Machine Quilting: Aqua Table Topper

It's finally here! The last of the aqua-y blue and grey quilts Bobette made. You can see the other quilts here, here, and here.
 This quilt was small and was a bonus made from the scraps from the other quilts.
 Trying to keep the designs similar to the other quilts, I created the same jellybean shapes as in this quilt and kept the feathers going as the tying element to all the quilts.
 This quilt was fast and fun to do!
It was hard to get all of the quilting to show up with the different angles and such, but here it is! A fun little table topper to finish off the room of quilts.

Well, there you have it. Five quilts, four different patterns, and a ton of feathers in the process. It was a fun challenge to make each quilt unique yet work with the other quilts like a little collection. It's not a challenge that I've come across before and may not again for a while, but that's the fun part of this job - I never know what will show up at my door and when. It keeps my brain challenged and keeps me on my toes. It's hard to get bored with a job like this!

Stay tuned for more quilts and I will attempt to have a Confessions post up for you on Wednesday!


Machine Quilting: Blue Wonky Stars

Now this is the exact same quilt as in this post, just a change in the placement of colors. In these quilts (there were actually two of them made the same), the blue fabrics were planned in their placement rather than the scrappier alternate in the other quilt.
 Bobette made all of these quilts out of the same fabrics, all for a room she was redoing in her house. If I remember correctly one was for a couch, one on the wall, one on a table and these two today were to go on the beds for when her granddaughters came to stay. All different quilts, all the same fabrics but I had to keep all of the quilting similar yet unique to each quilt.
 I got off a little easy with these two since they were the same I just had to repeat myself on this pattern. I actually quilted it a little similar to the other quilt with the same feathers and swirls, just no dahlias in this version.
 I love how you can see the quilting in the white "flowers".
 A simple outline and swirls fill each of the stars.
 I LOVE this quilt too. Like many of them. I could quilt these forever and keep them all. I actually have a quilt drawn up and some fabrics cut to make a crazier version of this quilt. I just need a blizzard and a busy baby to get working on it maybe this winter. Or a babysitter or three...
 I love the feathers. I love the stars. I love the fabrics.
 I mean really, what's not to love?
And again on the back you can see all of the quilting really well.

So you saw the quilt for the couch, the quilt for the wall and these were for the beds. Next up is the little gem for the table. Come back tomorrow to see the little bonus quilt!

Oh and before I forget because I already got a couple more emails asking about the pattern for this quilt... I honestly can't remember the name of the quilt, but you can find the pattern in the book Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe. It's a great book and you can find it here. Totally worth the cost if you make this pattern as many times as Bobette has!


Machine Quilting: Blue Baskets

Here is another quilt for Bobette's room that she was redoing. If my memory serves me correct, this was going to be a wall hanging on a very large wall she wanted to fill. Keeping that in mind made me alter the quilting plan a bit, but it all worked out in the end.
 The reason I altered the quilting plan knowing this quilt was going to hang on a wall rather than be used on a bed or the back of a couch, it will have gravity fighting against it! I usually quilt wall hangings a bit on the denser side so you don't have puffy open areas that want to sag after awhile. Wall hangings just need a little extra support, like a bra - just in quilting form.
 These basket blocks were fun and the layout created this secondary pattern that I saw and took advantage of.
 These squished hexagon/jelly bean shaped areas with the straight line quilting were apparent to me as I was planning the quilting and I wanted to use them in the design. Rather than just a square basket block with sashing around it, this design blends two blocks together and keeps things a bit more interesting.
 You can see those jelly bean shapes better here. With a combination of lines and ribbon candy for the background, it really helped to make the baskets pop even more.
 I love this quilt. I know I say that about a lot of quilts, but I really do love them all. The blues in this quilt were a soft dusty aqua-y blue... So pretty without being boyish.
 I love quilting feathers in borders and turning the corners is my favorite. There was no other design that could finish off this quilt just like these feathers. Plus it tied in with the feathers on the quilt from yesterday - I think there were 5 different quilts in 4 different patterns that were all out of similar fabrics to all go in the same room. I tried to keep the quilts unique to their own pattern, but keep the designs similar enough so they all looked like a collection.
 This quilt almost looks harsh to me in photos, the actual quilt was very soft and cozy looking.
 Again, this is another quilt that the back looks just as good as the front (as it should!).
 I love how you can see all of the designs and know exactly what you're looking at without the need for the pieces on the front of the quilt.
So so pretty! I had as much fun planning the designs as I did quilting them out. There's still more quilts from this little collection to show, so come back next week for more!


Machine Quilting: Flowers and Stars

Bobette was on a roll and made a ton of matching-but-not quilts for a room she was redoing. It'll take me a bit to get through all of the posts, so stick with me!

Oh, and on a sidenote, there won't be a Confessions post this week, but come back next week for another fun topic. Part of the reason being that my barely 6 month old started thinking about crawling less than a couple weeks ago, started crawling a week ago and is now pulling herself up on everything! I'm so not ready!!!

Back to the quilt for today. It's a beauty!
 You may recognize this quilt pattern, I've lost count of how many versions of this pattern Bobette has made and I've quilted, but you can see them here, here, here, and here. I think there's more, but that's enough for today. You get the point how versatile this quilt really is.
 Well, for this one Bobette wanted feathers and she wasn't sure exactly how. That part was up to me so I used the feathers in the "flowers" and had the feathers radiate out from the center and swirl to fill each quadrant. No two pieces are the same size and shape in this pattern, so the quilting has to be just as forgiving.
 In the stars I quilted a dahlia in the center and filled the background with swirls. A simple outline separates the stars from the flowers and makes the whole quilt work.
 Here's a better view of the flowers and stars working together.
 I LOVE this quilt!
It even looks great on the back! One of my main goals as a quilter is the back should look just as good as the front. Sometimes I joke that I like the backs so much you can get double use out of the quilt - it can be the quilt as you know it or a wholecloth if you flip it over and show off the back!

It was challenging in a good way to take this wonky style pattern and make the quilting a tad bit more elegant but still whimsical. Mission accomplished! Stay tuned for more of these blue-grey-quilts for Bobette's room! I'll post more photos soon! Now off to chase that baby!


Confessions: Embellishments and Extras

Hello all! This post is a tad late and may be a bit short because my just barely 6-month-old is CRAWLING!!! She is now mobile and I'm trying to type this really quick while she naps.
So today I am discussing embellishments. Extras. Stuff not normally found on a quilt. Nothing you want to cuddle up with usually. Just saying. Seriously, they poke, they prod, they're not comfy. At all.

Why did I choose to talk about this today? Well folks, it's because long armers dread them. With a passion. There are quilts I can't even think about loading onto my machine because of all sorts of "stuff".

There are things I don't mind like buttons for eyes or thicker stitches with a pearl cotton or similar thread around appliques and such...

There are also items that make me scratch my head and ask, "Why?"

Here's the short and simple of it. Ask your quilter first BEFORE you add anything extra to a quilt you want them to long arm for you.

The reasoning is simple. There's only so much room for the quilt layers between the machine and hopping foot. Sometimes that isn't enough room for all the layers AND the extras.

Also and this is the big one - if you didn't ask ahead of time, point out EVERY extra you added because if they don't find it (which they won't), the machine will and it may damage both your quilt and the long arm. Basically it's a disaster in the worst way possible. Think about it, put a button or a pin or a loose flange or some piping and don't say anything, then the quilter loads the quilt and takes their machine across the top to get started and it snags the "extra" and the damage is done before you know it. It's so easy with the momentum of the machine to snag something and drag it and rip the quilt. It can happen in an instant. I've heard horror stories of this exact thing happening with a computerized machine that was left unattended and the quilter came back to find a giant hole ripped into the quilt.

So what is the best option? It really depends on what extra you want to add. I always tell my clients to call me with any questions and we can talk it over beforehand. Some buttons and things have to be added prior to quilting - in that case I just can't quilt close to them. I can get as close as possible, but not right on top of it. Otherwise if it can be added after the quilting, always add it after if it doesn't matter (like with a wall hanging where nobody will ever see the back and see the extra stitches).

I recently just had a client that wanted to add prairie points to the outside of the quilt between the quilt and the binding. Luckily she mentioned it and she hadn't stitched them on the quilt top yet. With something like prairie points, they add both bulk and a snag possibility to the quilt. Also, one of the most important details for a long armer - we have to be able to quilt up to and off the edge to give you the best results possible. It's what keeps the foundation of the quilt as we work and keeps the shape and tension for the best quilting results. Anything that interferes with the edge of the quilt should be kept off until after quilting. Again any extra details you wish to add to enhance the binding should normally be left off prior to quilting and added when the binding is being stitched on.

What's the weirdest embellishments I've come across in my quilting career you ask? Well, let me tell you! The items that stand out the most were picture frames made of a thick ribbon that were hot-glued onto a quilt top... There were also these butterflies that were 3D-ish - they were adhered with a really small version of the plastic things that hold price tags onto clothes. I wasn't made aware of it and it tickled my arm as I was quilting and I about crapped my pants. True story. What else, I'm sure there's more... Hhhhhmmmmm there was that one with sheer fabric attached to another fabric to change the color but it was attached with spray adhesive (also a big no-no - nothing sticky that can gum up a needle. It's one of the quickest ways to ruin a quilt). There are so many more but I've pushed many of those details into the recesses of my brain.

I'd say the most common "thing" I run across are appliques adhered with iron-on glues like Heat-n-Bond. There are times where several layers are too thick to quilt through or where the glue is rock hard and can damage the needle which can set off a domino effect of troubles for the quilt machine. I've actually had the timing screwed up on my machine so bad I had to immediately take in my machine to get fixed because it locked up from appliques that were done so yucky (yes I said yucky, I wanted to say something much much worse, but you get the point).

Always always always ask your quilter before adding anything you wouldn't normally put on a quilt. If you have any doubts, just ask. I'd rather take a million phone calls checking about details than have to quilt one more disaster. I even have clients bring me pieces of quilt tops to run their ideas past me before they go any further to make sure it'll work. Don't always assume because you pieced it on your machine that I can finish it on mine. They work totally different.

Ooooo, and that brings up a good point. If you had trouble stitching through just the quilt top (say with thick layers of appliques), imagine how hard my machine is going to struggle with that AND two more thicker layers. My machine is strong, but...

So that's the topic for today. I'm sure I'm not the only quilter to run into these "things" and please do not be the person to deliver a disaster to your local quilter. Again, I cannot stress enough the fact to talk to your quilter if you have any questions. The best time to ask is before you hit the "point of no return". Your quilter will thank you. Trust me.


Machine Quilting: Applique Pooches

Anne brought me this quilt she made to donate for a local shelter's annual raffle. I was so excited to work on it and put a little sparkle in it to bring in as much for the shelter as possible.
 Each little block had it's very own dog with it's own personality which made it fun for me to come up with the background for each block.
 Some blocks I just followed the fabric, there's no sense to compete designs between the quilting and the fabrics. Other blocks just needed a fun filler.
 Anne embroidered a name for each dog too and I'm particularly fond of the little Chihuahua named after our little Paco. I miss him so much, but it's nice to see these memories. Anne also named one of the pups after her own Sam who is the biggest puppy I've ever met!
This quilt was so much fun! Thanks, Anne! It's always so much fun to work on your quilts!


Machine Quilting: OH - IO!!!

Let me hear it! OH! IO! GO Bucks! Sorry, it's an Ohio thing and if you don't like the Buckeyes, than oh well. Hahahaha. Just kidding. But it's just one quilt...
 Bobette made this Buckeye quilt and it was spectacular! I can tell you she didn't have a pattern, she drafted it on her own so let's just get that out of the way before I get a ton of emails asking for the pattern.
 This quilt was actually going to an OSU student so Bobette wanted it special but not custom. We came up with the plan for two different fillers to just keep it simple. The cross hatching worked well to fill the O and the gray areas, plus this is for a guy... no flowers and frills on this quilt.
 The red diagonal lines and the outer border both got these double bubbles that just so happen to look like buckeyes. Happy coincidence? I think not.
 Here you can see the double bubble or buckeye quilting better. It was such an obvious choice for the quilting, I think I know what to do on every OSU quilt that shows up at my door.
And like the quilt wasn't cool enough, Bobette pieced the back to look like the OSU football helmets... Overachiever I tell ya. She has such a knack for these little details that go a long way with her quilts!
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