Machine Quilting: Another Glacier Star

Judi contacted me about quilting her Glacier Star for her and when she sent me the pictures, I knew it would be fun. I asked her if there was anything she wanted or liked that I've done before and she told me she liked this one Doris made. I also asked Judi what she was inspired by for this quilt. I had tropical in my brain when I saw all of the vibrant blues and purples, but Judi threw me for a curve when she said Northern Lights.

This quilt is so much more vibrant in person and it's just gorgeous. I personally have never seen the Northern Lights so this was a fun little challenge to me. But then again, you can tell I've been brainwashed by the Caribbean when that was my first thought :)
 The biggest challenge for me was the high contrast of this quilt. It went from white to black and every shade of blue in between. With that large of a contrast I have to be super careful with the thread choices I make and where to quilt.
 I quilted the majority of the quilt in a light blue and white thread. That way the quilt and the quilting gets noticed and not the thread color.

*A common mistake in quilting is that bold thread colors will make the quilting stand out more. It's actually the opposite, you see quilting much more on plain areas when the threads match. Otherwise the threads can be too powerful and that's all you'll see. You'd see thread first, quilting next, and the quilt last. You want the quilting and the quilt to work together, not fight for attention.
 I kept most of the quilting simple and organic keeping the Northern Lights reference in the back of my mind.
 I did add in some sharp lines here or there because let's be honest, in the places you normally see the Northern Lights, it can be chilly. And icy. And cold. Plus with a design like the Glacier Star, there's so many sharp lines and points that some quilting can bridge the design of the quilt and the softer designs in the quilting.
 I switched to a darker thread in the black areas and you can barely see it here. This is actually a batik called raven I think... It's black with subtle hints of blue but reads mostly black. I used a dark blue/purple thread and quilted large chains of circles throughout these weird shapes and used back & forth lines to fill the areas. I wasn't quite sure what to do so I took a chance and I like it!
 Overall I tried to keep the quilting soft and I had to add in just a touch of feathers. It just called for it. It was hard trying to mimic the look of Doris's quilt and apply those same items to Judi's because Doris's was done for Florida. Judi's is not.
 It all worked out and then I got to see the back. I love how you can see the main star and pick apart all of the areas from the front of the quilt.
In the bottom right ish of this photo you can see the chains of circles that I quilted in the dark areas on the front.

Overall the quilt went together smoothly and it turned out better than I imagined. I was worried it wouldn't have the same vibe Judi was looking for, but I'm glad to report that she loves it!

Thank you, Judi! Your piecing was wonderful and your colors are so cheerful, this was a joy to work on.

If you have a quilt you're interested in having quilted, please either e-mail me at rubybluequilts (at) gmail (dot) com or check out the information on my Machine Quilting Information page. I'm always up for a challenge.

Also, please remember that if you have any quilts you'd like for Christmas gifts, it will be here before you know it so please plan ahead. You can always call and get on the schedule if you're not finished with your project yet, but want to make sure you've got a spot reserved. I have plenty of spaces available at this moment, but it can book up fast!

Have a great day and if you're starting your weekend a bit early, have a great Labor Day!


Getting Organized

It's no secret I have a very hard time some days finding the balance between work, home and fun. Even harder, I have a hard time distinguishing which projects to work on first, my deadlines or my clients? 

Well after reading a zillion organization blog posts and pins on Pinterest, I think I came up with a simple solution that seems to be working and I wanted to share it with you. 
This is it! My new idea. It's a dry erase board calendar and some magnets. That's it. 

I've read about keeping lists and trying to stick to a schedule, but my schedule changes everyday or week and my list can be a mile long some days. I've also read about picking your top three goals to tackle for the day so that super long list isn't so daunting. But there's those few things I need to do every week too. 

So here's the plan:
Pink magnets are for working out. I'd like to workout 3-4 times per week, but I have a fifth if I get extra motivated. I don't want to do it any more than that because that's how I've injured myself in the past. 

Green magnets are for long arm quilting. Once again, there's only 5 magnets so I can't quilt 7 days a week anymore. But I'd also like to limit this number too. 

Black magnets are for office work which includes edits, paperwork, blogging, etc. 

Purple magnets are for cleaning. 

Teal edits are for sewing for my own projects. I may need to get more of these :)

And finally blue magnets are for rewards. This includes going out to dinner, watching a movie, spending time with friends and family. Going to a Luke Bryan concert :) sadly I forgot to take some me time in the past, not now. I'm happy to report I used all of these this week and needed more :)

I was trying to think of how I could incorporate all of these ideas into something that actually worked for me. The dry erase calendar is perfect. I have a space for each day of the week for working out and I know I only need to fill that space 3-4 times. That leaves 4 other spots for other tasks for the day. I would like to hit three each day, but if I hit a fourth, all the better. But if I only hit 2 in a day, I can see everything I've done in the rest of the week and then it's not all bad. 

Plus I keep all of the magnets to the side as I need them so I can see exactly what I have left to do. I'm such a visual person and so far this has been great. 

I also have my to-do list off to the side for my sewing projects and deadlines so I know what I need to tackle first when I get to paperwork or sew or edit. So far it's working and I've gotten a ton of stuff done even with watching a few movies and going to see some concerts this week. 

It's amazing what you can do when you're organized and waste less time figuring out what to do and just do it. 

The only issue I've had is keeping this calendar up. The magnets I have are glass so they weigh a bit. The calendar only came with permanent 3m strips to hang it and I'm not ready to make this a permanent fixture on a wall. I tried using other magnetic strips and they are still on the side of my filing cabinet, but the adhesive isn't that great and the calendar and magnets went flying one morning. I'm still missing one somewhere...

Anywho, I just wanted to share what I finally found has been working for me. I have a schedule (kinda) but it's flexible since I don't do the same thing every day or from week to week. 

Let me know what you think of my plan and maybe it could work for you. If you have any questions or suggestions of other ideas to try, please leave me a comment below! Have a great day, be back soon with quilt pictures!


WIP report on Thursday

So yesterday I stayed home to sew, mainly because my car was getting new brakes and it gave me the perfect excuse to sew the day away. 

Earlier this week I started cutting out fabrics for a plus quilt. It's just one of those quilts I've always loved and finally got the urge to make it. 
This is what I started with. I laid it out yesterday morning in a scrappy fashion and it was okay. 
The thing was I liked it but I didn't love it... So in a moment of weakness (or pure genius, you decide) I changed up the layout entirely and shifted the colors from one to the next:
It was a pain to lay out (not gonna lie) and I had to cut up just a few more pieces to fit the open spaces, but I LOVE it!!!

It's gonna take me a bit to sew it together, but once I do, I'm planning on posting a tutorial! I looked online for one and all of the sizes were either too big or too small so I ended up doing my own thing. 

I'm having so much fun I just might make two! I may make the other one more traditionally with maybe all oranges (I have a thing for orange lately, I can't explain). I'm also thinking of going super crazy with a scrappy binding to match the colors going around the quilt... I'm thinking it will make me super bonkers, but after thinking of it, I don't think I can change my mind. 

So that's what I've been working on. Which layout do you prefer, the color shift or the scrappy version?


Machine Quilting: B&W & Orange

Sometimes I just love the anticipation of actually seeing a quilt from the story I hear about it from the person that made it. This quilt definitely ranks high up on that list. It's so fun and bright and Kathy is just a doll, so I knew this was going to be fun.
 My favorite calls for long arm quilting are the conversations that start with something like "Now it's really bright and crazy". This quilt lives to to that no problem. The other fun element for this quilt was the pieced backing. Some of Kathy's friends were trying to talk her either into doing two quilts or one super awesome quilt. Well, this turned into a super awesome quilt.
 The main areas of the quilt were quilted in orange thread in a wave pattern to mimic one of the favorite prints in the black and white fabrics (you really can't see it here). We made the decision to play up the stars knowing the quilting wouldn't stand out anywhere else. Since the stars had an ombre effect, I used three different threads, red, orange and yellow, in the opposing direction of the stars to have even more fun. This way then the red stars have yellow thread, the lighter stars had the darker thread and the quilting stood out even more.
 Plus the geometric quilting in the stars is a complete contrast from the swirly waves that you probably still can't see quilted in this picture... Oh well. It looks really cool in person.
 And here's the back. This quilt was made for Kathy's son. She added his name to the bottom and used the leftover pieces from the front to make this awesome stripe on the back and framed it with an ombre fabric. This really could have been two quilts, but I think it's pretty neat as a front and a back.
You can see the quilting a ton better on the back and the stars stand out nicely.

Thanks, Kathy! You did a great job and I hope Kevin loves it! He's lucky to have an awesome Mom like you make a quilt like this one!

If you would like to know more information about my quilting services, click on the Machine Quilting Information tab at the top of the page!


Studio Tour

So, since I've switched things up a bit, more and more quilters are coming to visit me at the studio to drop off their projects to be quilted and I thought it would be nice to give you all a tour and show you where to go.
 Here's the view of the house from the street. It's the second house south of 166 on 528 in Thompson. Really easy to find!
 It is a long drive, but no worries. It makes a great walk to get the mail!
 And when you're pulling up the drive you may be able to see the cows in the pasture next door.
 You can barely see them in this photo, but they're blending into the corn field and wood line. They're there I promise! So those are my neighbors.
 To get to the studio, pull up the drive along the house (it's on the left side). You can pull right to the back of the house.
 Just off the patio you'll see this door and that's where the studio is!
 Just come on in and I'll be there to greet you. Now, I'm going to try to be here quilting most weekdays from 10-5 ish, but I will not be here everyday. Please call or e-mail me to set up an appointment to meet. Typically if I'm not here I'll be at my home in Madison sewing like a maniac.
Then when you walk in, this is what you'll see! I've got the blinds drawn to aid in what I'm working on and this is actually a different angle that what you'll see, but I can't show you what's on the machine just yet, so this view will have to do. This is my other office and I actually need to get ready to go there now.

Thank you all for understanding the change of direction my little business has gone in. It's really helped me to relax and breathe and for those inquiring minds - no I still haven't taken a day off yet. Most of the recent days I've worked have been more creative and less stress, so it's okay. Maybe this weekend, but I don't know. I've got a nice stack of fabrics calling my name begging to be turned into a quilt!

So, come on out and see me if you can! I've also been toying with the idea of a quilting "workshop" to have a few people at a time come out to the machine and see the set up. I could show you a few things and let you try your hand at a bit of quilting. More or less to get awareness out there of what I really do and how the quilting process works. Anyone interested?


New Page for Quilting!!!

I'm still working on it, this page is going to be a constantly evolving process with new information added all the time, but I think it's good enough to share right now.

If you look at the tabs at the top of this page (if on desktop) or in the page options (in mobile viewer) you'll see a new page just for Machine Quilting Information.

This page has links to Pinterest boards with galleries of quilting that I have done including pricing options for each type of quilting. Also, you will find information about how to contact me, what to prepare before giving me a quilt to work on and other options.

Please check it out and let me know if you have any other questions. I just realized I forgot to put my turnaround time on there (ooooppps) but I can tell you here. I am currently running about 4-6 weeks out. Free motion edge to edge designs will be on the shorter end of that spectrum with custom quilts taking a bit longer.

However, I am a HUGE fan of planning ahead and Christmas is in the not-so-distant future... If you know you are working on a project and would like to get on the schedule to have it ready to go on the machine when you finish it, please contact me and I'd love to work with you on it.

I never know how many quilts could be heading my way, but in my history I've typically run anywhere from 3-8 weeks out. Around the holidays it gets a bit hectic, so please plan ahead.

With that in mind, I will state it here and now - The cutoff this year for guaranteed Christmas delivery quilts is Friday, November 7th (but subject to change). 

Please, check out the page and the Pinterest boards and contact me if you have any questions. Thanks again, I wouldn't be able to call this my job without all of you! I'll be back later this week with more awesome quilt pictures to show you!


Machine Quilting: Tree of Life

As promised, here's the big sister to the quilt I showed you yesterday:
 Anne was on a roll and made this larger Tree of Life quilt to switch out with her Jinny Beyer quilt that hangs in her living room. As in true Anne style, it's colorful and full of pink. I quilted this one similarly to the smaller version she made, but there are a few subtle differences between the two quilts, so I made a few adjustments.
 I quilted the leaves and most of the borders and backgrounds the same-ish. Since the pieces were bigger, I had to fill it in a bit in the leaves. Plus I did straight lines in the trunk of this tree since it was so large...
 I changed up the one border and mimicked the design I did in the center leaves so it all tied together.
As before, you can see all of the different areas on the back of the quilt and that makes me happy. This quilt was so much fun and I think I like the colors in it the most. It's such a bright and fun quilt, you can't help but smile after seeing it.

Thanks again, Anne! You did an amazing job as always which makes my job that much more fun!
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