Thursday, March 24, 2016

Take your pick

Jan Z. saw this pattern in Paducah last year and had to have it - she loves handwork and knew she would enjoy all the embroidery.

Not a lot of room for big quilting designs but I managed to fit in some feathers.

Tammy started these feathered star blocks when I asked her to help me with piecing one for myself.  I never even finished one block and she ended up with a quilt.

I designed the border for her and love how this quilt turned out!  Quilting it was fun.

     After receiving several questions about this quilt I decided I had better include a few more details about the quilting.  I wanted to use trapunto on this quilt, the cut-away kind of trapunto, not just stacking two batts.  Because it is extremely time-consuming it's not a technique I usually do on customer quilts.  Tammy agreed to be the oneto do all the trimming away of excess batting - a process that takes many,many hours of careful snipping.  To me, it is well worth the effort because you end up with well defined quilting and a quilt that is still soft and drapes well.  I do use double batts for show quilts but you end up with a stiff, heavy quilt that works better on a wall than on a bed. 

     I marked this quilt with a blue washable marker, tracing the stems, curvy things and dots so that they would be exact.  To remove the marker and the soluble thread, this quilt had to be washed and blocked.

Typical wacky Kansas weather.  It's been dry and very windy so there are fire warnings all around the state.  Yesterday afternoon there were major grass fires in south central Kansas, tornado risk in eastern and northeastern Kansas, a blizzard in northwest Kansas and 80 degree temperatures in northeast Kansas.  Take your pick.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lots of quilts and a big ribbon

This is Mayleen's quilt that she started in a class with Kaffe Fassett at Quilt Festival in Houston this last fall.  Mayleen is no shrinking violet when it comes to  color so it seems to me she is right at home with all these bright fabrics.

The quilting isn't going to show up much in such a bright busy quilt.  I outlined the flowers in the blocks.

And did straight and curvy lines in the border.

The backing is very cool. 

The members of my small quilting group were feeling uninspired and down in the winter doldrums so we decided to do a monthly color challenge.  Each month we choose a color combo and have to finish a small quilt by the next month using those colors.

Our first challenge was to use only neutrals with a small accent of color.  We have to come up with our own design - no patterns allowed!

This is my quilt:

Mayleen had never done a landscape quilt or worked without a pattern:


Tammy also did her own design for the first time:

Nancy didn't quite get hers finished. That month slips by really quickly!

We're going to continue our challenge after our guild quilt show this June.

Four years ago Peter and I went to the Dallas Quilt Show and posed in front of my first wholecloth, which won a blue ribbon that year.  We had just found out that Peter had cancer and it was his last trip to a quilt show - something we loved to do together.


This year, my second wholecloth won Best of Show at the Dallas Quilt Show.  I worked on this quilt in the months following Peter's death and it kept me busy during that difficult time.  I thought a lot about him as I worked on it which is why the quilt is called 'Remembrance'.  I know he would have been proud of that big

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A dramatic quilt

This is Betty's dramatic Block of the Month quilt.  With all the open areas on a dark background it was just begging for some colored thread.

I used gold Glide thread, which gives the effect of metallic.

Betty does very neat, precise work which makes it  a pleasure for me to quilt.
Even the back is pretty!


I bought my cats a fancy scratching post thing for them to climb  and sleep on.  They seem to prefer my new furniture.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Plates and carats

This is Judy's scrappy Dresden plate quilt - she plans to use it on her bed and didn't want it heavily quilted.  Usually I do SID on a custom quilt but because this is a large quilt it would have added a lot to the price.  Judy decided to have me do custom without SID.  I think it worked well, with the wool batt the quilt looks warm and puffy and will make a great bed quilt.  Not every quilt needs to be quilted to death.

Speaking of quilted to death, I think I have never posted pictures of the latest show quilt Gail Stepanek and I finished.  I wanted to wait until it had been in a show and then forgot about it.  This is Cache of Carats, so named because Gail hand pieced the entire quilt from diamonds.  When she first started sending pictures of it to me as she worked on it I was stumped on how to quilt it.  For one thing it is hand pieced and all the seams are pressed open which rules out any SID.  It is also asymmetrical and I'm so used to nice symmetrical traditional quilts that it hurt my brain coming up with a quilting design. 


I finally decided to treat all the starbursts as circles and cut out snowflake-type designs to quilt over them.
It was messy but fun cutting them.

In a rare moment of brilliance I decided to cut them out of freezer paper.  That meant that when finished, I could iron them to the front of the quilt top for marking, rather than having to trace through the top with a lightbox.  I used about a dozen white Clover markers marking this quilt.  It showed up well on the brown but the fabric in the starbursts is too dark for a blue marker to show up and almost too light for the white marker.  I had to go over and over the lines to get them to show up.
I then quilted the starbursts with different colors of metallic thread.
The borders I quilted with Masterpiece cotton thread in a diamond pattern, appropriately enough.

Gail and I are pleased that this quilt just won a third place ribbon at Road to California.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The final countdown

It took Barb five years to finish the applique on this beautiful quilt and she wanted it quilted with a traditional custom design.  She wanted trapunto but didn't want to use two layers of batting, which makes for a stiff, heavy quilt. We did cut-away trapunto which leaves the quilt with a wonderful soft drape so it still works as a bed quilt.  I sewed the trapunto with soluble thread and then gave the quilt back to Barb to trim.  She did a great job and managed to avoid snipping a hole in the top - that's the danger with this kind of machine trapunto. It was worth it in the end although it meant the quilt had to be washed and blocked to remove the soluble thread and blue marker.  That caused some worry for Barb because despite prewashing her fabrics three times and going to great lengths to prepare them, she had some bleeding from the pink and red fabrics.  Luckily, washing with Synthrapol took care of it.

Barb has a collection of patterns which came to her through her family.  This quilt was designed by a woman that lived in Kansas City  in the 1930's  at the same time that quilters like Rose Kretsinger and Charlotte Whitehill  in Emporia, KS were famous for their applique designs. The patterns are hand drafted and hand colored - a real treasure for Barb, who does wonderful applique.


This took serious marking and SID but it was worth it in the end - it's a gorgeous quilt.

Leslie has beautiful workmanship which made this a pleasure to quilt.


Beautiful choice of batiks for the top. 


I'm doing a countdown of quilts for customers - this leaves ten to go before I 'retire' from customer quilting.

My guild, Prairie Quilt Guild in Wichita had a wonderful program yesterday.  I'm the program chair this year but traditionally the January program is planned by the workshop chair and has always been mini workshops.  Tammy, the workshops chair and I both thought the mini workshop idea had gotten old and stale.  It's awkward to present to our large guild of around 700 members and hard to find presenters from within the guild year after year.  Tammy had the great idea of asking guild members to bring their own vintage and antique quilts that had a story - quilts that had been handed down in their family or made by friends and relatives. 

It turned out to be a wonderful program with beautiful quilts and heartwarming stories.  I hope our guild repeats the program in the future.  Here are a few of the quilts that especially appealed to me.

 I twisted Cathy's arm so she would bring this quilt which I had seen in her home.  This is a family heirloom from around 1850 and is in beautiful condition.  She also brought several embroidered samplers from around 1840 made by the same family member.  She is so lucky to have these treasures and I know she appreciates them.

There were many quilts from the 30's and I especially liked this one that Debbie brought, made by a family

Donna brought this one and the pattern looks like a lot of quilts being made today, but it is an old quilt.

I got a new roof right before Christmas.  The weather co-operated and it was finished before more typical
winter weather set in. 


They found three layers of shingles that had to be removed.

What a relief to have a new, un-leaky roof!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Well, it's been a while

Well, it's been a while.  I started my blog so I could post my customer's quilts for them to see.  I'm now trying to stop my customer quilting to have more time for my own quilts.  Also, I am co-chair of Prairie Quilt Guild's  huge biennial quilt show, Common Threads Regional Quilt Show, to be held next June 16 - 18 and  I know that will suck up more and more of my time as the show gets closer. My plan is to finish the quilts I have committed to and will then stop doing customer quilting altogether.  I read that many longarmers burn out after ten years of quilting so I am right on schedule.  I'll miss working with all my wonderful customers but I'm really looking forward to having time for my own quilts!

I went to  Houston for Quilt Festival planning to see my quilting partner Gail Stepanek but she had to cancel her plans at the last minute - darn!  My sister Kathy made it to the show so I had  company after all.  Gail and I had two quilts there and we are happy that My Brunette Whig won a third place ribbon.  Shopping is always fun there and I made a big purchase - a pair of CraftOptics glasses which are amazing!  Since I love lots of close quilting and detail they are going to be very useful.

My Brunette Whig

Catch-up photos:

It's heartwarming to be at the show and see quilting friends do well:

     Kris Vierra won the Pfaff Master Award for Machine Artistry

My fellow Kansans did well:

     Susan Stewart won The Superior Threads Master Award for Machine Artistry:  

And Janet Stone won Best of Show!

In November and December I took time off from quilting to do some painting and re-arranging in my house.

New paint, new rug:


New furniture:

New Kitty Shoes:


New antique clock.  I love old clocks.

I ordered a book from Amazon and it came from England in this Royal Mail bag:


I worked on some Christmas gifts but can't post pictures of most of them before Christmas.

This little pincushion I made for my bee's Christmas party gift exchange.  How did we ever get by before they invented glue guns?

I made a little, really little wholecloth quilt.  It's less than 12 inches square, I plan to enter it in my guild show this June.