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RJR What Shade Are You? Blog Hop

Dreamer's Star Quilt

What Shade Are You? Blog hop

Hi!  I’m Joanna Marsh from Kustom Kwilts.  I live in the Texas Hill Country with my husband and baby girl.  I have been so captivated by all of the #whatshadeareyou projects and the RJR Cotton Supreme Solids, and I’m so excited to share mine with you on the RJR blog today–The Dreamer’s Star Quilt!  You can check out my instagram @kustomkwilts to see what I’m up to.  I’m so excited to be featured on the RJR blog today with their amazing cotton supreme solids!  Check out the What Shade Are You? posts for some amazing inspiration here.

Dreamer's Star Quilt
Dreamer’s Star Quilt in RJR Cotton Supreme Solids

A little background on what brought me to quilting: In my previous career, I was a high school agriculture science teacher.  My principal’s secretary was a quilter, and I mentioned to her that I was interested in starting to sew.  I remember her telling me the secret to quilting was a consistent quarter inch seam allowance–and that as long as I remembered that, I’d be okay!  I found a beginner’s quilting book in my teacher mailbox one morning with a sweet note of encouragement from Donna Jo (principal’s secretary), and that was how my sewing journey began.  Both of my grandmothers were amazing seamstresses, but I had never learned to sew from them.  One thing I’ve learned about the sewing community is that it’s full of people who want to share their love of the craft with others, and I love being part of such a giving community!

In 2016, I left my teaching job and committed to sewing and quilting full time.  At my 9-5 job (really more like 5-9), I would find myself thinking about sewing in spare moments.  The Dreamer’s Star Quilt is a quilt I drew while dreaming of doing the thing I love as a career, and I knew I wanted to use my favorite pattern for the What shade are you project.  The design reminds me of the toy kaleidoscopes that produce different images just by turning the end, and how the images can be so bold and impactful.  I love quilts that have a large central design and aren’t necessarily block based.   I also remembered that when I started quilting, I struggled with selecting lots of fabrics to coordinate within a quilt, and I wanted a design that would look great with a two-color scheme, but could also make a big impact with lots of colors.  This is the original quilt that I used Michael Miller’s painter’s canvas with.

Dreamer's Star Mini Quilt
Dreamer’s Star Mini Quilt

I knew that the Dreamer’s Star Quilt would just glow with RJR Cotton Supreme Solids, and wanted to use colors that would reflect the gorgeous sunsets that we sometimes see out in the Texas Hill Country.

RJR Cotton Supreme Solids

There are so many amazing colors to choose from and I went with 11 of my absolute favorites:

292-Turks and Caicos

279-Purple Haze

274-Riviera

317-Jacaranda

391-Robin’s Egg

328-Bora Bora

422-Plum

371-Melody

333-Bougainvillea

287-Raging Ruby

378-Lilac Festival.

RJR Cotton Supreme Solids
Look at those yummy colors!

While I was browsing through the color card, I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself about the clever names of the colors.  Some of my color selections might tell you that I’m ready to take a vacation 😉

Piecing the quilt together was a breeze with lots of simple half-square triangles and chain piecing.

Half Square triangles
I love these color combos!

I love to use several shades of similar colors to create a little depth and dimensions to a quilt.  For the backing I used Bougainvillea with a strip of Bora Bora down the middle, and Turks and Caicos for the binding. I loved seeing all the colors melt together, but still be distinctly different, just as in a sunset.

Back of the quilt
Bougainvillea with a strip of Bora Bora really make the quilt back glow.

Once the top was completed, I loaded it on my longarm and quilted some simple straight lines with rulers and added some free motion accents in coordinating Glide threads.

quilting the quilt
Quilting the quilt

I love using Quilter’s Dream Wool to keep the quilt lightweight–remember, I live in Texas–but still let the quilting pop.  I had a lot of fun getting some pictures at the Cibolo Wilderness Trail in Boerne, Texas.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day and my husband and mom were my professional quilt holders.

quilt at the cibolo

Check out other versions of the Dreamer’s Star on Instagram with #dreamersstarquilt and you can pick up your copy of the pattern here.  The pattern comes with three different size options, and the color combinations you could choose are limitless!  I had so much fun making this quilt and drooling over the Cotton Supreme Solids.  Thanks for joining me in this quilting adventure, and a huge thank you to RJR for allowing me to participate and for the inspiration they bring with the #whatshadeareyou blog hop!

Quilt Details:

Pattern: ‘Dreamer’s Star’ by Kustom Kwilts

Fabrics: RJR Cotton Supreme Solids (full list above)

Backing: Bougainvillea and Bora Bora RJR Cotton Supreme Solids

Binding: Turks and Caicos RJR Cotton Supreme Solids

Quilting: Long arm quilted by Joanna Marsh of Kustom Kwilts

Finished Size: Approx. 80″ x 80″

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Churn Dash Quilt – Love Patchwork and Quilting Issue 54

Love Patchwork and Quilting Issue 54

Who doesn’t love a little churn dash quilt?  I know I can’t seem to get enough of the traditional block that basically represents butter being churned!  Have you peeked in issue 54 to check it out?  I’ll tell you a little bit about the design…

Love Patchwork and Quilting Issue 54
Photo provided by Love Patchwork and Quilting

I’m so excited to share my most recent quilt with you from the Love Patchwork and Quilting Issue 54.  I’m inspired by bright, saturated colors–and that’s typically the palette I use.  But for this quilt, I opt for a more subtle palette. The cheery sherbet colors and hints of greys that are sure to make you swoon!  This quilt- “Sorbet Shades” in the mag, is inspired by one of my favorite traditional quilt blocks–the churn dash.  This block is so rich in history and I love that it can be interpreted in a modern way.  I have a great appreciation for the traditional quilt blocks and the colors they typically have.  I also love seeing them updated in a more modern way.

One of the first quilts I made when I was learning to sew was a traditional churn dash quilt.  My mother and I gave this special quilt to my grandmother prior to her passing.  The churn dash block represents so much more to me than just a traditional quilting block.  The simplicity of the block lends itself to being altered in construction in so many ways.  The possibilities for this block are limitless!  I quilted this quilt with swirls on the white background and simple straight lines on the colored blocks.

Sorbet Shades Quilt as pictured in Love Patchwork and Quilting, Issue 54
Photo provided by Love Patchwork and Quilting

For this project, I use some delightful Kona Cotton Solids and create a coordinating pillow to go with the quilt.  The colors in these projects really make me want some ice cream and macaroons–or really any other cute little pastel dessert!  I hope you’ll checkout the issue (digital issues are available here).  Don’t be afraid to try your hand at breaking out of the traditional box to create a modern spin on traditional.  (photos above provided by Love Patchwork and Quilting).

 

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Love Patchwork and Quilting Issue 48!

photo provided by Love Patchwork and Quilting
fabric for quilt provided by Robert Kaufman Fabrics

Have any of you ever made a goal so outrageous that you don’t ever really even consider it to be a possibility?  You might still work towards that goal, but the hopes that it will come to fruition aren’t there.  That’s exactly how I feel about this post. I always looked at the quilts and projects in this magazine and was blown away by the talent and variety.  I’m BEYOND excited (so excited I’m yelling in all caps!) to say that this quilt I submitted to Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine made the cover!  When I started sewing a few years ago, I joined the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild, and someone mentioned that LP& Q was the only magazine they bought.  So I jumped on that train.  I had never heard of it, because I was very new to quilting, let alone sewing.  I was tired of the traditional color palettes that are represented in other quilting magazines.  It was definitely love at first sight, and I subscribed to it immediately.  (And ask for it for Christmas every year!)

photo provided by Love Patchwork and Quilting
fabric for quilt provided by Robert Kaufman Fabrics

I’m super excited about the photography of this quilt!  I’ve never had a quilt professionally “shot” before, so it is thrilling to see the results (and know that I have a lot to learn when it comes to my own quilt photography 😉

This quilt is something I worked really hard on, and for a long time.  I am so thankful to the amazing people at Robert Kaufman Fabrics for providing the Kona Cotton Solids that were used to make the cover quilt, and for the opportunity from LP&Q to share my quilt!

I did some custom quilting and a little bit of ruler work on the longarm to finish off the quilt.  I hope you’ll check out the quilt in issue 48 of Love Patchwork and Quilting!  Thanks for letting me share my happy news with you 🙂

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Red Heart Quilt – client quilt

I recently had the privilege of quilting this gorgeous quilt for one of my clients.  The piecing is just gorgeous and the quilt was donated to a charity event/fundraiser.  I quilted the quilt with free motion hearts all over the top.  
Quilt Pieced by Debra B.

 This was such a joy to quilt–check out the close up of the free motion hearts 🙂

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Graffiti Quilting my Karlee Porter Panel

I know I already posted about attending the Karlee Porter workshop that SAMQG hosted a few months ago–but I really need to post about this as well!  Karlee has some really awesome panels that she designed, and if you haven’t felt them in person, they are buttery soft.  This one is called “Explosion” (picture is from Karlee Porter’s website), and if you want one, click HERE to order your own!  And FYI, this one is ginormous!  

“Explosion” printed tapestry designed by Karlee Porter (picture from Karlee’s website)



I love sewing and piecing and constructing quilt tops as much as the next person, but seriously…it is so awesome to load a quilt top and not worry about the hours, days, weeks it took to piece it.  Especially when you get to skip that part entirely.  There’s nothing better that just mindlessly losing yourself in a quilt while quilting.  This is my ultimate stress reliever.

The back of the quilt (Tula Pink wide back)


I haven’t hung this one yet, as I haven’t bound the edges, but I will update this blog post once it’s finally finished.  

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Quilting for Market with Urban Artifacts Fabrics by Leslie Tucker Jenison

So I guess this is part 2 of my Quilt Market preparations posts…The quilting edition!  

I had the opportunity to quilt a couple of quilts for my friend Leslie’s quilt market booth.  I’m going to be brief here…
The first one was an awesome quilt designed by Liberty Worth.  It’s pretty modern and gave me tons of inspiration with the quilting.  Below are pictures:

Putting the binding on…
Quilt designed by Liberty Worth with Urban Artifacts by Leslie Tucker Jenison

Quilt designed by Liberty Worth with Urban Artifacts fabrics by Leslie Tucker Jenison

The next quilt was designed by Allison Chambers of the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild and was inspired by mid-century modern style.  I love this quilt!  I was aiming to keep the quilting modern but understated and used a blending thread instead of a highly contrasting one.  I did some geometric ruler work with stitch in the ditch on this one.  

Quilt designed by Allison Chambers using Urban Artifacts Fabric by Leslie Tucker Jenison

Quilt designed by Allison Chambers using Urban Artifacts Fabric by Leslie Tucker Jenison
I got to quilt 2 other amazing quilts that were designed by Leslie, but those are patterns that are not yet released, so no pictures of those yet!  I am so blown away by the talent and creativity.  I really wish I could have attended Quilt Market this year, but like I said…life happens.  There’s always next year!

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Is more sometimes less?

Let’s talk a little bit about quilt designs.  Of the quilting variety.  Not the piecing variety.  How many of us struggle with keeping our quilting plans fresh and unique?  If you’re anything like me, you might be constantly on Instagram or Pinterest searching through “free motion quilting” posts or “custom quilting” or “longarm quilting”, or any other search request you can think of.  And while I don’t ever want to copy someone else’s work, I’m always trying to find my own voice through things I like in other quilters’ work.  
I’m often blown away by tedious, tiny, overthought, quilted to death quilts.  I know I don’t charge nearly enough to compensate me for my time if I were to quilt every quilt that way.  To be honest, I wouldn’t even be able to pay the electric bill!  Don’t get me wrong, this is not a post to get on my soap box about charging what you’re worth.  I just want to discuss simplicity in quilt design.  I chose one of the quilts I quilted this year, that honestly, isn’t a show quilt–it isn’t a mind blowing quilt design, but it is thoughtful enough to look good (in my opinion).  
Isn’t the purpose of a good quilter to make the designer/piecer’s work shine?  To make the block or the quilt look it’s absolute best? 

I chose two motifs do be used on this quilt.  One was a continuous loop that was stitched throughout the green pieces on the quilt to give uniformity to the design.

The other motif was simple double wavy lines with curved lines connecting them on the larger pieced blocks.  While these two designs won’t be winning any ribbons at quilting shows, I’m sure, it does enough to simply enhance the quilt without drawing so much attention to the quilting that you can’t even see the actual quilt or blocks anymore.  I know this is nothing special, but I just want to point out that not every quilt has to be QTD.  (Quilted to death)

I recently saw a quilt on Instagram from a quilter I follow on a log cabin quilt.  The quilter is extremely talented and really takes quilting to a new level.  The log cabin quilt was QTD.  Quilted. To. Death.  It looks good.  But the actual quilt is lost in the quilting.  What purpose does this serve?  I almost feel like it is just to inflate the ego of the quilter, and maybe the piecer requested this…but I wouldn’t think so.  Shouldn’t the piecing and quilting work together to make the quilt balanced overall?  I would really like to post a picture of what I’m talking about, but I don’t want to demean anyone’s work.

Also, keep in mind that I’ve only been sewing and quilting since about 2011.  So really, in the grand scheme of things, what do I know? 🙂  Just something to chew on and think about when it comes to quilt design…does more sometimes equal less?

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Quilting a “Letters from home” quilt

A couple of months ago, I had the awesome opportunity to quilt one of my customer’s “Letters from Home” quilt (pattern by Heather Givens/Crimson Tate).  Now, I have to preface this post by saying that I’m barely wetting my toes in the waters of custom quilting.  But I am super-duper proud of the quilting on this quilt.  I’m going to take you through the process.

I like Glide’s thread for a little pop of sheen on a quilt.  Plus, it quilts like a DREAM.  I selected a few different thread colors for the quilting on this quilt.  Mainly, I changed thread colors to help them blend with the fabrics they were quilting on for a more subtle pop.  I used Quilter’s Dream batting for this quilt, as I do with most of my client quilts.

Glide Threads selected

 Some people might have you believe that once the quilt was loaded and the threads picked out that the quilting just magically happened with a wave of their wand.  Here’s my dirty little secret:  This quilt sat on my frame for a week.  An entire WEEK.  I had sketched out at least a dozen ideas for quilting, and each morning I would go out to my studio, ready to attack.  But then I would end up standing there, staring at the quilt top.  I changed my mind so many times, and then decided on the most difficult (or most time consuming) design I had drawn up.

Beginning to mark and quilt the borders

So I broke out my water soluble marking pen and trusty ruler and started marking some guidelines for the quilting.  I did some straight line quilting on the borders after marking them, and then marked the rest of the quilt as I went.  Each pass on the longarm took me about an hour to mark with the ruler and pen.

More markings, filled in with some quilting
The thing about the design being quilted, is that it isn’t complicated.  It’s just a bunch of straight lines and loops, but the way they are put together really leaves you with a huge impact.  
I have a black light on my longarm and seriously think it is SO cool.  This shows the texture a little better.

I really wanted to focus on the texture on this quilt, and so I chose to stitch in the ditch around the envelopes and the focal fabrics so they would pop out more.  My client selected Japanese import fabrics from Bunny Designs (out of Austin, TX), with a backing out of an adorable cupcake pattern (see the first photo in the post).  The attention to detail and her impeccable piecing made this quilt one of my all time favorites to quilt.  The quilt pattern by Crimson Tate is SO cute, and an ingenious way to showcase focal fabrics.

So, aside from me just talking about how much I loved this quilt, my other point is that sometimes it isn’t second nature to just come up with quilting designs out of thin air.  And it’s okay if the quilt has to sit on your frame for a week while you change your mind a hundred times about the quilting design (as long as your client has allowed you to do so!).  And while it is my favorite thing ever for a client to say–I want custom quilting, and the design is up to you–it can also be the most challenging (and rewarding) part of my job.  I think this is a great way to grow your skill set and think about how many different ways there are to quilt a quilt.  (Quilt construction and fabric selection by Debra Barnes)

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Science Class DayDreams

I am always blown away by the awesomeness of the quilts my clients bring me.  This one was especially fun to quilt…

I have a friend that I had the honor of quilting a special quilt for.  The pattern was JayBird Quilts “Science Fair” pattern in some gorgeous Kate Spain fabrics.  I’m not sure that I’ve had more fun quilting something with such a fun concept.  My client had discussed her thoughts about having the colored/patterned hexagons be quilting with straight lines and lots of structure (kind of like science class).  And the remaining white would be quilted like a daydream, rising up from the structure of the science class.  Such an ingenious idea for a quilting layout! 


So the bottom of the quilt, close to the clustered patterned fabrics, was quilted in a lighter thread than the top, with slightly less dense quilting.  The more white fabric there was, the denser the quilting got–and thread colors changed to get gradually darker towards the top as well.  

And the back of the quilt had beakers pieced into it.  Come on.  It doesn’t get any better than that! 

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My Finished Glam Clam Quilt

I am going to talk to you today about Latifah Saafir’s “Glam Clam” quilt pattern and my journey completing the quilt.  

I’m a member of the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild, and we were fortunate enough to have Latifah Saafir do a trunk show AND teach 2 awesome workshops!  I was super excited…the clam shell style quilt has been on my quilting bucket list since I first started sewing, so this was a great excuse to get it done.  I immediately signed up for the workshop and picked my fabrics out after I got the pattern and templates.  I painstakingly cut out all of the pieces, labeled them, and organized them all into little ziplocs, until I would  attend the workshop.  I had the finished quilt in mind for a very special friend and was excited to gift her a really cool quilt.

About a week from the workshop date, my grandmother’s health was failing.  She passed away, and the funeral was scheduled for the same time as the workshop.  I missed the workshop and didn’t touch the pieces I’d cut for a few weeks after.  Once I started the quilt, I thought about my grandmother often.  I’m not crazy about piecing curves, but I must say that it was kind of a healing feeling to sit and sew without really thinking about anything.  It gave me a chance to think about relationships and friendships and how much people can impact your life.  

Quilting the finished top was even more fun that putting it together.  After doing a little bit of research, I found that many of the clam shell quilts are quilted with just an all over design, without much attention paid to the individual blocks.  I definitely didn’t want to just do edge-to-edge quilting.  

Latifah’s pattern is seriously so simple to follow, and her templates are to die for.  They are very mindful of how curved seams should be constructed, and here’s something even more awesome–NO PINS NEEDED!!!  I won’t lie…I didn’t believe that at first, but after sewing a couple together, I tried it without pins, and–life changing.

Here is a little more of the quilting–not really anything too difficult, but I felt it gave a better effect than an all over quilting design.  

Above is the top with no quilting or binding–I absolutely love how this quilt came together.  
And then this was the finished quilt after binding.  I shipped this beauty off to my friend in California and hope she uses it until the thing falls apart!  I must say, Latifah did an amazing job on the pattern and tutorial and I can’t wait to make my next Glam Clam quilt.