Saturday, March 1, 2014

1000 piece Apple Core Quilt

Rosanna hand pieced this incredibly time intensive quilt which has 986 pieces of different fabric cores. There are no duplicates in the fabrics used. 3 additional fabrics used for the backing and she will now create a label and binding using another 11 pieces of fabric to complete the challenge to use 1000 different pieces of fabric in one quilt. 

Together we decided a simple stipple edge to edge pattern would be most compatible for the quilt. I spray mounted the quilt with a fabric adhesive to the batting once the backing and batting were loaded to hold it down while basting the edges. I used a taupe colored thread to blend with all the different fabrics.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Spinning Pinwheels Quilt

Rosanna's Spinning Pinwheels (pattern by Deb Tucker) quilt presented some real challenges in trying to figure out a design that would enhance the quilt without making it more busy.  The colors of the blocks are so bold and bright but the patterns of the fabric were small and mostly tone on tone. Contrast that to the border fabric that incorporated many of those colors in a big bright floral pattern. The client loves custom modern and traditional custom quilting and this quilt seemed to call out for both.So I vacillated back and forth as I laid out the designs on my computer. I can't even begin to explain the process of deciding on the designs because it changed so often.  So let it suffice to say that  final decisions are often made once the quilt in on the frame and a trial stitching is made to test the busyness of the pattern/thread/fabric combination against the piecing of the quilt.  Then it is a gut call.  So grateful to Rosanna for being wiling to validate and collaborate in a timely manner. I know I must seem a little OCD at times in trying to make it perfect.

Final decisions:  modern elements of the spinning star blocks come together with traditional cross hatching.  I am hoping that with time and experience the designing process becomes easier and faster for me. The actual stitching time was approximately 45 hours.  The design and re-stitching process when something didn't look good took many more.
I considered putting the oval fill behind the dahlia flower but both the client and I decided that it wasn't neccesary and the larger flower brought the perspective of the large floral border into the quilting.

The 17 different spaces needing to be sized individually in each block made the quilting slow and tedious, but the time spent made the finished project worth all the time spent.

The oval fill patterns and the large dahlia flower patterns were created by Nancy Haacke of Wasatch Quilting. The original blocks on point patterns were by Anne Bright and edited in Art and Stitch to be able to stitch a series of three at a time. The Cross hatching patterns are by Sharon Perry. The chevron pattern within the pinwheels is a Pro Stitcher Pattern.  Can you see why this took so long to decide on the design?  
I was so happy to be able to pull of the cross hatching meeting in the corners. The first cross hatched border wasn't difficult to line up because I was starting from a fresh straight line. But the subsequent  borders were difficult because of the fluidity of the fabric and thread. The miscellaneous areas of density in the quilting create different amounts of draw in the fabric. So there was a fair amount of unpicking involved in getting this to match up.  When I would realize it wasn't matching up I would stop the machine. Adjust things, and try to create a New Star Point in the ProStitcher. That doesn't work for this type of crosshatching pattern. So I would have to unpick and start again.

The finished quilt. 
 The client loved it.  I loved it and everyone who has commented on facebook postings has loved it.  So glad to see the whole thing come together in a beautiful way.  Thank you Rosanna for allowing me the time, freedom of creativity and resources to enhance your bold, bright and beautifully pieced quilt top.  And for the collaboration when I get stuck in the design process.  Together I feel we are creating masterpieces!!!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Lilac Splendor Quilt

Such a beautiful quilt to work on. Especially in the middle of the winter.  Great reminder that spring is coming.

I think every custom quilt I work on becomes my favorite.  This is a gorgeous quilt pieced by Rosanna. The pattern was featured in the July/August issue of McCall's Quilting.  Here is a link to the free pdf pattern for a table runner.

View of piecing prior to quilting
What a difference a bit of stitching makes! Applique' block is bursting with energy.

I love the texture the background fill gave to this quilt.  The majority of patterns were by Nancy Haacke of Wasatch Quilting.  The background fill is by Anne Bright and the small corner feathers are by One Song Needle Arts.  The scalloped triangle design is a conglomeration of two designs I altered and combined in Art and Stitch to conform with the scallops and the appliqued blocks and the stop borders were done free motion.  I think the free motion echo quilting adds a lot of movement to the quilt.

Enjoy Lilac Splendor!
Almost full view of Lilac Splendor quilt.

View of back of quilt corner.
Closeup of star blocks

Corner of Lilac Splendor.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

So honored! My quilt took third place.

Update:  January 10, 2014  Would you believe this is the first chance I have had to sit down and update this blog.  I am so very excited that I won third place in the Iron Quilter's challenge.  By winning 3rd place I was able to select in order the prizes that I would prefer. Since I would have been happy with any one of the top three prizes, 1 - Babylock sewing machine - $800.00 SRP  2 - Missouri Star Quilter's cash $500.00  and 3 - RJR Fabric package $500.00. I said it didn't matter which one.  The next morning I was informed that I had won the top prize, the $800.00 Babylock Sewing Machine.  I am thrilled.  I now have a blanket stitch to do applique work.  I am excited to learn to use this machine.  My hubby saw the package come before I did and wrapped it up so I could open it on Christmas morning.  So excited.  In addition to winning third place I was encouraged to produce a pattern for this quilt.  So I ordered additional charm packs (pictured with the machine) and am just getting started working on re-producing the quilt to document the directions.  Another wonderful thing that happened was that I was invited to submit this quilt for a special quilting exhibit next fall. Does it get any better than this?  So honored.

I am so excited that I made the final 28 of 459 quilts.  The voting now goes on in this final round until Midnight on Dec 15th.  I know it is a very busy time of year to ask people to take a few minutes out to do you a favor but I would so appreciate anyone willing to take the time to vote again in this final round.  Here is the current link to the finals and my quilt.  I have loved this experience of reading people's comments. They have given a lift to my days like no other.

Click here to vote on "Focus on Beauty" in the final round of voting.

Monday, December 2, 2013

"Focus on Beauty" Iron Quilter 2 Challenge Quilt

“Focus on Beauty”  

I decided to enter the Iron Quilter 2 Challenge from Missouri Star Quilt Company (*see rules below) when the contest was first announced on September 23rd as an intentional effort to focus on beauty while working through and grieving the effects of a life threatening challenge to one of my children.  While the fabrics would not have been my first choice in designing a quilt, because I trend towards different colors, I knew that for that very reason, the challenge would provide a much needed focus to prevent my thoughts and imagination from running wild for the immediate future.  Knowing I didn't have the time or the energy to create "a winning quilt", I just started cutting all the charm squares into half square triangles and prayed for inspiration enough to get finished in time to submit.

Story continued below...

It's a good thing we can't see too far into the future because, what I thought would simplify the quilting process, (using one shape only) became an additional challenge to my "right sided brain" and quilting the top, with the extra fullness created in areas due to so many of the seams being sewn on the bias. 

Through relating the piecing of this quilt to my need to focus on getting through one day at a time, building one color border at a time and then stepping back far enough to be able to see how each day’s experience added to the beauty of the whole, I was able to appreciate lessons learned in hindsight, the need to just get moving and sometimes take a step into the dark when the way isn't clear, and most of all the tender mercies of God. 

Since I had not had a pattern in mind to begin with I had not purchased fabrics other than the maximum possible of the 5" square charm packs required for the challenge.  As I got near the completion of the inner border triangles (middle black backgrounds), I started searching far and wide for fabrics to complete the quilt.  After searching online for several days and calling every local quilt shop within an hour's drive I was finally able to pull together enough fabrics from the line to design and complete the top and binding.  With just a few days to spare I realized that none of my backing fabrics would do so I called Quilts Etc in Salt Lake City and begged them to sell me enough yardage to back the quilt. (They were in the middle of cutting block of the month kits from these fabrics and were initially reluctant to part with them). Wouldn't you know, once they agreed, I found myself without a car for a few days.  Because of the tight deadline I was on and my need to focus on beauty, I tentatively posted on facebook on Monday evening, November 11,  asking if any of my friends might possibly be in the SLC area and willing to pick it up for me.  I am truly humbled by the friends and family who were willing to go out of their way to do me this favor.  I was so grateful when my friend Juanita Nield called me that night and said she was making a trip to Quilts Etc the very next morning and could pick it up and have it to me within hours.  She can't imagine how much that meant to me. I was feeling such a need to continue my work on this quilt  Truly a tender mercy. The next afternoon having received the fabric and completed the backing, I checked my email just prior to going out to my studio to load the quilt on the longarm.  There was an email message request for prayers in behalf of our dear friend Todd Christensen who was at that moment in surgery for receipt of a liver transplant for which he had been waiting for a very long time.

 Words cannot express the jubilation I and everyone else who knew and loved him felt that day, the gratitude to the donor's family, or the grief and despair the next morning upon learning of his death prior to the completion of the surgery late into the night.. At times the heaviness of my heart was unbearable as I sought solace in prayer and time and again tried to focus on finishing this quilt.  Many, many tears were shed as my longarm stitched away.

The next week as I completed the many hours it took to quilt I received another tender mercy in the form of a still small witness to my heart, that just as in the middle of stitching quilt pieces together, (experiences, trials and relationships) we may not see the big picture, until we look back over the finished project (our lives and posterity) and recognize the value and beauty created through loving relationships.  

While the fabrics may not have been my favorites to start with, through the process of searching for and gathering the fabrics and using every single piece of the charm pack (even the uglies) in the design and creation has made the finished quilt one that I will cherish forever. 

Along with a photo I was asked to include a description of the secret ingredient to the designing and construction of my quilt. I guess I would have to say the secret ingredient I used was faith. Faith that God has a plan and though I may not fully understand all the challenges I or any of us face, I do know that He does, and that all this experience shall be for our good. I know He loves each one of us individually and knows how to succor us in our need if we will but turn to and trust in him. 

Rules for Iron Quilter 2 Challenge:

Each Iron Quilter may purchase up to 4 "Lovely" charm packs by Debbie Beaves of RJR Fabrics.  At least one full charm pack must be used in your project.  Each 5" charm pack contains 42 squares.  Any other fabrics may be used for completion of the quilt.

Photo submission must be uploaded by Midnight, November 30, 2013.

Iron Quilter 2 Project Submission & Voting Instructions
The first image you upload will be used for voting. You will receive a confirmation e-mail to let you know that we have received your project.

 Your project must be submitted by midnight (CST) on November 30th, 2013. Make sure you're picture is pretty big - we need to be able to see it.

On December 2nd, all of the projects submitted will be added to an Iron Quilter Facebook Album. We will then commence one week of Facebook voting. The way to vote on a project will be to click on an individual photo from the album and then "like"" it. Each "like" will count as a vote. Feel free to comment on and share any of the projects, although doing this will not count as an extra vote - only likes are counted. You may vote on ("like") as many or few projects as you'd like!

 The 25 projects with the most votes will go on to the final round of voting. Jenny also possesses three "saves", which she may or may not use. This means that she has the option to choose three deserving projects that didn't make the top 25 to be included in the final round of voting. 

At a later date, we will provide a site to vote on the 25 (or possibly 28) finalists.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"My Civil War" Quilt

The block patterns come from the Three Sisters BOM program by Lori Smith. 

The story of "My Civil War" quilt is one of learning to focus on the positive and staying the course.  The reason this is called My Civil War quilt is two fold.  The fabrics that Broadbent's Quilt shop chose for the 2010 "block of the month (BOM)" project were reproductions of Civil War fabrics. I had never participated in a BOM quilt before.   My quilting to this point was somewhat limited to making quilts for grandkids and kids.  The day I walked in to Broadbents, I saw their sample quilt on a stand and fell in love.  I loved the richness of the fabrics even though I didn't love the arrangement and borders so I just bought extras of the fabrics I loved to create my own arrangement.  The second reason I call this  "My Civil War" quilt is that I worked through a lot of physical (mine) and emotional (family) issues over a period of 8-9 months in one stretch and a couple of weeks straight in the home stretch.  During the piecing period, I was suffering terribly with pain in my back from a disc that slipped each time I stood up or sat down, creating a cyst that was pressing on the nerves in my leg.  After living with the pain, in spite of 3 spinal blocks during the first 6 months, then waiting for an additional nine months (without the minor pain relief from a block) for insurance coverage I had an L 4-5 fusion and discectomy.  Working on piecing this quilt is what saved my sanity during this time. The focus on creating something beautiful spoke peace to my heart in spite of the pain.  After completing the quilt top it was put in a box, I had the surgery and I started into recovery.  Several months later I took it out again and couldn't bear the thought of having someone else quilt it. The desire to finish this quilt myself inspired me to get my long arm

This block is called Wonderful World.
The blocks were all quilted using Wasatch Quilting's CP12 Blk 301
a custom pattern that Nancy developed for me for another quilt which
just happened to work great for this one as well.

The quilting of this quilt brought it's own set of challenges. Because the patterns I used were so intensively stitched, with double and triple overstitching, it took about two weeks to quilt and about 24 hours of unpicking time due to thread color changes (that I forgot about), a tension problem with a thread change, and a jump the machine made when it hit a complex seam just right (or wrong) and my back was turned.  Towards the end I was ready to give up.  My hands were cramped with arthritis pain from holding the ripper and tweezers.  When a friend asked me why I bothered unpicking (when no one would notice that a portion of the feathered garland border was stitched with the wrong thread.) Please note that at this point I had made a trip to the chiropractor and physical therapist for neck and back issues (exacerbated by leaning in one position for so many hours).  Her question made me stop and think, Why am I doing this?   Then I realized that if I didn't correct the mistakes, every time I looked at this quilt, I would think of those mistakes and wish I had taken the time to fix them, and I would regret it for years to come if not forever.  This is the quilt I am making for me.  I would know.  And that was more important that anyone else not knowing. Is it perfect, NO.  Neither am I.  But when I see this quilt on the wall of my studio whenever I walk in the door, My heart will be filled with joy.  This quilt represents to me a lot of pain and sacrifice but also the promise of joy waiting in the wings if I will but endure.

This block is called Laurel Wreath. Quilted with Wasatch Quilting's CP12 Blk 301.
Left: Maggie's Wildflowers, Center: Crown of Thorns, Right: Kansas Troubles. The quilting patterns I used for the Large triangle came form Wasatch Quilting "cr 26 triangle. The smaller one is "wn 4 tri" also from Wasatch Quilting.
The three outer borders were treated as one and quilted with Wasatch Quilting's "Konda 8", feathered and swirl border.
For the brown border above that I used Wasatch Quilting's "wfr 3 x 10 sashing". I free motioned the loops and swirls on the small green and yellow sashings. and on the green scalloped garland border I quilted with One Song Needle Art's "4066a-Young at Heart feather corner 1a".
The three outer borders were treated as one and quilted with Wasatch Quilting's "Konda 8", feathered and swirl border.
For the brown border above I used Wasatch Quilting's "wfr 3 x 10 sashing". I free motioned the loops and swirls on the small green sashing and on the olive green scalloped garland border I quilted with One Song Needle Art's "4066a-Young at Heart feather corner 1a".
The three outer borders were treated as one and quilted with Wasatch Quilting's "Konda 8", feathered and swirl border.
For the brown border above that I used Wasatch Quilting's "wfr 3 x 10 sashing". I free motioned the loops and swirls on the small green and yellow sashings and on the green scalloped garland border I quilted with One Song Needle Art's "4066a-Young at Heart feather corner 1a".
For the Large corner triangles I used Wasatch Quilting's "cr 26 triangle".  The green scalloped garland border I quilted with One Song Needle Art's "4066a-Young at Heart feather corner 1a".

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Instructions for "Pear"adise background fill quilting

Some have asked for detailed instructions on how I did the "Pear"adise quilt.  Long arm Quilter who have the HandiQuilter ProStitcher now have the capability to do this.  The same thing can be accomplished using Art and Stitch Digitizing software to set up one block at a time.

For the pears: I opened the first design and then set up the first area using
multi point. I sized the design and rotated the design and placed it in the
area. I baselined the design then cleared the area, leaving the design in the
exact location it needed to be. I then opened the 2nd design, created the area
using multi point and sized and rotated the design to fit and then baselined
again. Did the same thing for the leaves. Then at the top of your screen there
is a select tool. I selected all, and moved the designs into the proper stitch
order and stitched.

For the background fills in the blocks. First thing I did was go into ANS and
save all the creative fills as HQF designs with stitches and put them on my
thumb drive. Then to my Pro Stitcher. I created my first area (1/4) of the
block then opened a design (one of the creative fills). I placed the design and
sized it over the area. Went to Design, Crop, push the "outside" and "closed"
buttons. Then baselined. Set up each area just like this, baselining after
cropping each area. I didn't close the designs as I progressed around the pear
I just opened another. This way I could see the scale of the design compared to
the other designs I was using and adjust and resize as needed. Since this was
my first quilt using these features it certainly isn't perfect in scale but the
possibilities are endless and I learned so much.

When the designs were all set up, I then went to select (top of screen),
selected and stitched out each design separately. One caution I would add is
that there is quite a bit of overstitching with some fills as you go around a
shape. I learned to rotate the designs better as I progressed so that the rows
of stitching worked with the shapes rather than fought against them. I also
learned that you can adjust the design after cropping, from side to side or top
to bottom on screen to position for less overstitching. Don't know how to
explain this better. It took a few blocks for this to gel in my brain. I just
might have to make sampler of my own now, that I can keep.

FYI: I used Glide thread on top and magna glide bobbins.

Hope this all makes sense.