APQ Radio with Pat Sloan!

Now, before you all here in the states get into full-on holiday weekend mode, I wanted to pop in and give you a little tidbit of information about next week. Monday to be exact. Monday afternoon to be more precise...
Join me Monday afternoon at 4pm Eastern while Pat Sloan and I have a chat on her radio show! It should be a great time, Pat is always a joy to chat with and I hope you can tune in.

You can listen to the podcast here: http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/magazines-more/quilting-podcast 

If you're busy at that time and can't listen, don't worry. You can always click on the link and listen to the show on your own time after it has aired. It may take a day or so for the show to be available after the live taping (is it called taping still?), but I will be sure to let you know when you can check in and listen.

Also, you can find all of the shows on iTunes. Just search American Patchwork & Quilting and from there you can have the podcast automatically downloaded and waiting for you!

I hope you can listen in, I'm looking forward to it!

Have a great and wonderful weekend. Be safe, eat too much, relax and I hope you get some time to sew!


Pincushion Swap

I wanted to show you what I received in the last swap I participated in. It's soooo adorable and I love it so! 
I mean look at that craftsmanship!!! I feel bad for the person I sent a pincushion to, mine wasn't nearly this intricate. 

I make quilts mostly. They're straight lines to sew and they're flat. Easy peasy. I have done some 3D sewing like bags and pillows, but nothing too intricate and that needs to change. 

This little gem is living out with Memphis (my long arm) because I spend way more time out there as of late and I can see and appreciate this gift even more. 

I have one other swap I'm currently working on and I just signed up for another one this morning. If you have been looking at signing up but have been hesitant to do so, I urge you to try just one! 

I find it opens up my creativity and gets me to work on new ideas or with new fabrics. It's great to try a new technique without being overwhelmed by a larger project. 

It's been awhile since I joined a swap, but I realized how much I missed these little projects and the perfect little swap just showed up in my Instagram feed. I was hooked before I could resist. 

Are you participating in any swaps? If so, what has been your favorite?


Machine Quilting: Purple Dresdens

Nancy also brought me this wonderful Dresden Plate quilt to work on. My instructions were to do whatever - I LOVE it when my instructions are to "do whatever". Especially when what I'm given to work on is a virtual quilter's playground!!!
 Isn't this quilt just gorgeous?! I knew I wanted to quilt a background filler behind the dresdens and then quilt a different design to highlight each plate. A quilt like this deserves a bit more effort than just a simple all over design...
 What I ended up choosing to do was fill the background with pebbles/bubbles. It was the best design to work in and around the points and fill the odd shaped areas. Then I just did a simple pointed loop in each fabric within the plates. Sometimes I would choose a swirl instead for the background, but for this quilt some of the areas were really small that needed to be filled and even with my best quilting, it may look awkward in spots. So bubbles for the win!

I did then switch to a darker thread (I was only using an off-white to this point) and filled the border with straight lines. There's a large floral design in the border fabric and I didn't want to take away from it at all, but I had to tack down the large border. These straight lines have been the answer lately for busy borders like this one.

I like the fact that even though I didn't quilt a single straight line within the center of the quilt, the lines don't feel like a new quilting element. It just finishes off the quilt top and takes a backseat to the rest of the quilt which is where your eyes want to wander anyway.
 The colors and fabrics in this quilt were so interesting and fun to work through.
 I LOVE how this quilt turned out and I may need to make myself a dresden in the future... It's on my quilting bucket list.
Here's how the back of the quilt turned out. You can still see each dresden and each loop without knowing what the front looks like. This quilt could even be used as both a wholecloth (if you display the back) or a regular quilt.

Thank you, Nancy!!! I love working with her scrappy quilts and drooling over her fabric choices! Scrappy quilts are so much fun to quilt and seem to go faster because with each time I advance the section I'm working on, I get to see new fabrics and it keeps the process exciting and new.


Machine Quilting: Crane Panel

These metallic panels are becoming a weekly norm for me to quilt as of late. The metallics are very subtle on this panel, but the overall appearance is so striking, they were placed just so to highlight certain areas.
 For a good portion of this quilt, I kept the quilting simple and followed the fabric design. For example, in the panel I outlined the cranes and the moon, then followed the swirls at the bottom which only left the "sky" left to fill.
 I also followed the fabric as my guide in the striped border.
 You really can't see the quilting in the swirls, but it's there!
To finish off the rest of the quilt, I filled the borders with contrasting designs that are pair well with the feel of the quilt. The argyle-type quilting broke up the fans from the curvy swirls in the panel and the outer border was filled with pebbles.

Sometimes the best option is to keep it simple. This may look more planned than it really was, but this particular design was one of the most simple custom quilting jobs I could have done. Custom doesn't always have to be super complex and intricate, although I've been doing my fair share of that type of quilting lately too.

Thank you, Nancy! This was so much fun to work on!


Machine Quilting: Scrappy 1930's Stars

Ruth brought this massive quilt to me to finish. It's so cheery and wonderful with the variety of fabrics and the pieced sawtooth border, I couldn't wait to get started.
 Ruth wanted an all over simple pattern with a touch of density to it. We chose these swirls to soften the appearance of the quilt and work within the style of the quilt top.
 Normally I tend to quilt the density of the pattern relative to the size of the quilt and it's components. This one however was quilted a bit denser on request. It doesn't look that dense in the picture above, but those stars are much smaller in real life than they appear here. I'd say most of these lines are about an average of 1/2" or so apart.
 This quilt was so large that it almost didn't fit on my machine! I only had a couple inches of space left on either side of the leader bars - my machine is 12' long! We almost had a hard time getting batting large enough for this quilt. Most manufacturers stop somewhere around 122"-130". This quilt was 99" x 128" in the end... That's big.
 I love the texture and had so much fun looking at all of the fabrics as I worked.

 I haven't played much with these fabric as of late, but I think I need to bust into my stash and make something. This quilt just gives off a light summery vibe.
And I'm happy to report that Ruth posted this picture of the quilt in it's home and it fits perfectly! All of that length was needed to hang just right and tuck under the pillows. It already has that crinkly-loved squish to it!

Thank you, Ruth! Your piecing was spectacular and I had so much fun working on this quilt for you!


Mini wall

I finally hung the latest mini quilt I received in a swap! It took forever for me to clean a spot just big enough to get the step stool in my sewing room and hang the mini just right, but it looks wonderful! 
The latest mini quilt swap I participated in was the Rainbow Mini Swap and it was soooo much fun. I love color and anything that fades in rainbow order is my cup of tea. I knew this swap was going to be amazing and I had no clue which lovely masterpiece was mine until it showed up at my doorstep. 
This was the wonderful quilt I received. There were many other wonderful gifts in the package including chocolates, a small ruler, cards and a matching pin cushion filled with lavender!!! The pincushion smells divine and it made its way to my other sewing space with the long-arm. There were many other wonderful goodies too, all with little handwritten notes attached. It was the sweetest personal touch! 

These pictures do not do this quilt justice, the creativity and workmanship is amazing and I cannot believe this little quilt was made for me! I have to thank Julie at thecraftyquilter.com for being such a wonderful swap partner! She is so creative and makes the most wonderful things, check out her website! Seriously. Especially if you need a little Monday afternoon inspiration, just pop over and be amazed! 

I'll be back with more quilty goodness this week. Right now I'm off to quilt! 


Machine Quilting: Geisha Girls

The other Oriental Panel quilt I did for Anne was just as gorgeous but a bit more simple.
 The main feature was this panel. To jazz it up just a bit Anne added these fans on each corner and kept the borders simple. The fabrics themselves have so much going on, that the quilt didn't need much more visual elements with quilting.
 As with the other panel quilt I did for Anne, I kept the quilting as simple as possible outlining certain areas more for function to tack them down, and the quilting you could see was kept minimal to not take away from the overall appearance of the quilt. There's just enough in spots to tack down the quilt for hanging, but not so much that you actually see it all.
 It may not look like there's much quilting in there, but the flowers and leaves and girls and the crane are all outlined. This was another day or two where when my Hubby asked, "So how was your day? Did you get a lot done?" I showed him pictures and he said he couldn't see where I quilted anything. In this instance, that was exactly what I was going for.
 These panels are baffling to me before I get started. I say that because it makes choosing threads a challenge. Usually these panels have every color from black to white and somewhere in between. Whatever thread you use in dark areas will not work in the light areas and it may not work in all of the colors. Add in a sprinkling of metallics in there and it just gets more difficult. For this quilt I opted for neutrals which blended well between the colors and played nice with the metallics. I think I only used a medium brown and a tan for the top of this quilt and the combination worked out well.
When I was planning out this quilt, the border was not playing nice. It had every color in the quilt but squished into this little strip. Then it had this teeny tiny strip of blue and green on either side and at first I was thinking about treating each element of the border separately... Then in a moment of thinking about something else, I got the idea to treat it all as one (it was really too narrow to treat everything individually) and by quilting these straight lines, the quilting read more as a texture than another design and didn't conflict with the busy floral stripe. I used the brown thread on this section and it worked well with it's medium tone since it's not too dark on the lights and not too light on the darks. It still let the fabric shine without taking away from the impact of the fabric.

As I said before, I love working on these quilts and they really challenge my creativity because it's not my normal style to work in. I really do my research beforehand and try to get "in the right mindset" before I begin so I don't include any designs that would conflict with the tone of the quilt. Plus as I mentioned with the color aspect of each panel, not only do these panels challenge my creativity, they also challenge my workmanship and it's a challenge I will gladly accept.

I love when my clients trust me enough to bring me quilts like this that may be a challenge in one aspect or another. It keeps me from feeling in a rut and it helps me to grow and develop as a quilter which in turn gives my clients better and better results. It's a win-win if you ask me!

Thanks, Anne! Another gorgeous quilt as always!
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