A Woodland Christmas… by Joan

I figured I’d better get this on here while I’ve got the chance.  I’ve been busy lately working on things for my booth at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival, which starts next Friday, by the way.  And, I will continue being busy working on more stuff for the next week.  This was the last customer quilt I was able to work on before the quilt show.  Joan always lets me play and put whatever I want on her quilts.  It’s a very dangerous tactic, you know.

So, let’s show you a full shot of the quilt first before I get into the details of the quilting.

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Now, how on earth would YOU quilt this?  My first concern was the border, because that’s where I start.  The cornerstones were easy – Joan had an applique star in the upper right hand corner, so I just copied that into the other corners.

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As for the borders, I couldn’t come up with something creative enough (for me) that would go with this quilt, so I ended up doing something simple with holly leaves.  It would need to be able to work play well with the applique in the borders.  Just now, looking at these pictures, I wish I had added piano keys on the outside of the swags.

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Along the lower border were 2 bears, but they needed a mama bear so I added her in the back of them.

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Joan asked how I got the bear to look just like the others.  Well, I cheated, and here is a tutorial showing you how I did it.  But… it shows what I did with the trees at the top of the quilt instead of the bear; I did the same technique.  I found myself going back and forth on this quilt, adding a bit here and a bit there.  It seemed to me that I was doing a lot of the same things, so in that big open space in the tree farm, I decided to add more trees.  I have a roll of vellum or onion skin (I can’t remember which I’d bought) for tracing designs. So, to add more trees, I simply traced the applique trees already there and added more trees around them.  This would be my quilting design.  If you look closely at the corners of the paper, you will see where I have straight pins holding the paper in place.  I just stick them straight down without trying to weave them into the fabric.  When I do that, it just turns out worse.

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After I had the trees drawn out, I then hold my left hand on the paper and move the machine around with my right hand (if you are left handed, hold the paper with your right hand and move the machine with your left hand).  If you don’t already know this, a longarm quilting machine floats or hovers above the fabric and has no feed dogs (those gritty teeth things on the bottom/bobbin plate of a domestic sewing machine) to keep it steady and in place.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Unless someone shows you what I just did, you will never know if “I meant to do that” or not.

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And, here is the result after I tore the paper off.

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I tried to give each of the houses a different roof top, but some of them are repeated. If you go back and take a second look at the border pictures, you can see more houses in those shots.

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Most of the houses in this quilt reminded me of the Victorian houses in the Colorado mountains.  This trio, however, could have been cabins, if I had thought about it long enough.  But, they turned out okay as Victorian houses as well.

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The final picture is of the star on top of the “town tree” shining down for its audience to “ooh” and “ahh”.

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All in all, this was a fun quilt to “quilt.”  I hope you enjoyed the show and learned something, too!  Merry Christmas in June!

Rotary Ruler Cutter Review

You may or may not remember that I will be vending at the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival in June over Father’s Day weekend.  I had planned for a year now to get things made for the quilt festival but haven’t had much luck at all in finding time to do that.  Plus, my daughter is pregnant and due June 2nd.  The doctors have decided that they will not let her go past her due date.  She has Gestational Diabetes and they figure the baby’s size if 1 week ahead of schedule.  So, the baby may come early.  In any case, I have that coming up to worry think about as well.  I haven’t had time to make any baby quilts or anything else for the baby or my daughter, let alone make anything for the quilt festival.

Well… I guess I could just hand out business cards and flyers about my quilting business…  What I finally figured out, though, is that I don’t have to MAKE stuff to sell.  I could sell retail stuff, so that is mainly what I will be doing.  I’m still going to try to get some home decor made (wall decorations that look like buttons – in case you didn’t know, I also dabble in woodworking), but we will see how that goes with everything else going on this next month.  Oh, I almost forgot!  I created a couple of ruler templates for use with a longarm quilting machine.  I imagine it could also be used with sit-down machines, but I haven’t tried that yet.  The rulers should be ready sometime this next week.  I plan on selling those at the quilt festival as well.

For now, I’d like to share with you 2 of the products I will be selling.  They are both Rotary Ruler Cutters, but they are made by different companies.  The one on the left is made by Fiskars (note the orange handle), and the one on the right is made by Havel’s.  They look like paper cutters for scrap booking, don’t they?  But, these are for fabric… unless someone in your household mistakenly uses them for paper.  The good news is that you can swap the blade out for a new one.

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At first I was drawn to the one made by Havel’s because of the color of the handle.  I figured they were both the same, so why not go for purple?  Well, if you look closely at the rulers, you will see the markings for measurements are a little different.  Which one do you like better so far?  They both have good qualities.

Then there are the way the blades go on and come off.  The Fiskars has a screw nut on it like most of my other rotary rulers; I don’t know if you have that or not.  But, for me, it is familiar.

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Havel’s has a white cover that has a turn dial for you to remove to get to the blade.  This is a nice safety feature, but it took me awhile to figure out how to work it, even after reading the instructions.

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Fiskar’s safety feature comes in the form of a separate blade changer, which costs extra.  I’m guessing it is optional,  but it’s a nice feature to have.  The picture on the left is the blade changer.  You can see how to use it on the back of the package and also on the back of the box of the rotary ruler combo.

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Another nice feature of the Fiskar’s is that it has a carrying handle – I like that.

 

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Let’s go back to the original picture and look at the one on the right made by Havel’s in the picture below.  If you notice, Fiskars ruler is all plastic, while Havel’s has a metal strip along the short end where you can hang it up.  They both have holes for hanging, but the metal strip under the hanging hole of Havel’s cutter is kind of nice, and it has smooth, safe edges.  Let’s talk about length.  Havel’s says their ruler is 6″ wide x 27 1/2″ in length to cover an entire width of a fabric bolt – it’s nice that the ruler runs over the ends of the fabric you are cutting.  Fiskar’s says their ruler is 6″ x 24″, but I think that is for the actual measuring part.  If you look closely you will see that the Fiskar’s ruler is almost the same length of the Havel’s and Havel’s ruler is 24″ long.

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Both rulers are good for either right-handed folks or for left-handed folks with numbers going both ways, and they both use 45 mm rotary blades.

I think the best part of both of these rulers is the no-slip grip strip along the side of ruler that the blade runs along.  Look along the bottom of the metal edge of the Fiskar’s rotary ruler combo, just above the plastic ruler.  Do you see that dark strip?  Both rulers have this, and I LOVE it, because as you are pushing down on the handle above the rotary blade, it runs right along that strip, making it hug to the fabric.

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And, as you can see from the before and after pictures below, you get a nice, smooth cut.

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Now for prices… Havel’s rotary ruler combo sells for $71.43.  Fiskar’s sells for $59.99.  Fiskar’s also has one of these in a square size (12 in. x 12 in.) that sells for $54.99.  It cuts on one side just like the longer ruler.  I haven’t seen it in use yet, so I don’t know what to make of the benefit of the square other than it is wider, which is nice.  Fiskar’s separate Blade Changer comes with 5 new blades and has the ability to store up to 6 dull blades.  It costs $29.99.

I have 2 Fiskar’s rotary ruler combos and 2 Havel’s rotary ruler combos for a total of 4 rotary ruler combos, and I have one Fiskar’s blade changer; all of which I will have for sale in my booth (#436) at Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival.   Whatever I don’t sell will be on my website after the quilt festival.  I will also have a rotary mat and some fabric there so customers can try each of these rotary rulers out for themselves.  I think it’s a great tool for those of us with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Arthritis and other wrist, arm, and hand issues.  You don’t have to buy one; you are welcome to just try them out.

I will have a lot of other goodies for sale in my booth.  I will try to get a picture of some of the items soon and post a picture for you.  Most of the stuff will be gift items and hard-to-find notions such as Rebecca Barker Quiltscapes and Sister Quilter greeting cards, wall stickers for quilters, car decals for quilters, Laurel Burch bags, pins with numbers (to put on your stacks of pieces to help you keep track of what order to sew – I’ll have to get a good picture of that to share with you later), a few Creative Grids rulers, woolies curlers, walnut shells for making pincushions, etc.

I hope you’ll be in the neighborhood Father’s Day weekend.  I’d love for you to stop by so I can meet you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s spring time at Wilma’s

Wilma has 2 quilts that I’ve done for her in the past few months – you will soon see why it’s spring time at Wilma’s.  She’s a quick quilt-maker.  This lady has a talent for putting together colors like nobody I’ve seen before.  The first quilt I’d like to share is what I called “Wilma’s Mums.”

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Can you see the mums in the quilt blocks?

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I tried to put leaves all over the black and green areas, but I hid mums in the quilt blocks behind the “fabric” mums.

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And, along the borders, I changed it up a bit by quilting spider mums.  I’m not sure I got the exact essence of the flowers because I was only going with my imagination and the pictures in the fabric.  Spider mums are one of my favorite flowers, so I knew the petals needed to be short in the middle and long on the outer edge.  But, I wasn’t sure how to stitch that out so it would look more 3-D.

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Another cool thing about the backing on this quilt is that the fabric is very soft.  And, if you look very closely, you can see green owls in the fabric… watching over the garden.  🙂

 

This next quilt of Wilma’s is the latest one I’ve quilted.

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As you can see from this next picture, what looks like applique blocks are actually fabric panels.  This is great for those of us who love the look of applique but don’t have the time to do it ourselves.  I think it looks real enough.  Don’t you?

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Wilma wanted the faux applique outlined and feathers everywhere else.  So, feathers, we did!

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I could have done any number of variations of feather styles on Wilma’s quilt, but I liked the way the feathers in the picture below cradled the bouquets of flowers.  I thought they complimented the pieced blocks nicely.

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And, here’s the back side.

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What do you think?  Does it have enough feathers?  I think the pictures of the back side makes it look bouffant or like divinity candy or something like it.  I don’t know how to describe it.  But, I love it!

 

Raggedy Ann and Andy

Barbara and the ladies at her church have been hard at work making quilts.  If I understand it correctly, they either raffle or auction them off to make money for their church.  What is really cute about this quilt is that, although it is a Raggedy Ann and Andy quilt, there are hand made dolls to go with it.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of them to share with you so you could see how cute the quilt looks with them.  However, I do have pictures of the quilt.

Here’s a full shot.  Simple, but imagine it with a Raggedy Ann and a Raggedy Andy sitting on it.

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And, here is what I added to the blocks.  There are plenty of things I could have done with this, but I really wanted it to be playful and I was hoping the ladies at Barbara’s church would be okay with it.  Do you think it’s okay and “fits” the quilt?

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I have another picture of the third row of blocks, but I cannot get it to upload here, so I guess I will just have to show you the back. Maybe you can get an idea from this.  Just imagine it reversed.

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If you are interested in this quilt, you will have to be real nice to the ladies at Queen of the Holy Rosary Wea Catholic Church in Bucyrus, Kansas.  Maybe you can get in on the fun!  😉

Claudia’s BIG quilt aka the King and Queen Quilt

…But not known as Clifford, the Big Red Dog Quilt…  Actually it didn’t have a name so I called it Claudia’s King and Queen quilt for several reasons.  It’s for a King sized bed that her husband made; a king in the rest of our minds.  I mean, how many people can build and make a bed???  And, a king-sized bed at that!  So, her husband is the king and she is the queen who made the quilt for their bed.  Fitting, don’t you think?  😉

This first picture shows (well, sort of) how big the quilt really is.  It was hanging off my design wall.  You can’t see the full picture here.  Why, I don’t know.  But, the side borders go well beyond the sides of this picture.

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And, this one is a little closer, but not much.

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For Claudia’s quilt, I did pretty much the same kind of quilting I did with Judy’s family quilt.  It’s an inexpensive and fun design; a way to do some allover Edge-to-Edge quilting and still sprinkle some feathers in.

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I snuck a couple of butterflies in to her quilt. The long strips between the blocks on the front have butterflies in them, so I thought I’d add a “king” butterfly and a “queen” butterfly.  Can you guess which is which?  😉

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And, here are some shots of the front.  Really, quilting doesn’t show up as much as we think it will, and, for that, I am glad.  I really am okay with that, because I think the quilting should be complimentary and not overpowering.

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See the butterflies in the long strips between the blocks?

If you want to see this one in person, you’re going to have to become a friend of Claudia’s.  😉