quilting service

Grand Format Embroidery by Innova

I just can't believe that it has finally happened! I am soooo excited! Innova Longarm Quilt machines now have the ability to embroider! It wasn't that long ago that I wondered about the possibility of combining my two favorite things --- quilting and embroidery--- and now the future has arrived!

Just imagine having a hoop that is 20 inches high by......almost 14 feet long! Yes, you read that right. Fourteen FEET. The possibilities are endless. I can use designs that I have already designed (or purchased) in a DST format. I bring them into the Mach 3 software on my Innova machine and I am ready to stitch!

The first day I tried the new Grand Format Embroidery, I was able to quilt a project first, and then add embroidery to it. It reminds me of a vintage approach.

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The second time I tried it, I made a cross-hatched kind of background with bubbles and then added embroidery to that.

 

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For my third project, I decided to try applique right on the quilt machine! I pre-cut my daisies using a Brother Scan N Cut machine. First I quilted the table runner, then I ironed on the applique pieces, and then I embroidered them. To finish it off, I quilted the border and then added binding. Ta da!

 

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The pattern for this runner is available to owners of Innova Grand Format Embroidery users in our shop. Please contact robin@CandyAppleQuilts.com if you own a Gammill machine with Statler Stitcher and an embroidery machine, and I can make the files available to you for stitching.

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!

Painting a Rose

Inspiration struck the minute I saw this design from Christy Dillon at My Creative Stitches. I love roses, and this is one of the prettiest ones I have seen. This pattern has so many possibilities! I could see it as an edge to edge (the way it was designed), and I could see the rose as a motif in pretty white blocks done with a pale pink thread. I also started dreaming of a whole cloth, and ways to add a touch of color to the beautiful design. That's when the idea of painting it occurred to me.

I stitched out a sample at 12 inches high on a quilt sandwich. Perfect. I love the way the frame completes the design. I sat down with my acrylic paints, a bit of water, and some shaving cream. The shaving cream is wonderful for mixing with paint in a cup to thicken it just a bit. That helps keep the paint from bleeding outside of the lines. I mixed three containers of paint: one in pink, one in green, and one in bronze. Using three brushes (so I wouldn't have to rinse in between colors), I painted a base coat on each area.

For the pink section, I used the color as it came out of the bottle (mixed with shaving cream), and then kept adding a little white paint to make the pink softer and lighter. As I added each thin layer of paint, I blended with the previous areas to achieve a shaded appearance. When the pink portion looked the way I wanted it to, I used a new cup to mix white paint with a little water. Staying away from the edges, I added this thin color wash to the entire pink rose.

 

I used the same technique for the leaves, but instead of adding white to my dark green, I added light green to the shaving cream mixture to lighten it up. When the leaves looked the way I wanted them to, I used a new container with the palest shade of green and just a tiny bit of water. Again, staying away from the edges, I added a wash to the leaves.

The bronze frame was the easiest part since it is all one color. When it was done, I used a new cup and mixed metallic gold with water for a wash. Now my sample was complete, but what to do with it? I knew I wanted a wall hanging that would be approximately 40 inches square for hanging over my desk. I wanted to duplicate the look of the bronze border because I really like the way it is shaped.

I cut pieces of freezer paper and taped them together to make my 40 inch square. That way, I had something to draw on. I placed my newly painted rose sample toward the upper left side. It looked a bit lonely there, and as I said, I wanted to duplicate the bronze border. But.... how to do that? I enlarged the rose pattern by 54%, and then used just the one section that I wanted as a pattern. Using a freezer paper applique technique, I cut out my bronze pieces and laid them on my master pattern. This left me with quite a bit of open area.

It was easy to draw straight lines from the smaller bronze frame out to the larger intersections, and I knew that I wanted different shades of pink fabric for each of the blades. Since I was already working on freezer paper, I knew I would be able to cut up my master pattern and use those pieces for cutting the pink sections. For the green outer section, I pieced together 2 inch squares cut from 2 1/2 inch strips in different shades of green to match the leaves. I only pieced a section that was large enough to cover the open space on the pattern.

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I cut my pink sections with the patterns from the freezer paper master pattern, and sewed them together. Then I put them on top of the green section and added the completed bronze pieces. Using a machine blanket stitch, I sewed the bronze pieces in place and trimmed away anything on the back that didn't need to be there. Time to head to the quilt machine.

Using a Gammill machine with a Statler Stitcher, I chose the design that I wanted for each pink blade. I had to modify a design that I owner so that it would fit into the area. After the design was sewn in each pink section I micro-stippled around each design. I then used a white thread and micro-stippled around the open white area in the original rose section. The green squares stitched quickly with a point to point curve. I added the binding while the quilt was still on the machine, and finished it by hand when I was done.

I'm still pondering a couple of thoughts with this project. It would be easy to "open" the rose from the back and add a little stuffing to it to make it stand out more. Also, I'm thinking that some crystals may look nice in the larger bronze sections. I really think it’s amazing how our quilts go through the blooming process. Please feel free to give me your opinions.

Happy quilting to all, and may your bobbins never be empty!

Sketches of Spring

Truly a labor of love, this quilt was a combination of log cabin blocks and printed panels featuring butterflies and flowers that are so realistic!  Pieced by Lyn Christian of A Design by Lyn and quilted by Candy Apple Quilts, this quilt is a treasure.  It finishes at 90 inches square --- perfect for a queen sized bed.

The log cabin blocks in the center feature a beautiful quilted motif, and the blocks with the birds have a nice grid pattern to them. I just love all of the borders because it really gives an opportunity to play with lots of designs, such as these hearts:

PinkHeart Corner

Side

Be sure to see all of the pictures so you can examine the quilt in detail. Price is $1,000 plus shipping costs --- continental US only please.

Update: The Sketches of Spring Quilt has been sold.

Celebrating Labor Day!

It was an honor and a privilege to make this quilt! Measuring 55 by 48, it’s a contemporary version of the American flag.  There's nothing better than this quilt to honor a veteran. The pattern is available in our store and you can even request that your quilt be done just like this one --- including all of the words to the Pledge of Allegiance in the white stripes of the flag.

Baby Boy Bunny Quilt

Baby Boy Bunny Quilt
Baby Boy Bunny Quilt

Just perfect for a baby boy, our Baby Boy Bunny Quilt is ready for gift-giving.  This quilt measures 41 inches by 41 inches -- just the right size for snuggling with your precious new angel. There is a soft shade of blue 100% cotton fabric, and a white Kona cotton solid, and subtle blue quilting thread. The border features a double heart stitched in each section. The binding is finished completely by hand, with the quality that you have come to expect from Candy Apple Quilts. Small hearts are stitched in the block center areas -- and the center square has a beautiful quilted bunny design. This quilt is as pretty on the back is it is on the front. Please click on each of the pictures below to enlarge them, and look at the fine details. This item has a 100% satisfaction guarantee! If you aren't happy for any reason, just return the quilt to Candy Apple Quilts in it's original condition, and you will receive a refund of your purchase price. Order yours today to have on hand as a perfect gift. Just 199.99 plus shipping. Only one available, so order quickly!

ITEM SOLD — PLEASE WATCH FOR OTHER QUILTS AVAILABLE SOON!

Baby Girl Bunny Quilt

Baby Girl Bunny Quilt
Baby Girl Bunny Quilt

Just perfect for a baby girl, our Baby Girl Bunny Quilt is ready for gift-giving.  This quilt measures 42 inches by 42 inches -- just the right size for snuggling with your precious new angel. There is a soft shade of pink 100% cotton fabric, and a white Kona cotton solid, and subtle pink quilting thread. The border features a double heart stitched in each section. The binding is finished completely by hand, with the quality that you have come to expect from Candy Apple Quilts. Small hearts are stitched in the block center areas -- and the center square has a beautiful quilted bunny design. This quilt is as pretty on the back is it is on the front. Please click on each of the pictures below to enlarge them, and look at the fine details. This item has a 100% satisfaction guarantee! If you aren't happy for any reason, just return the quilt to Candy Apple Quilts in it's original condition, and you will receive a refund of your purchase price. Order yours today to have on hand as a perfect gift. Just 199.99 plus shipping. Only one available, so order quickly!

ITEM SOLD -- PLEASE WATCH FOR OTHER QUILTS AVAILABLE SOON!

Love Quilt

Just in time for Valentine's Day We've had so many requests for finished quilts! In response to those requests, we have decided to start featuring completed quilts, and making them available to you for purchase. Just in time for Valentine's Day, our Love Quilt is the first quilt in a new venture for Candy Apple Quilts! This quilt measures 60 inches by 53 inches -- just the right size for snuggling with your sweetheart. There are eight different shades of red and pink 100% cotton fabrics. The border features a double heart stitched in each section, with a scalloped outer edge. The binding is finished completely by hand, with the quality that you have come to expect from Candy Apple Quilts. Small hearts are stitched in the center area -- and the center square has a light feather design. Please click on each of the pictures below to enlarge them, and look at the fine details. This item has a 100% satisfaction guarantee! If you aren't happy for any reason, just return the quilt to Candy Apple Quilts in it's original condition, and you will receive a refund of your purchase price. Order yours today to receive it in time for Valentine's Day. Just 299.99 plus shipping. Only one available, so order quickly!

ITEM SOLD -- PLEASE WATCH FOR OTHER QUILTS AVAILABLE SOON!

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.

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!

Ornamental Beauty Quilt

Lynnes quilt
Lynnes quilt

Lynne's embroidery is amazing! She chose the designs called Marcia's Ornamental Gardens by Pfaff#398, added a gorgeous batik, and completed a wonderful family heirloom which she has named "Ornamental Beauty"!

There are 19 designs for the 5x5 hoop, and the way Lynne combined all of them to create this beautiful quilt is simply breathtaking!

Click on any picture to be able to see all of the beautiful designs.

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!

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"!