computer quilting

Antique Quilting In A Modern Way

Henna Sewing Machine.jpg

IT ALL STARTED WHEN…

I bought my first antique sewing machine in 1978. My fiance and I were shopping in an antiques store, and I found one that I fell in love with and had to have!

I had already been sewing for a while, and already had a nice machine, but there was something so inspiring about this one. I would sit and look at it and dream of things that may have been done with it. Then I would wonder about the future of sewing as well as the past.....

Fast forward to the 1980's. My in-laws were visiting when I brought home my first embroidery machine. Instead of making dinner, I plunked that machine down on the kitchen counter and started embroidering! I was mesmerized by watching those designs take form. At that time, I was also doing a little quilting with my regular sewing machine. I was piecing on the machine, and doing all of the quilting by hand. Now I could add embroidered blocks to my quilts!

As years went by, I wanted a way to finish those quilts faster, and started dreaming about a longarm quilting machine. Yes, I've been down that road too. And that only left one more dream in my mind. What if I could combine quilting with embroidery.....all on the same machine? That would be the BEST, right?

Well, here it is 40 years later. I have never stopped sewing in all of that time. I wish I had a picture of everything I have ever done! And now, my dream has finally been realized. My Innova longarm quilting machine has an embroidery module on it that's called Grand Format Embroidery! Now, I am only limited to 14 feet of embroidery area! Yes, you read that right --- 14 feet! There is no stopping me now! With Innova, the future is NOW!

When you bring your quilts to Candy Apple Quilts, you have complete access to the type of quilting --- and now embroidery! --- that will be used on your heirlooms! Everything from designs to thread color is up to you --- the designer. Call 440-371-6409 today to schedule an appointment to create your next treasure! Leave a voicemail or send a text, please, just in case I miss your call -- I would really like to meet you!

Route 66 Quilt

route 66

 I had the pleasure of quilting one of the Route 66 quilts from Crabapple Quilt Studio recently. What an absolute thrill! The proper name of the pattern is Vintage Tin --- perfect!

According to their description of the pattern: "Vintage cars, trucks and cycles cruise down Route 66 on this 63 1/2" x 69 1/2" quilt. Simple, simple stitching and easy piecing make this quilt a snap. The perfect gift for the men in your life! There's even a quilt label included that "reads" like a speeding ticket! A giant step into the past...how much fun is this??"

And I have to add how much fun it was to quilt! There was lots of hand embroidery, and all of the designs just added to the "flavor" of the quilt. If you have been considering getting this one, I strongly encourage you to do so right away. You will love every minute of working on it!

Elaine's Quilt

This quilt was partially hand quilted, and then Elaine decided to try stitching the outer border on her sewing machine. After trying to tackle something so large on her home machine, she called me to ask if I could finish it for her. Only half of her blocks were cross-hatched, and none of the sashes or cornerstones were stitched. There were lots of basting threads holding everything together, and grey pencil marks in all of the backgrounds on the un-stitched blocks!

Elaine had drawn a cable pattern around the outer border of the quilt, and managed to complete machine stitching the entire area. The remaining sections to be finished were all of the sashes, the cornerstones, and half of the cross-hatched blocks. The beautiful applique needed to be held in place too.

 

Elaine has been doing hand-applique for a long time, and has really shown that she is ready (willing and able!) to tackle any pattern she wants to try. With numerous projects started, she really wanted to see this one finished. It was going to be a gift for a special family member.

 

I duplicated her cross-hatching and chose the designs for her sashes and blocks. After the quilt was finished, she was thrilled with the results. Enjoy the gallery below to see close-ups of the blocks in Elaine’s quilt.


Ring of Posies Wall-Hanging

It all started when I read Linda Poole's newest book called Painted Applique. I've included a link at the bottom, because you are going to want this book! I knew that I would become addicted to applique, and that's exactly what has happened!  Linda has beautiful projects in her newest book, and I just fell in love with the one called Ring of Posies. There were various techniques that I have been wanting to try, and having lots of white space enabled me to do just that. Surprisingly, the first area I considered was the outer corners. I knew this wall-hanging would need to lay flat against the wall, so I wanted something that would be even and stable.  I decided on a one-inch grid. That's one of my favorites.

Corner
Corner

Since feathers are my absolute favorite, and just had to add the circular feather wreath design in the center. And speaking of the center, this ring of posies is not perfectly circular, which (in my opinion) makes it perfect! It's much easier to feature a design in the center of something if you don't have to fret over whether all of the circular elements are perfectly aligned. I extended the feathered wreath by echoing it. As you can see in the pictures, some of the echoing travels out further in some parts than in other parts. Being able to do that just added to the fun!

I knew that I wanted to have some micro-stippling close to the applique, just to make it pop up a bit.

Partially echoed quilted circle
Partially echoed quilted circle

Here's another angle on the center section:

Feathered circle
Feathered circle

And the entire wall-hanging:

Posies
Posies

You will LOVE doing this project!  And the great thing about Linda's new book is that every project in it is featured in applique (like this one)and also in a painted version of applique! She has some gorgeous birds that she shows you how to paint, and it looks like a very easy process. That may just be my next project! Here's a link to Linda's Painted Applique book

Or, save some time and purchase the finished 40 x  40 wall-hanging! Available for a short time only, this quilt is priced at $275.00 including shipping to your location inside the continental United States only.

Update: Quilt has been sold!

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!

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!

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.

Double Wedding Ring

Double Wedding Ring Quilt
Double Wedding Ring Quilt

Have you ever started a project, and then .... just sort of... lost interest in it? That's what happened with this challenging Double Wedding Ring project. Maureen started it a few years ago, and then moved on to other projects before she had a chance to finish this. She intended to make the quilt bed-sized, and was using a set of acrylic templates to make the job easier. Even with the aid of the templates, Maureen packed up the project for a "rainy day", and never went back to it. She was chatting with her friend Pat recently, and Pat said that she had a wedding coming up, and would like to make a Double Wedding Ring as a gift for the couple. Knowing how challenging this would be, Pat decided a lap-sized quilt would be a nice alternative to a bed-sized version. Maureen and Pat worked together to finish this beautiful Double Wedding Ring quilt, and I'm sure the bride and groom will be very happy!

Using Creative Studio, version 4, enabled me to size each design specifically for each tiny section of this quilt. The process was pure joy!

Variegated Elephants

Karen decided to make a quilt full of color for a special gift. I love the fabrics she chose for this one! There is every color of the rainbow here --- and that made it hard to choose a thread color. As a solution, we chose all of them!

Variegated threads can be so much fun on a white background. It blends well on all of the colored crayons in this quilt -- even the crayon tips that were almost solid colors.

The special part is the border of variegated elephants walking around the outer border, holding the tail in front of the next elephant.

Click on each picture to see more detail. You can click a second time to make the pictures larger.

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.

Calligraphy Art

This embroidery collection from Priscilla Madsen of Madsen Originals is one of my favorites. If you look closely, you can see beautiful birds in each of the embroideries. Priscilla wanted quilting that would emphasize the gorgeous fabric she used for this quilt. Here is a screen shot of the layout that we used:

Each embroidered block has a small stipple, combined with a little bit of stitching following the embroidery to hold the layers together. If you click on each of the pictures, you can see close-ups of the designs that are included in this collection called "Calligraphy Art". You can also see the back of the quilt, which shows the designs that were placed in the blocks that were not embroidered.

Working with Minkee

I have a love/hate relationship with Minkee — but mostly love! Leslie brought two quilts recently that both have Minkee involved. One of the quilts had a Minkee backing, and the other quilt featured Minkee on the front for applique fabrics. Minkee can be tricky to work with on a longarm machine. Keeping the stretch parallel to the rollers will help to keep the stretchiness of a wild Minkee backing  tamed. Also, keeping the side clamps very loose —- so loose that you will think that the quilt top looks rather baggy —- will also help you to avoid having the backing shrink up when you remove the quilt from the machine. The most important tip I like to pass along is: REMEMBER NOT TO ROLL THE QUILT TOO TIGHTLY.  If that’s the only tip you remember, you will avoid a lot of headaches.

Backings pieced from Minkee should be avoided if possible. Because of the thickness of the Minkee, the seam on the backing can show through to the front of the quilt. Also, it’s a bit difficult to piece Minkee without having it slide around, causing a backing that looks square on the table to look like this on the machine:

If this backing had been pieced out of any other fabric but Minkee, I would have removed it from the machine and done the piecing over. As it was, I held my breath and let the extra fabric be absorbed by the dense snowflakes that would be quilted on it.

If you have any frustrations during the process of working with Minkee, just slide your hand across the wonderful fabric and you will be guaranteed to smile!

If you would like to experiment with a little touch of Minkee, but don’t want to use it for the entire quilt, consider using it for your appliqué fabric. Leslie brought over a quilt that had adorable elephants appliquéd on it, and she used various pieces of Minkee as the appliqué fabric. She used flat Minkee, striped, nubby… a little bit over everything. The elephants look so cute with the little bows on their heads!

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!

Kelly's quilt

This quilt has "been in the making" since 1991. My parents chose the four calico fabrics for this quilt that was intended for my young daughter, and I chose the blocks from a book called "Scraps, Blocks, and Quilts" by Judy Martin that had names of lots of traditional patterns. (This is an older book, but you can still get one from Amazon by following the link below. I LOVE this book!)

I wanted blocks that pertained to my daughter, such as "Eyes of Blue" and "March Winds" and "Puppy Love" --- things that were special to her at the time.

I started this quilt with ten-inch blocks, hand-quilting each one with a "quilt as you go" approach. After a short time, I decided that it would take too long to finish this quilt, even though it would only be sized for a twin bed. I made a trip to the local copy shop, and had the patterns enlarged substantially. I cut the pieces from these larger patterns, and used the larger seam allowance shown on the new templates.

Time went by, and life got in the way. Another daughter came along, and this project was hung up in the closet to finish later. All of the blocks were pieced, and hanging up on clip-type pants hangers.

Now that my oldest daughter is a mother, and my parents have passed away, I felt it was important to finish this quilt. I joined all of the blocks together, including the ones that had already been hand-quilted. Using Creative Studio with my Statler Stitcher, I was able to choose quilting patterns AND create new patterns from elements contained within the original ones.

This quilt will be a gift to my grandson this year. He will be moving out of his crib, and into his first "big-boy bed", and he will be able to enjoy the colors of the quilt that his great-grandparents chose with love.

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!