quilting anyway.  So, an Edge-to-Edge… but what design?  It’s for a 3-year-old who will grow with this quilt.  Shouldn’t put something too babyish on it because she is already growing out of that stage.  I thought and thought and thought and finally settled on something akin to spirals, to symbolize blowing wind, but a little different from anything I’ve done for Mary so far.

Also, one of the reasons I decided on hooked spirals is that it would be easy to hide some animal heads within the spirals.  Well… if the colorful variegated thread will cooperate…

What a fun quilt!  I am sure the little girl who receives this will love it and the maker of the quilt (Mary) for years to come!

Stars and Stripes Forever

Mary has always been an easy one to quilt for, and this quilt was no exception.  Isn’t this an awesome looking quilt?  This is for her grandson.  It may look like the stripes are just strips, but they are pieced.  The stars on the top (where I’m guessing it will rest on a pillow) are appliqued down.  She let her grandson place the stars where he wanted them.  Isn’t that cool?  I don’t know that I would have thought to do that.  But, it gets the receiver of the quilt gift involved and more excited about getting the quilt, I think.

I asked Mary what her grandson likes, trying to get a feel for what to quilt on this quilt and also some surprises I could sneak into it.  She said he’s in to everything, Boy Scouts, drama, karate, etc.  I could have done custom quilting on this quilt, but, really, why?  Looking back, though, I think I probably should have just quilted waves straight across this quilt.  My best ideas always seem to come AFTER I’m done with the quilt.  :\   You know what, though?  That probably wouldn’t have looked the best on the blue part, so having 2 separate designs would have made it custom and not an Edge-to-Edge.  Oh well!  So, this is what I did.  I used a red, white, and blue thread.

And, then I added to it…

Maybe you can see it better from the back…

Bet you didn’t expect the back to be green, did you?  It’s actually kind of cool (for me) to look at the quilting from the back side on this quilt.  What do you think?

Spider Webs for Nikki

If this looks familiar, you’ve probably seen other modern quilts that resemble it, such as the one quilted by Angela Walters.   This was going to be an autumn quilt for Nikki.  Much of the fabric in this quilt is linen, so it has a really nice texture feel.

Nikki had embroidered several spiders on her quilt, so to play that up, I quilted spider webs into the colored strips parts of the blocks and threw a couple of “caught bugs” in there, too.

If you know Nikki, you know she is from Arkansas and a Razorback fan.  Soooo…. why not throw a pig into a web, too?

For the solid color part of the blocks, Nikki wanted the ceiling tile look that Angela Walters and others have quilted into their Spider Web quilts.

I really enjoyed quilting this for Nikki!  The wonky spider web strip blocks made it easy to disguise the mistakes I’d made.  Plus, Nikki was brave (braver than me – I’m always scared for my quilting to show on others’ quilts) and chose a bold thread color choice.  This happened to be from a cone of thread I had won in a class I’d taken with Karen McTavish.  This is one of her designer threads for Fil-Tec; Glide #80125 Honey Gold.  And, it passed from Karen’s hand to my hand into Nikki’s quilt.  Glide has a shimmer to it, which some may or may not notice.  A lot of my customers don’t like the shimmer, so it was nice to use this thread, especially this specific thread from Karen, for a change.

On a Personal Note

Yes, I’ve been absent from my blog for awhile.  My apologies!  As it turns out, I have started a new job, a “real job” for those who think quilting is not a real job (it is – it’s a lot of physical work that can be hard on the body).  I am back to working in public schools, not as an actual teacher but as a teacher’s aide.  I was unable to pay my bills on the amount of income I was getting through quilting, so it was a necessary step for me to get back on the right track financially.

I will no longer be quilting for others except for an occasional Edge-to-Edge when time permits.  So far, time has not been on my side.  I will still continue my blog with an occasional post, too.  And, of course, my store will continue to be open.  I will also continue drawing out and digitizing quilting designs for Intelligent Quilting.

Thank you so much to my patient and loyal customers!  I loved quilting for you and will miss it – I’ve learned so much from all of you!  Quilting is my zen and every time I loaded another quilt onto my quilting machine’s frame, I could feel the peace wash over me.  I will miss that – it is good for the soul.

Digital Designs

I haven’t said anything about this yet, because I don’t have too many digital designs out there.  But, I started digitizing designs for Intelligent Quilting.  She’s got a sale going on right now for 25% off through July 29th – that’s 2 more days.

I’ve got several themes.  Right now, they have parts of my themes; Dinner at Eight (stiletto) designs, Japanese designs, and Paper Doll designs.  You can go directly to my design page here.  Or, any time you are on my site and want to check out what’s new, I’ve provided a button that will take you there.  It’s in the upper right-hand corner of this website under the social icons and looks like this.

 

My Japanese theme comes from my experiences of living in Japan many years ago.  While I was there, I went to college and minored in Asian Studies.  I learned to speak Japanese and was just beginning to read and write their 4,000 kanji and kana characters.  I can honestly say that I”ve forgotten more than I’ll ever know, given that I don’t use it.  And, sometimes when I’m trying to say something in Spanish, it will come out in Japanese and vice versa.  I’m not fluent in either language; I wonder were I fluent, if that would still happen.  Anyhow, here is an Asian symbol that I thought would look great on a Double Wedding Ring quilt, just for something different.  Yes, it can also be used otherwise, but this is the symbol for double happiness.  This is usually used on envelopes and cards for wedding couples.  You can find it here.

 

Okay, so now for a confession.  I do not have a computerized quilting machine, and I feel like I’m designing these blind.  So, I have a favor to ask.  IF you buy any of my designs, could you, would you, please let me know what I need to do to make these computer friendly?  I honestly have no idea.  I just want to draw quilting designs so that quilters have access to making their quilts wonderful and unique.  I can only hope that one day I will be able to get a computer for my machine.  But, for now, I’m digitizing blind.

 

Sports Cards

I haven’t yet given this quilt back to Mary, but you know how I blog in spurts.  I didn’t want to forget about her quilt by the next time I get around to blogging.  The blocks on this quilt are the Card Trick Quilt Blocks, in this case, I’d call them Sports Cards.  😉 You can find the pattern here.

With the bright colors on this quilt, I didn’t see the need for quilting to compete with the vibrant colors. So, I did an Edge-to-Edge on Mary’s quilt.  What to put on there, though?  Mary’s grandson is into sports, all kinds of sports, the reason for the focus fabric.  I knew I was going to put different kinds of balls on this quilt.  But, how should I tie them together? It needed movement to go with moving sports balls, and to also kind of hide them so you’d have to look for them.

 

Is this next ball an old fashioned soccer ball?  Or, is it a volleyball?  What do you think?

Finally, I put a hockey puck and two sticks in this quilt, because I’ve heard that we have a new hockey rink coming to this area sometime soon.  I wonder if he will find this in his quilt…

I think he’s going to love this vibrant quilt that his grandmother made especially for him.  Don’t you?

I’m Not Scared of It Anymore

Around the 4th of July, I took a break from quilting for customers to work on my machine – her name is Frida (she’s named after the artist Frida Kahlo).  She’s been fidgety and I wanted to get her straightened out and running smooth.  Months back, I had ordered a new hopping foot and hopping foot bar.  Online, the new hopping foot looked different from what I had, and I was afraid that if I didn’t order the bar along with the hopping foot, I might have trouble getting the new hopping foot to go with the old bar.  What was wrong with my old hopping foot was that the holes where the screws went in were stripped.  The screws would hold the old foot on, but the foot would jiggle around all over the place while I was quilting, getting awfully close to the needle.  I was afraid I’d hit a needle on it and mess up the timing.  Plus, if I used rulers (which I do a lot with custom work), I wouldn’t be able to get precise stitching.

So, I finally got around to working on Frida part of that last week of June, into July.  The first problem I had was being able to access the hopping foot bar.  Since Frida lives in the dungeon (my basement), she gets exposed to moisture.  That created a problem with screws being stuck.  I had to take off both sides of the top of my machine, and to get one of the sides off, I had to remove the tension assembly.  

Taking off the tension assembly created its own problems.  I jacked with the screw too much, trying to get it off that side of the machine head, and messed up the wire.   

But, as you can see, I got it back together, ready to go back to its home, with the old wire replaced.

Now to get that old hopping foot bar out of there.  I wrestled and wrangled and waited and wrestled and wrangled some more and waited (for the WD-40 to do its work) and finally got that screw unlocked.

Only to discover that I still wouldn’t be able to get that hopping foot bar out of there.  I thought it might just drop right down out of there, but…

It hit the hook assembly.  NOOOoooooo!  I didn’t want to mess with the timing.  That was the last thing I wanted to do.  Well, I was planning on working on the timing anyway, but that was later, much later.  It takes me a couple of hours to make sure I have the timing just right.  If I don’t, my stitches will be so messed up and my machine won’t run right.  Well, I ended up taking out the hook assembly.  And, guess what?  It hit the bar that holds the hook assembly.  At this point, I contacted the service department of APQS.  Let me tell you, I should have done this in the first place.  But, I didn’t want to “bother” anyone.  I thought I could do this by myself.  Big mistake!  APQS’s Service Department is always so helpful.  If you don’t want to buy an APQS machine for any other reason, buy it for the Service Department.

Of course, when I contacted the Service Department, I found out that I didn’t need to remove the hook assembly.  Doh!  The instructions Angie sent detailed how I would have to cut the bar out of there.  Ack!  So, on to the power tools…and voila!  The old hopping foot bar  is out of there.

One of the things I did not tell you earlier was that the new foot would, indeed, work with the old hopping foot bar.  But, it was shorter than the old hopping foot, so I’d need to lower the old hopping foot bar.  When I got that lowered, it went down into the hole where it was held in place, and I worried about it not being held in place because of that.  Either way, I had a new hopping bar.  I may as well use it.

Also, I ended up needing to mess with the needle bar and the parts that hold it in place in order to get the new hopping foot bar in there.

Something else I didn’t tell you was that I really messed up the top tension when I messed with the screw.  So, I had to work and work to get the tension fixed as well as get the hook timing working with the top tension.  If I’d called the service department first, I would not have had to fiddle so much with either of these. I would not have taken the hook assembly out and would have only had to work with the top tension to get that right.  Then, I could have come back and worked on the hook timing separately.

With the machine head being taken apart inside and out, I can honestly say I am no longer afraid of my machine or of repairing it. However…the moral of the story is to not be afraid to ask for help (I really need help with heeding that advice) and call the experts first.