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?

It’s spring time at Wilma’s

Wilma has 2 quilts that I’ve done for her in the past few months – you will soon see why it’s spring time at Wilma’s.  She’s a quick quilt-maker.  This lady has a talent for putting together colors like nobody I’ve seen before.  The first quilt I’d like to share is what I called “Wilma’s Mums.”

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Can you see the mums in the quilt blocks?

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I tried to put leaves all over the black and green areas, but I hid mums in the quilt blocks behind the “fabric” mums.

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And, along the borders, I changed it up a bit by quilting spider mums.  I’m not sure I got the exact essence of the flowers because I was only going with my imagination and the pictures in the fabric.  Spider mums are one of my favorite flowers, so I knew the petals needed to be short in the middle and long on the outer edge.  But, I wasn’t sure how to stitch that out so it would look more 3-D.

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Another cool thing about the backing on this quilt is that the fabric is very soft.  And, if you look very closely, you can see green owls in the fabric… watching over the garden.  🙂

 

This next quilt of Wilma’s is the latest one I’ve quilted.

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As you can see from this next picture, what looks like applique blocks are actually fabric panels.  This is great for those of us who love the look of applique but don’t have the time to do it ourselves.  I think it looks real enough.  Don’t you?

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Wilma wanted the faux applique outlined and feathers everywhere else.  So, feathers, we did!

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I could have done any number of variations of feather styles on Wilma’s quilt, but I liked the way the feathers in the picture below cradled the bouquets of flowers.  I thought they complimented the pieced blocks nicely.

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And, here’s the back side.

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What do you think?  Does it have enough feathers?  I think the pictures of the back side makes it look bouffant or like divinity candy or something like it.  I don’t know how to describe it.  But, I love it!

 

Stack ‘n Whack

Finally got this customer quilt finished after a dryer crisis and being sick 2 days last week…  Beth made this Stack ‘n Whack quilt and is giving it to her brother for Christmas.  She wanted feathers (for those of you who are not quilters, they are the paisley/heart/half-heart shaped designs stitched into the quilt) all over it with the background filled in with stippling, which is a tight meander.  What do you think?

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This is the “before.”

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And, this is after I turned the quilt on the frame and did some quilting.

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Here’s another angle so you can see more.

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And, a close-up of one of the Stack ‘n Whack blocks… Stack ‘n Whack is basically fussy cutting fabric so that those triangles all look the same.  You stack the fabric so that the copies are all on top of one another and then whack (cut) it.  Or… you can do it other ways which I will let you research on your own…

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Quilting between the “stacks”

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I think Beth did a superb job of picking out the color of thread.  You can’t tell it here, but she chose a sage green to “pop” off the background sueded blue fabric, and it also went well with her stacks, borders, and backing fabric.  I was really impressed that she knew exactly what she wanted when we first discussed this quilt.   I think she did a great job on it and hope she likes the quilting I’ve done for her.