Long Arm Quilting

Graffiti Quilting and an Applique Feather

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Close up of Quilting
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Swirly Feather Designs
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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 🙂

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Long Arm Quilting

Lakota Sioux Star Quilt

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

Uncategorized

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

T-Shirt Quilts

A Boy’s Life as told by his t-shirts

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I recently completed the biggest t-shirt quilt I’ve ever done – 78 shirts lovingly saved by one mom for her son. She contacted me to make the t-shirt quilt for his college graduation, so I first assumed it would be his collegiate sports t-shirts – but to my astonishment she had saved every one of his team t-shirts since his t-ball days as a preschooler, all the way through his high school career. How sweet is that?

To keep the quilt a size that would fit on my long arm, I cut the tees as small as I could, keeping only the team name or main part of the shirt. A few shirts I used the back as well since they had all the boys names who played on that team. This quilt ended up 90″x100″ – which will be great for this young man because he is very tall and he should have no trouble stretching out and not have his toes sticking out from under the bottom of the quilt!

I quilted a simple design to keep the lettering on the t-shirts legible, yet dense enough to hold the layers together securely – as well as to add texture and visual interest to the finished quilt.

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And here’s one last shot of the quilt back – with a cat scurrying across it – seems like every time I lay a quilt on the floor for a picture either a cat or a dog feels the need to help!

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