quilts


I finally found the time to check in and realized this winter has been so busy – I hadn’t written since October!

After the military quilt, I took a class on paper piecing and made Judy Niemeyer’s Desert Sky quilt. I quilted it and added bling. It was so much fun, I would encourage anyone to take a class. If you’re in Fort Worth contact me and we can set up a class.

I enjoyed it so much that I have several more additional paper pieced designs made too. Two Christmas pillows and a table runner, a table runner from the Desert Sky pattern. I have more in que for future projects.

Try paper piecing! You will love it!image image image image image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just completed a quilt honoring a Viet Nam veteran. It was a privilege to make this quilt and I had some research to do to get it right.

 

He received the quilt this week and this is what he said: ” Just received it. I am blown away, far better than I ever expected. Thanks for the card, I know you put a lot of Love into it, believe me it shows. We have got to get together sometime for sure. Take care ”

That veteran is my uncle. He was in Viet Nam when I was a kid. Every night I would watch the news to make sure he was ok and then pray he would be okay the next night. Somehow I thought Walter Cronkite would tell is if something happened to him. Childhood innocence, I guess.

Anyway it makes me smile to know I could honor him and give a piece of my heart to him in this way.

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The statue of liberty was made from a photo I took. It was appliqued.

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The boots, rifle and helmet were drawn on fabric, and the soldiers and helos were painted and embroidered.

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A quilt label was embroidered for the back commemorating the quilt and the date of construction.

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This section is a panel I quilted with an additional layer of batting to emphasize the eagle and the waves in the flag. There is an embroidered label on this portion that commemorates the years and locations off service.

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Overall views of the left and right sides of the quilt. I arranged this layout so that the quilt can be displayed across the foot of a bed or across the back of a couch. When you commission a custom quilt, you can request a vertical or horizontal set-up depending on how you want to display it in your home.

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I was asked to take a Dr. Seuss fabric and make an all-over quilting design, then bind for a baby shower gift.

First I had to prepare the back because the front and back are really the same fabric. They are the same width.

First I removed the selvedges. This is easiest done by cutting a notch parallel to the selvedge and right next to it. Then rip the fabric. It should tear in a straight line right along the selvedge (that thicker woven part that on one side often has the fabric maker’s name, copyright information and color dots on it). There is a selvedge on both sides.


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The next thing I did was create 4″ strips to sew on the sides. I cut the back 8″ longer than the front and stitched the sides on.

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In this photo you can see the 4″ strip against the roll bar of the longarm. I am able to put the batting up against that seam and can get the machine head right to the edge to quilt.

When I got home (my apartment is smoke free and pet free, by the way) I attatched binding to the edges. See quilted fabric below.


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 The blue swatch above is actually NOT quilt binding. It is bias tape. This can be used as a binding, but the polyester batting in this quilt is thicker than the available width of the bias tape. This narrowness makes it more difficult to work with. Quilt binding is double folded and wider. It will be labeled “Quilt Binding” on the package. I can also create binding for either hand or machine application.

The customer had a brilliant idea! She asked me to cut 8″ off the quilt, cut the strip in half and bind the pieces to make burp rags. They worked out beautifully as you can see.

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Created a new sampler last week. It’s so much fun it almost seems like I shouldnt get paid for this – almost! All-over paisley pattern shown first. Then there is a feather stitch pattern. After that you can see an example of some close fill work and some straight line ruler work. I enjoy custom work and large fill patterns both. Naturally large fill patterns are less expensive, but they can produce very nice quilts.

 

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I stopped in at The Country Quilt Shop in Llano, Texas a few weeks ago.

It was almost closing time, but the ladies were very friendly and happy to show off their lovely store. I bought a few things and entered their raffle for a beautiful Texas quilt to raise funds for their guild’s quilt show in March. As I was leaving I  noticed a machine finished quilt binding that is just perfect. I asked them about it and they gave me printed instructions and showed me a sample depicting the process.

First you cut your binding, but instead of one strip, cut two binding strips 1/4″ different in width. The narrower strip will be the outer binding strip that will show on the edge of the quilt.

After you have your two strips cut and long enough to go around the quilt, stitch them right sides together using your quilter’s 1/4″ seam allowance. Press the two strips open and then fold and press the raw edges together right sides out. When the raw edges are pressed together, you will have a piece of binding with a solid strip on the back and a two-color strip on the front. The front will have 1/4″ of the back fabric at the top and the rest will be the second fabric you used in your strips.

After your quilt has been squared and trimmed, you can pin the binding to the back side of the quilt, all raw edges even. Have the two-fabric portion of the binding facing the quilt back. Miter corners as you go.

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When you have the binding in place all around the quilt you can pull it forward and it will look like this.

Press the binding in this position all the way around.

Turn the quilt over and press the binding forward to the front of the quilt.

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Pin the binding in place on the front of the quilt, miter corners on the front and pin in place. Then you can stitch in the ditch between the binding and the narrow flange and have a perfectly finished binding without the hours spent hand-stitching.

Happy quilting and let me know if you have any questions. A big Texas thank you to the ladies at The Country Quilter for passing on this technique. If you are ever in Llano, I highly recommend stopping by – a lovely quilt shop with friendly ladies to help you find unique fabrics and patterns too.

 

Do you have quilt blocks or a quilt top in your closet? It might look like this…

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This mysterious package was found in an elderly lady’s closet. It was passed down to her nephew, and he didn’t really know what to do with it. That is how I ended up with it.

I took the package to a quilt shop and had them look at the pieces. I knew it was a set of Dresden Plate quilt blocks, but not much more than that. It turns out that the pieces are fabrics from the 1930s and they are quite lovely.

I will be placing each block on a muslin background like this:

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The muslin is actually a square, but it is mounted in a hoop while I hand stitch it in place.

 

Once the Dresden Plate piece is firmly secured all the way around, the block will have borders placed on two sides. The borders are called sashing. When I have a row of four blocks all attached, I will create a second row. Each row will have sashing across the entire row. I will then join the rows to form a quilt top that is 4 blocks wide and 5 blocks long.

I will keep you posted as the project grows. When the top is complete I will layer the batting and backing and quilt three layers together.

Keep your eyes open – you may find such a treasure in your closet or the closet of a relative one of these days. You can learn to convert pieces like this into a quilt or you can have someone make a quilt for you. Either way, don’t lose out on the chance to preserve someone’s hard work and enjoy a “new” heirloom of your very own.

Don’t forget – If you’re in Fort Worth – I teach quilting. I also have smooth-sewing vintage sewing machines available at very reasonable prices. Prices start at $40. If you aren’t into sewing yourself, I can take your closet find and turn it into a quilt for you. You just can’t have too many family heirloom quilts!

 

Quilts have been with us for centuries. Yes they did make quilts in Europe. They tended to make whole cloth quilts where the cloth was not pieced but the design was in the quilting. They did make whole cloth quilts in the infancy of the United States, but they also pieced quilts from various fabrics and old clothing to get a double use from the cloth.

Small communities would band together and work to put up a house or barn for newlyweds and the ladies would likewise gather a quilting bee to provide a quilt for the couple.

The quilt symbolized the blessing and love of the community as well as continuing warmth in the couple’s new life.

I finished a quilt for a grandchild not too long ago. The process of quilting led my mind to want blessings to follow the child who would grow up warmed by it.IMG_0777 IMG_0780

As these four quilts were requested by the parents of four adult children, I thought about what the wife repeatedly mentioned to me. “My mother always wanted the kids to have quilts.”

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Why would that be important? For the same reason it was important to my grandmother. When the first four of her granddaughters married within a few years of each other, she made a dutch doll quilt for each of them. It was important to her that each married couple have a quilt.

I don’t know if she made quilts for my mom and dad and for my aunt and uncle when they married, but I do know that everyone had quilts. My grandmother had a wedding ring quilt hand-made when she married and her mother before her had a quilt as well.  Quilts were cherished emblems of love of others towards the new couple. They represented warmth, love and care given in a special package.

As I made these four quilts, I realized another fact. People who make a quilt for someone specific think of that person. They ask God to bless the recipients, to give them warmth and comfort. It doesn’t matter who it is for, you want the quilt to be comforting and to be a symbol of your personal work – time spent meditatively over that person or persons who will use the quilt in the future. It also works with quilts when you don’t know who will use it. You pray for someone to see it and just love it. And you hope that the work of your hands, the planning and constructing will bless the recipient for many years of warmth and comfort. Whether the recipient prays to the Universe or to God himself, they well receive blessings when they have something made in this manner. You just cannot pick this up at Walmart for $29.95.

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This block is made from a photo. I take the photo media to a printer and have two 11×17 photos printed on regular paper. One serves as my “go to” or master and the other is cut into pattern pieces. In this example, the skyline was cut out as one piece. The paper was used as a pattern to cut the dark blue fabric into the skyline. I used a glue stick to secure the skyline fabric to the cloudy sky fabric. Once the glue stick dried, I used the buttonhole stitch feature on my machine to outline the skyline and secure it permanently to the sky background.

The next section of the photo was a line of trees appearing between the skyline and the lake. I used a fabric in a similar tone to that in the photo and let it represent the treeline. This was also cut out using the paper as the pattern for the fabric. The tree fabric was then glued on top of the skyline portion of the block with a glue stick. Having the master photo available is very helpful in deciding where to place the treeline on the block. When the glue stick dried, I once again used the buttonhole stitch to secure the treeline to the skyline. This made a stitching of 3 layers, but the machine seemed to have no problem with this thickness. When you stitch through dried glue stick, the needle and thread do not become sticky at all and the fabrics remain flat without interfacing or paper behind as can be required with a wide satin stitch.

The lake composed the entire foreground of this photo. I placed a light blue fabric under the tree line, glued it in place with the glue stick and then buttonhole stitched the bottom of the treeline to the water fabric. I used the rotary cutter and cutting mat to trim the sides of the “water” and align them with the skyline and treeline.

My Dallas Skyline block was now complete. I placed sashing around the block and prepared to incorporate it into the quilt.

When the quilting was done, I used a pattern of small choppy waves for the water quilting and swirling wind for the sky quilting. The city skyline was outlined in the quilting.

This photo was taken from the shore of White Rock Lake in Sunset Bay.

Dallas Skyline on Quilt

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