computer quilting

Patriotic Eagle Quilt

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

 

I love the circle of stars that she designed!

 

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

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

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!

Quilted Coffee Cup Kit

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

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

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

Taking your time

Connie Repro Quilt
Connie Repro Quilt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Susan, I love your approach!

Holly Lane

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

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

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Antique Lone Star

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

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

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

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

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.

New Quilting Room!

The remodel has been a while in the making, but it's just about complete now. For all of you that have been here "before", you will really appreciate the changes to the space! I'll take you on a virtual tour, so you can come inside and enjoy the space with me! The first picture that was hung on the wall HAD to be my favorite. It was a gift from my hubby (who is also my biggest fan!).

Let's start at the beginning. This is the view from the stairway as you enter the studio:

Then, when you first go around the corner, you can see the fabric shelves:

......and this is a better view of the shelves. I always have yummy candles nearby!

I have a nice big table to lay out the quilts. Again, I have to thank my hubby for this one:

If you are wondering what that blurry orange light is coming from, that's actually a light box that is connected to the stereo. It flashes different colors depending on the notes in the song. (Big hugs to Dad for that one!).

The embroidery machine is right next to the desk over in this area:

On up the next wall is the table with the computer for customers to choose their designs for the Gammill Statler, and also another table that is folded down against the wall.

Continuing on down the wall, there is the batting rack in the corner:

This is the back wall, and the pictures that are above the carts I use for storage. My bobbin winder is right out there in the open in this picture, but it's easy to stow below.

If I stand behind the quilt machine, and look out into the room, this is part of my view:

I wanted to carve out a little corner for myself. This is where I can work with the Cricut machine and all of those toys:

The last wall brings us back to the staircase, and has a nice warm sunshine design on it. With the mellow color on the walls, it feels like a sunny day all the time!

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.

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.

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!