Monday, May 28, 2012

The Bali Flowers for My Wedding Ring is done!

Whew ... it's been a while.  I've had my head down over this quilt for quite a few days.  I love this working from home bit, by the way ... I would work for a while then come to the computer and check e-mail, news sites, quilting sites, etc.  It makes for a comfortable work day!  

Anyway, this is done.  Barb did the piecing and Mindy did the applique.  Isn't it absolutely gorgeous?!!  These two ladies whip out these beautiful quilts like nobody's business.  

This quilt got really playful on me ... I kept looking at the bright batiks and just couldn't do anything too structured on it, except for the melons and the insides of the rings.  The borders became my playground and I had me some fun!  It's interesting to just let my fingers guide the machine and see what happens.  There are plenty of 'goofs' but I won't tell if you won't tell ... but the goofs just let me know that I was concentrating much too hard.  I think this is my venue ... playful quilting.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Come Dance with Me!

I got this off one of the forums I participate in ...

I'll add it over to the right - LET'S DANCE!

In my next life I'm gonna be a true dancing quilter!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE dance! 

And have you been watching the try-outs for SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE?  Some true brilliance coming through there.  Can't wait to see who makes it through ...

So enjoy this video.  Hope it puts a smile on your face and a happy leap in your walk!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Mondo Mondo bag!

Sometimes Sunday afternoons are designated 'my sewing time' ... with the long-arm quilting thing going on all the time, I miss just sitting and piecing.  This past Sunday afternoon I decided I needed a 'piecing' fix ... so I sat down and started (and finished!!!) this Mondo bag by Quilt Smart.  Isn't it mondo-magnificent?  And thanks to friend Tina (Hi Tina!) for telling me about the Mondo bag ... do you have yours done yet, Tina?  LOL!  Tina and I share projects all the time and usually I'm the one left behind as she whips up her new project find ... this time I won!!!!  Wheeee ..... 

I attend a small quilting group on Tuesday's and we have decided to attempt the Quilt Smart Lone Star and I wanted to be sure that I understood the basic techniques that Quilt Smart uses with their interfacing so I pulled out the Mondo bag and voila!!!  So super easy!  I actually ... wait for it ... pulled fabric ... here it comes ... FROM MY STASH!  Woo woo!  Don't tell me you haven't gone to your stash with all good intentions and stood there thinking, "Now, that fabric could work, but I think I'm saving that piece for another project ..."  and found yourself at your LQS buying MORE fabric.  Well, this time I just yanked fabric from a particular stack and look what happened.  

Now since this takes 2 1/2" squares, you could actually use charms and get a 2 1/2" square for each of the 4 sides from one charm.  I just don't plan that well in advance.  I fly by the seat of my pants a lot ...  but I will pay attention on the next one!

It may be hard to tell just how Mondo this bag is ... the bottom is about 14" square and I have it stuffed with bunches and bunches of fat quarters plus a big ol' roll of the "bomb" fat quarters - I think that's about 25 fat quarters.  And an envelope of pattern stuff.  So it's a biggie!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Batting Dissertation

Hmmm ... got a big quilt on Max so I won't be talking quilts for a while ... at least not until I get this one off and pictures taken.

So, this morning I got an interesting question via e-mail from Judy (Hi Judy!).  She wanted to know about batttings.  So here's what I told her.

My all-time favorite battings are Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 and Quilters Dream (QD) 70/30 Blend.  Both are fabulous battings and I just go eeny-meeny-miny-mo when I cannot decide which one to use.  I have them both on rolls and its very very convenient for me and hopefully for the customer, since I can unroll a clean unwrinkled sheet of batting and charge the customer for only what is used.  It's a win-win, no?  I also have available the QD 100% Cotton in the Deluxe or Supreme level.  I try not to use the Request level of 100% cotton because I find it a bit thin.  It works, but I really like the higher levels of loft.  I have also used the QD Wool, the QD Poly, and the QD Puff.  I like all of them for different quilts.  And for those occasions where a natural or white batting is not what I want, I keep some black batting on hand.  If I see a quilt coming up that needs that black batting and I don't have the correct size, I'll just order ahead of time.  I mean, do I really need to take up another room in the house just for storing batting??  LOL!  

For a wall/display quilt, I like to use two battings.  The blend or cotton on the bottom with a layer of wool or poly or puff on top.  The definition you get with the quilting is fabulous.  The wool is pricey but the effect can be stunning.  

And remember, just because I haven't mentioned a particular batting doesn't mean that there aren't other good battings out there.  There is only one batting I don't want to use ... it tends to come out of the bag way too inconsistent and sometimes you can get gaps of air with the batting (holes) ... but I'll be respectful and not mention names here.  My customers know which one I'm talking about!  And your local quilt stores won't be carrying it ... those other big-box stores might entice you with low prices.  Be very very wary ...

I remember when I handed over quilt tops to my quilter and at first I had my quilt top in one hand and a bag of batting in the other.  Then when I learned that she carried batting, I felt FREE!  No more bags of batting!  She took care of it and now I'm continuing that legacy!  Most of my customers also like that I 'take care of the batting' ... and I like that I get a clean unwrinkled product to work with.

So that's my dissertation for today.  As I told Judy, save your $$$$ for beautiful fabric!  I'll take care of the batting!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Belated Anniversary Trip with Habanero/Quilting Overtones

See PHOTO SELECTION OFF TO THE RIGHT - Airing of the Quilts, Franklin NC

Our anniversary was last month so hubby planned a little get-away for us.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, as things turned out...) he couldn't get the accomodations he wanted until this month.  So on Thursday afternoon we escaped to North Caroline, the Highlands/Franklin area.  We stayed at Fire Mountain ( and boy, was it a great experience!  Up the mountain and in the woods.  Our room had two balconies, one facing east and one facing west.  We were able to watch the sun come up in the morning and go down in the evening.  Breakfasts to die for!  Thanks to Matthew and Edith for being so kind to us!  Happy Mother's Day, Edith!

Friday was awesome, weather-wise.  Cool but bright sunshine.  We headed down the mountain to Highlands and took a 'quick' trip over to Franklin on the scariest road in America!  Woo whee ... sharp turns, blind turns, two lanes ... I'm telling you, I haven't unclinched yet!  LOL!!!  

And I can't NOT mention the restaurant Cyprus in Highlands.  What a gem!  A different cuisine each night and we cancelled one reservation at a different restaurant in order to go back to Cyprus the second night!  First night, for dessert, we had a Lavender Ice Cream Sandwich drizzled with honey that was soooooo good!  I didn't know Lavender could taste so good.  And then the second night I had oysters on the half-shell that came with a teeny bit of Habanero Sorbet.  Nice and cold ... and then ... wait for it ... HOT HOT HOT!  It was wonderful!

Anyway, come to discover that the town of Franklin was having its Airing of the Quilts event that weekend!  Could we have come at a better time?  I don't think so ...  it was absolutely beautiful.  

In Franklin, we visited two of the finest quilt stores I've ever seen.  Deb's Cats n Quilts and A Stitch in Time.  A quilt store on either end of town.  And both are great!  Cats n Quilts is more traditional with a lot of Civil War reproductions and Thimbleberry-type fabrics, with a room of batiks and another of children's and novelty fabrics.  Their downstairs area is relatively new and just fun to wander through.  Big classroom located downstairs.  I found several books and fabric and other goodies in this great store.  Thanks, ladies!

A Stitch in Time has those lovely bright colors that I tend to gravitate to ... Kaffe Fassett, Free Spirit, Valerie Wells, with some beautiful voile!  Found a great piece of Kaffe Fassett that I have big plans for ... ok, it is a weakness I have ... but it is beautiful!

Thanks to all in both stores who made us feel so welcome.  We'll be back, I promise!

Saturday we returned to Franklin for the official Airing of the Quilts.  Below are a few of the pictures we took.  I'll try to figure out how to do an album so you can see all.  Be sure to click on the picture so you can see it up close.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Got this one finished recently and it will be winging its way to New York and owner Judith this afternoon.  I wonder if I'll ever be able to hand-deliver one of these NY quilts??  Love Love Love NY!

When I first saw the top, my immediate reaction was "Oh, let's play!"  This is the perfect quilt to do some custom on and Judith agreed.  

I used a traditional-type thread (SoFine) on this one, both top and bottom.

 I wish I were an accomplished photographer ... but THAT'S not happening.   So just enjoy the beauty of the colors of the quilt and look at how well put together it is.  Good job, Judith!

This is a close-up, sorta, of the medallion.  Those big corners were just jumping up and down, yelling "Feathers!  Feathers!  We want Feathers!"  Can't deny a corner, can you?

A real-close-up of one of the corners.  I broke up that big corner triangle into 3 sections and went from there.  Small green border got a back-and-forth leaf treatment, and the yellow/gold medallion border with the green cornerstones got a rambling feather treatment.  

The backing looks cool from this angle, doesn't it?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Playing Catch-Up and then some ...

It's been a while, no?  

I have been working on different quilts and it seems that every quilt has its own story...

I really like my customers.  They are excellent piecers and so kind when I make a whooper of a mistake ... like not noticing that a backing is directional and I go ahead and cut it WRONG WRONG WRONG (she asked that I piece the huge backing for her)!  Her response when I told her what I had done?  "Life's too short!  Don't worry about it.  It will be fine."  I really needed to hear that ... see what I mean about my customers?  Great attitude!

Oh, lordy ... some quilts are sent to me to teach me lessons and I do have one quilt that is teaching me lots and lots of lessons ... and I know that every long-arm quilter has had these experiences.  The quilt itself is meticulous.  The following commentary is directed to ME, the long-armer.   You measure, write it down, measure again ... cut the batting ... and then when you get to that wonderful "QUILT IS OFF THE FLOOR" place, you look ... and good grief, marie!  the batting is about 4" too short!  (I free-float my quilts so this little surprise is very very noticeable at this QUILT IS OFF THE FLOOR stage).  So now, I'm going to take a break, have a Mimosa (my beverage of choice these days), and enjoy the evening not quilting.  Like I said, some quilts are sent to teach me lessons ... and this lesson is:  NEVER EVER ASSUME THAT THE BATTING IS LONG ENOUGH.   We all know that 56" + 56" = 102", right?  Egads!  I needed at least 120" inches of batting, not 110" ... I think my math skills are being crowded out by the 'artsy-fartsy' creative skills ... Anyway, I have to go back and measure EVERYTHING one last time before taking that first stitch.  And these are quilts that are beautifully pieced, wonderful colors, all the good stuff ... and then anything that can go wrong will and usually does ...  I can report that the stitches are beautiful, the tension is great, and the quilting design is fabulous!  It's just the other stuff that sucks boulders!   By the way, the CAPS are for me, not directed at you, gentle reader ....  I'll try not to worry that you might not understand any of this ... i'm just so gob-smacked that all these problems (created by ME) have cropped on on one quilt!  Can I just get on with it and get it off the machine, please!!

Now on to brighter things!

So here are some quilts that have gone back to their own homes ... and all of these quilts quilted up very nicely, thank you!  

This first one is a HUGE and beautiful blue and yellow quilt going to a Mother-In-Law.  It was so big I had a hard time getting a good picture of it.  It turned out lovely!

This is a cutie-pie child's quilt made especially for "Oscar" ... Anne found this Richard Scarry pictorial fabric and since her own son loved these Richard Scarry books so much when he was a child, Anne decided to make this quilt for his friend's son Oscar. It is just too cute!