My Five Pointed Flowers

Okay…so I keep telling myself to come up with a better name but it just ain’t happenin’!  If you have a suggestion I would love to hear it.

All right, the quilt:

Shirley's Quilt

Here it is finished.  There were quite a few batiks plus the back was a beautiful batik.  I wanted to come up with a quilting design that suited the quilt.  However, this quilt has been intended for a baby.  The size of the quilt is close to a lap quilt so…what to do??

I came up with my Five Pointed Flowers:

Five Pointed Flower

There’s also swirls and flowers…can you see them in this pic?

Five Pointed Flower Up Close

Oh yes…that’s a good photo of the swirls.

Here’s the story:  My dear customer, Shirley, brought this quilt to me.  Her mother had been working on it but, when asked what happened to it, she said she threw it out.  Shirley managed to get it before the garbage truck arrived (literally, it was in a bag by the garbage can).  She pulled it out of the rubbish, finished some of the seams and added a border.  That is when she brought it to me.

As it turns out her mother has macular degeneration (upon further research it has become apparent that I don’t want to have this when I get older) therefore making quilting a difficult, if not impossible task.  They both feel quite sick at heart that this may be her very last project.  I was very honored to finish it for her.  Several of us tried to convince Shirley have her mom keep it but…well, we shall see what happens.

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A Thought About Borders

If I had a dollar for the amount of times I’ve heard, “I just need to throw the borders on!” I would be a rich woman.

Often times we spend more time and care in picking out fabrics and piecing the body of the quilt that we neglect to pay particular attention to the borders. It’s the last step and almost an afterthought. How hard can it be?!?

When putting your borders on do you cut a few strips then, starting at one end, stitch right down the side to the end of the quilt? Then repeat process with the other three sides? Ah yes, the result is that of ruffled borders and you may not even realize it!

Borders that ruffle can be a longarm quilters worst nightmare. That may seem like an overstatement. However, when fabric doesn’t lay flat that is when puckers and tucks occur. When you hire a quilter to do your quilting, they often want to do a good job for you. Anything you can do to make their jobs easier is always better!

What does a quilt with ruffled borders look like? When your quilt is laying flat on a bed do the borders lay flat or do they have a wave to them? Is the wave really pronounced?

With a slight wave the quilt top will stretched and little and the wave would, most likely, stretch out. A very distinct wave will never stretch out.

I once had a customer bring a quilt to me that her mother had made in the ’20s. My customer, now in her ’80s, wanted to make the quilt larger for her granddaughter so took a yellow sheet, cut it into strips and then sewed it to the “edges” of the Grandmother’s Flower Garden. When I quilted it there were huge tucks (as in several inches). She was okay with it but it made my heart sick.

To properly put a border on your quilt first measure the side you are going to be working on.
Second, measure your border fabric and cut it exactly the size of the quilt side.
Fold your quilt top in half and mark (either by pinning or pressing) the middle of the quilt. Fold each half in half and mark (either by pinning or pressing the quarter sections of the quilt.
Repeat the marking process with your other borders.
Pin the border to the side by matching the middle and quarter marks and stitch in place.
Apply the sides first then the top and bottom. Or top and bottom first, then the sides.

Why doesn’t the first way work?
When you are stitching your border fabric to your quilt top and it is not pinned down you can (and most likely will) pull the border fabric just enough to give it that wave. The times I’ve reapplied borders in this condition I’ve trimmed off anywhere from a half inch to four (!) inches. No kidding! The stretchier the fabric the worse it will be.

The moral of the story: Borders are a very important part of your quilt. Putting them on properly will ensure a prettier quilt!

Happy Quilting!

Possibilities

I’ve just finished my heart healthy smoothie.  My breakfast is bubbling happily on the stove.  The littlies are upstairs getting ready for their day.  And I type.

The sun is shining, although it won’t last long.  Sometime over night it rained and everything is wet and rain-droppey.  Giant drops of water hang like ornaments from the empty tree branches.  A decoration in their own right.

As I lay in bed this morning I started thinking about the possibilities quilting holds for me.  Not just new quilts.  Although that just sends my mouth watering and fingers itching.  With my fabric not easily accessible I often head to the fabric store to let my imagination run wild.

The possibilities are such things as classes to be taught.  Patterns to be created.  Should I sell items or not?

I’ve managed to pare my schedule back by quitting one job and canceling all my teaching engagements at another shop.  The first job was too far and the hours were too little.  It served it’s purpose for a season but now it’s time to move on.  The teaching engagements, well, that wasn’t really worth it either.  The most I ever had in a class was four people.  The shop didn’t know what my classes were about (despite the description I handed to them) and they didn’t promote the classes.  Very unsatisfactory!

But now, I’ve got three days a week at my studio for customers and creating.  Two to three days a week at the quilt shop for all those classes plus people who know what I’m about.  It can’t get any better than that…can it?

Slowly life is coming into focus and I’m excited to see what it has in store.

Oh!  An orange cat prowling outside and my breakfast is finished!

Happy Morning to you!

~h

One More Kudos

Or is that ‘kudo’??  Neither sounds right.  At any rate…last month I got two quilts from one of my customers, Rian.  She is so sweet!  New baby and made two little lap quilts for her mother and mother-in-law for Christmas.  Now keep in mind this is just before Christmas…about five days.  I was able to get them in and got them to her on the 23rd.  I don’t think she got the binding done but that’s okay.  I’ve given several quiltie gifts with the added comment, “I need to take it back and finish it but will get it to you just as soon as I can!”

This is what she had to say:

“I can’t thank you enough for the speedy delivery of my Christmas quilts!  I am delighted to get to give these away at Christmas…I was not expecting to at all!

Also, as usual, you have done an amazing job quilting my quilts!  You have made my beginner, not so special quilts look like works of art!  I truely believe that the quilting is a big part of the artistry of a quilt and I give you full credit for your talent in my quilts!  Thank you so much!  You have given me inspiration to sew, sew, sew!  I look forward to doing business with you further.”  ~ Rian Grill

She is also a wonderful photographer and, if you’re in the Seattle/Tacoma area, you should check her out.  Her website is: www.riangrillphotography.com

We’re even talking about giving me proper photography lessons.  Which is a very good thing!!

~h

Table Runner Run Amok

I know this must happen to everybody who quilts.  Well, okay…maybe not everybody.  Before I digress, it goes something like this:

Buy fabric.  Find (or think, as in this case) of the perfect pattern for the fabric.  Start putting quilt together.  You cut, sew, frog-stitch, sew, cut, and audition.  Not right.  Okay…re-arrange.  Nope, that doesn’t work either.

You see, I had something like this in mind:

One Charm Pack Table Runner

One Charm Pack Table Runner

You see I came up with this runner and was quite pleased with myself.  So, I made five more (as samples for a  piecing and longarm quilting class).  Then I found the Frosted Memories charm packs.  They were simply delicious!!  Figured a long table runner would be perfect with those two little charm packs.

Yeah…not so much.  There just wasn’t enough red.  I couldn’t get the combos to work.  Boxing Day morning dawned and while laying in bed (very luxurious when you’ve got two shorties) I realized that maybe that fabric didn’t want to be a table runner.  Maybe it wanted to be something else.

Now, for those of you who are wondering, you’re right.  Fabric has no thoughts, it doesn’t talk like you and I and it certainly can’t tell me what it wants to be made into.  However, the art of creating is stepping back from that which is being created and “listening”.  I listen to myself and to my Creator but it takes a bit of “listening” to the media you’re using also.  I heard once (this is unsubstantiated, by the way, so don’t quote me) that Michelangelo would wait for the marble he was going to be working on to tell him what it wanted to be.

So, having said that here’s a picture of the finished quilt.  And it’s much better than any old table runner.   Heck!  The back is even cool!!

Frosted Memories Quilt

And a close-up of the quilting:

Quilting Close-up

Did you see the berries??  And now, here’s the back.  This is my first pieced back.  It turned out nicely considering it was my first.

Quilt Back

I think this makes a much nicer lap quilt than table runner.  The question is:  Will I find a charm pack that says, “Extra long table runner” to me??

~h

Starz Pantograph by Urban Elementz

A customer of mine, Vicki, sent me an email.  She had another quilt for me.  Yippee!!  (Who can complain about getting another quilt?)

At any rate, she dropped it off at my studio when I wasn’t there.  So when I got a look at it I instantly thought of the Starz pantograph by Urban Elementz.  (By the way, if you are  longarm quilter and you’ve not checked out their pantos I highly suggest you do.  They’ve a wonderful selection, their sales are excellent, and the pantos themselves are really easy to use.)

Homespun Log Cabin by Vicki

Do you see why I chose this panto??  The panto has that rustic old-fashioned look that this quilt shares.  Almost…Americana.  So here are a few photos of the quilting part of the way through the quilt.

Starz Close-up

Starz Close-up

Let’s try another one.  I’m getting the hang of this camera thing but it’s still a bit touch and go at times.

Is this one better?

Is this one better?

And the final product…drum rolls please…

Finished Quilt

Finished Quilt

Well, you can’t see the quilting but you can certainly see the piecing!  Here’s what my customer had to say:

“The quilt is wonderful!  You did a great job quilting it and the choice of pattern and thread was perfect!  Thank you so very much for your wonderful (not to mention, quick!) work.  I so appreciate it.”  ~ Vicki Steffen

Homespun Log Cabin ~ Full View

Homespun Log Cabin ~ Full View

There you go!  I’ve got a few more bits and pieces to post…now if I could get them done the day they’re supposed to be you wouldn’t end up with three or four to read.

~h

Strip Club at The Wild Rose

Starting in January we’re going to be having a Strip Club at The Wild Rose Quilt Shop & Retreat (for more information click here).  Yippee!!  We’re going to be getting a little wild and crazy with our 2 1/2″ strips!  With your $35.00 registration you’ll get Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott plus another super top secret squirrel treat.

Pandora's Box

This is our first project.  It’s bigger than a lap quilt but not quite big enough or a twin size bed.  There will borders added to it.  Outside of the borders this project is made entirely from a Jelly Roll…

What do you think our February project will be??