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San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild Mini Quilt Show

The guild I belong to recently held a mini quilt show/silent auction, where the members were challenged to make modern mini quilts measuring 16″ square to show and raise awareness for modern quilting and invite people to ask questions about what our guild does.  The event was graciously hosted by Sew Special Quilts in San Antonio, where they provided space for us to show the quilts and have our meeting after hours.  They were so awesome and have a great selection of quilting and sewing supplies, so if you’re in need and in the area, please show them some love!  

I already posted about the mini quilt I made two weeks ago (the double wedding ring mini quilt), but I wanted to share the other two quilts I worked on, in collaboration with Debra–a fellow member of the guild.  
The first quilt I quilted was pieced by Debra from yet another guild member’s inaugural fabric line (Leslie Tucker Jenison-Urban Artifacts by RJR Fabrics).  It’s a great design and awesome way to showcase a variety of great fabrics.  For this quilt, I just quilted some simple contrasting straight lines.  I think the fabrics and design of the mini are more prone to show better when the quilting design is simple.
Pieced by Debra B, fabric-Urban Artifacts by Leslie Tucker Jenison
pardon the not-square appearing mini.  It really was square, but I forgot to smooth that wrinkle before I snapped this picture.  This was right after quilting and mini was not yet bound. 
The second quilt I quilted was also in collaboration with Debra.  Debra hand cut each charm square from a Grunge charm pack and fused the fabrics to the background.  I thought this was a super cool quilt pattern to use and has the illusion that all the circles are connected.  For this one I wanted to do something to make the circles stand out from the background, so I quilted a smaller grid on the fused circles and then did some straight line quilting on the background fabric.  
Mini Quilt “pieced” by Debra B. using Grunge fabrics
We had a really great night and the event was so much fun.  It isn’t often that everyone in our guild participates in “Sew and Tell”, and we had a lot of members participate in this.  Seeing the range of everyone’s quilting interests and what their personal specialty is was a treat.  
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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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Anna Maria Horner Quilt and thinking about quilting design

Ahhhhh!  I’m dying a little bit over those Anna Maria Horner Pretty Potent prints.  This is a fabric line that I adore, but never ended up making anything myself with.  So it was a special treat to get to quilt this and ooh and ahhhh over the fabrics and quilt design.  

When I first looked at this quilt, I was literally stumped at what to quilt it with.  I knew it was going to be custom quilted, but couldn’t figure out what to do with all the negative space.  I loaded it on the frame and it sat for a week.  I sketched out ideas in my sketchbook and didn’t really have any great luck with inspiration.  Finally I decided on a simple outlined design with some ruler work, embellished with pebbles and other straight lines to fill in the gaps.  

This picture has a filter on it to try to high light the thread more.  It was quilted with Glide Cloud, so it doesn’t necessarily blend like white thread would have, but it doesn’t starkly stand out from the background, either.  If I could change anything about the quilting, I would go back and double batt the quilt or use a loftier batting.  


You can see here a little better that each print fabric was outlined twice with a small ruler.  Then pebbles were added, along with some straight lines for filler to add more texture.  

I really enjoyed the process this quilt took me through, and I hope to continue to better develop my quilting design.  Usually, I can load a quilt on the frame and I have at least 2 fairly decent ideas by the next day.  This quilt really gave me a run for my money, but all in all, I’m pretty satisfied with the results.    I really love the way a quilt looks finished when ruler work and free motion quilting are combined in the same top.  Sometimes the simplest design can work and really make the fabrics and quilt pop, and other times, it takes some work and elbow grease to figure out the best fillers and accents.  



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Longarm quilting a double wedding ring quilt

How many times have you looked at a quilt top and been totally stumped on how you would quilt it?  I feel like this is a skill that really is developed over time and trial and error.  I’ll be the first to admit that my very first quilts–after quilting–didn’t really showcase the quilt pattern with the quilting as they could have.  My quilting designs made little sense and didn’t work with the existing pattern to make the quilt pop.  Basically, I was just quilting to get it done and keep all the layers together.  

It’s a little difficult to see the quilting, but it’s orange thread in squiggly lines…obviously my photography skills were lacking as well 😉  This was the first quilt I ever made, in October of 2011.  
I think that typically, for beginning quilters, the quilting is all about function.  It’s difficult enough to remember 1/4″ seam allowance, minding your bobbin so you aren’t sewing without thread, etc.  I know that I was just relieved to be finished, and I was very proud of the quilting at the time.  

Fast forward 5 years, and quilting is now my favorite part.  I’m enamored with the process of evaluating a quilt top, selecting batting, figuring out what quilting design will best display the awesomeness of the quilt pattern.  I know that I still have a long way to go, and I pour over Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, books, etc. to find every piece of information and inspiration I can get before I start planning to quilt a quilt.  

I recently had the opportunity to quilt my first Double Wedding Ring quilt.  My client’s quilt was pieced entirely by her grandmother (prior to her passing) from vintage fabrics and feed sacks.  It was the greatest honor to be trusted with a family heirloom.  I used plastic overlays to audition different quilting designs, and finally came up with a combination of a few simple designs that I felt would work well together and really make the quilt pop.  

This was actually the first row that I quilted with a feather.  I hated them and ripped them all out and started over.  

I stewed over the newly blank quilt after ripping the first row out and finally re-started.  

I was very pleased with the outcome and can’t wait until I can return it to the customer.  
Here is the full quilt:

I love the finished look of ruler work with free motion quilting.  I think the structure really works well with the free-flowing quilting and I can’t wait to play around with this some more.  I can’t wait to see where my work is in another 5 years…



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Something in the water…

There must be something in the water…or maybe I’m just at that season in my life where the wedding showers have ended and baby showers are now the reigning social event!  That being said, there’s nothing I love more than designing and putting together cute baby quilts.  Let’s face it…quilts are very time consuming.  BUT if you do small ones, they take significantly less time, and are loved the same!  It’s really fun to play around with layout and quilt design when you know the process will be quick and fun and you’ll learn something from the quilt you create.  I recently did a quilt for a baby boy with all gray fabric, and really loved the mother-to-be’s registry choices.  I could tell that she had very modern taste and would probably be okay with me throwing something together that was a little Libs Elliott inspired.


This was such a fun quilt to put together, and even more fun to quilt a little ruler work into the design.

And a quilt for a baby girl (with more more color), that I designed by changing up the typical chevron design slightly.  

Challenge yourself to play with color and design and sew up a quick baby quilt for a friend or family member.  It is a gift that they’ll love, and probably cherish for many years to come. It’s also a great gift if you use two layers of dense batting and the quilt can also be used as a playmat. 
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Longarming…my Love!

Since the last time I posted (I know…it’s been a while!), I have taken up long arm quilting.  Somewhere along the line, I had this idea in my head that long arm quilting was “cheating”, and if a quilt was quilted on a long arm, then it wasn’t really “your” work.  I could not have been MORE wrong.  

The time and skill that go into this type of quilting is ridiculous!  I also had no idea that there were multiple types of long arm quilting.  I just assumed that all “long arm” quilting was a computer program that you just pressed play, and BOOM! it’s done.  Once I realized there was a niche of long arm quilting that I would absolutely adore, I’ve been hooked ever since.  (And plus…there’s no more basting with safety pins on your living room floor!  You can’t beat that!!!)  

The category of quilting that I specialize in is free motion quilting.  That means no pantographs, no computer programs…just you and the machine.  Your hands and brain putting the thread and needle to work to create something magical that can’t be duplicated. 

Ruler work can also be seriously fulfilling, and there’s no limit to the  
amount of different designs you can create with straight lines. (collaboration quilt
for Janome)
Free motion quilting on a customer’s quilt (Valerie M.)

Free motion quilting on a customer’s quilt (Sarah J.) 
that was donated to a local charity fundraiser.

If you have any preconceived notions about long arm quilting, I would really encourage you to re-think them.  All it took was one time for me to know it was something that I would want to do for the rest of my life, and it’s really nice to have a break from piecing your own quilts to see the awesome talents your long arm clients have and the diversity of their work.  I never cease to be amazed by the quilts my customers bring me, and dreaming up designs to put into their quilts really challenges you to think outside the box.  I’m so glad I’ve started my FMQ long arm journey, and I really relish every moment I spend doing what I love.