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!

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?

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!

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?