Custom Quilts · Long Arm Quilting

A Graduation Quilt


I took these photos on a beautiful spring day in Georgia – and nothing is prettier than a Southern Spring. It’s the deep breath before the onslaught of summer, and down here that means 90+ degree days with 800% humidity… This blooming cherry tree was the perfect backdrop for this sweet quilt, so I snapped a few pictures before I sent the quilt off to the graduate.

I like modern twists traditional blocks, so I love the secondary pattern that forms in this pattern by Corey Yoder. The shoo fly blocks have one little addition on their corners, and when you alternate them with the star blocks those white squares form – easy piecing for a big effect.

I accented the white squares by quilting straight lines – I wanted to highlight the effect of the squares made by the piecing and block arrangement. Inside, on the shoo fly block itself I quilted a stylized rose.

And then inside the star blocks, there is also a white square, instead of a solid. Here I quilted a spiral feather design, and some continuous curved lines around the triangles. All the fabric, batting and thread is 100% cotton – I love the way all that cotton feels, and I do love the way it gives the typical quilt puckered look.


The center photo above is a view of the back – this 108″ wide backing fabric is cotton sateen and is the softest fabric ever. This would make a great backing for any throw quilt – very comfy and soft to snuggle under. But I did make it big enough to go on a bed, so my graduate friend will be able to use it either way – and grown up enough for a post college apartment as well.


For the binding, I used the striped fabric from one of the blocks on the front – I like the effect stripes make when cut into binding.

And lastly, a Blue Beagle Quilts label – I have started sewing them into the corners so I can avoid any hand sewing. I hand stitch about as well as a four year old – and don’t enjoy it, so this is my fix for that. I have my dear friend, the mother of this graduate, to thank for my logo – she’s a wiz with graphics and came up with the silhouette of a beagle standing on grass. I had the logo she made digitized, and now I can use my embroidery machine to make the labels! What fun to give her daughter a quilt with her mom’s design on it!

Happy Quilting!


Long Arm Quilting

Graffiti Quilting and an Applique Feather


I saw this pattern by Madisen Hastings, called Aviary, in the shop window of Main Street Quilting Company while visiting our son in Bozeman, MT – it stopped me in my tracks! I love this! The rainbow arrangement of the colors, and the long, narrow aspect of the design make this quilt eye-catching.


I knew when I saw the pattern that we had the perfect spot – way, WAY up high in our cabin out in the country. We had to have help hanging this – it required a scaffold and nerves of steel! But now that it’s up, I couldn’t be happier.


I had some serious fun doing the graffiti quiltng around the feather itself – of course at the height it’s hanging, you can’t really appreciate the quilting, only the texture. But if you go upstairs you can see it well, so I’m happy with that. I used two layers of batting – one wool and one a cotton/poly blend to give the quilting as much loft as possible.


My husband made the hanging rod and hooks for me in his blacksmith shop – such a nice job on the arrow heads!

Such a fun project – from the beautiful pattern to the time spent on my long arm quilting away – truly one of the most enjoyable quilts I’ve ever made 🙂

Custom Quilts · Long Arm Quilting

Red, White and Blue is not just for the 4th of July!


I love this quilt! I want to make one for myself now too – this one was a custom commissioned work for a friend of mine, and I am so happy with how it turned out. Most custom quilts I do are baby quilts, so it was a treat to get to do a large one. She showed me a photo of a quilt she liked, and together, we were able to come up with a design to fit what she had in mind. The red, white and blue fabrics play well together, and will go with the decorations of the bedroom my friend has planned – she has a subway map of the London Underground and some vintage postcards from Paris – and of course those countries also have red, white and blue flags, so the color scheme will tie everything together.

I was lucky to get that picture of the full quilt – the day I was taking pictures was a sunny, but incredibly windy day – it was a struggle to get many shots of the quilt hanging vertically, so I gave up and took this video instead. You can see what I was up against as the quilt gets nearly horizontal…

I purposefully made it 100″ x 100″ – the biggest size my quilting machine frame can accommodate – that way even after washing and drying it will still easily cover a queen size bed. I also used a poly/cotton blend to help keep shrinkage to a minimum. I used an all over quilting design that added some nice texture, but won’t compete with the busy prints or block layout.

Close up of Quilting
Swirly Feather Designs
Swirls with Feathers


I also made some pillow shams with some left over fabric – this photo is actually of the quilt on the guest bed at my house, just temporarily for a photo op. The cat is ours as well – I told my friend her quilt had passed inspection and was deemed worthy of a “cat nap” – luckily she has dogs, so understands! No doubt the dogs are happily snoozing on it at her house by now 🙂


Long Arm Quilting

Lakota Sioux Star Quilt


While growing up, my dad was a career Air Force Officer – so we lived all over the country and moved fairly often. My favorite place he was stationed was Ellsworth AFB, near Rapid City, South Dakota. I loved it there – I’ve even been back a few times and the wide open spaces of the plains and the beautiful Black Hills are just like I remembered – and it still makes me smile just to think about it. We lived in Rapid City back in the early 1980s, while I was in high school. During these four years, my mother, who is a nurse, worked at a Sioux hospital called Sioux San. My mother’s mother was a quilter, so she has always loved quilts. While working at Sioux San she had a co-worker who made and sold star quilt tops that my mom often admired – so before we moved away, my mom was able to get this one from her friend.

From what I’ve read, star quilts are important in the Sioux culture – they are often given as gifts to mark occasions such as memorial feasts, celebrations, naming ceremonies and marriages, or given to special friends. In 2016, there was a stunning statue erected in Chamberlain, South Dakota, to honor this Sioux tradition of quilts. The statue is called Dignity and overlooks the Missouri River. My last trip back to the area was before this statue was placed, so I have not personally seen it – but now this gives me another reason to go back to South Dakota! To read about this statue click this link, it will open a new window.


My mom gave me the star quilt top many years ago, but after all this time it had many condition issues – the edges were on the bias and had stretched out, several areas had thread and seams that had either fallen apart, disintegrated or come undone… I finally braved doing the repair work myself, which included resewing several seams and recutting and resizing some of the white background fabric between the star points to make the edges roughly square again.

I needed to use a quilting design that would both stabilize the edges and accent the star itself – so I did some simple continuous line quiltng in the diamonds of the star and then a dense all over design in the white areas that, in my mind, roughly feels like wind. After quiltng, the finished size is about 70″ square. I used cotton batting and thread – and at this point have not washed it.

My husband, who is a blacksmith in his spare time, forged a hanging rod for me – and added a single deer antler prong on each end. He also made the hooks the rod is hanging from, which you can see in the second picture below.



I feel honored to have a Sioux quilt in my home, and hope that my quilting would make the Sioux woman who made the top proud.


Long Arm Quilting

Long Arm Quilting Certification Complete!


I could not be more excited to receive this diploma! This is the culmination of 5 months of hard work with lots and lots of time spent quilting. The certification program was an online course through American Professional Quilting Systems (APQS) that required our completed quilts to be mailed to the teachers for evaluation and feedback. One assignment was to make 2 quilts using different pantograms:

Another requirement was to complete 2 more quilts using different all over free motion designs:

All four of these are toddler sized, and have cotton batting. After evaluation, they were given to a charity that gives blankets to needy children, Project Linus, by the program coordinators.

And finally we had to stitch a small whole cloth quilt using feathers:

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We also were require to complete a business plan, make a promotional brochure about our long arm quilting services, and conduct an email consultation with a pretend customer. This was a wonderful experience and I am proud to say I passed and am now a certified long arm quilter!


Nautical Flags For Two Nautical Themed T-Shirt Quilts


These two quilts were made for two sons in memory of their father – who was a was an avid sailor and sail boat owner. The father also designed t-shirts for the sail boat regattas held just across the state line at a large lake – so not only do the sons have t-shirts worn their father, but several designed by him as well!

The nautical flags at the top of the quilts, sort of in a “V” shape spell out the dad’s first name, then down at the very bottom they spell his last name. The two boys’ initials are spelled out where you see three flags in a row near the bottom of the quilt on the left, and near the middle of the quilt on the right.

I was able to use two chest pockets on these polo shirts – I left them open so they are still in “pocket” form and could hold a note or trinket for when the quilts are wrapped and ready for giving. And much of the fabric around the t-shirts was cut from the boys’ dad’s swim trunks – I was able to save a zippered pocket for each quilt.

These two quilts are a good example of why working on t-shirt quilts is so rewarding – so many memories for the recipient! One of those kinds of gifts that you can’t wait to give – you know what I mean I’m sure – you can’t wait to see their faces when they open the package. I know these quilts be a special and unexpected treat – and I’m just glad to be a part of it all!



T-Shirt Quilts

Traditional Blocks Set Off T-Shirts


I recently finished this quilt for a mother to give her adult son for Christmas – he is working towards becoming a Baptist minister, and these are t-shirts from various mission projects and Christian youth groups he has been involved with along the way. The only direction she gave me was to use Univeristy of Georgia colors, but no actual bull dog or UGA fabric… So I ran with just the red and black color scheme – and decided to use some traditional quilt blocks, like pinwheels and half square triangles, to set off the t-shirts, yet also pull it all together into a more unified theme. 


I used a 80/20 cotton/polyester batting, and quilted it on my long arm using clear polyester thread, so that you end up only seeing the texture of the quilting, without it obscuring the actual writing or images on the t-shirts themselves. These shots of the back are after a machine washing and drying, so the characteristic “quilty” look is visible even with the invisible thread.

As usual, one of our furry friends joined in to help – this is our cat helping me put on the binding. Sweet!


My friend had a few repeat t-shirts, so instead of putting those in the quilt, I made a simple matching pillow using just one of them.


When Christmas rolls around, to present the gift, the mom intends to put the quilt and pillow in a big red Santa Claus bag – and wanted something special to use as a gift tag. So I embroidered these cloth “tags” for her. They are about 8 inches long with snow flake button holes for a tie to go through.


I know this son will be touched to receive his quilt – it is sized to be a large throw quilt, or to fit over the top of a queen bed – so he will have options regarding where he uses it. I hope he will have many years of enjoyment as he looks at the quilt and remembers what each t-shirt represents!