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!