Monday, September 26, 2011

T Words

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....:)

Here's to making friends with T words...!


Friday, September 9, 2011

The Positive

No, I haven't disappeared.

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."

Oh, my! 

Broken computer or not, I am so glad to be a longarm quilter!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

One More

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.

Stay tuned!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Graduation Quilt

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! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back In The Groove

I've been gone.  I had to go south and get a kid fix.

My kids are fine, thanks.  They are so much fun.

While I'm getting back into the groove of things, I thought I'd share some pictures of quilts I've made in the past.  I made this for my daughter-in-law before she was an official member of our family.  It may have been a subconscious bribe.  Hey, it worked!  Come to think of it, I made one for my son-in-law before he married my daughter, too.

I may be on to something.

You're welcome to borrow my idea. :)

This is the very simple BQ pattern by Maple Island Quilts.  This was the first time I ever used Amy Butler them.

My daughter-in-law's mom (my 2nd sister-in-law!) took this lovely picture. More to come...and here's a link to her pictures in a former post.

Happy quilting!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fancy Stuff

I thought I'd show you what I've been up to today.

This is my first official attempt at custom quilting.  Like, on a real quilt.

This quilt has an interesting history.  I made it about a hundred years ago for a graduating senior.

I know, right?

(I stitched all of the dresden plate pieces by hand.)

I'm not completely insane; the graduating senior didn't get this quilt.  And the colors really didn't fit me, so I gave it to a good friend who loved these colors.  She was planning to have it custom quilted.

And then life happened.

We've been through a lot over the last hundred years.  I love and appreciate her even more now than I did back then.

I'm so glad this piece is still around for me to quilt.

And I'm so glad my friend is still around, too.

I think these dragonflies are adorable.

I like the way this looks.  (Not sure what that icky yellow is, it's from my camera, not on the quilt.)

Love this can't see the one in the plum colored border, but it's pretty.

Trust me.

I like these motifs, too.

I'm half way done with this quilt, and I've decided what I'm going to charge for custom quilting.

Drum roll please...

Until I get faster at all of this uber fancy stuff, I will be charging $10,000.00 for custom quilting services.

Maybe more. :)

Happy Quilting!

- Kathy

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Had To

There are several reasons I had to make this quilt. 

1.  I love the fabric.

My kids are great sports about taking me to quilt shops when I visit them in Oregon.  In May, my son and daughter-in-law took me out to lunch at The Wild Pear in downtown Salem.  Then we walked around until we found this funky quilt shop called The Quilted Forest

 My son let me load him up with fabric bolts.

 It was a very fun afternoon.

When I buy fabric on the fly like that... you know, impulse buying...I just sort of guess what I might need.   I always hope a pattern will find me later.

This one came in a magazine.

I love quilting magazines more than...more than....more than ice cream.

And that's saying a lot.

2.  This thread.

This thread is glorious.  It looked so great with the quilt that I almost cried.

Not really.

But it is stunning stuff, that thread.

The last reason I wanted to make this quilt is because I had a design on my quilt machine that was calling my name, and it was PERFECT for this quilt.

I need to say that again.  It was PERFECT.

It really was.

Look how beautifully the thread and the flower and the fabric go together. (Click on the picture for a closer look.)

Will someone please say AMEN?!!  

Here's more proof that the trio were meant for each other. 

I did find a few of these fabrics locally.  This lovely piece came from Robin Place Fabrics; so did the back. 

The black and plum came from Kenai Fabrics.

I believe in spreading my money around.  Unfortunately, I practice what I preach.

A lot.

Love, love, love the bird.  Love the elegant, Asian feel.  Love the stripe.



Am I getting carried away with pictures?  Sorry.  I'm almost done.'s the finished front. 

But...there's more! 

Here's the finished back. 

This is the first time I've put time into piecing the back of a quilt...and I love it!!!

I'm heading south to Oregon next week...I'm sure I'll find a few more reasons to make more quilts.

I just have to. :)

Happy quilting!!


Monday, August 8, 2011

The Way It Is

I have often been asked if I sell my quilts, or how much I would charge to make a quilt.  My answer is always the same; I don't sell my quilts and I've never made one for money.  To me that would be like selling my emotions.  I quilt as a way to express emotion.  Even if I make a quilt without having a particular person in mind, when they come to mind, I give them the quilt.  
It's my way of saying, "You are important to me.  I want to give a part of myself to you."

Too mushy?  Sorry.  It's just the way it is.

Janet feels that way about quilting too.  That's why she made this beautiful quilt...

Special friends were moving out of state.  She wanted them to know they will be greatly missed...

And they are greatly loved.


She did a beautiful job on this quilt.  Her piecing is amazing, especially since these plaids are very loosely woven and have a tendancy to be a tad squirrely. 

This quilting design is called Cottonseed.  I liked the way it fit the vintage feel of the quilt.

I hear the recipients loved their quilt, but that's no surprise.  It was made with love.

And that's just the way it is.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy Scraps

I had a couple of goals.  I needed to make a baby blanket, but I wanted it to be fresh and light. 

And inexpensive.

I had lots of bright, fun scraps hanging around, I just needed a plan. 

I found a pattern I liked on a website I frequent. 

All I really had to buy for the top of the quilt is the neutral solids.  It's amazing what you can accomplish when you're , challenged.

The solid colored squares made a nice foundation for all the bright prints.

And the ladybugs.  LOVE the lady bugs.

Doesn't it look like I planned for the ladybugs to land smack dab in the center of the square? 

I didn't, they just migrated there on their own.  It happened every other row.

Too fun!

So are some of these fabrics....

They make me feel good.

So....this backing is the reason I'm broke. 

It's called Snuggles, and it's by Moda Fabrics.  It's expensive, but it's a lot less stretchy than your typical minky.  And it's SOOOO soft. 

I've done a couple of quilts with minky, and they turned out fine.  But I wanted this color and the ultra softness of Snuggles this time.  

It's beautiful.  I think it was worth it.
(Click on the pictures for a better view.)

The pattern is called Tiffany by Red Pepper Quilts.  I found it
The red Snuggles came from Robin Place

And the scraps?  Well, they came from my stash, and it came from all over the place!

Happy quilting!


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Quilt Group

I've referred to my quilt group several times in previous posts, so I thought I'd take a minute and explain what I'm talking about.

It may take more than a minute.

My quilt group was started many years ago by a couple of women who love the Lord and love to quilt.  It was a time to visit, a time to eat and a time to encourage each other in the journey that is quilting.

And the journey that is life.   

Becky was one of the charter members of our group.  She's as welcoming and kind as she looks in this picture.

There are twelve women in our group; we are partnered into six groups of two.  We meet once a month, with the exception of July when it's just too busy to think, let alone quilt.  We don't sew in December...we party instead!  More about that later....

We used to meet in a church, sometimes we still do, but it's gotten more popular to host quilt group in our homes.  It's pretty fun, you just need lots of extension cords. 

As far as I know, we've never tripped a breaker.

We have a rotation going; each group of two is assigned a month.  They plan the evening, including dinner.  They call around and let everybody know where to be and what to bring. They put the dinner together and clean up; while they are doing that, everybody else is working on projects that those two women have brought.

Get it?  It works pretty slick.

Our quilt group is self perpetuating.  If someone leaves, we think of ladies who might like to join us.  We put all the names in a hat, then choose one.

We are a sophisticated and democratic group of women.

Janet put my name in the hat.  We've been friends since...well, since before three of our five collective children were born.

I love her.  And I love her boots.

I put Penny's name in the hat.

Penny is who I call to help me lay out a random quilt. I love random, but I can't seem to do random.  I also call Penny when I'm in a panic over a quilting job and need somebody to be rational.

Random and rational?  It's a great combo, and it's Penny.  I love her, too. 

It's fun to get together each month, but the highlight of the year is definitely our Christmas party.

You see, we pick names earlier in the year.  So at the party, which always includes tons of fun and good food, we each get some type of quilt that was made especially for us.

I don't know what's more fun, opening my gift or watching the person I picked open hers.

I picked Becky's name last year.  She loves red, and these birds picked her.

I had very little say in the matter.

Lavon made me this ultra tote bag.  She said it was more work than a quilt, and I believe it.  It has pockets and zippers...and is big enough for my laptop.  Love it.  Love her.

I've been in my quilt group for eight years....though it may be nine....or it may be seven, not sure.  Lots of women have come and gone during that time and it's been a pleasure to get to know each one of them. Hopefully I'll be able to introduce you to the rest of them when I quilt their quilts. That's assuming they'll let me.

There's a pretty good chance they will.  I gave each of them a coupon for a discount on their first quilt.

If you've ever thought of starting a quilt group, I say go for it.  It's a great way to stay motivated, learn new techniques and make life long friends.

And you know how you make tons of quilts, but never keep any?  This is a sure fire way of knowing you'll get at least one quilt every year.

Made just for you.