Monday, April 24, 2017

The World's Heaviest Quilt

I'm not sure if there's a Guinness World Record category for this, but this quilt might just the heaviest one in the universe. My new client, Brenda, made it for her daughter Christy, and Christy wanted it super heavy and puffy.

It has minky backing (heavy), and TWO layers of polyester (heavy) batting - one that is low-loft and one that is really high-loft on top. She asked for very loose stippling so it could really be puffy. And I think we nailed it. It barely fit in the re-usable grocery bag!


I also attached binding to the front of the quilt for her, so that when Brenda got it back, it was ready for her to wrap around the edge of the quilt and hand stitch to the back side.



From bottom to top: Minky backing, one layer of Quilters Dream Select polyester batting, one layer of Hobbs Polydown batting, and then of course the quilt top.

"O Tannenbaum"

This is the third of four quilts that were brought to me by my new client, Heather. This one was actually pieced as a gift FOR Heather, buy her friend, Betty - a very accomplished quilter and adjudicator.

The applique and piecework is excellent quality. It had some really precise, tiny pieces to work with, and Betty handled it perfectly! This pattern is a BOM pattern called "O Tannenbaum", designed by Hilary Gooding.

I had fun embellishing with the quilting. I worked some holly leaves into the outer borders. I only regret that they don't show up better. I wish I would have used a thread in a slightly lighter shade. Lots of ruler work - triangles - in the green and red right triangles throughout the center portion. Some simple serpentine and outlining in the house blocks. Tight swirly filler surrounding the focal point poinsettias in the four corners. And ribbon candy, along with orange peel in the star blocks. I think it'll make a lovely Christmas conversation piece!

My quilting is all free-motion, hand-guided on a longarm quilting machine.












Sunday, April 23, 2017

Vogels' Ribbon and Banner Quilts


This is the second time I've gotten to make keepsake award-ribbon quilts for a customer. Last year I experimented on my cousin Emily, and this time, I was honored to be entrusted with the special ribbons and banners from an old friend in Iowa. I knew their kids as small children when I worked as the Director of Activities for the American Shorthorn Association. They were adorable little duffers at the time, and now the youngest one is graduating from high school! How is that possible?? Time marches on!

Mom Kris did a valiant job of trying to save as many ribbons as she could, as the Vogel family showed cattle all over the USA, with LOTS and LOTS of success. In honor of Payton's graduation, Kris sent me some of their most special ribbons. Hundreds of them. More than 400 of them, actually! And those are ONLY the national- and state-level ribbons. By far, most were from the NAILE in Louisville, KY, and the Iowa State Fair. There were also ribbons from Shorthorn and Hereford Jr Nationals, Denver, Kansas City, Fort Worth, and others I'm forgetting now. There were a LOT of ribbons!

I sorted them all by show, so that I could get a consistent variety in each block of each quilt. Kris wanted one quilt for each of her three children. They had plenty! In fact, there were enough left over that I was able to make a small table-topper quilt for Kris herself. By then the main colors of ribbons left were blue (1st place), red (second place), and white (third place). Did you know that in Canada (and other countries in the English commonwealth) 1st place gets RED, and 2nd place gets blue? A little factoid for you!


I used a log-cabin-block pattern to overlap the ribbons, and then zig-zag stitched them in place, on top of quilt batting and the backing fabric. So the quilting happened as the piecing (well, applique actually) was being done.


Kris also sent along several banners that they earned for Champion animals at the Iowa State Fair. She wanted them arranged 3-across. The banners were larger than the small class-placing ribbons, of course, so I felt like they needed extra quilting. Otherwise, I was worried that they would fall apart - the banner (quilt top) would fall away from the batting, which would fall away from the backing fabric.



Some of my favorite class ribbons were actually the really grubby ones - stained, creased, old. I can imagine Kris digging them out of one of the kids' pockets, the morning after pulling in late at night after a show. The kid probably had adhesive or paint or cow snot or MANURE on their hands as they smooshed it into their pocket with one hand, while leading the calf and holding the showstick with the other.

The Vogels always had long show strings - lots of calves entered in a show, so those kids were coming in and out of that show ring all day long. I'd venture a guess that many of the ribbons wound up in a puddle of oil and hair at the bottom of the show box. I'm so sad to admit that most of the ribbons from my own show days were deposited directly into the trash can on the way back to the stalls. Banners and silver platters and cool prizes, like furniture - those were cool to me, but I never thought ribbons or county-fair trophies were a big deal and didn't care to save them. If only I'd had a little foresight!

It's not the actual ribbons in these quilts that matter as much as the memories made, the hard work and money invested, the hours spent, the miles traveled, the friends met, and the bonds formed. Hopefully these quilts will serve as an honored reminder to each of the Vogel kids of the extraordinary childhood they had going down the road.










Monday, April 17, 2017

Heather's Second Music Quilt

Yesterday I posted pics of another quilt with a musical theme from Heather. They were both fun to work on. The one below featured a really hard-to-pull-off printed border - good job, Heather! Mitered corners can be super tricky to piece, and they often cause me the most trouble when trying to get the corners of a quilt top to lay flat. Heather's quilt is beautiful, and I had fun adding Feathered Swirls to it, in an edge-to-edge fashion.

My quilting is all free-motion, hand-guided on a longarm quilting machine.



Windy days call for photography assistance - little hands work just as well as adult ones!



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Heather's First Music Quilt

This was the first project I quilted in a big batch from a new client and facebook friend, Heather. On this first visit, she brought me FOUR quilts to do for her!

I love getting to know my clients, little by little. For instance, this first quilt and also the next one (which I'll post tomorrow) were both made in a music theme. You'll notice music notes in the fabric. So, I asked about it, and it turned out Heather is a musician. Yay! As a church pianist myself, it's always nice to meet a kindred spirit!

This quilt received an edge-to-edge treatment of loops and peonies. Bright and cheery and perfect for picturing on a great Spring day!

My quilting is all free-motion, hand-guided on a longarm quilting machine.











Monday, April 10, 2017

Tis The Season quilt

Here's another exquisite embroidered quilt from Rumpled Quiltskins. It's called "Tis The Season". I think it's available as a kit from RQ in Okotoks, AB.

Linda, the store owner, is always challenging me to stretch myself - use stitch motifs that are new, think outside the box. Sometimes I resist, but in the end, I always end up learning!

The fabric used for this store sample was a thick, shimmery, satin-ish fabric, which really shows off the quilting textures. For this one, the new parts that were encouraged by Linda were the pine needles, holly leaves, and pine cones. I love the way they turned out. It worked up really easily and quickly, and I can definitely foresee using this design idea again in the future!

I also incorporated my good-ole standby - ribbon candy - by using it in a 45º striped effect. But the thing that got me REALLY excited was that there are ACTUAL ribbon candy in the embroidery throughout the quilt. Ribbon candy ON ribbon candy!

There was also a 45º stripe pattern in the blue borders, which I hoped look candy caney. More notes among the pictures below. Merry Christmas in April!




Holly leaves and berries, as a meandering filler within the outer border.

Here you can see my rendition of pine needles and pinecones surrounding the snow globe embroidery. You can also see how I treated the sashings with Christmas phrases. I echoed 1/4" around all the letters, then filled with a really tight serpentine pattern, so that the letters really popped. Linda thought it looked like there was snow sitting on the letters. I also thought it looked like old-fashioned, really fine-quality Christmas cards, with embossed lettering. That's what I was going for, at least.



Here's another new experiment for me. I sprinkled in some Christmas tree ornaments among simple meandering loops.