long arm

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!

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!

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!

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.

Making One Pattern Work Overtime

So many quilts --- so many decisions!  Planning the quilting designs can take as much time as choosing the fabrics, and is a vital step in the process. When Gail and I started looking for designs for her perfectly pieced Bear Paw quilt, we quickly noticed that there were as many approaches to this quilt as there were days in a year!  We knew we wanted something classic, and a lot of detail in the blocks to draw attention to the gorgeous fabrics Gail used to make it. We found that we could use one classic design in three various ways, and achieve a unified appearance.  Here is the design we started with:

First, we placed the design in the central bars of the block. Then, we added them to the sashes around the outside of each block. Looking closely, you can see how the different sizes of the sashes stretch the design to create the unique appearance of each:

For our third addition to the quilt, we added this same design to the piano key border. Each of the keys were four inches long, and two inches wide.  You can see how multiple additions of this design, side by side (instead of lengthwise), created a powerful statement!

We needed one more design for the four-inch square red blocks, so we chose a coordinating block:

The old expression is true --- sometimes less really is more! Designs have a way of taking on their own life, and it can be very tempting to use as many as possible in an effort to show them off.  Keep it simple, and let the fabrics and piecing shine through!

How should I quilt this?

Everyday, I hear this same question --- how should I quilt this?  Anyone in the business of doing long arm quilting knows that there are a hundred different ways to approach the same quilt top. OK, maybe not a hundred .... but you know what I mean. Customers who bring their quilt tops in for quilting service are often at a loss for what would look best on their quilt top. They have spent countless hours creating a family keepsake, and when it is finished they want to have a quilt that will be beautiful enough to pass down to future generations. Often, these folks have spent quite a bit of money (in addition to all of that time!) on fabrics, patterns, books, batting, tools --- maybe even classes to learn how to make this beautiful quilt. But when I ask them how they envision the final step -- the actual quilting -- some are at a loss with what approach to take.

There are a few things to consider in this decision making process. Most importantly --- how will this quilt be used when it is completed? Will it be hanging on a wall, resting on a table top, or used on a bed or as a lap quilt? If the finished quilt is going to be used on a bed and frequently laundered, then the best method of quilting is usually an overall design, known in quilt lingo as an "edge to edge" design. The more often a quilt is laundered, the more the layers shrink causing the tiny details in some quilt designs to become lost in the texture of the surface.

On the other hand, if a quilt will be used as a table topper, or on a wall, or in a quilt contest ... then custom quilting of small individual areas will really make the quilt top sparkle.

Will the quilt be going to a child or adult as a gift? Are there any fabrics in the quilt that could bleed if the quilt was laundered? If the quilt is a gift, think about the type of designs that would suit the recipient of the quilt  --- masculine, feminine, juvenile, etc. Will the dog be sleeping on it?

To show you an example of the same quilt done in two entirely different methods, I have taken pictures to demonstrate.

Barb's quilt with each block done individually

We knew that this quilt would be hung on a wall, and used for decorative purposes only. Therefor, it was an easy decision to stitch each block and sash separately, and use another design in the outer border.

This same quilt, used as a laptop quilt, is much better suited to having the "edge to edge" approach.

There is an even distribution to the quilting stitches. When this quilt is laundered repeatedly, it will remain looking nice for many years to come.

While cost and end use are considerations when making a quilting choice, the most important thing to remember is that you are the artist! After spending so many hours to achieve the finished quilt, you may have a vision of how you want to see the quilt finished. Always work together with a long arm quilter who can share your vision, or who can help you decide what that vision should be.

Beer Mug Applique and Tablecloth

This pattern goes together very quickly, and gives you lots of open space in the center for adding embroidery and appliqué! There are only 14 blocks to piece, and two outer borders, so it will be on your table quickly.

For free directions to make this tablecloth project, write to us and you will receive a PDF file right away. Simply send an email to Robin@CandyAppleQuilts.com with "Free Tablecloth" in the subject line.

Click here to purchase the embroidery machine files for the beer mug applique pattern that I used in this project, it's available for instant download in DST, HUS, JEF, PES and SHV formats.

Quilts as Suncatchers

Have you ever felt that you would run out of space for yet another quilt? The beds are covered, the walls are covered, the table tops are covered --- even the dog is wearing quilted jackets! A nice idea for a  small quilt is hanging it on a patio door or window. Let the sun shine through it and highlight your beautiful stitches! Here is a new wall-hanging made by Lyn Christian of A Design by Lyn that will hang in a sunny spot soon!

Lyn's quilt has butterflies in the center panel that can be highlighted with crystals, and the borders could be done, too. Here's a close-up of one of the butterflies.

There's always a good reason to finish up those small quilts! And now you have a new place to hang them!

Stitching right over the embroidery!

Lots of people agree that sometimes it's just easier to keep stitching --- right over top of the embroidery! In the case of redwork designs, I think that's very true!

This quilt was done on a Gammill machine with a Statler Stitcher (computerized), and it would have been impossible to stop the machine for each tiny line that I crossed. The stitching is imperceptible on the redwork, and not a distraction at all.

The embroidery designs used in this quilt are from Bonnie Domeny at Threadlove Embroidery, and you can find the collection of all ten ballerinas here.

Candy Apple Quilts

I'd like to share a few pictures with you of a quilt that I have just finished called Scrappy Mountain Majesties. This was done with a pattern that I saw at Quiltville, and it was tons of fun! I used up lots of different shades of green from my stash. You could use any combination of colors to create a truly scrappy quilt in all different colors. It's also a fun project to do with friends, because you can take full advantage of the "assembly line" style of sewing.

Here's a close-up of the quilting used on this project. The patterns I used are called Gilded Deluxe Friends, and they are available through Anne Bright.

Anne's patterns always have coordinating borders, squares, triangles, etc.... and just really brighten up any quilt that I have used them for. These designs are for use with a Statler Stitcher -- the computer-aided long arm quilting machine made by Gammill.