4.13.2016

Holy Cow!

I have no clue where the last month has gone. How can my baby girl be a month old already???

Well, I know how. It's been an insane month and it's going to still be insane for the next couple weeks or so and here's why:

Not only did we have our little girl and bring her home and have to get acclimated to our new life as we know it, we sold our house, bought a house, have been packing as well as all of the other things that go along with selling a house and life with a newborn... I swear this is why the good Lord gave us caffeine and alcohol. Just saying.

In the midst of all this craziness I have been able to get back to the quilting machine slowly and practice a bit. It's definitely much different after several weeks off as well as having Maura in tow with me while I work (but I wouldn't trade it for the world). I just loaded my first client quilt and I am proud to say I'm back!!!

Well, I'm back but not in the same way I was before. It's still going to take me a bit to get on a schedule as Maura and I still figure out our days AND I still have to move the machine to the new house once we get in there which will also help streamline the process a bit more in the future. It's going to be an adjustment for us all here in our house, but I can't wait.

If you're interested in getting on the schedule for quilting, please email me at rubybluequilts (at) gmail (dot) com. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to comment below or shoot me an email and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Thank you all for being patient with me as I neglect the blog and adjust to life as a Momma! I would love to say I'm going to start posting more, but I think until we get in the new house and get settled in - it just may not be in the cards for a bit longer... But I have some things in mind so stay tuned and I promise the wait will be worth it.

Oh, time to go, Little Miss is waking from her nap! Toodles!

3.14.2016

Well Hello There...

Please let me introduce you to:

Maura Avilyn!!!

Born 3/9/16
7lbs 3oz
20" long
And she stole Mom and Dad's hearts instantly!!!

Last week was just one of those weeks let me tell ya. I thought my next doctors appointment was Wednesday. Well, it was on Tuesday (glad I looked at the calendar). Ben and I had to prep our house for another house showing and after a couple small scares where we thought Maura may arrive early we decided it was best to just go about life like it was any other day. Boy were we wrong. 

Anywho, Ben went to work, I went to my doctors appointment (first appointment he didn't go with me in awhile - we hadn't made any significant progress in weeks) and low and behold she made enough progress that the doctor asked me whether I wanted to have her that night or the next morning. It all happened so fast, I went straight to the hospital and Ben met me there and the next morning Maura greeted us with her beautiful slatey blue eyes and precious face. 

We finished our stay at the hospital, have been home for a couple days and are starting to settle in nicely. The pups have been amazing and our families have been the biggest help. 
(First bath at home yesterday) 

So far my major accomplishments since we've been home have been getting a shower each day and that's about it. (And I'm completely fine with that) Now maybe, and just maybe, if I find some energy these next couple weeks I may actually start her quilt. I have the fabric and a plan, I just have yet to start. Plus it's not like she doesn't have stacks and stacks of quilts here to choose from! 

3.09.2016

Blue Stars

Suzanne brought me this quilt. It was one of those "I'm sick to death of looking at this quilt, please take it and make it pretty so I want to look at it again" type quilts. You know what it's like when you've been staring at and man-handling a large quilt that never seems to end? Well, Suzanne hit that wall and I was glad to take this quilt off her hands for a bit.
 This quilt has a funny story too. Suzanne's hubby has been asking for years for a blue quilt. She worked on this quilt for what seemed like forever and when she was done her hubby saw it and asked, "Oh, who is that for?" She's like, "You silly!". Guys, you gotta love them! Well, this quilt proved trickier than Suzanne was bargaining for. It was an online tutorial that seemed super easy and fun, but the pressing instructions weren't the greatest. Okay they were downright dreadful and when she started to piece together this monster of a quilt it just added to the headaches. She had to work on it in little bits until it was finished - hence another reason why she was sick to death of looking at it.
 Knowing the pressing issue, there were some bulky seams that needed tamed so we opted for a simple overall design where I could work in and around those areas without harm to quilt, quilt plan, and my machine (thank you!). Again, Suzanne lives super close to Lake Erie like I do so with all of the blues she chose the wave design to quilt this monster. It not only helped to soften all of the harsh lines and contrast in the quilt, but also tied in with the blue theme.
 It wasn't until I was taking this photo that I realized Suzanne had the blocks in diagonal rows matching the fabrics... One of those "too close to the quilt" type situations. You have to understand while I'm working on a quilt I can only focus on about 20" at a time. Large patterns like this are immune to my vision until the end most times.
But isn't it just dreamy? Didn't it turn out awesome? If my memory serves me correctly I think this was quilted with a light blue thread to balance between the white and various blues. The backing was a solid white so a light thread was the way to go. Even though some of the blue fabrics are very dark, even a light blue thread plays better than a white would have. The white on a dark blue would have been like a neon "look at me" sign strewn throughout the quilt.

Suzanne, you did it! I hope hubby loves his quilt and it's come in handy during this frigid winter.

3.07.2016

Nancy's Chevron Quilt

Sometimes simple is good. When you do something so simple but so effortlessly, it's just magical. Like this quilt.
 Now you all know (or you should by now if you've been following my blog for awhile) that I LOVE scrappy quilts. Nancy just put together some scraps with no rhyme or reason and came up with this fun quilt. When she got the pieces done she faded the colors and it just made this quilt that much more spectacular! Don't you agree?
 Once she got the top done she was on a search to find more of this "wave" fabric for the border since it reminded her of the lake we live so close to. Luckily she was able to get it but it was a tight squeeze in order to get enough for all four sides, but she did it!
We chose to quilt this simply with all-over waves to play off of the lake theme. You could go crazy with quilting and make this one custom, but Nancy wasn't sure what she was going to do with it, so simple was best. Not every quilt needs custom quilting.

Thanks, Nancy! Your quilts are always fun to work on!

3.05.2016

French Braid Quilt

Sharon also sent me this fun French Braid quilt to work my magic on. I have to tell you sometimes quilts come to me in waves - all big quilts, all baby quilts - usually matching the seasons. However last year I had never worked on so many purple quilts all in a row. I think I had six at the same time that were mostly purple. I think in the years I've been long arming I have only quilted six purple quilts until this year.

Okay, back to the quilt.
 Yes it's sideways, but that's how it was quilted and it was the only way I could get the whole quilt in the photo! French braid quilts are so interesting to me. They're all kinda the same but may have different personalities between the choice of colors, an accent piece or not, whether the colors fade, which direction they might fade, etc.
 We decided to keep this one simple-ish. I know it doesn't look like it in the photo, but I'll walk you through it. The dahlia worked well in the center square and the side setting triangles at the end of the strips. The braids were filled with large bubbles in various sizes leaving the cheddar accents alone so they stood out more. Then a double bubble chain filled the center sashing strip.
Last but not least, trying not to overwhelm the quilt with another "design", to tack down the border more for function and to leave the large leaf print to stand on it's own, straight lines were quilted into the borders. That way the fabric can still be the focus and the straight lines act more as a texture than another quilting design.

This was definitely a quilt that I probably put more thought into the plan than the time I actually put into the quilting. I just let this quilt sit out and speak to me for awhile and it helped to see the various fabrics in different light while planning. Sometimes the fabrics seem to change during the day or on a cloudy day versus a bright sunny day. Sometimes I see variations and details in different lighting that helps to plan the quilting. It really is a long thought process if you don't just pick a design out of a catalog and go to town.

Thank you, Sharon, for sending me your quilts! Your color choices were fantastic and I loved working on them!

If you're interesting in my quilting services, please e-mail me at rubybluequilts (at) gmail (dot) com or check out the Machine Quilting Information page here on the blog. I'm not doing a bunch of quilting right now, but I hope to get back into it slowly after Easter or so (depends on when Little Miss arrives).

Have a great weekend! -Rebecca

3.04.2016

String Leaves

Sharon contacted me and sent me this string quilt to finish off for her. She had a vision of leaves quilted into the design with a variegated thread. It took a little back and forth to come up with a plan that got us both on the same page - there are various leaves to choose from and finding a thread that had the right mix of colors in it was harder than anticipated.
 Sadly the pictures will never give the true perspective of colors in this quilt... Sometimes it just won't translate well, but this quilt was stunning in person. The mixture of hues were so vibrant and captivating.
 With such a mixture of colors and how the quilt fades from light to dark from the center out, it made choosing thread a little more challenging than usual. Plus since Sharon wanted a variegated thread, the hardest part was finding the right mix of thread colors. Some of the thread choices were almost perfect but faded into reds and burgundies that were a little too overpowering for this quilt.
 All in all I used three different threads on this quilt. The variegated thread was used in the leaves. A light blue was used to fill in the background and a teal was used for the back. The teal matched the backing so well and was the perfect "middle ground" between the colors in the variegated thread. Think of it as a happy medium.

 Here you can see a close up of the leaves and the differences in threads. This quilt was fun to work on and the mixture of colors and strips made every row like a new discovery as I worked along.
The quilting shows up so much more on the back of the quilt. And here's my little tip for you today - the biggest misconception in the quilting world is that your quilting will stand out more with bright crazy variegated threads... WRONG. Look at the two pictures above. Which one shows the quilting more? The top with all of the colors and various threads or the back where the thread was meant to blend into the fabric?

That's right, when the thread blends into the fabric, your quilting will actually stand out more. Take that in for a second. This is why many quilters will "skimp" (for lack of a better word) on visually busy areas in a quilt because you're not going to be able to see the quilting anyway - so why put in all that time and detail when it won't ever get noticed... And focus your attention on the plain(er) areas that will actually showcase the quilting more.

Does this surprise you? Does it go against your quilting instincts? Here's another way I look at it. Take a light quilt and quilt it with red thread. Your quilting will definitely stand out more but for all the wrong reasons. When anyone looks at that quilt they will see the thread first, quilting second and the quilt last. You want the attention to be quilt first, then the quilting and maybe if it's needed the thread. The thread choices you make should accent and amplify the feel of the quilt, not fight for attention. Does that make sense?

Alrighty, well I'm trying to plan a few more quilty picture posts for you all while I have some energy to sit at the computer. Still no Little Miss yet, but I will keep you posted! Have a great day! -Rebecca

2.29.2016

Before you ask...

Nope, no Little Miss yet. However it seriously could be any minute she's making her big debut, so by the time you are reading this, she may be here. Who knows. Not me.

Sorry for the long pause this past week, but we had a small scare and had to make a trip to the hospital for an exam to make sure everything was okay. And it was and still is, just had to get it checked out to be safe. So last week we weren't sure if she would be arriving that much earlier than anticipated or not and then I've taken some time off to rest and prep for when she actually arrives.

While we were at the hospital though, Ben got to test out the couch in the maternity room and had himself a little nap. Snoring and all. Just getting himself acclimated to the surroundings before our actual stay.

Aside from that we've still been busy showing and trying to sell our house and we had another little family emergency. My aunt had a heart attack and with her own hospital stay every step forward results in a step or two backwards and now she has to have more surgery this week. Say a prayer for her if you could.

So needless to say I haven't done any quilting, it's been a little crazy here on the other fronts and I'm trying to stay calm and relaxed before Little Miss arrives. If I get more energy and a little break from everything else I may try to post more quilt pictures, but no guarantees at this point. Family life has been top priority lately - I'm sure you can understand.

Check back soon though for updates, whether the baby or quilty kind! I'm not sure myself! -Rebecca
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