statler

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!

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!

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!

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.

Lavender and Lace

Done in many shades of lavender, burgundy, green, and cream.... this quilt by Maureen was perfectly pieced, and so much fun to work with! Maureen chose feathered blocks by Kathy Olson, and a wonderful feathered border to compliment her squares and triangles!

Click on the images, and then click again for a full-sized image.

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!

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 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!

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.

Embroidery on Quilts

Our school district was having a fund raiser for the Marching Band, and they wanted a quilt that they could raffle off. Being in Ohio, I thought that the best block pattern that I could use was the Ohio Star. I chose blue and gold for the school colors, and embroidery designs with a music theme to them. I always prefer to do the embroidery on the fabric before the blocks are assembled, because I don't want the bobbin stitches to show on the back of the quilt.

As a special touch, I digitized the school logo, and embroidered it for the block that would end up in the center of the quilt. You can see a close-up of the embroidered logo in the block.

My favorite stabilizer to use for this type of embroidery is a tear-away/wash-away. You can remove the bulk of it by tearing it away after you embroider, and then proceed to assemble the quilt. When the quilt is finished, the block is nice and soft. The stabilizer that does remain behind the stitches holds up well over time, and any extra stabilizer just washes away when the quilt is laundered.

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.