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?

Nancy’s Swirling Stars

Days seem to pass so quickly anymore.  It seems like last year when I quilted this for Nancy, but it was just last month…. well, in March.

For this quilt, since it will be “loved” on a daily basis, Nancy chose an allover Edge to Edge quilting design.  She has a star in each corner, so stars were a part of the quilting design.


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Another special thing about this quilt is that it is made with Kansas Troubles fabrics, so I decided to hide an outline of a Kansas map in the bottom of the quilt right above where I quilted her “signature” for her artwork.





This is a great sampler quilt (different quilt patterns in each of the blocks).  If you’d like the pattern for this one, I’m sure Nancy could point you in the right direction!  😉

For now, here are a few examples…


If you have extra jelly rolls…

Or, if you’re into Modern Quilting, try this one.


Sisterly Love of Quilts

Two of my customers are sisters.  One of the sisters (Leanne) has been making quilts forever and the other (Leslie) is learning from her sister.  When you see Leslie’s quilts, though, you would think she’s been making quilts for almost as long as her sister, Leanne.  Leslie learned a lot of strategies from Leanne on this last quilt.  I will show you both quilts so you can see for yourself the many techniques you can put into one quilt.


For the above sampler quilt, Leanne and Leslie chose Kaffe Fassett fabrics.   For the most part, I did the same quilting for both quilts, except for the stripped triangle border blocks.  Leanne wanted big feathers in hers.

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And Leslie chose Curved Cross-Hatching with feathers around it.  I repeated what I did in the triangle border blocks for both sisters.  So, if you look at Leslie’s quilt below, the big triangle in the “tree” block also has the Curved Cross Hatching.  In Leanne’s, I repeated the big, slanted feathers in that same block.  I also switched up what was next to the tree trunk.  I quilted Leanne’s first, and I changed some of the things that bothered me in Leanne’s when I quilted Leslie’s quilt.  There were swirly loops in another block that I didn’t repeat in Leanne’s; I wish I had, so I fixed that with Leslie’s (the benefits of being second in line for quilting).


I snuck a flower and a bee into the basket block of Leanne’s.


In Leslie’s, the bee grew gargantuan, and I didn’t do the curved cross hatching on the basket as well (the drawbacks of being second).  :\


I stuck a butterfly in another block.



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No matter which one you like better, this quilt really pops!  I was a little afraid to use the thread color they chose, BUT… it really does look like Kaffe Fassett colors. What do you think?

You can find more of Kaffe’s products here and here.


Nancy’s Samplers

I have 2 quilts of Nancy’s to share.  According to Nancy, the fabric in this first one makes it a Southwestern Style quilt, so we went with that theme with the quilting, too.


So, I started with lassos (loops) and Texas-style stars for an allover Edge-to-Edge design.

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Then I snuck in some boots and other Southwestern surprises.  By the way, I try to put surprises in places where you can’t really see them on the front of the quilt so that people looking at your quilt will see the blocks and not the quilting.  But, if you turn the quilt over, you will see them… (bottom pictures).


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Nancy loves her dogs, so I had to put some kind of wild dog in there.  I say “some kind of wild dog” because I was trying to make a wolf howling at the moon, but it looked funny.  I MIGHT have passed for a coyote, but maybe not…  And, this is the back of the quilt, so you can see it better.


It was a lot of fun to quilt this one.  I haven’t had the chance to quilt a Southwestern Style quilt before.

Her other quilt is another Sampler Quilt made from a mixture of batiks and regular cottons.  This one was a big, honking quilt, so it hung off my design wall.  I can’t wait to get some “real” walls in my basement so I can mount my design wall instead of leaning it against the concrete wall.  It makes the pictures look bowed.


Since this is going on Nancy’s bed and will get used a lot, she went with an allover Edge-to-Edge design.  So, what kind of quilting would you do with this quilt?  I wasn’t sure.  Nancy suggested leaves, so that is what I did.  The variegated thread blends real well with the colors in her quilt, even the blocks with the light background…. don’t you think?

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Sometimes Life Gets in the Way

I’ve am way behind on posting pictures of my customers’ quilts.  You can guess the reason by the title of this post.  So, I will start where I left off way back when (before the Jaftex Blog Hop) with Claudia’s Vintage Green quilt.


To me, it is similar to her Vintage Red quilt, except she wanted it quilted like I’d done for her friend Marianne.  As you can see, there are lots of feathers, but they are in a pinwheel style, which I think does a great job of matching with some of the blocks that look like they are swirling, too.

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I think the pictures speak for themselves, so I will leave you with that.  Claudia does a great job of piecing, so she really does make my job a lot easier!


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.”


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.


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.


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?


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.


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!


Claudia’s BIG quilt aka the King and Queen Quilt

…But not known as Clifford, the Big Red Dog Quilt…  Actually it didn’t have a name so I called it Claudia’s King and Queen quilt for several reasons.  It’s for a King sized bed that her husband made; a king in the rest of our minds.  I mean, how many people can build and make a bed???  And, a king-sized bed at that!  So, her husband is the king and she is the queen who made the quilt for their bed.  Fitting, don’t you think?  😉

This first picture shows (well, sort of) how big the quilt really is.  It was hanging off my design wall.  You can’t see the full picture here.  Why, I don’t know.  But, the side borders go well beyond the sides of this picture.

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And, this one is a little closer, but not much.

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For Claudia’s quilt, I did pretty much the same kind of quilting I did with Judy’s family quilt.  It’s an inexpensive and fun design; a way to do some allover Edge-to-Edge quilting and still sprinkle some feathers in.


I snuck a couple of butterflies in to her quilt. The long strips between the blocks on the front have butterflies in them, so I thought I’d add a “king” butterfly and a “queen” butterfly.  Can you guess which is which?  😉

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And, here are some shots of the front.  Really, quilting doesn’t show up as much as we think it will, and, for that, I am glad.  I really am okay with that, because I think the quilting should be complimentary and not overpowering.

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See the butterflies in the long strips between the blocks?

If you want to see this one in person, you’re going to have to become a friend of Claudia’s.  😉