quilting

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!

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!

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!

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!

"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.

Cheaper isn't always.... well.... cheaper!

In today's economy, everyone is concerned about getting the most for their money. I'd like to show you how to do a little comparison shopping when you are ready to have your quilt top turned into a family treasure. Most people in the quilting industry price their service per square inch. It's quick, logical, and fair. An overall pattern will be less expensive per square inch than a custom or heirloom quilting service.

I decided to do some research on quilting prices, because the rates at Candy Apple Quilts have not gone up in a few years now, and I have seen quite a lot of variance across the pricing board. In an effort to glean the most accurate info, I interviewed 17 quilters nationwide, and 3 more who are in my general vicinity, for a total of 20 comparison companies. I intentionally chose quilters with rates starting at 1.5 cents per square inch to see if they were indeed cheaper in the long run. I compiled all of the information into a spreadsheet, and renamed the least expensive quilter "Company X" for our purposes here.

Look at the chart below, and it will be easy for you to follow along with the logic. 

Price comparison
Price comparison

When pricing your quilting service, you need to ask questions about extra charges. Each of the 20 companies that I interviewed had extra charges for various services, including the edge treatments, the threads chosen, and set-up and turning fees. As you can see from the chart above, I have listed a few of these fees so you could get an idea of how much they typically run. While looking at the rows titled "Set-up fee" and "Edge-trimming fee", notice that these charges are not in the Candy Apple Quilts pricing structure. In my way of thinking, asking for a set-up fee is comparable to a mechanic charging you to pull your car into the garage so he can work on it! You will never see a set-up fee here. As for the treatment of the edges of your quilt.... that's another area where I firmly stand my ground.

When you receive your quilted project, you want to be able to get your binding on RIGHT NOW --- right? The last thing you need to deal with is sloppy basting stitches, or even worse -- an overall pattern that runs off the edges of your quilt and into the "batting no-man's-land". It can ruin the quilting design along the edges of your quilt, and it can also make it harder for you to attach your own binding. All of the edges done by Candy Apple Quilts are machine-sewn with a regular stitch length (not basted) just inside of the binding line, making it easy for you to have a guide-line to follow when attaching binding. All excess batting is trimmed away cleanly and evenly. You know how hard it can be to do that trimming if you don't have a quilt-sized table to work on! Your quilts are returned to you "ready to go" --- you just sit down and bind. Or, we can do that too!

Back to the chart above.... lots of folks work through their local quilt shop, and some quilt shops take a portion of the final price, or a "cut" of twenty to thirty percent that gets added on top. Ouch! You will never find that at Candy Apple Quilts, either! The example uses a hypothetical quilt that is 45 inches square, and shows the pricing for an overall design at 2 cents for Candy Apple Quilts versus 1.5 cents for Company X. You can easily see by the total at the bottom of each column that cheaper is not always.... well ..... cheaper!

Click here for a complete pricing schedule, including sample pictures of each quilting type!

White Chocolate and Mint

When I saw the pattern for the popular White Chocolate Quilt, I just knew I had to make one. I had lots of scraps in the beige tones, but not enough for the larger squares, so I decided to modify the layout to use the fabrics I already had. By adding shades of green for the larger squares, I created my White Chocolate with Mint Quilt.

The first step was to piece lots of fabrics together on the longarm machine to create strips that could be cut into squares. Next, I placed fabrics right-sides together on the longarm, and used a digital pattern to sew lots of half-square triangles together. After all of the cutting and pressing was done, the blocks were assembled. It took a large surface to try a few layouts -- arranging and rearranging until I found one that I liked. All of the large blocks and border were pieced, and then it was ready to quilt!

You can click on the pictures below to see the steps I used for assembly. Each picture will open to a larger size when you click on it again.

You can order the original White Chocolate Quilt pattern from McCall's Magazine.

Roses Galore!

Just as I finished picking the last roses of the season from my garden, I received this beautiful quilt top from Priscilla Madsen. I opened the box to see many gorgeous embroidered roses, and instantly I knew how I wanted to quilt this! I had been wanting to use a collection called "Carmen's Roses" from One Song Needle Arts, and this was the perfect time. With lots of bias piecing, and tons of red roses, I considered using stippling or hand-quilting to tame any puffiness that may occur after quilting. As it turned out I decided to combine both! The hand stitching is right next to the embroidery, which makes the roses stay a little bit closer to the surface.

This quilt was done with a Gammill machine and a Statler Stitcher, allowing the roses to be trimmed where necessary to fit in with the blocks that only had room for certain segments of the designs. If you enjoy machine embroidery, these red roses can be purchased through the Stitchery Mall .  Having seen this embroidery, I have to say that it is exquisite!

The quilting designs can be purchased from One Song Needle Arts, and can be seen here:

Flannel --- my favorite alternative to muslin

Quilts are meant to be snuggled under --- right? So often we treat the back of the quilt as an afterthought. It's easy to use muslin, because it matches everything. And who's going to see the back, anyway? The answer is --- you are! If you will be using the quilt on a bed, or in your family room to snuggle under, you really need to put a bit of thought into the back side of your quilt. There are a lot of alternatives to the plain beige muslin of yesteryear. Now we have tea-stained muslins to choose from, and some of them are beautiful. Keep in mind that you may have a seam in the center, so take that into consideration if it will have an effect of the way the back of the quilt looks when it's finished.

Another alternative is a wide back fabric that is becoming more available every day. These fabrics often have gorgeous prints --- but you may have trouble finding one that matches your quilt top in color tones.

That leaves us with the third choice of using one or more of the fabrics from the front of the quilt. Now you have a perfect match --- but did you plan ahead when you bought the fabrics for your top so that you would have enough to piece the quilt back? You can always piece together the leftovers from the front, and hope that the back looks like it was planned that way...... but do you have the time or the energy to do that?

My favorite quilt back has become flannel. It's widely available in solids and prints, reasonably priced, washes well, and the best part is that it's SNUGGLY! The quilting looks wonderful on the back of the quilt, and you may find yourself enjoying the back as much as you enjoy the front!

My friend Karen has been using flannel on lots of her quilts, and I really enjoy the final effect! She will be able to enjoy snuggling under this quilt all through the holidays!

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.

A visit to the 1930's

There is just something heart-warming about working with the 30's reproduction fabrics. It can take me back in time to a simpler way of life, and I just love the colors!

This quilt features one of my favorite colors. They called it "cheddar", and that name fits perfectly!

This quilt had a lot of hand work done on it --- all of the tiny fan blades were applied on a white foundation with tiny little hand stitches. You can just barely see them in the close-up:

We added tiny hearts to the narrow green border, and hearts with streamers in the outer green squares. Just the right touch for a feminine feel! Next time you feel like taking a trip down memory lane (even if you weren't around in the 1930's!), consider making one of the various patterns for all of the luscious reproduction fabrics that are currently available!

A Mother's Love

This quilt was one of my favorites to work with! Brought to me by a wonderful woman who embroidered every block, she told me the story of how she was making it for her daughter. It has more work, joy, and talent, and love than any other quilt I have had the honor of doing. Here is a picture of the entire quilt: Each block demanded different treatment, so we put our heads together, and came up with designs that incorporated hearts --- to play on the theme of love and family. My favorite: We added lots of hearts throughout the quilt, in many surprising places!

Receiving a hug from Leslie when this quilt was done was one of my happiest moments!

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.