Gammill

Christmas Applique Quilt

Recently, I was lucky enough to meet Carolyn Burgess, the owner of Applique, Quilts, and More.  She has the most wonderful applique kits, and they are all available with or without fusible on the back.  I think that's a great idea, because sometimes I like to do needle-turn applique, and I prefer not to have any fusible on my pieces. She has lots of themes to choose from, and her Christmas blocks are my very favorite!  Carolyn brought her quilt over, and we decided on an overall motif --- quilting right through her appliques.  There are lots of opinions on this because some people think that you can never do that with a fused applique because there is too much stiffness.  These appliqued pieces were soft and had a very nice drape, so there was no problem at all stitching right through them.

Another fun thing about Carolyn's approach to this quilt is that you can order individual blocks and make as many projects as you can imagine just using your favorites!  For instance, I love the cardinals that are featured in the Applique Christmas Block of the Month section, and I would like to do a few of them as gifts.  I can buy as many of those sections as I want, without having to buy an entire kit! And better yet, I can send a favorite fabric of mine to Carolyn, and she will cut my pieces out of my fabric for me! She really has a great selection of pieces, and I can see lots of future inspiration coming from her pre-cut applique pieces and kits. She has just saved a lot of time for me!

Painted Denim Shirt

OK.... some times I get just a little bit carried away.  I just love to sit and look at all of the pretty quilt designs that I have on my computer.... but they seem so lonely in there.  They want to come out and play!  I decided to use some of them on the front of a denim shirt.  Then, I added fabric paint and crystals!  It was just way too much fun to do!

Painted Denim Shirt
Painted Denim Shirt

 I just LOVE the Swarovski crystals, and the best place to buy them is from Designs by Dawn. She has so many to choose from, and is wonderful to her customers!

I've included lots of close-up pictures for you. Enjoy!

Patriotic Eagle Quilt

I was thrilled when Barbara brought this quilt in to be finished!  I love anything patriotic, and this was a true original! It's based on a Lone Star quilt, with the different areas being changed to suit the design of the eagle in the center section.  Barbara took it a step further though, and added her own ideas for the borders.  Using her embroidery software, she added lettering in the large outer border, and also appliqued swags.

 

I love the circle of stars that she designed!

 

And the back is striking too, because we decided to use various colors to match the stitching on the front:

All of the pictures are below.  Make sure to "open" them by clicking on each one, and then clicking again, so that you can make them larger and see all of the detail.

Quilted Coffee Cup Kit

I received a Quilt In a Cup kit from my friend Dawn the other day --- and it was so much fun to make! The kit comes with a white inner liner, a clear acrylic outside piece, batting, a template, a lid and a straw.

You can use any scraps you have, and place them however you would like on the batting. Then just use a log cabin method of adding pieces in a clock-wise fashion until you have covered the entire piece of batting.

You only need to finish one side with a binding because the other side won't show from the outside. Then collect all of your pieces, and a bottle of white glue. I didn't follow all of the directions, because I didn't want the piece permanently glued inside of the cup. I want to be able to change my little quilted piece with the seasons. The only place that I used glue was down the length of the side binding. When I was all done, my finished cup was ready to fill with coffee (or a cold beverage). This was so much fun to make!

Taking your time

Connie Repro Quilt
Connie Repro Quilt

The secret to an amazing quilt? The inside. That's right --- the part that no one can see. Connie pressed each tiny block in this quilt, and paid a lot of attention to the squaring of each block, and the direction of her seams. When she joined each block together she made sure to alternate her seam allowances, and there are no lumpy areas in this quilt. Waiting until the end of piecing the quilt top) or even the piecing of just one row SEEMS like a time-saver, but in reality you save time by taking care of each tiny issue along the way. This reminds me of something a house painter explained to me years ago. "A wall can only look good painted if it's smooth before the paint is applied. If you paint over all of the lumps and bumps, trying to hide them, you'll still be able to see them in the end."

Adding a feathered over-all design to this quilt in a nice even density enables the eye to go to Connie's accurate piecing and enjoy her vast selection of fabrics. It also makes the back of the quilt as pretty as the front. This quilt measures 103 inches square, and will be used and washed frequently. An over-all design is perfectly suited for a high-use quilt.

Connie's quilt also reminds me of something that George Washington said because I firmly believe in this principal.... people won't remember how QUICKLY you did something, they will remember how WELL you did it. Relax and take a little extra time pressing along the way, and enjoy your piecing. Years later, you'll be happy you did!

All About.....the 1930's!

Susan's quilt design I love vintage quilts, and I love 1930's reproduction fabrics! This pretty quilt was done by Susan Mars, owner of All About Blanks, where you can see the most gorgeous linens and holiday items. Susan is so creative, and she created the layout for this quilt by combining the best ideas from different sources and sprinkling them with her imagination!

I asked Susan how she created this adorable quilt, and here is what she has to say...

"The idea for this quilt began as a Block of the month club from Grandma's Attic." Wanting to expand upon the idea, and do something fun with the setting, Susan went to Block Central and found an idea in the 2008 "Somewhere In Time" quilt. Says Susan, "...it worked out PERFECTLY for my 1930's block of the month.  I made it a little scrappy, using a variety of the 1930's repros for my sashing.  I adore the way it turned out.  I have always wanted to do a 1930's reproduction quilt ...".

Susan, I love your approach!

Holly Lane

Christmas is my favorite time of year, and this quilt tops my list of things that can make me start singing Christmas carols! While working on this beautiful quilt, I could imagine cookies baking, twinkling lights, and the sound of jingle bells.

Bev did a beautiful job piecing this quilt from The Quilt Company, and it was truly a joy for me to do the quilting on it! The quilt is called Holly Lane, and you can see it here. We decided to use Christmas bells, holly leaves, hearts, and stars in the separate borders to add even more fun to the quilt. Each of the four corners has a crisp snowflake. Bev still has a little more work to do. There are red buttons to be sewn on all the way around the outer border, tiny door knobs to add, slower buttons in the windows, and hand-stitched smoke from one of the chimneys. A dark green binding will finish the edges of this quilt. Each house features a layer of high-loft polyester batting to make it really stand out from the background.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Antique Lone Star

I can just imagine how this happened..... Linda's mother started piecing this Lone Star back in 1939. Sometimes, life gets in the way, and she set it aside for "someday".

Years go by, and Mom passed away. Linda and her sister were going through some of Mom's possessions, and they found this project --- that was back in the 1980's. Linda decided that she would be the one to finish this quilt... for Mom.

Years pass again, and the project was set aside... again. Just recently, Linda decided to finish this quilt for her daughter. When she looked at the quilt top, she noticed that the white fabrics were starting to disintegrate from age. She lovingly replaced all of the white fabric, and brought it over for me to quilt it for her.

I was honored (and thrilled!) to be able to finish this quilt! When the binding is put on, it will be displayed with antique photos of.... Mom. How fitting.

Hooterville in a Hurry

There are many patterns to choose from these days that are geared toward busy schedules, and this cute quilt from Connecting Threads is one of the best. It features owls that are bright and happy, and the Hooterville kit has all the fabric you need to hand-applique each owl and tree. It's designed by Linda Hohag of Brandywine Designs.

Needing a gift quickly, my friend Linda decided to make the center border from the same fabric as the outer border. Hearts are quilted in the center border, and stars are quilted around the outer edge of the quilt.

To take it one step further, the owls and trees were digitized so each block could be machine embroidered. This gift was finished in a flash! Details were quilted on the owls and trees, and stippling fills all of the white areas. This quilt was fast and fun! Make sure to click each image twice, so you can see the largest version.

SID

OK, who is SID? SID refers to a common expression in quilting -- Stitch In the Ditch. SID can make quilters tremble with fear, because it's a real challenge to stitch exactly in a ditch without wobbling. Many quilters will go to great lengths to avoid learning the process, and some quilters will turn down any job that involves SID.

If you are using a computerized system, you may have been taught to click in lots of places along your seam in an effort to have your stitching match the quilt's slight imperfections. This can consume a TON of time, and it just isn't necessary. Think about it logically --- a straight line consists of only two points, the beginning and the end. Clicking anywhere in between these two points implies that the line is not straight, and that you don't want it to be stitched straight.

I know what you are thinking..... "But my customer hasn't sewn a straight seam!" Or, maybe you are just thinking that SID takes too much time because you have been making too many clicks to accomplish your straight lines. Or "My customer hasn't ironed her quilt correctly!".

Ironing is a topic better saved for another day, but if the quilt top you are getting ready to work on has tragically wobbly seams due to an ironing technique, I'd like to suggest that you spend a few minutes correcting the problems before you mount the quilt on your machine.

In the following example, Linda has sewn perfect seams, and her ironing technique is fantastic, so no issues there.

Linda wanted a slight custom treatment of this quilt, with just a bit of SID. She wanted to highlight the gold areas, and have the striped sections recede just a bit. In order to accomplish this, we decided to do SID only around the gold sections, and have the "logs" all blend together as one area.

If you look verrryyyy closely, you can see that there was just one seam that wasn't ironed perfectly.(And I really had to look hard to find this one! LOL)  I could have clicked about 6 times in order to make the stitching follow the slight wobble, but then that "unstraight" line would be obvious on the back of the quilt which was done in a solid color with contrasting thread.

As you can see from the picture, a better approach to take is to click at the beginning and the end only. If you slow down the speed of the machine just a bit, the fabric can be manipulated with your hands as the machine moves, resulting in a nearly perfect straight line.  Straight lines always look better on the back of the quilt.

The larger flower motifs follow the gold sections, and the smaller designs are in the striped section. The denser quilting makes the stripes recede, which is what Linda wanted for this quilt.

Many people wander whether they should do all of the SID first, and then go back and fill in the areas inside. I don't have a particular preference -- it all depends upon the quilt. If there is a lot of horizontal SID, I like to do that first to stabilize the entire piece. I may do SID near the upper border(s), and then more near the belly bar, knowing that the entire area is now stable and I can "wander around" in an efficient manner. If the SID is mostly vertical, I don't worry as much as long as I keep an eye on keeping the quilt square as I work. If there is diagonal SID, as there was in this quilt, I do prefer to do that first so that everything is held in place before the designs are entered.

On your next small project, try incorporating SID. Even if you don't use it between every block, SID can be very effective making certain areas recede and allowing other areas to move forward. You will be happier with the backs of your quilts, too. Keep in mind that a straight line only has one point at the beginning, and one at the end, and your project should move along quickly. Mastering SID is something that takes practice, but you will be very happy when you have mastered the technique.

Border pucker panic? Use steam!

Border panic? Quilting condition? Surprise hiccup?  Just what can you say when you approach a section of a wonderfully pieced quilt that has a tricky situation that you didn't notice before mounting the quilt top on the machine? This quilt has lots of gorgeous fabrics in it, and the blocks and borders were nice and flat when I looked at the quilt laying flat on a table. After I had done a row or two, something on the left side caught my eye. What's that?!?!?!  Oh my gosh, where did that come from? It was a pucker that appeared overnight when I wasn't looking! Uh-oh

After rolling back and forth a couple of times, I noticed that there were a few of the sneaky little devils in this border. Funny thing, though.... every other border was perfect.

Border excess

I decided to stabilize the entire area, because it was too late to take the quilt off of the machine and remove the borders. This is how it looked with a little stitch in the ditch to hold all of the layers in place:

Border puckers

Time to heat up the steam iron. It never ceases to amaze me how much excess I can remove with just a gentle shot of steam. (Hint ..... this works particularly well when the fabrics have not been steamed during the assembly process. I have been asking all of my customers if they used steam during piecing whenever I see an issue with their quilts.)After just two shots of steam, the fabric was already starting to behave better.

After steaming

Since this border was on the side of the quilt, I decided to wait until the entire quilt was finished before I turned it to deal with this problem. Traveling through the rest of the quilt was easy, and I made sure that everything remained nice and square. After finishing, I turned the quilt and remounted it to work on this border. One more shot of steam now. I kept both hands near the needle as the design stitched, enabling any excess to be evenly distributed. The finished border was perfectly flat in the trouble area:

Finished border

You can see that the problem did not migrate further down the border:

Excess gone

I would recommend this method for borders -- or blocks -- that are giving you trouble with puffiness!

Austin block layout

This quilt was made with blocks chosen from Quilter's Cache. You can see the Austin block here, and the layout for the quilt here.

Linda's Log Cabin Quilt

Linda's Log Cabin Quilt I recently received a quilt top from Linda at Putting You In Stitches. I love her sense of humor! She had been working on these log cabin blocks in her spare time (what's that? LOL!) and after making so many of them, she just wanted to be DONE ALREADY! Rather than face the idea that she would need to make twice as many as she already had finished for this large quilt, we decided to try an experiment.

Linda took very accurate measurements of her quilt top along the four sides, and most importantly, through the centers in each direction. She cut five inch wide borders in the same colors that she had used for the log cabin blocks, and added those wide borders to her pieced center area. The extra time that she took to do her measuring made this quilt top lay perfectly flat -- and made it a joy to quilt!

Borders

The design in the center is a pattern from Anne Bright called Playful Paisley. This design has appeal to any age, and any gender. The four designs in the outer borders are also from various Anne Bright collections. Border number 1 (the blue border) has the coordinating Playful Paisley design, border 2 is called Swirling Double, border 3 is from the collection Bending In The Wind, and the white outer border is also from the Playful Paisley collection.

Enjoy the pictures! Note --- if you click on a picture to open it, and then click on it again, you will be able to see all of the details!

Baby's Bow Wow Blankie

Puppy Love There's nothing better than having someone come to pick up her quilt, and having her give me a giant hug!  Karen worked hard on this adorable quilt for her little grand-daughter, and it was worth every minute.  Her piecing is perfect, the applique is precise and smooth, and the finished project is wonderful!

Karen wanted to have a quilting design that reflected something to go along with the puppy theme. We chose a design from Vickie Maleski that has small bones and paw prints. She requested that there be no quilting on the puppy appliques that surround the outer border.

Puppy

All the quilting was done to surround the puppys, but not stitch over them. Karen is deciding if she would like to leave the puppys unquilted (as shown in the original pattern), or if she would like to add some hand quilting to them.  The quilt is adorable just as it is, but the nice thing about adding hand-quilting is that she can add it at a later date, even after the quilt has been laundered numerous times. Now that's flexibility!

The Baby's Bow Wow Blankie  pattern was created by Bonnie Sullivan of All Through the Night Folk Art Designs, and is available by clicking here.  Be sure to click on the pictures below to see more of Karen's quilt project!

Don't throw it away -- SEW it away!

Don't give up on that project! Reading the book "That Dorky Homemade Look" by Lisa Boyer has really energized me to finish my UFO's. How could I resist buying her book when her first "Principle of Dorky Quiltmaking" is to buy fabric that you "feel sorry for"! That is soooo ----- ME! Many times I've bought something that I thought would make an adorable project, and my husband and kids would look at me like I had finally gone over the edge. I would dive head-first into my idea, get half-way through the project, and then run out of steam. Whether it was my own creation, or whether I was following a pattern, sometimes things just didn't look quite right.

Quoting Lisa Boyer, "Enjoy the process. Don't worry about judgements, and realize that the rules are something you can embrace or reject at will, whatever suits you. Quilting styles, fabric colors, opinions and rules change with time. The only truly lasting thing in a quilt is the love you sew into it."

How many times have you gotten half way through a project, and then gave up? It just wasn't turning out the way you expected that it would. The disappointment was strong, and it was easier to toss the project aside than it was to think about wasting any more time finishing. it. After all, you thought.... how could it possibly get any better if it looks this bad now? Of course, then the guilt sets in --- and you think of not just the time that has been wasted, but also the money for all of the materials that are in your project. Occasionally, you question your own skill set, thinking that your project doesn't even resemble the picture on the front of the pattern!

If this ever happens to you, try to find a box to store this project, and consider finishing it someday. Why store it in a box? Because throwing everything into a bag just leads to having the contents become wrinkled and messy. If everything is in a box, ready to begin work again, chances are that you will want to "play" with this project. Store the fabric, any pieces that have been cut, embellishments, the patterns, etc. in your box. A clean pizza box can be wonderful for this. Next time you are in the pizza shop, get a few boxes for yourself. You can label the top or front with the project name, and stack the boxes neatly on a shelf. Almost every project is worth finishing, even if you use the item for a different plan than the original idea. Taking a break from the frustration can give you a fresh outlook, and you can return to finish the project sooner if you actually "can't see it" for a few days.

Consider the project below. Susan bought a pattern for a beautiful Asian wall-hanging. She carefully chose a printed panel and all of the coordinating fabrics, trims, medallions, border fabric, backing, batting, and metallic thread. Following the directions closely, she executed every step with careful consideration. The piecing was perfect. All of the ribbons were inserted in the correct places. Even a soft satin binding was added to the outer edge.

But for some reason, Susan wasn't pleased with all of the work she had done on her project. The directions called for stitch in the ditch between blocks, and stitching around the graceful flying cranes with metallic thread. All of the steps were done perfectly, yet Susan felt something "just wasn't right" with her finished project, and it had been tossed aside for many months. Last week, she brought the wall-hanging to my studio for my opinion.

After one glance, I decided that the thick fluffy polyester batting was the culprit. While it served the intended purpose of making the detail stand out on the flying cranes, it also made the entire background puffy. The outer borders were five inches wide, and without any quilting inside to hold the layers together, each one looked slightly lumpy. The weight of the metal medallions pulled on the fabric, and without any support, the fabrics in those two squares hung there limply. Each of the squares looked pretty.... but again, puffy. We had to plan a way to save this project. In it's current condition, Susan didn't want to hang it up on her wall.

We looked through lots of designs for the various areas, and chose patterns and borders to add to her project. Two of the medallions that were on the quilt were glued on, and could not be removed, so we had to plan around those. Also, there were ribbons and braid to avoid. I love a challenge!

Here's a picture of the five inch wide puffy border without any quilting:

Puffy

And this is how it looks with quilting to hold the layers together:

New Border

I've had many projects come through the door that just need a little bit more work to make them truly finished. When Susan came to pick up her wall-hanging, she was jumping for joy. Her Asian wall-hanging had been set aside for months, and now it's ready to hang. A few days later, she wrote to me saying "You inspired me to try another quilt!  Thank you from my heart! " It's a great feeling of accomplishment to finish a project. Having my partially completed projects neatly organized has helped me to finish some that I had thought would never be finished. Some of my UFO's have become gifts, and other's have been donated to charity upon completion. I will always remember Lisa Boyer's words of wisdom: "The only truly lasting thing in a quilt is the love you sew into it."

And for another great book by Lisa Boyer, check out "Stash Envy and other Quilting Confessions and Adventures"!

Ribbons and Bows

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Sue Jackson of Sue's Sew EZ Designs created a pattern "Ribbons and Bows" that is just perfect for the cause. It can be used as a remembrance -- or -- made in different colors for a totally different look! Ribbons and Bows

Marie made this adorable quilt for Taylor with so much love. She started with the Ribbons and Bows pattern, and took it a step further by changing the color scheme to beautiful shades of blue and teal. This quilt will be hanging in Taylor's bedroom, and it's a perfect gift for a wonderful young lady! I asked Marie to tell me a little bit about Taylor, and she said "Taylor will be turning 11 on her birthday in early January. She is in 6th grade and her cheerleading squad is going to regional competition. She is a very classy young lady and I think this quilt just suits her." I agree! The pretty fabrics that Marie used to make this quilt are very classy, and embroidering her name on it is just the perfect finishing touch!

Most of the patterns used in this quilt are from One Song Needle Arts, including the background section around the bow. I added two layers of polyester batting behind the bow, stitching along the edges, and then trimmed away the excess.

Polyester batting

This was done on my regular sewing machine, but I could have just as easily done it on the longarm machine. When this stage is complete, the results can be a bit puffy, as shown in the picture below:

Puffy bow

The quilting that happens afterward tames everything down in the surrounding area.

Finished trapunto

After all of the extra batting was trimmed, I mounted the quilt in the usual manner. All of the borders have special treatments to them, including modifying designs to fit in between the "ribbon" sections. Marie wanted to tell Taylor how much she loves her, so we chose to quilt "I love you" all the way around one of the borders.

ILY border

I think Taylor will be very happy to receive this quilt!

Click twice on any of the pictures to enlarge them.

Quick idea for setting an autumn table

I needed a quick idea for dressing up the kitchen table for autumn. I quilted two yards of fabric, and then added a binding to it for a quick tablecloth.

Then, I used a pattern from One Song Needle Arts to do these placemats. The pattern has cross-hatching built right into the sides of it. It's easy to decide how large to make your placemats by using the following method:

Open the pattern on your screen in Creative Studio, and use a grid to see the size of the central area. You can use a grid of 1-inch to make the pattern size easy to measure. Decide if you want to adjust the pattern up or down a little bit after studying it on your grid. I cut three strips of fabric 1 1/2 inches wide, and pieced them together for each side. The inner square was cut 14 1/2 inches wide. After piecing the placemat, I basted it to my batting and backing on the machine. Using the head of the machine, I placed a p2p line on the exact edge of my center section of the pieced placemat. I then marked this line as sewn -- this is very important to do so your line doesn't stitch. You can then tweak the design on the screen to line up perfectly with your edges of the center section by sizing with the handles of the design. Click on start, and your design will stitch exactly where you need it to be. Add your binding while you still have the placemat on the machine, and then all you have to do is hand-sew it to the back. Very quick and easy!

Hunter's Star

Tons of beautiful batiks --- and lots of patience! The black pieced stars in the corners of the blocks are only 2 inches across. Ronnie wanted the stars to "pop", so there is stitch-in-the-ditch around each segment. The sashes are ditch-stitched, too.

The pattern for the Hunter's Star is by Jan P. Krentz, and is in her book titled Hunter Star Quilts and Beyond. You can purchase it from Amazon here:

The quilting designs are from the Enchanted Collection from Anne Bright.

Summer at Mom's Quilt

Romantic pinwheels and hand applique The quilt was made possible with a lot of help from my friends on my Candy Apple Quilts Yahoo group. I asked for everyone to send a 6-inch strip of floral fabric to me so I could have lots of variety. The response was overwhelming! Here are just some of the fabrics that I received:

Lots of florals!

Shades of green for the leaves

I was intrigued with finding a faster way to create all of the half-square triangles that would be needed for the center section, and for the border. Using a Gammill machine with a Statler Stitcher enabled me to do most of the work with the computer! I put a solid white fabric on the machine first. Then, I placed a strip of floral fabric right side down on the white fabric with a pin at each end to hold it in place. Using the computer, I set up all of the sewing for the half square triangles.I then cut the strips apart and ironed the pieces open to create all of the pieces I needed for the pinwheels.

When all of the pinwheels were complete, it didn't take long to sew them together into the center portion of the quilt.

Each of the fabric strips right sides together

From the various green fabrics, I cut all of the leaves for the appliqued border. All of the applique was done by hand.

Back to the quilting machine with more white fabric, and a pretty lime green. All of the half square triangles were laid out in advance, and sewn row after row, non-stop.

After cutting the rows and blocks apart, I had all of the half square triangles that I needed for the outer border of the quilt!

The only job left was to measure the applique borders and the outer borders, and apply them. I added the binding, sprinkled a few yo-yos on for fun, and it's done! Click on the images below to see the full-sized pictures.

This pattern for the quilt is available from McCall's Magazine. For the half square triangle Statler pattern, please email Gary and Linda Schmitz at ewok335@centurytel.net, or check their web site for patterns.

Hanging Garden Quilt

This beautiful quilt was created by Priscilla Madsen of Madsen Originals. The lace embroidery is spectacular! It was just published in the most recent issue of Designs in Embroidery Magazine.

I'd like to share some close-up pictures with you, so you can see the quality of the stitching. Click on the image to have it open on a new page. Then, click on the image again, and you will be able to see a larger version.

It was a real pleasure to do the quilting for this project! Priscilla is wonderful to work with -- and so talented!

Patriotic... and Proud!

Now available as a pattern for you to download today!Order the quilt pattern here!

It was an honor and a privilege to complete this quilt! Measuring 55 by 48, it's a contemporary version of the American flag. You can see by the close-up picture of the square section, the detail of the eagle that is quilted with a circle of stars surrounding him.

Inside of all of the white stripes, there is lettering for the entire Pledge of Allegiance. Inside the red stripes, you will find quilted stars.

To highlight the area that traditionally has a blue background, you will find a blue and white checkerboard. This left the center square available to the light shade of gold that features the eagle. This is a very quick quilt to make, and is a wonderful gift for someone who is very patriotic and proud. Order the pattern here.

Annette Williams entered her quilt, and won first place! (See picture below). Congratulations, Annette!

Congratulations, Annette!