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QuiltCon 2018

Quilting spacing

Well, months have passed since QuiltCon happened in California, and I’m just now getting around to writing a blog post about it.  I wasn’t able to attend, but several of the quilts I quilted did!  There’s a reason I didn’t write this post in a timely manner.  I have this thing where I think that quilting someone else’s quilt doesn’t necessarily give me the right to share the quilting.  I guess I don’t want people to think I’m trying to take credit for someone else’s work.  I also don’t really know or understand the rules about when someone’s quilt wins something that I’ve quilted…does that mean I also share that victory?  I’m sharing this one because I am super excited about how the quilting turned out, and it won a Judge’s Choice Award at QuiltCon.  There are so many amazing quilts and creators in the winner’s circle, so be sure you check them all out here!  A huge congratulations to Leslie and all the other amazing artists who were recognized for their work.

Nests and vessels
Nests and Vessels by Leslie Tucker Jenison, Quilted by Joanna Marsh (photo from the QuiltCon Website)

Leslie Tucker Jenison created and constructed this quilt titled “Nests and Vessels”, and it was awarded a Judge’s Choice Award by Beverly Fine.  Leslie has studied with Nancy Crow and her style is truly unique and inspiring.   L is a contemporary quilt artist and designer for RJR fabrics.  Leslie’s use of color and shape never cease to amaze me, and I consider myself quite lucky that I get to quilt for her.  Leslie had several quilts that were juried into the show, and they were all equally inspiring and thought provoking.

I’ll share a few progress pictures from the quilting.  Leslie requested some straight line quilting on this one, and I varied the proximity of the lines to be distanced 1/16″ apart to 1/4″ apart.  This picture probably demonstrates that the best:

Quilting spacing
Quilting spacing

And here are a few more:

Nests and Vessels
Nests and Vessels
ladder view
Ladder view
longarm view
longarm view

This quilt was quilted with MicroQuilter thread by Superior Threads and the batting was Quilter’s Dream Orient and Quilter’s Dream Wool.  I really love the subtle finish the Microquilter thread gives a project.  You can definitely see the quilting, but it doesn’t overpower the project and leaves more of a hint of design rather than barging into a room and demanding attention.

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Ice Cream, You Scream Quilt FREE PATTERN

Ice Cream, You Scream Quilt

Who wants a free Ice Cream, You Scream Quilt Pattern?  Well today is your lucky day!!!

You have to check out this adorable fabric line Michael Miller Fabrics just released. The line is called Ice Cream, You Scream and the colors are everything!  Also, there’s this border print that is just dying to be put in a quilt (or made into a little girl’s skirt!!), and nearly makes me swoon!  I got a chance to get my hands on this fabric to design a quilt for the release, and I’m not gonna lie…I spent a few hours just playing with the fabric and coordinating Cotton Couture.  It features sweet ice cream cones, sundaes, and the best stripes.  It reminded me of the 4th of July and ice cream socials and everything pure in the world.  The best part is, Michael Miller Fabrics is offering this pattern as a freebie–you can get your own PDF pattern download from their website.

Ice Cream, You Scream Quilt
Ice Cream, You Scream Quilt – Picture from Michael Miller Fabrics website

The pattern is for “confident beginners”, which just means you need a general knowledge of foundation paper piecing and fussy cutting.  I fussy cut the border pieces so the ice cream sundaes were centered along the center of the borders, and the cornerstones in the border were fussy cut to showcase the cute little ice cream phrases on the fabric.

I had a blast designing and piecing the quilt.  I had even more fun quilting it!  I used Glide thread (from Hab+Dash) and Quilter’s Dream batting in the quilt.  I used a few different colors of thread and matched them to the different fabrics.  Most of the quilting was handguided free motion quilting, with the assistance of straight rulers for the grids.

Ice cream cone
Ice Cream Cone Quilting
Cornerstone block quilting

I’d love to see what you do with the pattern–the foundation paper piecing blocks are pretty quick to sew up.  Just remember to shorten your stitch length (I like to use 1.5) so the paper is perforated enough to tear away easily and print your paper piecing templates at 100%.  Then add your sashing and borders and voila!  Don’t forget to grab your free copy, and check out the pattern (pictured below).  Happy sewing!!!

Ice Cream, You Scream Quilt
Ice Cream, You Scream Quilt
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Quilting Leslie’s Kaffe Fassett Quilt

Leslie's Kaffe Quilt

Man, oh man!  I had the honor of quilting this awesome Kaffe Fassett quilt by Leslie Tucker Jenison.  Leslie pieced her quilt based on Kaffe Fassett’s quilt pattern from the book Quilts in Sweden (pictured below-photo from amazon.com), using his fabric.  Leslie also pieced the backing using some awesome linen and polka dots.

Leslie had requested some straight line quilting to follow the lines of the fabric pattern–I loved that idea.  Quilting a quilt like this using a concentric design can be a challenge on the longarm, and you sometimes end up advancing and rolling back the quilt on the frame back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, (did I say back and forth already?) etc.  To avoid doing that ONE MILLION times, I connected some of the lines, and I really liked the outcome of the quilting look.

Quilting close up

The lines of this fabric are so amazingly deceptive and provide the illusion that this was painstakingly pieced.  I love the wonky look of the finished quilt and really found the design brilliant!  I have been wanting to do a stripe study (kind of like how some people do color or quilt block studies) for so long, and this made me move that up my priority list.  Someday soon I’ll start that project.

The thread used was Magnifico in black and batting was Quilter’s Dream Orient with Quilter’s Dream Wool layered beneath the quilt top.  This was quilted using electric channel locks on my Innova longarm (hand guided), and those electric channel locks make all the difference.  I recently upgraded and had those installed from the basic manual channel locks that come on the machine.

The difference is this:

Manual channel locks:

  1. walk to the back of the machine and engage the channel lock
  2. quilt a straight line
  3. stop the machine
  4. walk to the back of the machine and disengage the channel lock
  5. walk to the front of the machine and move to new point
  6. repeat 1-5 over and again

Electric channel locks:

  1. Push remote button from front of machine to engage channel lock
  2. Quilt a straight line
  3. stop the machine
  4. push remote button from front of machine to disengage channel lock
  5. move needle to new point
  6. repeat 1-5 as needed (and your legs are breathing a huge sigh of relief from all that walking you just saved yourself)

I digress.  Here’s some more amazing eye candy from Leslie’s quilt.

Leslie’s Kaffe Quilt
Angled close up

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can check it out here on Amazon.

 

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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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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)