Statler Stitcher

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!

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!

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!

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.

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.

Whole-cloth?

Is it a whole-cloth quilt? Or, just a solid backing on a colorful quilt? In this case, it's both!  I always like the back of the quilts to be as pretty as the front, and this quilt really lends itself to that idea.

Linda made four quilts using a pattern from Pat Sloan's web site. Each one of them is different, and each has a different backing fabric.  These quilts are real stash-busters! Linda's piecing is fantastic, and I really enjoy using a contrasting thread on the back of these quilts, because it enables the quilt to be just as dramatic from the back as it is from the front.  This black fabric features gold Sew Fine thread from Superior. It's color number 421, and it's one of my favorites on just about any fabric!

Using a zero margin for a seam allowance keeps everything as close to the edge as possible, without the need for stitching in the ditch except for all of the contrast areas. I had to keep a careful eye on this, to make sure the design didn't "leak" into the wrong areas, but I think the outcome is well worth the time spent.

Enjoy the pictures of the front of the quilt below!

Echo Quilting

The "Song of the Heart" collection of designs from Madsen Originals really captured my imagination! These designs are exquisite, and I would never think of quilting over top of them!

I wanted to have the white background area stay nice and flat, so I couldn't just leave it empty. I decided to record my stitches as I quilted right next to each design. Then, I echoed my stitches 13 times for each block, at one third of an inch apart. This filled the entire background of the block. I used the Trim function to remove the excess stitches that I didn't want, which left me with just enough stitches to have everything lay nice and flat. I added a little bit of stippling freehand inside of the hearts.

Priscilla wanted all four borders around the outside to appear as if it were one border, and to be lightly quilted so it would not detarct from the embroidery designs -- good choice!

Adding Motion To Embroidery

Boys at Play Quilt
Boys at Play Quilt

Some of my favorite quilts incorporate both piecing and embroidery or applique. Having that "little bit of extra" in certain blocks can create a real challenge --- and I LOVE a challenge!

This quilt features very detailed embroidery designs. Each stitch is perfect! I'm not a fan of quilting over top of embroidery, if it's possible to avoid it. I would rather do something special in the background, especially when the design that's quilted serves the purpose of adding to the embroidery, and not detracting from it. The design that I used is from Stitch Happy, and is called Vortex. I think it really gives a feeling of motion to these little boys (as if little boys don't already create enough motion! LOL!).

This embroidery is from a collection named "Boys at Play", and is available from Priscilla Madsen of Madsen Originals.

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!

Using Glue to Match Seams

Karen brought over a quilt top with a real "Go Green" theme to it.

She found the fabrics at Timeless Treasures, and I'm sure her daughter will love this one! The backing fabric needed to be pieced together, so I thought I would take pictures along the way so you could see how I used glue to make the process much easier! There were motifs and lettering on the backing fabric that had to match up perfectly, and the glue is the secret to doing this project. Here's the process:

Fold one of your pieces of fabric under 1/2 inch, and press, being careful not to stretch the folded area as you press. Set this piece on top of your other fabric piece, matching the pattern on both sides.

Working in small areas, use a small line of Elmer's School Glue on the folded portion of your fabric. Squeeze a line of glue approx. 10-12 inches long on your folded seam allowance, then set the fabric in place on top of the flat area. Press with a warm iron (no steam). This will set the glue, and keep things from sliding around. When you are sure that the glue is dry, you can turn back the edge of the fabric to check on everything. It should look like this:

If you used a little too much glue, some may have leaked through to other layers.

Don't worry! It's easy to run your finger along the area, and gently pull the glue apart.

If your seam is long, you may want to add a few pins along the area before you carry your fabrics to the sewing machine. The glue is fairly strong, but not enough to support a lot of weight.

After stitching the entire seam line, run your finger along the glued area to open the seam.

As you can see, the glue did a great job of holding the layers together.

Press the seam open.

The selvage edges must be removed from both pieces of the backing fabric before putting the quilt backing on the machine. You can do one side at a time with a rotary cutter, or just use scissors.

Turn the backing over to the right side, and press.

The glue really helps with the process!

Square both ends of the backing, and you're ready to quilt!

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!

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!

"When life gives you broken dishes.....

..... use paper plates!" That's the name of the most recent quilt from a fantastic artist Kim Montagnese. This quilt is a new twist on the old favorite Broken Dishes.  Kim added lots of fun to this quilt pattern with a new method of applique, rubber stamping, and even silverware! My favorite part is the expression stamped on the quilt top that says "You can lead me to the kitchen, but you can't make me cook".  That's fits me perfectly!

Kim wanted "fun" quilting on this one! Here are some pictures:

There's a cute story about what happened when Kim was working on this quilt over at her blog Colorz My World. She had a little "boo boo" that needed a band-aid -- literally!

Kim sells her patterns, and teaches fun classes on making them. You can reach her by sending an email to Kim Montagnese at Montagnese@oh.rr.com.