machine quilting

Grand Format Embroidery and Mylar

Grand Format Embroidery and Mylar

This has been the most fun project so far!

Sometimes I get a little carried away with adding bling. Someone needs to restrain me. Seriously. But when I have an embroidery area that is fourteen feet long, it’s easy to let my imagination run wild!

I didn’t have to hoop, and rehoop, and rehoop…. just to get an embroidery that fits a 60 inch table runner. I could do it all in one pass! No stabilizers! The back of my table runner looks as nice as the front does.

Back to the bling….. I stitched this table runner on a black fabric that I cross-hatched with a 3/8 inch design in the back ground. I love the way it looks when a small cross-hatching is washed and thrown in the dryer. After a little checking, I discovered that Mylar for embroidery can go through the washer and dryer without any harm or change to it. Perfect! I enlarged my design from Embroidery Library, brought it into Grand Format Embroidery on my Innova quilt machine, and pressed GO! Pinning a layer of Mylar under each flowered area was simple. All you have to do is tear away the excess, and then move to the next area. When the runner was complete, I added my beads. Like I said, someone needs to restrain me because I am having way too much fun!

Ring of Posies Wall-Hanging

It all started when I read Linda Poole's newest book called Painted Applique. I've included a link at the bottom, because you are going to want this book! I knew that I would become addicted to applique, and that's exactly what has happened!  Linda has beautiful projects in her newest book, and I just fell in love with the one called Ring of Posies. There were various techniques that I have been wanting to try, and having lots of white space enabled me to do just that. Surprisingly, the first area I considered was the outer corners. I knew this wall-hanging would need to lay flat against the wall, so I wanted something that would be even and stable.  I decided on a one-inch grid. That's one of my favorites.

Corner
Corner

Since feathers are my absolute favorite, and just had to add the circular feather wreath design in the center. And speaking of the center, this ring of posies is not perfectly circular, which (in my opinion) makes it perfect! It's much easier to feature a design in the center of something if you don't have to fret over whether all of the circular elements are perfectly aligned. I extended the feathered wreath by echoing it. As you can see in the pictures, some of the echoing travels out further in some parts than in other parts. Being able to do that just added to the fun!

I knew that I wanted to have some micro-stippling close to the applique, just to make it pop up a bit.

Partially echoed quilted circle
Partially echoed quilted circle

Here's another angle on the center section:

Feathered circle
Feathered circle

And the entire wall-hanging:

Posies
Posies

You will LOVE doing this project!  And the great thing about Linda's new book is that every project in it is featured in applique (like this one)and also in a painted version of applique! She has some gorgeous birds that she shows you how to paint, and it looks like a very easy process. That may just be my next project! Here's a link to Linda's Painted Applique book

Or, save some time and purchase the finished 40 x  40 wall-hanging! Available for a short time only, this quilt is priced at $275.00 including shipping to your location inside the continental United States only.

Update: Quilt has been sold!

Christmas Applique Quilt

Recently, I was lucky enough to meet Carolyn Burgess, the owner of Applique, Quilts, and More.  She has the most wonderful applique kits, and they are all available with or without fusible on the back.  I think that's a great idea, because sometimes I like to do needle-turn applique, and I prefer not to have any fusible on my pieces. She has lots of themes to choose from, and her Christmas blocks are my very favorite!  Carolyn brought her quilt over, and we decided on an overall motif --- quilting right through her appliques.  There are lots of opinions on this because some people think that you can never do that with a fused applique because there is too much stiffness.  These appliqued pieces were soft and had a very nice drape, so there was no problem at all stitching right through them.

Another fun thing about Carolyn's approach to this quilt is that you can order individual blocks and make as many projects as you can imagine just using your favorites!  For instance, I love the cardinals that are featured in the Applique Christmas Block of the Month section, and I would like to do a few of them as gifts.  I can buy as many of those sections as I want, without having to buy an entire kit! And better yet, I can send a favorite fabric of mine to Carolyn, and she will cut my pieces out of my fabric for me! She really has a great selection of pieces, and I can see lots of future inspiration coming from her pre-cut applique pieces and kits. She has just saved a lot of time for me!

Love Quilt

Just in time for Valentine's Day We've had so many requests for finished quilts! In response to those requests, we have decided to start featuring completed quilts, and making them available to you for purchase. Just in time for Valentine's Day, our Love Quilt is the first quilt in a new venture for Candy Apple Quilts! This quilt measures 60 inches by 53 inches -- just the right size for snuggling with your sweetheart. There are eight different shades of red and pink 100% cotton fabrics. The border features a double heart stitched in each section, with a scalloped outer edge. The binding is finished completely by hand, with the quality that you have come to expect from Candy Apple Quilts. Small hearts are stitched in the center area -- and the center square has a light feather design. Please click on each of the pictures below to enlarge them, and look at the fine details. This item has a 100% satisfaction guarantee! If you aren't happy for any reason, just return the quilt to Candy Apple Quilts in it's original condition, and you will receive a refund of your purchase price. Order yours today to receive it in time for Valentine's Day. Just 299.99 plus shipping. Only one available, so order quickly!

ITEM SOLD -- PLEASE WATCH FOR OTHER QUILTS AVAILABLE SOON!

Taking your time

Connie Repro Quilt
Connie Repro Quilt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Susan, I love your approach!

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!

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!