Last summer my good friend Penny brought her sister over to my house...uhh...my studio...my studio/house...to check out the longarm. Melanie lives in Minnesota, and, like her sister, she's a talented quilter. I was delighted when she sent three quilts for me to finish. Melanie requested I use Quilters Dream Puff batting for one of the quilts. Hmmmm....I buy my batting from Quilters Dream, but I had never used Dream Puff. It sounded like a lot of fun, so I was glad to order some.
Let me tell you, it lives up to it's name.
Whenever I see beautiful Christmas quilts like this, I always vow to make one, but I never do.
Think of how lovely this will look on Melanie's bed next holiday season!
It was festive working on this lovely quilt. I should have put on some Christmas music and fixed a cup of hot apple cider, especially since the weather outside was frightful. Like, -21 degrees.
Penny picked a design she knew Melanie would love. It's called Holly Rose. So pretty...
Here's the scoop on Quilters Dream Puff.
It's supposed to be 1 1/2 times warmer than down. It's breathable and washable and won't shrink. It sure felt good, really soft and dense. I liked it.
Here's my normal poly/cotton batting on the left. Dream Puff on the right.
Such a lovely quilt! The pattern is Log Cabin Hidden Star.
So pretty. So puffy! And, considering I live in Alaska, I've been wondering where this batting has been all my life!
The back is lovely. The red thread looks great on the sage green back.
You can really see the puff factor on the last row.
I enjoyed working with the Dream Puff batting; I ordered an extra piece to play with. I want to see how warm it really is. I don't think I'd combine this with a minky backing...I'm thinking that would be too hot. Flannel might be okay.
Sounds like I need to make another quilt so I have a reason to use the batting.
When the temp outside is -21, you just can't have too many quilts!
I've decided to do a little something-something on this poor, neglected blog. There are a couple of reasons I've left it dormant for months. First, it's really hard to get good pictures without natural light. (Alaska is a little short on natural light in the winter.) Second, I've been a little busy. Okay, a lot busy.
And that's a good problem.
Waaaaay back in October I had the opportunity to go to the Machine Quilters Expo in Portland, Oregon. Man...talk about overload. It was inspiring to take classes from nationally known machine quilters. It was also a tad intimidating to see how much there is to learn. Fortunately the intimidation factor has turned into the motivation factor.
And that's a good thing.
One of the classes I took was taught by a very well known machine quilter who doesn't use a computer, she hand guides everything. Her work is stunning and very traditional. But she was so not what I was expecting! In a nutshell, she's a very personable, funny, likeable biker chick with amazing talent.
We were instructed to bring a quilt top to the class. I brought one I had recently finished and was really pleased with. At different times during the class she had us lay quilts on big tables so she could talk about our quilting options. When she called for "anything nontraditional" I threw mine on the table. She took one look at it and said, "Oh man! Who is making you quilt THAT?"
I think my lip may have quivered a bit.
I finally quilted the thing.
(Be sure to click on the pictures for a closer look.)
I had friends over to sew yesterday. Poor things, I tormented them by presenting every quilting option I had considered for my yucky quilt.
They were very patient. They may even have said they liked it.
I found most of these fabrics in Portland. I think they look like a biker chick should really like them, don't you? Kind of edgy.
I really like the pop of blue.
Swirls are wonderful....
...even on the back.
I have to admit, I really, really love this quilt. I think it's unusual, interesting and very fun.
You know how some words evoke a specific emotion? All you have to do is hear them and they trigger a very real...often powerful...feeling from the past. Or maybe the present.
I honestly don't know how other long arm quilters feel about the word I'm about to share with you, but I can tell you it brings out the very worst in me.
I'm not talking about the tension you feel when another driver cuts you off, or your boss calls you into his office. The meaning I'm referring to causes me to freak out, pace, obsess, write frantic emails, make frantic phone calls, lose sleep and sweat.
(I may be exaggerating a little. Or not...)
I'm talking about thread tension.
The quest for the perfect stitch. It's never ending.
My machine was skipping stitches and driving me nuts. I did everything I could think of to fix the tension...everything. EVERYTHING. Finally, my good friend Cindy came over to help me down from the wall I'd been climbing.
Guess what? It wasn't tension at all. My timing was off.
There we were, one experienced long arm quilter and one incredibly green one. I read the instruction book while she did surgery on the mechanics of my machine.
She's my hero. And I learned there are two T words that can make me crazy. And that it's really hard to fix the tension when there's nothing wrong with it.
I know what caused the problem and I'm here to tell you I won't be doing it again.
I've been quilting a lot, but not taking a lot of pictures. Sorry, my bad. I do have one, though...
Look at this amazing quilt! It's so fun. We decided to take a picture from a distance so you could see the overall design.
My buddy Janet made this for a guy we both know and love. And let me tell you, he will love this quilt.
It doesn't just say his name, it shouts it.
Love the fabrics she collected...
Here's my favorite one.
Janet picked white minky for the back of this quilt...and in honor of the sheep on the front, she decided to have me quilt sheep all over.
Little black sheep!!
You gotta love a quilter with a sense of humor....:)
Did you hear a strange noise coming from the general direction of my house last Saturday? That was my quilt machine computer crashing...or my heart sinking. Maybe both.
After spending two hours on the other side of a webcam, my brilliant and techy son-in-law declared my computer dead.
Let's observe a moment of silence for the dearly departed. And for the time I couldn't spend quilting this week. Ugh!
But, never fear, I have a new computer at home waiting to be installed TONIGHT. I'm so anxious to get back up and running!! Everything is going to be clean, crisp and fast with this new computer. It'll be GRAND.
I have so much planned...I will have many things to show you next week. But until then, I wanted to share this picture and an email I received.
Look at PJ and Karen! Their quilt had just won 2nd place at our local fair. I love the beautiful looks on their faces, they are so proud...and they should be! Here's the story PJ sent aong with the pic...
"The embroidery above the attic window represents prisms set into the windows of a 100 year old Toronto home. The mother of pearl button that makes the knob of the front door is from my great grandmother's button box and looks like the porcelain knobs I remember from visits to the farmhouse she owned. The eyelet lace for the curtains came out of a box of trims I inherited from my Nana. My mother bought the material for the quilt, Karen and I pieced it and you quilted it together. So 4 generations of the women in my family, my dearest friend and you contributed time, talents and treasures to its completion. It will celebrate my son and daughter-in-law's wedding for years to come."
Broken computer or not, I am so glad to be a longarm quilter!
I have one more splendid picture to share of the quilts I've made for my son and daughter-in-law. Maybe someday I can get my favorite photographer to head up to Portland and take pictures of all the quilts in my daughter and son-in-law's house.
Now THAT'S a collection.
This was my son and his lovely wife's wedding quilt. She picked out the pattern and told me the colors she liked, I chose the fabric. By the time I was finished, I was afraid it was a little too busy for their tastes.
Have you ever done that? Decided your not sure you really like a quilt by the time you get it done?
I liked it much better when I saw it in their apartment. A white duvet and black furniture really makes this quilt look great.
This was back before I began machine quilting; my friend Cindy quilted this for me. I love this design; I think this was the third time I had requested it.
It's simple and not too flowery.
Thinking back...I must have been in a rut!
I may need to add this to my arsenal of pantographs. I still really like it.
Hey, next up...I've got an interesting story to tell and a fun project to share.
I had somebody ask me recently why in the world I would choose to use a solid color fabric in a quilt when there are zillions of beautiful printed fabrics available.
I guess I'll let a picture answer that for me.
My daughter-in-law likes things simple and clean. When I saw this pattern in a magazine, it had her name written all over it. The front was her college graduation present.
See that glorious minky on the back? That was my son's college graduation present.
They have to share.
This was one of the first things I quilted on my machine...and I had help. It looks simple, but it really wasn't. It was kind of tricky placing the straight lines in strategic locations. The circles were fun. Way fun. I'm planning to make this baby again.
Thanks, again, Kim for the great pictures!
Hey, things are smoking at my house! It's not a fire, it's productivity. :)
If you have a quilt ready, or almost ready, call soon!