Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Couple Customer Quilts

Here's photos of the last two customer quilts I will do before my machine goes in for repair.  Hopefully it will only be gone a week.  I'm getting anxious to start on the wholecloth that has been taking shape only in my mind.  The one quilt was made of beautiful flannel and what a cute design -- pigs.  The other quilt was beautiful appliqued pineapples.  I loved the batiks and the color placement on the border and the pineapples.  Very talented quilters out there.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Patriotic Quilt

I have had the fabric to do a patriotic quilt for literally years.  I believe it is a flag quilt, but it's been so long since I've had the project out that I can't remember what the pattern looks like!  Every year before the 4th of July I usually quilt a couple patriotic quilts and it always makes me think of the quilt I'm going to make ... someday!  Maybe next year.  But this customer quilt was fun to do and turned out really well.  Happy Independence Day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Machine Quilting with Minky Fabric Backs

Another quilt with a minky back.  They are a little more difficult to do.  A couple years ago I posted a blog with information on quilting when there is minky fabric involved.  I'll repost that info in this post.  I know many machine quilters out there are nervous about doing it, but if you do a few basic things it shouldn't be too difficult.  Probably the key thing is not to do too tightly of a spaced design.  I'll post another photo of a minky quilt from the past so you can see what I mean by loosely spaced designs.

Past post:  "Everybody loves Minky (also sometimes spelled Minkee) fabric. The feel is so soft and cuddly that you can't help but want to put it in a quilt. Most people I know who try to use Minky fabric do so for their quilt backing. It is luxiourous. Minky always seems perfect for the backing to a baby quilt. But what about quilting with it? It can be a nightmare for a machine quilter. Here's my experience with minky and some tips that hopefully will help you in using minky successfully.
I have treid to quilt a quilt with minky on the front (only in some areas) and also on the back of the quilt -- very difficult and I would not recommend using minky on the front. It shifts a lot and because it has quite a bit of stretch in one direction it's difficult to use in a quilt block. It's also very thick so any seams can get really bulky.
I have had customer quilts and a few of my own that have had minky for the backing. There's nothing quite like the feel of it, but it also can be a pain in the you know where to work with.
One time I put it on my longarm and had the stretch going horizontally (top to bottom). I pulled my tension tight and tighter and tighter. I used my clamps on the edges to pull it tight also. The result: when that quilt came off the machine it literally bounced back about 3 inches and the top became all puffy -- not a good result!
Another time I had minky on the back and was trying to do a more detailed pattern. It kept getting little tucks in the back.
I've tried using a basting spray -- that only messed with my tension and caused some skipped stitches.

I've found the most successful way to use minky on the back is to use a fairly loose pattern. You can cross over lines but if the quilting is spaced too tightly it will mess up the back. The clamps on the edges need to be putting just enough tension on the backing and batting to hold it in place but not to stretch it at all. Also, the stretch is best if it runs vertically not horizontally, this is because you can better control the stretch with the side clamps. If you are not working with more than 3 or 4" on the edges you will find that the minky wants to curl. So a wider backing is better and gives you more to clamp on to. The batting that works best is one that is fairly thin -- no fat batts.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Amazing Applique Quilt

Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt is done.  It is such an amazing quilt.  It took many hours to quilt it but it was worth all the effort.  One of the challenges was making the quilting behind the appliques look like the other blocks.  That required lots of stops and starts.  That wouldn't have been so bad, but my machine has a part going out on it making it not want to stop.  I figured I've spent several hours these last few days trying to adjust the machine.  Finally today I called the Gammill Dealer in the area to find out how much it would cost to replace some parts.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it might be so the end of June my machine will go in for an overhaul.  It's pretty amazing how well these machines run.  My longarm is almost 12 years old and I've replaced a few parts, done my own maintenance and it still runs really well.  So enjoy the views of this quilt -- it will rank up there as one of the most beautiful quilts I've done.  (By the way, everyone of these little pieces was handsewn!!)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bringing the garden into my studio

For those of you who live in the northwest, you are well aware that this has been one of the gloomiest, rainy winters/springs ever!  We occasionally get a peek at the sun, maybe a day, and then the rain is back.  My garden is struggling with all this cool, cloudy weather.  Today, though, the garden came inside.  I'm working on a customer quilt pattern called 'Grandmother's Garden'.  This is a beautiful quilt and I think one of the most difficult to make.  All the pieces are sewn by hand.  Then on top all the applique was added.  Absolutely exquisite.  This quilt requires lots of exquisite quilting so it may be several days before I complete it.  I'll post pictures when it's done.  By the way it's even more appropriate to work on a quilt with the word grandmother in it.  We just found out on Sunday that we have another grandbaby on the way.  Now besides my daughter having her first, my daughter-in-law is expecting their third.  We are so excited for them.  It's been almost 3 years since little Leah passed away (their 2nd child) and though no other baby can ever take her place, it will be wonderful to see another little one in their arms.