Quilting some UFO’s

This has been a summer of finishes, primarily quilting some tops that have been around for awhile. The blue top dates back to my pre-Accuquilt days. And I believe Norma pieced the sunflower quilt top for me. It is definitely a bright one.

At the quilt expo in Raleigh back in June, I tried all of the longarm quilting machines. My Nolting Hobby Quilter was made before any of the current machines that have all the bells and whistles. I fell in love with the HandiQuilter Avante and before I knew it, I had ordered one. It came a couple of weeks ago, and I have been quilting steadily ever since. I love this machine. I am also loving quilting some edge to edge designs that I created over the past few years. These two designs are available as digital downloads at IntelligentQuilting.com. Here are two finishes from last weekend:

 

SwirlyQs quilting design
SwirlyQs quilting design

 

SwirlyQs quilting design
SwirlyQs quilting design

 

Kes quiltling design
Kes quiltling design

 

Kes quilting design
Kes quilting design

 

Kes quilting design
Kes quilting design

 

 

  
 

Lovely Heart Quilts

I got a wonderful note and photos from Linda Erickson showing me more of her heart quilts. These baby quilts are as pretty as can be. She used the AccuQuilt GO! applique hearts and beautiful clear bright colors in these quilts. I could look at them all day. Linda has a Tiara quilting machine which is a longarm on a stationary table, so quilting is free-motion, but there’s lots of room and table for moving the quilt around. And the quilting designs are just perfect for these quilts.

Look at the binding on the second quilt. This is something I have done on scrappy quilts too. She has pieced the strips. Doesn’t it look nice? These beautiful quilts should inspire all of us to go through our stash and find the prettiest colors we have and make something beautiful.

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Tomorrow, I will have another quilt show from Jeannie who has been making Quilts of Valor.

 

  
 

Two finishes

These are two of Sherry’s quilts that I just finished. She has been binding for me, and I have been quilting for her. I think I’m getting the better end of this deal, but she says she has come to like doing the binding so who am I to protest. Which is your favorite–binding or quilting?

I used Aurifil–as always–for quilting these and did spiraling squares for the three-dimensional quilt and a zigzag overall for the black and white. I fell in love with the 3-D quilt the minute I saw it and bought the book (Scraps by Judy Martin). Haven’t made it yet, but it’s on my bucket list.

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EQ Stitch

Just a quick note here about EQ Stitch, as the special price on it goes through the end of March. It is a great program and I highly recommend it for those who want to incorporate machine embroidery in their quilts and designing. While I plan to write a full review and a tutorial on digitizing for die cut applique shapes in EQStitch, there just isn’t time this week. But it is a great tool for quilters.

EQStitch is not a full featured digitizing program, but what it will do is allow those who do not want to learn or pay for a full featured digitizing program to create simple machine embroidery including great applique designs for your quilt blocks. The reason I started digitizing in the first place was that I couldn’t find the applique designs for the quilt blocks I wanted to make. With EQStitch, you will be able to do that. And if you are a digitizer, it is a great “linking” software between EQ quilt design and machine embroidery.

More later–after Easter!

Here’s one I quilted last week. Thought you’d like to see how nice it looks finished.

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Weekend Quilting

Spent the last week and a half finishing some UFO’s. Now there are five quilts to be bound which is a couple days work for me. It is so good to have these quilted. Sometimes I don’t quilt a top because I’m just not sure how I want to quilt it. Either I can’t decide about the block background or the sashing or there is some indecision somewhere.

My quilting machine is a Nolting Hobby Quilter which was one of the first (if not the first) machines made for the home hobbyist. It’s a workhorse and has served me well. And the reality is that I’m never going to spend as much as it costs to get a top of the line computerized quilting machine. It’s just not on my wish list.

Years ago I bought the stylus and some of the Quilt EZ motif template boards. I never bought the pantograph boards because I prefer to work from the front of the machine, and really enjoy doing freehand work. But that’s not to say that there aren’t some pantograph designs that I like. In fact, I have designed quite a few myself. The problem with paper pantographs is that I have trouble following the lines (could never color inside the lines in a coloring book either). The nice thing about these boards is that the stylus fits inside a small groove and it’s a lot easier to follow the lines.

After using the heart for the Candy Hearts quilt and enjoying using the templates again for the large hearts, I decided to buy some pantograph boards. Two of my favorites are the interlocking squares and the Baptist fan. And it has been so much fun for me to finish some quilts that I couldn’t decide how to quilt. The red and blue and yellow and green quilt had such wide sashing that every time I looked at it, I folded it back up and put it in the “later” stack. I love, love, love the interlocking squares on it.

And yes, I’m thrilled to have the Candy Hearts finished — that was a lot of work. But I’m just as happy to have these others quilted too.

Candy Hearts
Candy Hearts

 

Candy Hearts Closeup
Candy Hearts Closeup
Pinwheels with Interlocking Squares
Pinwheels with Interlocking Squares

 

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Patience Corners with Baptist fan quilting
Patience Corners with Baptist fan quilting

 

  
 

Candy Hearts Quilting Progress

After posting yesterday, I continued to quilt some samples until I had a better idea of what I wanted to do on the candy hearts quilt. If you remember, this is how I started.

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After looking at this a bit, I decided to change the heart. After I did that, I looked at the background fill and decided that it would be better visually, if it were round. In the top part of the image below, you can see how I changed the background fill in the upper part of the block.

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This gave me a pretty good idea of where I was going, so I loaded the Candy Hearts quilt and started work on it. I finished the stitch in the ditch and the ribbon candy in the frames and have started adding the hearts in the plain blocks. The plain blocks are smaller than my sample, so will have to see what fill will work best in the wider areas.

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Winter Fun

I saw a fun project last weekend and knew I just had to make these for my grandchildren. I can remember what rambunctious fun I had growing up with two brothers and a sister and my grandchildren can get pretty rambunctious too. So, I started making snowballs–yes, snowballs! It takes about five minutes at the most to hoop my fabric and stitch out these cute little faces. The balls are made in the shape of a baseball, so they’re one continuous seam. These snowballs are made from cotton lycra (dancewear fabric) because that’s what I had in my closet, but I’ve ordered some white fleece from Joann’s. They’re filled with fluffy fiberfill. I think about 2-3 dozen snowballs should be enough for three children. What fun to build forts and have a great snowball fight. (I purchased the embroidery files from http://www.CharmingStation.com.

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And this is the second thing I’m working on–ideas for quilting my candy hearts quilt. There are alternating plain blocks in that quilt, so this is what I’m thinking about doing for the plain blocks. I stitched it out this morning to size the hearts and see how it would look. I’m pretty pleased, but think I’ll use either a wool batting or a layer of Dream Request weight underneath my Hobbs Heirloom batting to give the quilting of the heart shape more definition. This quilting is with only one layer of Hobbs Heirloom.

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Sherry’s Bargello

This is the most beautiful bargello quilt. Sherry has such a wonderful sense of color. When I look at the photo, it seems that the quilt is folded, but in fact, the photo shows the quilt hanging straight down. It was so large that I couldn’t pin the entire top, so the top sides are folded in just a bit and the bottom is sitting on the floor. Is that an incredible optical illusion. Just imagine how it will look on her bed. The back is a lighter color and the overall quilting design is such that she has decided to turn it over to the back side for summer. Doesn’t this make you want to make a bargello?

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Quilting Zoo Animals Carousel

Just wanted to share how I figured out the curved lines for quilting on this quilt. I wanted to be able to follow the curvy lines of the rickrack applique . My attempts at following the lines kept getting off track and it would end up too wide or too narrow at the top or bottom. And then the light flickered. Recently I read (and can’t remember who or where it was) on a blog about using masking tape for marking a quilt for straight line quilting. This person suggested that one could use masking tape and rather than stitching right next to the tape, it would be better to stitch 1/4″ away so as to not stitch into the tape.

I decided to use the rickrack die to make a quilting template. First, I layered painter’s tape on the foam over the top of the blade, then ran it through the cutter. I actually added more tape to the straight edge to make it stay completely straight when I put it on the quilt. In the beginning I marked the quilt with a blue line following the tape, but that was just too time-consuming. So, I put the tape on the quilt and stitched a quarter inch away and used it for two or three lines and then moved it.

 
 

Quilting the Pumpkin Table Runner

A couple of weeks ago, I saw this blog post by Megan over at Canoe Ridge Creations. I was really intrigued by the quilting on her mini-quilt, so I just had to try it. And I had the perfect table runner for practice. This is the table runner that I made using Judy Danz’ Have a Pumpkin Good Day machine embroidery set. These applique shapes are cut with the AccuQuilt GO!™ Pumpkins die # 55323. 

Quilting was done by stitching a free-style squiggly line that was the width of my hopping foot. I just went up and down. Then I went back across filling in a squiggly line between each of the original lines. I didn’t try to match the squiggles in anyway, each was independent. The table runner looks great, was fairly easy to do, and not using a ruler with my longarm was far easier for me. I can definitely see that this would work well with free-motion quilting on a regular sewing machine as well as a longarm machine and that it may work better on smaller areas rather than going across an entire large quilt. Wouldn’t it be fun quilting for a mug rug?

Quilting wavy lines

 

This is the full runner on my kitchen table. I opened the leaves so it would lay flat.

 

This is a view at an angle so you can see the effect of the quilting and how it makes the pumpkins stand out–almost like trapunto. Quilting around the vines was a dilemma for me, and I did it a couple of different ways. The leaves were stitched in the ditch, but after awhile, I started stitching straight over the redwork stems instead of trying to stitch beside them as an outline. I really couldn’t tell that it changed the overall look and the stitches hardly showed. The thread used on this is Aurifil 50 wt in a color to match the background.

And you can see that the Irish chain squares are done with a freehand continuous curve as they’re definitely not perfectly even. The squiggly line piano keys in the border were also done free-hand. This whole thing really went fast and gave me the exact effect I wanted.