Nancy’s quilt

This is a different style quilt than what Nancy usually does.  She wasn’t sure she liked it, but I am proud of her for stepping outside of her box.  She does that expand her horizons and to learn new things.  And, I think she did an excellent job of pulling all the colors together on this one.  Don’t you?

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It looks kind of like a disappearing 9-patch to me.  What do you think?

This quilt was an easy one to quilt an allover edge-to-edge design on it, which is also easy on the quilt maker’s budget.  The question was what to stitch into it.  Just about anything would go with this, but what would Nancy like?  She lets me choose, and I worry about what to pick for her, so I settled on flowers and leaves.  Everyone has had such a bad winter in the USA this year, except for us, but I still figured the promise of spring would be okay for this quilt.

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I snuck a butterfly into the quilt in the first picture, but I wish I had done a better job on it.  To me it looks like a bow.  Nancy is trying to use up her fabric (another reason for this quilt) as well as her batting, and I’d say she did a good job of it with this quilt.  Wouldn’t you?

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Cynthia’s QOV quilt

I have 2 other posts started, but I have not had time to work on them, and I really want to show you some of my customer’s quilts.  They are doing such a phenomenal job on their quilts.  So, let’s start with Cynthia’s quilt.   Here is the whole quilt.  Just half square triangles sewn together, but what a great pattern she made with them! IMG_2320

Cynthia wanted an allover design quilted into the body of the quilt with a separate border, which was perfect for this quilt, because the border is a fairly solid color and quilting wouldn’t show too much in the body of this quilt.  This is semi-custom quilting, and it is a great, reasonably priced option for many quilts.  Here are some close-ups of the allover, edge-to-edge quilting done in the body of the quilt. I quilted loops, swirls and stars into this section.

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Edge-to-edge designs make it easy for me to slip a surprise into the quilt, since about 98% of the quilting I do is freehand.  I quilted the recipients name into the middle of the quilt and I added Cynthia’s name in the lower right corner.

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As for the borders, Cynthia wanted feathers in them.  Feathers are done free-hand, so they take less time to quilt than anything with ruler work, such as piano keys… well, for me at least.

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I really like her quilt, and I hope the receiver likes it, too!

Vintage Red

Claudia hasn’t told me the name of her quilt yet, and I’m not sure if she has even named it.  But, I’m calling it Vintage Red.  You will see why when you see the pictures.  I LOVE this shade of red, and I love the white with red pin dot fabric that goes so well with it.  I’ll post a full shot first, so you can see why it looks vintage to me.

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And, here’s a shot of that white with red pin-dot fabric that looks white in the above picture: it is what is in the plain blocks.

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One of the coolest things that Claudia does is this.  She adds a line of stitching at the end of her seams along the outside edge of her quilt top.  I’ve never seen that done before.  Nor have I ever heard of it, but, let me tell you, it’s genius!  I love the fact that she does this.  it keeps the ends from opening up, especially since those seams get stretched on the long-arm machine’s frame.  Have you ever heard of this being done before?  it’s pretty cool, imho.

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Claudia chose feathers and swirls for her quilt, so she got some swirls and she got a ton of feathers on this quilt.  The swirls were done in the sashing and interspersed into the feathers as well, but the bulk of the quilt has feathers galore, for what I call a “bouffant” look.  🙂  There are triangular feathers in each block and twirly swirly feathers in the border.

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I hope she likes it!  She hasn’t seen it in person yet.

Does it look “bouffant” to you, too?  Or can you think of another “feathery” word to describe it?

Japanese Dragons

Pam brought me this quilt that she had pieced and was planning on hanging on her wall. In her quilt, she fussy-cut some of the fabric so that big pieces would show the dragons from that fabric.  Here is a full view shot of her quilt, so you can get an idea of the difficulty of putting together this quilt; straight pieces along with curves… means she was probably working with strrreeeettttch.

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And, here are a couple of the dragons.  I continued them into the rest of the quilt with stitching.

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Since these are air dragons, Pam wanted them to look like they were flying in the air.  How on earth do you quilt air to look like it should belong in an Oriental quilt?  Well, this is what I did.  It kind of looks like water, but I added swirls to give it the look of wind.

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I thought Pam did an excellent job on her quilt.  What do you think?

Snowflakes for Nancy

I’ve been negligent in posting lately.  This quilt for Nancy was finished in January.  I wasn’t sure what to stitch on this quilt until I looked closely at the fabric.  Here it was January, when we are supposed to have snow, and the weather was nearly balmy compared to the rest of the country.  This has been a bitter winter for many in the northeastern U.S.  And, flooding has engulfed the west coast.  The upper Midwest has seen brutally cold temperatures and the south has had more than their fair share of ice and cold temperatures.  But, here in the Kansas City area, we have had it mild, comparatively.

So, looking at the batik fabric Nancy had in the borders made me think this should be a winter quilt.  She has it interspersed throughout her quilt and on the the back, too.  Do you see the subtle snowflakes in the fabric?

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I filled the outer border and sashing with swirls, and the circles in the inner border were supposed to resemble snowballs, but they ended up more square than round.

The blocks themselves got snowflakes stitched into them.

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She added 3 stripes to the backing fabric.  The rest of it is white.

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And, here’s a full shot of the front.  Can you tell she likes purple, blue and yellow (GREAT colors together!)?

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Personal Stretching

You may or may not think the title of this post has something to do with personal growth, and you’d be right.  It’s just a different kind of personal growth than what you may be expecting.  I’ve “kind of” taken a month off quilting for others so that I could finish one of my own quilts.  Well… that and deal with the holidays, which can easily eat up a month in itself.  What you may not know is that quilters who do the quilting for others struggle to find time for working on their own quilts.  We are always looking for a way to get our own stuff in, but we also have bills to pay, so we know that working on our own stuff would interfere with paying the bills.  So, guess what gets left out?

This latest quilt of mine is hand applique.  When we travel, I need something to do and to keep my hands busy so that I don’t go stir crazy.  I worked on the applique on this for a couple of years.  I mixed a couple of patterns, using Piece ‘o Cake Designs’ “My Whimsical Quilt Garden” (you can find this pattern here) and some patterns from Kay Mackenzie’s book Inspired by Tradition.  And, if you want to see more of these patterns, you can find her book here.  I like the simplicity of Kay’s patterns – her patterns make it easy to do needle-turn (hand) applique.

Anyhow, here is a sneak peak of the top.  I chose bright colors for a cheerful quilt.  A lot of the fabric is “In the Beginning” fabric; most of it is Jennifer Heynan’s designs.  She has a blog that I follow and is listed in the sidebar on the right.  Bright and cheerful… The name of it is “Dawn of a New Day” so named because it has dark borders with bright colors all over the quilt as well as white backgrounds for the blocks.  It makes me think of new beginnings (wonder if that’s because a lot of it is “In the Beginning” fabric) and a hopeful future.

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I am planning/hoping to put this in some quilt shows, so I quilted it to death (a personal stretch for me).  Here is a picture of the back.

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This took me FOR. EVER. to finish.  Well, I’m not exactly finished yet.  I still need to put on the binding.  I thought I was never going to get this done!  All I can say is that the cost of quilting this for someone else can easily cost over $500.  Divide that by a month, and that’s a salary of $125 week of back-wrenching work.  And, that’s not including overhead costs, taxes, and other IRS requirements taken from it.  Anyhow, I apologize if it seems like I am complaining.  I just couldn’t believe how long it was taking me to finish this quilt.  I’m glad it’s done.  I’m not completely satisfied with the results, but this is the best I can do with where I’m at as far as being a professional quilter.  At some point you’ve just gotta stop and say, “This will do.”

Speaking of back-wrenching work, 2014, for me, was a year full of back pain and migraines.  For awhile I was getting massages to help with the pain.  It did help, but only temporarily.  I got to the point where I just couldn’t afford it anymore and stopped.

I asked my doctor about it and she sent me to Physical Therapy.  I thought, “Sure!  Whatever!  It’s not going to do anything.” But, you know what?  I was wrong.  My doctor and my physical therapist pointed out that I am probably hunched over a machine all day.  How did they know?  This is not good for your back.   My physical therapist explained that our body is made to stand tall, with your head up and your chest expanded/not drawn in.  When you are hunched over all day, you stretch out those back muscles, but that leaves the muscles in your chest contracted.  Eventually, if you don’t do something to counter-act this posture, as you age, you will “sink in” to this hunched over posture.  I can see some of you who sew on your domestic sewing machine thinking about this right now.  Yesterday I spent the day sewing on my domestic machine, and my back is madder today than it’s been in a long time.  So, yes, all of you who work hunched over, the following stretches will help you.

I graduated from Physical Therapy, but I still need to do my stretches EVERY day.  When I don’t do them, I can feel it.  Is it going to take away my pain completely?  No.  But, it makes the pain more manageable, and I feel so much better now.  So, here is the top page (of 4) that my physical therapist gave me to do.  I am to do these stretches every day and the following 3 pages 2-3 times a week.  True confession… I am not good at that 2-3 per week thing.  I try to keep up with it, but…  However, I do these every day and when something else is hurting, I’ll do an exercise on the last 3 pages.  You might try some of these yourself and see if they work for you.  If not, you can also “Google” exercises for your neck, upper trunk, shoulders, spine and back.

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I do hope that if you are in pain when you work, that you will find a solution.  There’s no reason to continue with pain in your life.

 

 

Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images

Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images by Heather Scrimsher  leans toward the modern eye by using photos of ordinary objects to create 15 new projects.

Martingale - Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images (Print version + eBook bundle)

Can you see how the following quilt was inspired by the punched steel in the upper left of the above picture?

Martingale - Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images (Print version + eBook bundle)

I love the bold colors in this quilt that was made to look like strings of beads.  The quilting is pretty cool, too.

Martingale - Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images (Print version + eBook bundle)

This one is “Shaken or Stirred.”

Martingale - Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images (Print version + eBook bundle)

Masonry on the corners of buildings…

Martingale - Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images (Print version + eBook bundle)

And, for all you hexie lovers, there’s “Inlay.”

Martingale - Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images (Print version + eBook bundle)

I think you will find plenty here to stir your imagination and get those creative designs flowing.  If you are interested in finding out more about this book, go to Martingale’s website here.

Many thanks to Martingale and their photographer, Brent Kane, for providing the book and pictures for this review.

Think Big

Think Big – Quilts, Runners, and Pillows from 18″ Blocks by Amy Ellis is full of modern and contemporary projects to nurture the modern soul.

Martingale - Think Big (Print version + eBook bundle)

The 10 large blocks included in this book make it easy to put together a quilt in a short amount of time.  You will learn how to conquer your fear of rounded corners with the following block.

Martingale - Think Big (Print version + eBook bundle)

The following quilt looks like it would be rather complex, but it is actually simple to put together.

Martingale - Think Big (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - Think Big (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - Think Big (Print version + eBook bundle)

Even if you are not a fan of modern quilts, these patterns can be combined with any kind of fabric for a quick, weekend project or gift.

If you are interested in finding out more about this book, head on over to Martingale’s website here.

Many thanks to Martingale and their photographer, Brent Kane, for providing this book and the pictures for me to share with you!

Sew and Play

Sew and Play by Farah Wolfe is full of games and toys you can make yourself for the little ones in your life.

Martingale - Sew and Play (Print version + eBook bundle)

This book is full of easy-to-follow patterns and directions to make 11 different games/projects as well as instructions for how to play each game.  Farah also has directions for how to make storage bags, etc. for these games.

Martingale - Sew and Play (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - Sew and Play (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - Sew and Play (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - Sew and Play (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - Sew and Play (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - Sew and Play (Print version + eBook bundle)

No need for batteries with these toys.  They are gender neutral, safe, washable, and great for travel.  Game rules provide age-appropriate play options for toddlers, preschoolers, and schoolkids; there is something for everyone.

If you are interested in finding out more information about this book, head on over to Martingale’s website here.

Many thanks to Martingale and their photographer Brent Kane for providing the books and pictures for this review.

Cups and Saucers

Cups and Saucers by Maaike Bakker is back by popular demand, updated this time with samples of the projects done in 2 colorways.  The patterns for these projects are paper pieced, too, for those who’d rather piece than applique.

Martingale - Cups and Saucers (Print version + eBook bundle)

This would be cute hanging in your kitchen or near a doorway.

Martingale - Cups and Saucers (Print version + eBook bundle)

I think my favorite project in this book was the placemats with 4 different designs.  Pink may not go with the colors in your dining room, but wouldn’t these be cute sitting at your table?

Martingale - Cups and Saucers (Print version + eBook bundle)

I thought this was cute, too.

Martingale - Cups and Saucers (Print version + eBook bundle)

The author has a larger one, too.

Martingale - Cups and Saucers (Print version + eBook bundle)

How about this sitting on your kitchen table or coffee bar?

Martingale - Cups and Saucers (Print version + eBook bundle)

If you are interested in any of these projects, Martingale has it available at their website here.

Many thanks to Martingale and their photographer, Brent Kane, for providing the book and pictures for my review.