The Wedding Quilt

September 28, 2011

As posted Monday, this quilt was inspired by my client's son's wedding.  He and his bride were married at beautiful Castle Farms in Charlevoix Michigan.  What a gorgeous location!!  In trying to keep with the castle theme this is what I came up with...
I stitched in the ditch around all the "bricks" and stitched piano keys in the black outermost border.
I love how the pebbling turned out.  It's was amazingly time consuming, but worth it.  It was hard  keeping the pebbling from looking all the same.  I wanted them to be varied, so they looked like cobblestones.
I straight stitched lines in opposite directions in the shield.  The funny thing is... I was worried about how I was going to quilt the shield because it was so big, but while doing the pebbling I was so thankful it was that big!!  If it was smaller, I would have had more pebbling.  At first I wasn't sure how the quilting would look in the shield because it was pretty stiff from fusible.  Straight lines worked perfect!

The back looks super cool because of the black backing.
LOVE the back!!  My biggest worry while doing the pebbling was the back of the quilt.  I think it's easy to have tension issues show on the back if you are not careful.  Remember when I said quilting was a workout?  Well, I kept ducking under my machine to make sure I had stitches and not flat lines!  Duck, duck goose!!!  LOL!  I was exhausted, but no flat lines, all stitches. :-)
 
My client was absolutely thrilled with her quilt!!!  I was so happy!!!!

I want to give a big thank you to Judi at Green Fairy Quilts.  Her work is so inspiring!  I look to her work all the time for inspiration.  She's amazing! 

The Art of Pebbling

September 26, 2011

Fall sure is in the air around here.  I need to get busy decorating.  I had Scott pull out all the boxes of fall decorations, but I have yet to decorate with them.  I usually keep Halloween out until after Thanksgiving because then I take all the fall decor down at one time and start decorating for Christmas.  Scott always gives me a hard time about that.  He made the comment to me last year that "nothing says Thanksgiving like a big hairy spider."  LOL!  I just reply with "I'm sure there were spiders at the first Thanksgiving." :-)

So I recently finished a client quilt.  This quilt scared the wits out of me.  Why???  I seriously didn't know where to begin on how to quilt it.
This quilt is huge.  My client made it as a wedding gift for her son.  Her son was married at a castle.  He requested a quilt with that theme including a family crest/shield.  It is a very cool idea.  The colors are so striking.  My client really did a beautiful job creating a quilt with those requests.  The hard part for me was...how do I quilt it???  The center with the shield is a large area.  I stared at this quilt on and off for a l-o-n-g time.  It finally came to me.  Thank goodness.

I'll give you a little peek at what I came up with.
Medieval pebbling.  Can't wait to show you the rest.  :-)

Wee Woodland Baby

September 23, 2011

As I stated in an earlier post, I have been a quilting maniac.  I'm playing a little catch up with client quilts from when I was sick.  I'm not totally caught up, but I'm getting there.  Thank goodness!  Thank goodness all my clients have been super understanding as well. :-)  All the quilts I've been working on recently have been custom quilts.  Custom quilting, while I love it and I love doing it, it takes the most out of me.  It's a mental as well as a physical workout!  I wished it was more of an ab workout! LOL!!  I've been noticing that I've been quilting on my toes.  I have no idea why, but I'm developing calves of steel! :-)  The funny thing is I don't even realize I'm doing it.

In between custom quilts, I recently quilted an allover quilt for my client and friend, Patti. Patti also made the beautiful braid quilt I quilted here.  I love it.
 Of course I love it because it's a Schnibbles pattern!!  The pattern is McGuffy by Carrie Nelson for Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.  I believe she used a couple of Charm Packs and yardage from Wee Woodland by Keiki for Moda.  I don't think I loved this fabric before, but now that I see it in a quilt...I love it!!  Both Patti and I agreed that these fabrics would make a great Fall quilt.  Patti made the quilt a bit larger by making the borders a little bigger.
I went with a freehand allover loose swirl, which I think was nice compliment to the quilt.  It's the first time I've quilted this design.  I was a little nervous, but it was a ton of fun to quilt.  It was nice to change things up from custom quilting briefly.
I will definitely quilt this design again!  I'm very happy with how the swirls came out.
The backing fabric is super cute!  Patti supplied the batting, which was a Hobbs Heirloom 80/20.  She pieced it together using that fusible tape stuff for batting.  It worked quite well.  I didn't have any issues quilting over it.  I used a light green So Fine Thread from Superior.

I get a lot of emails asking about my freehand quilting.  What do I do?  Practice, time and patience.  I don't even really have time for doodling anymore, so my practice is just quilting.  The more I quilt, the better my quilting gets.  I saved all my first practice pieces. Once and a while, I like to take them out and glance over them just to see how far I've come.  It even amazes me because I don't realize it day-to-day.  This is my very first practice piece from the day my machine was set up.  My very first swirls...
Yikes. They look like snails. :-) We all start somewhere.  It's easy to get frustrated at first, heck I still do.  It's fun to look back and see progress, but really it gives me an appreciation.  And a good laugh.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Sarge

September 22, 2011

September is always kind of a special month for our family.  It was in September, 8 years ago that Sarge came to live with us when he was 4 months old.  Here's the story... while on vacation, our 5 yr. old Weimaraner, Troop passed away.  We were incredibly heart broken, grief stricken and guilt ridden that we were not home when it happened.  It was awful.  It still breaks my heart when I think about it.  As any pet owner knows, losing a pet is soooooo hard.  Troop was Scott's baby.  Troop loved Scott even more I think.  He had love hearts in his eyes every time he looked at Scott.  Best friends.  So it was particularly devastating to Scott.
We definitely wanted another dog, but felt we weren't ready.  I started going on the Internet and looking at all the puppies and dogs that were in rescues that were in desperate need of adoption.  Scott and I decided this time we would adopt a dog from a rescue.  We wanted to do something extra special in honor and memory of Troop.  We felt maybe this would help us with our grief.  That's how I found Sarge.  As soon as I saw his photo, I knew that was our dog.  We had talked about naming a future dog Sarge and there he was...already named Sarge.  It was meant to be.  Scott was not ready.  He didn't even want to look at his pic on the Internet.  After much convincing, we made the nearly 4 hr. car trip to go meet Sarge.  He was at a rescue that a woman ran at her home.  Nothing fancy.  She was just a wonderful woman that would foster animals that local law enforcement would bring her until they could be adopted.  Obviously, we didn't just meet Sarge, we brought him home.
He has been the most wonderful dog.  I swear, he's a genius too.  So smart.  Sarge is an Australian Shepherd - German Shorthaired Pointer mix.  He also came with some baggage, though.  Sarge was rescued from an abusive home.  A man had been burning Sarge with his cigarettes.  How awful is that???  Makes me sick.  As a result, Sarge would suffer from submissive urination.  Meaning if you bent down to pet him or when we would come home and be happy to see him...he would pee.  It was so frustrating for us because we didn't know how to fix the problem.  Scott consulted the Michigan State Veterinary School to find out what we needed to do.  Finally, we were able to fix the problem.  Dog psychology...we had to retrain ourselves to be pack leaders and Sarge to be a "regular" dog.  I sound like Cesar Millan.  :-)

Sarge is the best dog.  He loves the girls. 
 They've grown up together.
Like many pets, he can tell time too.  He knows what time the girls get out of school.  He always waits out front so he can watch them walk home.
Sarge just plain loves life.  It's like he's so grateful to live here.  Yes, Sarge is a rescue dog in every sense of the word.  Only we didn't rescue him, he rescued us.

Ruby...Not Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend

September 20, 2011

Ruby...it's everything I knew it would be!!  I can't wait to create with this gorgeous fabric.  Not sure when though.  If only I had 30 hours in a day and didn't need to sleep, oh the things I could do!!  What's been going on here?? Well, it's nice to be back to a pretty normal week.  I have been quilting like a mad woman.  Hopefully, I can share soon.  The girls are loving every minute of being in middle school.  What a relief! 

I feel like I have so much to blog about, I don't know where to begin.  So I thought I would take a little trip down memory lane back to July to when I went to see Keith Urban in concert...twice. It was a tale of two concerts.  The first one was a lot of fun.  Our seats were pretty good in the lower bowl of the arena.  There were three of us that went...my childhood friend Melissa (Missy to me), my sis, Kristin,  and of course myself.  By the way, it's awesome to still be in contact with a childhood friend let alone be good friends still.
We had fun taking a lot of silly pics before the concert started, especially because I couldn't work the camera.  Why you ask??  First of all, I'm camera challenged and I had to borrow Elaina's because hubby took ours on a fishing trip.  I was super not happy about that. I really didn't get any good photos at the show.  However, we were fortunate enough to have Keith come out in the audience and sing right next to us.  So cool!!  After the concert, we happened to be at the right place, at the right time and met the band!!!  No Keith, but it was super cool too.

Okay, so a week later Kristin and I were off to Indiana to see Keith yet again.  This time we didn't know where our seats were because I bought them in a special presale before Christmas.  We just had vouchers to pick our tickets up when we got there.  I wasn't real happy when I bought them because I couldn't understand why they weren't regular tickets.  I totally complained to Scott about it when I printed the vouchers.  Well, little did I know then it was a little surprise from Keith.  Kristin and I arrived to the arena, picked up our tickets and looked to see that they were in the 6th row on the floor.  We were soooooo excited!!  We entered the doorway to the floor seats and the usher took our tickets and told us he needed to escort us to our seats.  We both looked at each other and followed the usher.  We kept on following him all the way to the front of the stage...ROW 2!!!!  We couldn't believe it!!!!  I swear Kristin and I were jumping up and down and screaming like we had won the Showcase Showdown on the Price Is Right!!!  LOL!!  I'm laughing as I write this!  Here's the kicker...I wore my hair curly!!!  Anyone who knows me, knows I always straighten my naturally frizzy hair for dress up events, but this is when I first started getting sick and just didn't feel like doing it.  I mean, really???  I'm still shaking my head in disbelief that I wore my hair curly to a KU concert.  Here's the proof...
Actually, I was so excited, I could have had a mohawk and not cared!!  Jake Owen was the awesome opening act.  Kristin had love hearts in her eyes for him!!
KU
Yes, we were right in front of him!!
Smiling for the camera.
Jake and Keith did an encore together and sang a few John Mellencamp songs in honor of being in Indiana. 
If you ever get a chance to go to one of Keith's shows...GO!  Even if you don't like country.  Trust me, you'll have the best time.

William Morris Applique

September 16, 2011

So it's been one of those weeks.  You know the kind where you just want to draw a big red line through it on the calender, be glad it's over and move on to the next week.  It all started with jury duty.  Honestly, it really doesn't bother me to do my duty to serve as a juror, but the whole process could be a little more convenient.  Not being able to call until after 5:00 PM to find out if you need to report and then having to report by 8:15 AM the next morning.  I had to leave my house by 7:30 AM just to barely get there on time, which meant Scott had to leave late for work to make sure the girls got off to school.  Then, to sit there for hours and just wait and wait.  More like stewing.  LOL!  Oh well, it's over now.  Moving on...Elaina came home sick Wednesday.  Poor thing.  I picked her up just in time for her to get sick as soon as we walked in the door.  Good times.  I know things are looking up because Karen from the shop called me to tell me that my FQ bundle of Ruby is in!!!!!  Yippee!  I'm going to pick it up tonight while the girls are at dance!!  I'll probably just sit in my car and admire each FQ.  Now that's therapy!! :-)

I need to show the pics of Ellen's finished quilt that I just gave you a peek of.  It's actually a baby quilt pattern from the book More William Morris Applique by Michelle Hill. Since everyone seems to enjoy a lot of photos, I won't disappoint. :-)
It's amazing how different a quilt can look by your fabric choices.  Ellen did not go with traditional William Morris style fabrics.  I love how it turned out!
I had a hard time choosing quilting for this one.  The quilt has a whimsy look, but yet a little formal at the same time after looking starring at it.  It's a busy quilt.  The curling feathers really looked the best in the border.  It created a beautiful frame around the quilt.  I chose to freehand the spine instead of pre-drawing with my circle templates.  I wanted a less formal and free flowing feather.

I'm not a huge fan of stippling, but really after trying several other background fills, it really was the best choice.  It needed to be simple.  Scott kept asking me why I didn't want to quilt the puzzle pieces.  Funny, that's what he calls stippling.  He's right, that's what it looks like!  I tried to explain to him that these feathers were like "Filet Mignon" and stippling was like "hamburger."  LOL!  I think the stippling was a perfect compliment, so maybe it was more like a nice Bearnaise sauce. :-) Nice job, Scott!

The back.

I chose to go with a light creamy thread top and bobbin to give the back all that pretty texture.  Except for one spot. 
Cute little addition to the flowers.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

I Heart The USA

I Heart Feathers

September 8, 2011

Just a quick post.  Today, I'm off for a recheck at the dr. office and then off to work at the shop.  Anyways, did you know that I "heart" feathers???  Of course you do!  Cuz I'm a little obsessed.  This is a little peek at a beautiful quilt I've been working on.  Actually, I've spent far more time picking quilting out of it than putting quilting in it.  No joke.  Thank goodness Scott loves me a lot because he's been picking out too.  Everything I've quilted on it, I hated.   It's like I'm in one of those moods like if you've ever been shopping and you try on a ton of clothes and nothing looks good.  That's how I've felt about my quilting.  Finally, I decided to "try on" some good old fashioned feathers.  DING-DING...we have a winner!!!  Knowing I have feathers on the brain, why didn't I just go with that to begin with???? 

Feathers make everything better. 

Stargazing

September 6, 2011

What a weekend!  Saturday the temps were in the 90's...Monday it barely broke 60 degrees.  I swear I almost turned on the furnace.  I know, I'm a wimp.  We had one heck of a storm roll through Saturday.  Our electricity was going on and off.  I kept Annie unplugged.  I wasn't taking any chances!!

I recently had the pleasure of quilting for Cathy of Quilting on Main Street blog.  If you are not familiar,  Cathy has a wonderful blog.  She is always busy with some beautiful projects.  Recently, she made a Christmas wreath out of wool pennies that I absolutely love.  I very much enjoy reading her blog.  So, imagine my excitement when she asked me to quilt her Ginger Belle made from French General's Rural Jardin fabric!  Ginger Belle is a Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. pattern.  I just "oooohhhed and ahhhhhed" when the quilt arrived at The QP.  It's beautiful.  Cathy's piecing is perfection.  All of this made me a nervous wreck!!!  BUT I think I did GOOD! :-)  I'll warn you now, I couldn't stop taking photos of this quilt!

 Cathy pretty much left the quilting up to me.  She mentioned she would like the star blocks to stand out.  You know me...that translated to there is going to be feathers somewhere on this quilt!
I quilted feathers around the star blocks.  That proved to be a little more challenging than I initially thought it would be.  Naturally.  I've practiced quilting feathers in square spaces, but usually the center is circular or square.  This space had a lot of right angles to try in fill in proportionately.  Once I figured it out, it was smooth sailing. 
A little bit of frogging stitches out during that process.  On the star block, I stitched in the ditch and continuous curve stitching with a little swirl design.
I really wanted the star block area to be the focus, so I kept the the rest of the quiting simple with a continuous curve design. 
You know that I have to show the back.  The backing was a cream flannel. 


I LOVE the back!!!  I chose to go with a cream colored thread so it would have that whole cloth look.  All you see is that beautiful texture of the quilting!!  Are you all pictured out yet??  Just a few more... :-)
I actually remembered to snap a pic before I started quilting.
Kristin took pity on me and wanted to help me with a little frogging.
She's going to love this photo!!  She mentioned that frogging is awful and she's sticking to her day job! LOL!!  Can you tell that I love this quilt???  Just a little.  It makes me want to make one exactly like it!  Cathy had planned on giving this quilt as a gift, but changed her mind once when she got it back.  My heart did cartwheels when I heard that!   

Today is the first day of Middle School for the girls.  They are so excited and a little nervous.  It seems like just yesterday was their first day of school.  Time flies.