Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Longarm quilting a double wedding ring quilt



How many times have you looked at a quilt top and been totally stumped on how you would quilt it?  I feel like this is a skill that really is developed over time and trial and error.  I'll be the first to admit that my very first quilts--after quilting--didn't really showcase the quilt pattern with the quilting as they could have.  My quilting designs made little sense and didn't work with the existing pattern to make the quilt pop.  Basically, I was just quilting to get it done and keep all the layers together.  


It's a little difficult to see the quilting, but it's orange thread in squiggly lines...obviously my photography skills were lacking as well ;)  This was the first quilt I ever made, in October of 2011.  



I think that typically, for beginning quilters, the quilting is all about function.  It's difficult enough to remember 1/4" seam allowance, minding your bobbin so you aren't sewing without thread, etc.  I know that I was just relieved to be finished, and I was very proud of the quilting at the time.  

Fast forward 5 years, and quilting is now my favorite part.  I'm enamored with the process of evaluating a quilt top, selecting batting, figuring out what quilting design will best display the awesomeness of the quilt pattern.  I know that I still have a long way to go, and I pour over Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, books, etc. to find every piece of information and inspiration I can get before I start planning to quilt a quilt.  

I recently had the opportunity to quilt my first Double Wedding Ring quilt.  My client's quilt was pieced entirely by her grandmother (prior to her passing) from vintage fabrics and feed sacks.  It was the greatest honor to be trusted with a family heirloom.  I used plastic overlays to audition different quilting designs, and finally came up with a combination of a few simple designs that I felt would work well together and really make the quilt pop.  

This was actually the first row that I quilted with a feather.  I hated them and ripped them all out and started over.  

I stewed over the newly blank quilt after ripping the first row out and finally re-started.  


I was very pleased with the outcome and can't wait until I can return it to the customer.  

Here is the full quilt:


I love the finished look of ruler work with free motion quilting.  I think the structure really works well with the free-flowing quilting and I can't wait to play around with this some more.  I can't wait to see where my work is in another 5 years...







Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My Finished Glam Clam Quilt

I am going to talk to you today about Latifah Saafir's "Glam Clam" quilt pattern and my journey completing the quilt.  

I'm a member of the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild, and we were fortunate enough to have Latifah Saafir do a trunk show AND teach 2 awesome workshops!  I was super excited...the clam shell style quilt has been on my quilting bucket list since I first started sewing, so this was a great excuse to get it done.  I immediately signed up for the workshop and picked my fabrics out after I got the pattern and templates.  I painstakingly cut out all of the pieces, labeled them, and organized them all into little ziplocs, until I would  attend the workshop.  I had the finished quilt in mind for a very special friend and was excited to gift her a really cool quilt.

About a week from the workshop date, my grandmother's health was failing.  She passed away, and the funeral was scheduled for the same time as the workshop.  I missed the workshop and didn't touch the pieces I'd cut for a few weeks after.  Once I started the quilt, I thought about my grandmother often.  I'm not crazy about piecing curves, but I must say that it was kind of a healing feeling to sit and sew without really thinking about anything.  It gave me a chance to think about relationships and friendships and how much people can impact your life.  


Quilting the finished top was even more fun that putting it together.  After doing a little bit of research, I found that many of the clam shell quilts are quilted with just an all over design, without much attention paid to the individual blocks.  I definitely didn't want to just do edge-to-edge quilting.  

Latifah's pattern is seriously so simple to follow, and her templates are to die for.  They are very mindful of how curved seams should be constructed, and here's something even more awesome--NO PINS NEEDED!!!  I won't lie...I didn't believe that at first, but after sewing a couple together, I tried it without pins, and--life changing.


Here is a little more of the quilting--not really anything too difficult, but I felt it gave a better effect than an all over quilting design.  


Above is the top with no quilting or binding--I absolutely love how this quilt came together.  


And then this was the finished quilt after binding.  I shipped this beauty off to my friend in California and hope she uses it until the thing falls apart!  I must say, Latifah did an amazing job on the pattern and tutorial and I can't wait to make my next Glam Clam quilt.  



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Free tutorial: Using chalk pounce and stencils to make gorgeous quilted pillow shams

Check out my newest tutorial for Janome on the AQS blog this week!  The tutoiral is for Quilted pillow shams that will really step up your bedroom decor and give an extra special touch.


Follow this LINK to see the full tutorial and add some new tools to your quilting toolbox!

I've always loved quilting, and was a little skeptical at the stencils.  Especially before I knew about the chalk pads.  I tried them when I first tried my hand at quilting, and used a water soluble pen to trace each stencil line.  And let me tell you...that will be a wonderful deterrent for anyone to never try stencils again.  Time consuming, inefficient, etc.  Then one of my friends had some of the chalk pounce and pads and so I thought I might just go ahead and try it again.  WAY better than tracing each line by hand.  What originally to hours literally changed to minutes.  So if you haven't loved stencils, maybe try this and you'll change your mind!